Red Cross to assist 2,000 families in the rebuilding of hurricanedamaged homes

The Netherlands Red Cross, through its St. Maarten branch, has launched its home repair programme which will assist 2,000 families in the rebuilding of their homes, damaged by Hurricane Irma.
Through the provision of quality materials, technical expertise and guidance, the Red Cross will help households rebuild homes which are hurricane-resistant, reaching at least 7,000 people.
“Families have a significant role to play in this programme. They are the drivers of their own repair project,” says Jeroen Quanjer, shelter delegate with the Netherlands Red Cross. “We will advise on the kinds of materials to use, but it is ultimately up to households to decide how to manage their own repairs. This generally leads to greater sustainability as people assume leadership of the work on their own homes.”
Working with Community Councils and other organisations in nine neighbourhoods, the Red Cross is identifying eligible households through door-to-door assessments, with an emphasis on those who are most vulnerable, including the elderly, disabled, and single parent households.
Eligible households will receive an average of 1,800 USD to purchase materials from pre-selected supply stores which are partnering with the Red Cross. With a goal of ensuring residences are more resistant to hurricanes in the future, purchases will have to be made within certain parameters, focusing on roofs, walls, and health-threatening sanitation issues.
A core component of the programme will be encouraging neighbours to assist each other in the rebuilding of their homes, especially those who are elderly or disabled.
“Providing adequate housing is more than a roof and four walls. It is also about strengthening communities and encouraging cohesion at the local level,” adds Quanjer. “The Red Cross will encourage residents to assist one another, whether it’s by lending a tool or sharing labour. Strong, unified communities will result in a stronger St. Maarten, and we will help facilitate that.”
Communities will also be instructed on how best to prepare for future hurricanes and how to maintain their homes to ensure adequate shelter for years to come. The shelter repair program is expected to last approximately three months.