Two weeks ago, the end of March, I visited the island of St Maarten for the very first time. Hurricane Irma struck St Maarten (as well as Saba and St Eustatius) in 2017. Irma caused tremendous damages, the consequences of which are still visible on the island. Our work on St Maarten started right after the hurricane to provide assistance in making reconstruction efforts sustainable and improving the overall disaster management and preparedness structure.
During my visit we were able to attend workshops organised and facilitated by our experts in order to clarify roles and responsibilities of government agencies in disaster preparedness and management, organise meetings with the variety of government counterparts we work with, discuss the preparations for a large hurricane exercise in June and assess our assistance in catching up on backlogs in building permits and environmental inspections.
My first mission to St Maarten made me aware of the sizable scope of our support to St Maarten, the well-established working relationships between colleagues on the island and in the Netherlands and the need for continued assistance.
For more information on our work, please check our project pages.