Simpson Bay—Red Cross is starting a new phase of the home repair, a roof repair project, in the coming months. In the new phase, Red Cross aims to repair the roofs of 200 more houses. Teams of Red Cross will be going from January 16, 2020 to Philipsburg to start with the selection of applicants.
Red Cross has been providing recovery aid since Hurricane Irma devastated the island in 2017 from food voucher to school meals and home repair projects. In the first Home Repair project, funded from donations from the Dutch public in 2017, Red Cross has enabled 669 households to repair the outside of their home. The project provided material to most of the households. Based on social criteria, 187 households also received help in the form of construction crews. In this project help was given to people from Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, Sucker Garden, Over the Bank, Fort William, Cay Hill, Cay Bay, Cole Bay and St Peters.
“In the upcoming roof repair project, Red Cross will focus again on the most vulnerable. Red Cross will provide material and construction workers to fix 200 additional houses.” says project manager Esmeralda van den Bout. “We intend to work in new areas.” Those areas will be announced once selected. Social and technical eligibility criteria have been posted on the Red Cross Sint Maarten Facebook page. The project does not focus on reconstruction of houses, but on roof repair. Houses which need full reconstruction or are accepted into other repair projects will not qualify. The project will run from January to September 2020. The roof repair project will be funded through the World Bank Sint Maarten Recovery Trust Fund, but is not the same as the Home Repair project of the NRPB.
In addition to the roof repair project, Red Cross will continue to contribute to the recovery and the resilience of St Maarten through its projects. “The aim of the Livelihoods project is to provide people with training in different skill sets” says project manager Fernando Suarez Jiminez. “These skills can provide and supplement income after a next hurricane.” Together with NIPA, Red Cross started an air conditioning maintenance course in October 2019. In January, itwill start a baking course which Red Cross is organizing together with CIFSEF, along with sewing course that is also planned to start in the same month. Also, the need of a second group of the air conditioning maintenance course is being evaluated. During the first months of the year, a micro-entrepreneurship training is planned to start.
This month, the Disaster Risk Reduction project will launch a disaster awareness song contest. All amateur songwriters and performers can enter the contest. With the help of mentors, contestants will write and perform their songs during several smaller events from February to May and one large event on the 13th of June. The final event will also feature well-known guest stars from the Caribbean and, just like all Red Cross events, will be free to attend. The song contest supplements efforts to promote household safety plans and other activities aimed to increase disaster preparedness. Red Cross is also working together with the Ministry of Education and the Fire Department to prepare school children for hazards and disasters. “We really believe that working together with multiple partners is crucial to increasing the disaster resilience of Sint Maarten” says project manager Tamas Marki. “We cannot prevent hurricanes and other natural hazards from happening, but we can prevent them from becoming a disaster in our communities.” More information on the song contest can be found on Facebook or can be gathered at the Red Cross building in Simpson Bay or at the Red Cross service point in Philipsburg.
Red Cross will also continue in 2020 with the training of members of community-based organisations in psychological first-aid. In 2019, Red Cross has started to train 5 different organisations with the help of local facilitators.
Red Cross is also working on other projects with other organizations. Information on those projects will be shared soon.