Electricity returns to parts of Kuwait City WAR IN THE GULF

March 26, 1991|By Doug Struck | Doug Struck,Sun Staff Correspondent

KUWAIT CITY -- Electric service began to slowly flicker on in neighborhoods of Kuwait City yesterday, and a weak but steady stream of water dribbled from faucets in some areas.

By late last night, large sections of Kuwait City had shed their dark cloak and reassumed the twinkling appearance of a modern city.

Streetlights lit up avenues that had been dark and foreboding for about six weeks, since Iraqis sabotaged the power stations before retreating.

Some traffic lights blinked on, bringing order to intersections that had become increasingly risky to cross.

"It went from night to day. All the neighbors ran outside and went to celebrate," said Fadhel al-Qattan, 28, a banker.

Mindful of the teasing one-hour restoration of service four days ago, he kept his small generator idling on standby.

His brother, Amir al-Qattan, had no generator. For lights, he had constructed homemade lanterns. He took a Pepsi bottle filled with kerosene and corked it with a soft date through which he had strung cotton yarn or a shoelace. He capped the date with foil, with a hole for the wick.

''See?'' he demonstrated, lighting the lantern. ''This is how we have been living.''

Restoration of power and water service has been the government's chief objective and may relieve some of the pressure-cooker dissatisfaction with the ruling al-Sabah regime.

Loud and public complaints about the government's slow pace in repairing the service have been common in a country where such criticisms in the past were stifled.

Water has been provided to those who brought jugs to central distribution points, but the supply has been limited and lines long.

Three of the four power stations in Kuwait were badly damaged by explosives set by the Iraqis. But engineers have managed to get one of those damaged plants, Doha, working to deliver TTC power to a growing number of neighborhoods.

Linemen still are working to bring additional power from the undamaged plant, Al-Zohr, in the South.

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