Disaster management plans hurricane follow up meeting

POSTED: 06/27/11 2:06 PM

St. Maarten (DCOMM) – The ten Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) which form the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the country’s disaster management organization, will have a follow-up meeting in July as part of continued preparations for this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams chaired the first meeting where she was briefed with respect to the national state of preparedness.

Head of Section Disaster Management Paul Martens said the June 1 meeting was very informative and was looking forward to the updates that will be provided in the July meeting.

“A date has not been set as yet for the July follow-up meeting, but this will be done shortly. I am looking forward towards the full participation of ESF-1 GEBE and ESF-2 Telem which were absent from the first meeting.

“After July comes August, and things should start to heat up and we need to all be prepared for any eventuality,” Paul Martens told the Department of Communications on Sunday.

ESF-3 representatives from the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure informed the meeting in the case of water management from heavy rainfall, small and large trenches are being maintained; the Great Bay temporary channel can be opened within half-an-hour should there be a lot of rainfall. Road clearing crews are already in place and can be mobilized at a moment’s notice.

ESF-4 Fire Departments says that everything is in place with respect to personnel and emergency disaster materials; emergency pump is ready for use; all public sirens are operational with the exception of the one at the Police Station which is undergoing repairs.

ESF-5 Police says that they are ready for the season; two-Police Post will be established one in Dutch Quarter and the other one at the St. Peter’s Community Center. Additional four-wheeled vehicles will be hired; the Police will work closely with the Voluntary Korps, Marechaussee and the Military.

ESF-6 Ministry of Public Health has increased its operational teams to a second group.

ESF-7 Department of Social Services has its action plan in place and plans to contact the Red Cross and Military. Community Help Desk will also be available to activate hurricane emergency shelters.

ESF-8 Department of Communications (DCOMM) is ready and activated its pre-hurricane season awareness campaign since mid-May.

ESF-9 Ministry of General Affairs Legal Affairs Department is working on a review of all documents pertaining to disasters along with decision-making authority. An update is to be provided at the next meeting.

ESF-10 Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, is currently reviewing its action plan with respect to the ports of entry, price control, updating of hotels and the Meteorological Office.

During the June 1 meeting, officials from the various ESFs present were given a tour of the Fire & Ambulance facility including a review of disaster relief equipment.

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