SIMPSON BAY—Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, Red Cross has developed multiple activities to prevent the spread of the disease on Sint Maarten and to assist with mitigating the impact of the economic effects on Sint Maarten.
In order to prevent the spread of the disease, Red Cross has temporarily suspended her normal activities such as first aid at events, first aid courses, and her Irma Recovery projects such as Roof Repair, vocational trainings and workshops. These projects will restart once the lockdown is lifted and new hygiene measures will have been put in place.
Red Cross has launched an awareness and communication campaign via facebook, website, radio advertisements and flyers. “Every week, we changed the focus of the topic” says Esther Henry, coordinator of the Red Cross communication group. “We have spread information on how to wash hands, on how to cope with the lockdown measures and how to assist family or friends without putting them at risk”. Every Tuesday, a volunteer hosts a Facebook Live event at 11 am discussing the particular topic of the week.
In addition, together with many other organizations such as K1, Community Councils, Freegan Foundation, Red Cross has assisted government with the distribution of their Food and Hygiene parcels. The beneficiaries of the food and hygiene parcels were selected by government. “The coordination and cooperation went well.” According to branch manager Mitchell Horsford. “Only together, we can help to alleviate the impact of the public health crisis on Sint Maarten.”
Furthermore, Red Cross brought in a hygiene specialist who has been advising CPS on community outreach, training volunteers of government and advising on necessary hygiene measures for businesses to reopen. “If we all work together, we can minimize local transmission and, hopefully, avoid a second outbreak on the islands”. Henk Veerdig, hygiene specialist, stated.
Red Cross is raising funds internationally to prepare for additional food security assistance. Netherlands Red Cross is coordinating this effort for their following Branches on Sint Maarten, Saba, Statia, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. With funds already available, Red Cross will select 400 households from the Red Cross databases to provide them with cash assistance. If more funds become available, registration may open. We will inform the public when that will be the case.