Red Cross Sint Maarten

Three years after hurricane Irma: Red Cross assisted hundreds of families

Three years ago, hurricane Irma had a devasting impact on Sint Maarten. Through a fund raiser in the Netherlands, Red Cross raised 18.7 million euros for projects. With the projects, Red Cross aimed to contribute to the recovery of Sint Maarten and to contribute to the empower to populations to become more resilient in case of future disasters. So far, Red Cross has spent 14,483 million euro on the Irma response and recovery programme. 

In 2017 and 2018, 4.386 million euros were spent on emergency response. Right after Irma, Red Cross imported and distributed for example 11.828 tarps, 8.088 food parcels and 116.738 liters of water. In addition, 4222 families received vouchers over multiple months to buy groceries. Red Cross spend 1.269 million euros in a school meal project in which 3116 students of 23 schools were assisted with breakfast and/or lunch. This project ran from October 2017 to July 2018. In total, 875.785 meals were prepared.

In the past year, Red Cross closed off its home repair project. With 4.636 million euros, Red Cross gave assistance to 675 families who were able to make repairs to their houses. Most of the aid consisted of a contribution of building material so that repairs could be made. Based on vulnerability criteria, some families also received construction assistance. During the project, we have trained 67 persons to be part of the construction crews. At the moment, Red Cross is running a Roof Repair project with additional funding of the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency Trust Fund. Registration for this follow up project is closed. By the end of 2020, Red Cross will have repaired 150 extra roofs.

In collaboration with local partners that included the Association of Psychologists and Allied Professionals (APAP), and Student Support Services Division, the Red Cross organized training programs on psychological first aid and self-care in situations of disaster.  92 individuals from 16 different organizations participated in these trainings.

In the livelihoods project, Red Cross provides training for persons to learn different skill sets. 59 persons have been enrolled in different trainings from air-conditioning maintenance, bakery, sailing and hair dressing courses. Some of the graduates have been enrolled in either an internship or a micro entrepreneurship programme.

“We like to take this opportunity to thank all the organizations that we have collaborated or coordinated with in the last three years.” says Fanny de Swarte, Head of Mission of Netherlands Red Cross. “We could not have done our projects without them. Special thanks to Sint Maarten Development Fund, NIPA, Fire Department, CIFSEF, Ministry of VSA, Kidz@Sea, APAP, Nature Foundation, Waste2Work, UNICEF, VNG-I, VNP/BZK, Ministry of Education and Ministry of VROMI and many other organizations.” In the upcoming months and year, Red Cross will continue with a number of Irma and COVID related activities. The aim is to continue the collaboration with the NGO’s in the current food assistance project until December. At the moment, over 3000 households receive food assistance. In addition, Nature Foundation and Red Cross will be starting to replant trees in Betty’s Estate as part of the disaster risk reduction project in September. Together with Sint Maarten Development Fund we are hoping to develop outdoor community spaces in various areas together with different communities and local stakeholders. Red Cross will continue with their regular activities on Sint Maarten such as first aid at events, clothes drives and providing first aid at shelters in case of hurricanes.