DH | Red Cross continues with St. Maarten roof repairs

The Netherlands Red Cross continues its roof repair programme for Hurricane Irma victims in St. Maarten. In photo: A roof being restored under the Red Cross programme

THE HAGUE–The Netherlands Red Cross continues its roof repair programme for Hurricane Irma victims in St. Maarten with the financial assistance of the Trust Fund. The roof repair programme was extended earlier and will run until the end of this year.

With the subsidy that it receives from the World Bank-managed Trust Fund financed by the Dutch government, the Red Cross is providing assistance in repairing an additional 200 roofs. The Red Cross will also continue its work to help in preparing people for possible future disasters as well as assisting with activities in the psycho-social area.

After Hurricane Irma devastated St. Maarten in September 2017, the Red Cross assisted more than 1,000 families with repairs to their roof. This assistance was financed from the money collected in a national collection drive in the Netherlands. Through the “National Action the Netherlands helps St. Maarten”, more than 18 million euros was collected.

Since the hurricane, the Red Cross has assisted 27,000 persons with emergency aid and distributed thousands of food coupons as well as school meals and building and relief supplies. The Red Cross has already spent a large part of the money that was donated during the national collection on projects in St. Maarten and the remainder of the donated funds will be spent in the course of 2020, the organisation stated on Thursday.

The Red Cross was very content to have been able to provide additional assistance to people with repairing their roof, said Head of the Red Cross Relief Operation in St. Maarten, Fanny de Swarte. The Red Cross will continue to assist families that still need help with repairing their homes. Special attention is being paid to people in a vulnerable position.

One of the other priorities is to prepare the people for a new, possible disaster in the future. “Unfortunately, it is possible that the island can be hit by another hurricane. We cannot prevent disasters, but we can assist to reduce the impact that it has on the island, by, for example, informing and preparing people,” said De Swarte, who added that the Red Cross works with several other parties in this effort.

The Red Cross has furthermore been assisting with the training of persons who lost their job in the tourism sector. These persons learned to develop other skills so they can work in the construction or maritime sector, for example, or repairing of devices.

Together with local authorities, educational material is being developed for schools. An awareness campaign in the form of a song contest has started. Everyone can participate and write a song which focuses on preparation tips for a disaster.

Bron: Daily Herald

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