PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Sunday expressed concern for St. Maarteners, St. Maarten students in particular and the Dutch people in general in the aftermath of torrential rain that started last Wednesday over Northern Europe.
“With the death toll throughout Europe rising daily, I can only sympathize with our people on the continent and in Holland in particular,” the MP said. “We know natural catastrophe all too well on St. Maarten and we know the toll it takes. With that said I pray that all is well with our students and St. Maarten families who are caught in it,” the MP said.
He said he has been seeing persons from St. Maarten saying they are safe via social media, which was encouraging to read. “But perhaps the government can provide an update on our students and if any were affected negatively by the storm. If our people reached out for help via the St. Maarten House or so let us know so perhaps organizations and individuals on St. Maarten could assist if we need to,” MP Emmanuel said.
Images from throughout Europe show sinkholes that swallowed up houses and buildings. Cars were carried away by torrents of water and deposited upside down or upended against trees. Homes have been emptied, their contents mixed into oozing mud pits. The raging rivers have also swept away cellphone towers and fiber optic cables, further hampering rescue efforts.
Even some of the dikes that have long protected the Netherlands have been overcome by water levels not seen since before World War I. A dyke alongside the Juliana canal in the south of Limburg broke through on Friday afternoon, leading the local safety board to urge people in several villages to leave their homes as a matter of urgency because flooding was inevitable. The dike was eventually fixed.
The MP also took the opportunity to remind the general public of St. Maarten that it should continue to take Mother Nature serious and prepare for the peak of the hurricane season. “The weather system that slammed Europe is a stark reminder that we cannot take for granted our experience with storms. Yes we have learnt lessons and we are battle tested, but we should still prepare for anything and on time. Let us prepare and send up many prayers for the people of Europe and our Caribbean brothers and sisters to be spared from such tragedies,” the MP said.