Body of fourth Kuwait sandstorm victim recovered

March 31, 2011

A coast guard patrolling unit has recovered the body of the fourth victim of a massive sandstorm that hit Kuwait on Friday.

Police identified the victim as A.A. and said that he was an Omani national in his 50s.

Search and rescue efforts are now focusing on the last person reported to be missing, Al Watan daily reported.

A massive storm carrying tonnes of sand, likened by several Kuwaitis to a desert tsunami, enveloped Kuwait and forced the shutting down of the international airport and damaging properties.

As the country is evaluating the damages and seeking answers, a storm of a different kind, about the role of the official meteorological department, is now brewing.

Adel Al Saadoun, a well-known Kuwaiti meteorologist has demanded that the personnel of the meteorological department be held accountable for failing to predict the massive sandstorm.

“Millions of dinars have been spent on equipment that could automatically detect such sandstorms before they hit the country,” Adel Al Saadoun said.

The meteorologist said that he could not accept the excuse given by some officials from the department claiming that the number of Kuwaiti specialists working there was limited.

“All state departments have Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti staff. Does that make them a failure as well?” Al Saadoun, who owns a private meteorological centre, asked.

His comments came as a personal feud grew in intensity with the department supervisor who remarked on a Kuwaiti TV station that meteorological analyses should not be taken from nonacademic figures.

Al Saadoun believes that the statements targeted him as well as at another veteran Kuwaiti meteorologist, Saleh Al Ujairi.

“He believes that our forecasts, which he alleges to be inaccurate, put citizens’ lives in danger, whereas in reality it was his department’s failure to predict the massive sandstorm that led for the unfortunate loss of lives,” Al Saadoun said, quoted by Kuwait Times daily.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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