The Council of Ministers approved the proposal for the recovery project of VNG International, who presented the scope of their project and its activities to the ministers.
The International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG International) will support the Government of St Maarten in both strengthening its disaster preparedness to anticipate, adapt, provide safety and response in future disasters, as well as the process of building back better to mitigate future disaster risk.
The implementation phase starts at the end of March and the entire project comes to an end mid-2020. The themes for support have been identified jointly by the Government of St Maarten and VNG International over the past months.
For the coming months, and prior to the start of the next hurricane season, the following activities have been prioritized by the Government of St Maarten in the framework of the VNG project:
1. the development of disaster management manuals on various themes;
2. the organization of trainings and exercises, in close consultation with all stakeholders involved;
3. the revision of the building norms, in order to foster both disaster resistant and sustainable building practice.
Dutch municipalities, international and local experts will implement policies, procedures, and activities to mitigate disaster areas.
For the longer term, the Government of St Maarten and VNG International will work on a revision of the current disaster management structure, and improved access to information for disaster management. Specific attention will be paid to the psychological preparedness of the emergency services and the citizens of St. Maarten.
Finally, there will be attention in the project for a more effective and more efficient implementation of the reconstruction programs, by improving project management skills. While the main focus will be on St Maarten. Some activities will also be implemented to support Saba and St Eustatius.
Following the Hurricane that struck St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius on September 6 2017, Dutch municipalities contacted VNG to define a common response to support the islands within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. VNG called upon its members to donate to the fundraising campaign of the Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC). 50% of the funds donated by Dutch municipalities will be available for recovery support activities to be developed and implemented by VNG International.