The RCN reports in a press release that this morning, the emergency detachment of the Dutch Ministry of Defense departed for the annual Hurricane Relief Exercise on the Windward Islands. The squad of the Royal Dutch Marines left from Aruba, the support vessel Pelikaan left from Curacao. This year, a special team of divers will accompany the detachment.
The detachment will first go to St. Maarten. There, they will find the island in full preparation on the impact of a hurricane. The military will assist in the construction of shelters and the will exercise with the emergency services like the police, the fire department or the medical services.
When the hurricane has hit the island, the military will assist in the prevention of raiding or help in the removal of debris. But they will also make sure the airport and the harbour stay open for the arrival of aid. That is why this year the special team of divers will survey the harbours with their underwater surveillance robots, to make sure the entry of the harbour stays open and the ships can moor.
The detachment will also travel to Saba and St. Eustatius, where they will assist the disasters staffs in the organization of the annual disaster relief exercise.
Military assistance before, during and after the passage of a hurricane is one of the main tasks of the Dutch Ministry of Defense. The emergency detachment, the disaster staffs and the emergency services of the three Windward Islands will exercise in very realistic scenarios. Cooperation and sharing of experience are the main objects of the Hurricane Relief Exercise.