EPA chief says climate change behind rain that deluged Kuwait

Finance ministry denies limiting compensation to KD 1,000 for rain-hit car owners

KUWAIT: Climate change has become a “serious” issue in Kuwait given the bursts of heavy rain that soaked the state recently, a Kuwaiti official said yesterday. The international community is working to meet the objectives of a landmark 2015 global deal to tackle climate change, Director General of Kuwait’s Environment Public Authority (EPA) Sheikh Abdullah Al-Humoud Al-Sabah said. During a ceremony to promulgate Kuwait’s rulebook for implementing the Paris climate agreement, he said the environmental body is currently studying the new rules agreed upon by nearly 200 countries during talks in Poland last month.

The effects of climate change have begun to spill over into Kuwait, he explained, citing rising sea levels and record precipitation as factors that could impede future development projects. Kuwait has coped well with the effects of climate change, according to the UN Environment’s West Asia Office development coordinator Dr Abdulmonem Mohammad, who said necessary measures should be taken to keep climate change in check. The 2015 Paris agreement aims to limit a rise in average world temperatures to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

Meanwhile, Finance Ministry Undersecretary Saleh Al-Saraawi yesterday denied media reports that the compensation body will allocate a maximum of KD 1,000 ($3,300) in compensation for owners of vehicles affected by the recent downpours. The compensation committee is still studying requests submitted by people in this regard to compensate those entitled in three categories – real estate, personal damage and cars, Saraawi told KUNA.

Compensations will be given to eligible persons after studying all cases carefully so to as achieve justice for all people, he noted. The Cabinet assigned in November a team to follow up and address the repercussions of the rains and receive requests for compensations. The team was divided into four groups to achieve the task. – KUNA