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‘Rain compensation’ claims from Sunday

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 21, (Agencies): Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hind Al- Sabeeh said Sunday that the compensation team tasked with assessing damage inflicted due to the heavy downpour last week will start receiving compensation requests as of next Sunday.

Al-Sabeeh, who also headed a team to follow up and deal with the repercussions of the rain and flood, said in a press statement that the requests for compensation would be received at the Public Authority for Compensations Assessment in Shamia area.

She noted that the forms and procedures for receiving compensation requests for those affected by heavy rain are being prepared.

Kuwait’s Finance Ministry Undersecretary and chairman of the compensation team Saleh Al-Saraawi said compensation forms will be provided for those who have been affected by the heavy rains in the building of the Compensation Authority or through the website of the Ministry of Finance (www.mof.gov.kw).

In a statement to KUNA, Al-Saraawi said on Wednesday that the requests for compensation would be received at the Public Authority for Compensations Assessment in Shamia area on Sunday from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.

On Monday, the Cabinet assigned a compensation team headed by Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hind Al-Sabeeh with assessing damage inflicted due to the heavy downpour last week. Kuwait government will help owners of houses damaged by recent rainfall and floods return to their homes as soon as possible, a senior official said Tuesday.

Mohammad Bushehri, Ministry of Electricity and Water’s Undersecretary, said the heavy rainfall and floods damaged many houses. Bushehri, head of a government team assessing damage of housing units, was speaking to Kuwait TV during a visit to Block One in Fahaheel to examine the houses damage by the floods. “The government will take care of them,” Bushehri said in reference to the damaged residential units. The government formed Monday a team, chaired by Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh, tasked renovating houses damaged by rainfall, and to provide suitable housing until completion of renovation.

The team will also determine who was responsible for damage caused by rainfall, capitalizing from experience gained from dealing with rainfall to prevent recurrence, how to gather the rain instead of wasting it, and preparing requests for compensations for the damage caused by the rain as of next week.

Kuwait Civil Defense on Wednesday warned citizens and residents of Kuwait to be prepared to cope with forecast rainfalls in coming hours. Forecasts show that the weather will be unsteady in the coming hours. It appealed to the people of Kuwait to ignore rumors, abstain from promoting them and seek accurate information from official sources. The Kuwaiti Government has already activated a contingency plan to cope with the forecast heavy rain.

Last week, the country witnessed stormy weather, unprecedented since many years ago, and some officials said that volume of the downpour had been unseen in the country since 50 years ago. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Lt Gen Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah on Wednesday addressed cables of gratitude to His Highness the Amir and His Highness the Crown Prince for their cables in which they appreciated the MoI personnel efforts during latest extraordinary downpour on the country.

The MoI said in a statement that the minister expressed pride for Their Highness’ praise for the personnel, noting that the successful action to deal with the torrential rain was largely due to the coordination among the various and public and private authorities. Kuwait’s General Administration of Customs confirmed Wednesday that there was no significant damage in customs goods during the heavy rainfall last week.

Director General of the Administration of Customs Mohammed Al-Humaidi said that “there was just a rainwater leak with no significant damage in goods.” He added that technical and admin istrative personnel had dealt with the leak and took necessary measures to prevent future recurrence. Al-Humaidi stressed on the administration’s keenness to pay tribute to the auditors and custom inspectors who worked hard to ensure “safe and smooth fl ow of goods during last week.”

A number of legal experts unanimously agree that the state is responsible for the damages sustained by some citizens because of the recent rains, and the possible damages in the future, reports Al-Rai daily. They stressed that it is the right of the citizens affected by such issues to receive compensation, which should not be considered as a gift from the government.

The above was highlighted during a forum titled “The limits of legal and political responsibility of the government about infrastructure” organized by Kuwait Lawyers Society few days ago. The forum was held at the headquarters of the society in the presence of former National Assembly Speaker Ahmed Al-Sa’adoun and former MP Khaled Al-Sultan as well as a number of lawyers and activists.

In this regard, Head of Public Law Department at the Faculty of Law in Kuwait University Dr Ibrahim Al- Hamoud insisted that the State should give compensations to citizens whose houses and properties sustained damages in the recent rains. Also, a lecturer of civil law at the university’s Faculty of Law Dr Khalid Al-Hendiani explained that Article 25 of the Constitution states that the state must bear responsibility for the damages resulting from natural disasters.

The explanatory memo states that support of maximum value of KD 3,000 must be provided to the affected citizens. He called for the amendment of the law in order to change aid into compensations.

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