Kuwait fire ravages 35 shops, building

January 10, 2013

A fire in Kuwait has gutted 35 shops and offices in a traditional market on the first day of the New Year.

A four-storey building used as accommodation by single expatriates was also razed in the morning fire, the head of the firefighters directorate said. No fatal casualties were reported, but an Ethiopian national was taken to hospital for treatment after he jumped from a window to escape the fire.

Brigadier Khalid Al Mikrad said that speculation about the causes of the fire at Suq Al Hareem (Women’s Market) should be avoided.


Kuwaitis were mourning the tragic fire that severely damaged this historic marketplace.

Souq Al Mubarikiya is an old Kuwaiti market that sells traditional clothes, accessories, kitchenware, fruit, fish and several other stuff, and is a must-see for residents and visitors. The décor reflects the old architecture of the Gulf area and the shops are traditional and old-fashioned.

Souq Al Hareem (Women’s Market in Arabic) within Souq Al Mubarikiya offers invaluable insights into the local culture and old trade traditions.

Historians say that the souq was started in the early 20th century by “amateur traders”, mainly women dressed in traditional clothes, who sat cross-legged on cushions or on stools to sell home-made items or food stuff.

These included henna, traditional eyeliners, accessories for women, bright clothes, kitchenware, soap, locks, wheat, eggs and rice. Bedouin girls getting ready to get married were reportedly among the most eager clients in the souq.

In October, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on an official visit to Kuwait to attend the Asia conference made an unannounced tour of Al Mubarikiya Suq.


“All possibilities remain open and the investigations will reveal whether it was an accident or if it was arson,” he said, quoted by Al Anba daily.

However, he said that three shops have been identified as possible sources of the fire that was brought under control by 40 fighters from several units.

The fire prompted officials to issue calls for better safety standards and better precaution measures.



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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