GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – A meeting of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was convened on Saturday at the Fire & Ambulance Building in Cay Hill where the various Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) gave briefings with respect to preparations for Hurricane Danny.
The meeting was opened by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs and the National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson.
The Meteorological Department of St. Maarten informed the EOC about the latest information from the National Hurricane Center. The country is now under a Tropical Storm Watch. Despite Hurricane Danny is weakening, the community (residents, businesses) are advised to take the necessary measures and prepare for tropical storm conditions. Hurricane Danny is forecast to pass the country on Monday.
Residents are advised to have a first aid kit handy; residents are also reminded that during the height of the passing of the storm, requests for emergency assistance will be limited due to the safety of the personnel from the emergency services with respect to being able to navigate through dangerous conditions.
A national address will take place on Sunday at 1.00PM from the Government Administration Building and will be rebroadcasted every hour via the local radio stations with a rebroadcast via St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20 from 3.00PM to 11.00PM.
GEBE – ESF 1
Residents are advised to fill up water containers and have bottled water as a back-up in case water national water supply grid has to be shut down as a precautionary measure. GEBE has already taken measures to fill the water tanks throughout the country.
Ministry VROMI – ESF 3
The ministry reports that the mouths of various ponds have been opened as a precautionary measure; floodgates have been tested and water levels in the Fresh Water Pond have been reduced; the three storm water pumps have been tested and are in standby mode; the landfill has been prepared and is ready; the clearing of trenches continues and road closures are being coordinated with the Police.
Ministry VROMI is overseeing the clearing of certain areas along the Ring Road with respect to trenches. Drivers are advised to stay off the Ring Road.
Police Force – ESF 5
Members of the Police Force are on standby and building infrastructure has been prepared. Police Sub Stations in Maho, Cole Bay and Simpson Bay will be open and accessible to the public in case of an emergency. The Voluntary Corps of Sint Maarten will be working with the Police and military assistance that was requested has been approved and the marines will be assisting the national police where necessary.
The Marines will be based in Pointe Blanche. They are ready to assist in carrying out any damage assessment and remain on standby for any assistance that will be required.
Ministry of Public Health (VSA) – ESF 6 & 7
SMMC Medical Center operating, outpatient clinic and dialysis department as well as the administrative department will be closed on Monday. Dialysis for patients will take place on Sunday, August 23.
Services continue at the While & Yellow Cross, but the educational facility and psycho geriatric center are closed as a precautionary measure.
Hurricane shelters will only be opened based on the decision of the EOC after evaluating weather reports and forecast. Those who feel unsafe at home should prepare early and make arrangements with family or friends.
The listing of hurricane shelters are: New Testament Baptist Church (A.C. Cannegieter Street, Philipsburg), Sr. Marie-Laurence School (Ellis drive 1, Middle Region), St. Maarten Academy (Cupper drive, Cul de Sac), Milton Peters College (L.B. Scott, South Reward), Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Centre (St. Peters road, St. Peters), Leonard Connor School (Venus drive, Cay Bay), Allan C. Halley Community Centre (Simpson Bay road 27, Simpson Bay), The Salvation Army Building (Union road 59, Cole Bay), Christian Fellowship Church (Welfare road 95, Cole Bay).
Ministry of General Affairs – ESF 9
Measures have been taken to protect all Government buildings and infrastructure and generators are on standby.
Ministry TEATT – ESF 10
No flights have been canceled at this point in time. Port St. Maarten remains operational. Both ports of entry continue to monitor closely the progress of Hurricane Danny. The Tourist Bureau has been in contact with hotels with respect to their preparedness status and measures.
Another meeting of the EOC is planned for late Sunday morning.
PHOTO CUTLINE: EOC Meeting on Saturday of the various Emergency Support Functions giving a briefing about preparations for Hurricane Danny. DCOMM Photo