Blackout plunges Kuwait into darkness

Kuwait International Airport, hospitals, malls, traffic signals & homes were without any light for up to 3hrs on Wednesday night, but state-owned oil refineries were unaffected
Blackout plunges Kuwait into darkness
Vehicles drive at a main highway that is engulfed with darkness in Kuwait City on February 11, 2015. (AFP/Getty Images)
By Courtney Trenwith
Thu 12 Feb 2015 11:12 AM

Kuwait’s international airport and hospitals were plunged into darkness on Wednesday night when a blackout affected the majority of the country.

Traffic turned into chaos, malls were forced to close and families were unable to cook or watch television for up to three hours after a “technical malfunction” caused the entire electricity grid to shutdown.

The Interior Ministry operations room received hundreds of reports of traffic accidents and people trapped in elevators, Arab Times reported.

Police enforced an “unprecedented security mobilisation” on Kuwaiti roads at what is usually a peak period.

The power turned off about 7.20pm, according to the Minister of Electricity and Water Abdulaziz Al Ibrahim. It was gradually restored with all areas regaining electricity by 10.14pm.

Al Ibrahim blamed the blackout, which affected most parts of Kuwait, on “a technical malfunction that forced a huge current to stop as a precautionary measure” to protect the electricity network.

The country’s three vital oil refineries – which account for more than 90 percent of export earnings – had not been affected, Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC) told state media agency KUNA.

KNPC spokesperson Khaled Al Asousi said the company’s precautionary measures in the case of a blackout on the main electricity grid had come into effect.

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