Following the Hurricane that struck St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius on September 6 2017, Dutch municipalities contacted their Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) to define a common response to support the islands. VNG called upon its members to donate to the fundraising campaign of the Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC) and they agreed to work together in the recovery phase.

The overall objective of the project that ensued was to contribute to the recovery of the islands, in particular St Maarten, focusing both on the immediate follow up of the hurricane, but more particularly on the preparedness for future disasters. The project consisted of two specific objectives:
• Government institutions are strengthened in their disaster preparedness capacities to anticipate and adapt, provide safety and response to all communities in future disasters;
• St Maarten institutions are building back better towards increased resilience to prevent and mitigate future disaster threats.

The results of the project include:
• A revisited and upgraded disaster management structure, including corresponding legislation, has been developed;
• Politicians and civil servants of line ministries and police, fire brigade and ambulance, as well as community representatives have been trained on the disaster management structure;
• Improved access of government to information for disaster management purposes;
• Improved services related to psychological preparedness have been realised;
• More effective and efficient implementation of the recovery programmes on Saba have been realised;
• A disaster proof and sustainable building code have been defined and carries the consensus of the government and the community.

For the implementation of the project, expertise was utilised from Dutch municipalities, safety regions and other government institutions within crisis management and preparedness. The project had a duration of 45 months and was fully implemented by VNG International.