Military ready to provide hurricane relief

POSTED: 06/1/12 12:16 PM

Officers participate in the annual Hurricane Exercise to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. (Royal Marines file photo)

WILLEMSTAD/GREAT BAY – The military command center says they are ready to provide aid to the various islands in the Dutch Caribbean for the hurricane season, which officially begins today. Providing assistance before, during and after the passage of a hurricane is one of the main tasks of the military in the Caribbean. Officers at the Division of Operations of the Commander of the Navy in the Caribbean (CZMCARIB) will closely monitor weather patterns for the duration of the season – June 1 to November 31.

Military officers have already conducted several surveys in the Windward Islands, installed communications equipment and tested emergency connections in preparation for the season. They have also consulted (Lt.) Governors in each territory, local authorities and members of the disaster management teams on St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius.

Military assistance is provided based on a request by the (Lt.) Governor ahead of a storm. Making such a request after a storm becomes difficult if there is failure in telephone lines or the GSM network. Once the request is handled marines are deployed to provide medical assistance, clearing debris and for the preservation of public order and safety. The HMS Pelican, which is the station ship in the region, can supplement the aid provided by the military.

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