The Netherlands sends naval ships to Bahamas for emergency assistance

The Kingdom of the Netherlands will provide emergency assistance to the Bahamas. Navy ships Zr.Ms. Johan de Witt and Zr.Ms. Snellius is currently preparing to come to the aid of the island group. The naval vessels are already in the Caribbean because of the large Caribbean Coast emergency relief exercise. This exercise gives way to actual emergency assistance, following a request for assistance from the Bahamas through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

Both naval vessels are currently in Sint Maarten to make the logistical preparations for an aid operation. The ships are expected to depart within a few days and will be on site on 11 September to provide emergency assistance. The exact implementation of the emergency aid is currently being worked out by the Ministry of Defense in consultation with the CDEMA. The emergency aid is financed from the budget that Minister Kaag has made available for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

Zr.Ms. Johan de Witt is an amphibious transport ship. The ship is a port, airport and storage location in one. It has a large deck for vehicles and relief supplies, medical personnel from the army and an internal dock where boats can sail in and out. On board are also 2 Cougar helicopters from the Defense Helicopter Command, a marines unit with 2 FRISC boats and 4 landing craft, soldiers of the genius, a land force unit specializing in civil-military operations and 2 specialist diving teams.

Zr.Ms. Snellius is a hydrographic survey vessel. The ship has advanced sonar equipment with which the seabed can be mapped. In this way, nautical charts can be made and coastal areas can be mapped.
Hurricane Dorian has had a devastating effect on the Bahamas. The category 5 hurricane has claimed many victims, and according to the Red Cross, around 13,000 homes have been destroyed or badly damaged. The first estimates of the UN World Food Program are that 76,000 people need help. Large parts of the islands are under water and the infrastructure is suffering greatly from the situation. The population urgently needs help. With the presence of several naval vessels in the Caribbean, the Netherlands is well able to offer emergency aid.