Sharjah launches property compensation scheme for Emiratis affected by bad weather

Programme allows citizens to obtain financial support in the event of storms, flooding and other extreme weather events

Cars were submerged in water in Sharjah following heavy rains in January last year.  (Photo by AFP)
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Sharjah has launched a financial support scheme to allow Emiratis to claim compensation in the event of property being damaged by adverse weather and natural disasters.

The relief effort is being introduced to safeguard citizens against extreme weather events, such as the deadly flash flooding that struck large parts of the Northern Emirates last year.

Sharjah Social Services Department and the emirate’s Civil Defence Authority will oversee applications for assistance from the public, officials said on Thursday.

The scheme was approved by Sharjah Executive Council last month and has now come into effect.

Afaf Al Marri, the head of Sharjah Social Services Department, said the policy relates only to future weather-related events.

“Past weather-related incidents in the eastern region and in Kalba were addressed and people received financial support,” she said.

The relief plan was introduced following a study examining the impact of heavy rain in the emirate last year, in which many homes were damaged by severe flooding.

Extreme weather response

Sharjah was hit hard when the UAE recorded its heaviest rainfall in 30 years in July 2022.

More than 800 people were rescued and thousands more placed in temporary accommodation in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah after the summer deluge led to widespread flooding.

Many people in Fujairah and Sharjah said it was the worst flooding they had ever seen.

They were surprised by the intensity of the downpour and how swiftly the floodwaters inundated their homes.

“We held meetings to learn from this experience and develop a plan for compensating people for damages,” said Ms Al Marri.

She said people should approach the department to submit claims for financial help if impacted by extreme weather events.

“After this, the civil defence will carry out an assessment of the damages,” she said.

Authorities did not confirm if compensation is given only for damage caused to homes, or if claims can be made for other property such as vehicles.

Crew members from the civil defence will conduct inspection visits to determine the extent of the damage and its causes.

“Standards approved by the civil defence categorise causes into three types: floods and torrents, winds and hurricanes, and earthquakes, each with its own criteria for evaluation,” she said.

Levels of compensation granted will be based on the findings of site inspection reports.

"This initiative represents an organised approach to the compensation process," said Ms Al Marri.

Emiratis affected by last year's torrential rain and flooding received financial support on the directives of Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.

Each affected family received Dh50,000 to help pay for damages incurred in the flooding.

The UAE has been hit by several days of wet weather with more downpours to come.

Heavy rain started to move across Dubai and the Northern Emirates and into the east of the country on Thursday afternoon.

Updated: October 26, 2023, 2:22 PM