PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs, chairman of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), was informed on Wednesday about pre-storm/hurricane preparations by the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) in connection with any possible threat that Tropical Storm Danny could pose to the country.
Tropical Storm Danny is forecast to become a hurricane later in the week prior to it reaching the Lesser Antilles. On Wednesday Danny was more than 1300 miles away.
“The preparations underway by Ministry VROMI takes into consideration the amount of time to prepare for any possible weather from Danny. We have the lead time to prepare in the event we are confronted with a hurricane several days from now. It’s better to prepare now then wait until it’s at our doorstep. I urge residents, vacation-home owners, and businesses to review their hurricane season preparation plans now to make sure they are storm/hurricane ready,” Acting Minister of Ministry VROMI Marcel Gumbs said on Wednesday.
Work to clear the main rainwater drainage channels started last week in the district of Dutch Quarter. Recently contracts were approved for several districts with respect to regular maintenance of drainage channels. Contractors have already been informed to commence cleaning due to the potential threat that the weather system could pose to the country. All main trenches would have been cleaned within the coming days.
The three storm water pumps at the Great Salt Pond are currently in place and operational. The Flood Gates are being monitored to manage the water in the Fresh Pond to overflow in the Salt Pond, however current water levels in the Salt Pond are low due to the drought situation and therefore there is sufficient capacity.
Waste haulage and disposal contractors have been alerted to look out and make preparations for the coming days in the event residents start to throw out large bulk debris in preparation for storm/hurricane conditions.
The Pond Island Landfill is also being made ready in the event that additional bulk-waste is picked up from the districts prior to the arrival of any weather. There was a pre-hurricane clean-up campaign that took place over several weeks throughout the country where residents had the opportunity to dispose of bulk-waste.
Ministry VROMI does take note that the dry weather conditions over the past months have created a situation where in the event of heavy rainfall, soil on hillsides could become unstable, and therefore residents living in hillside areas should take note of the aforementioned for possible landslides.