Saturday , February 4 2023

Saba disaster plan serves as example


Saba’s suc­cessful implementation of the island’s disaster man­agement plan will serve as an example of how to act in times of crises during the annual congress of the As­sociation of Dutch Munici­palities VNG in Maastricht late June.

Saba Island Governor Jonathan Johnson and Saba crisis management advisor Fanny de Swarte have been invited to speak at one of the afternoon ses­sions on June 26, as part of the VNG congress.

Johnson and De Swarte will explain the importance of having a solid, effective disaster management plan, the significance of prepar­ing for a natural disaster like a hurricane and the re­sponse immediately there­after.

The Saba disaster man­agement plan proved to be working very well before, during and after Hurri­canes Irma and Maria in September last year. The plan and its application by government officials has been receiving credit abroad. In their address, the Island Governor and advisor will show what the Netherlands can learn from Saba in this area.

A comparison will be made between Saba’s disaster management and last year’s crisis in the Maastricht re­gion caused by a fierce fire in a cave system on the border with Belgium. The Neercanne caves in the past housed both the North At­lantic Treaty Organisation NATO headquarters and the Chateau Neercanne.

Regional emergency service experts will dem­onstrate what has been learned from the fire at the cave system and the impor­tance of working together outside the national bor­der, in this case with Bel­gium. Part of the session includes a visit of the cave system in question.

The session will be chaired by Mayor of Soest Rob Metz, who is also a mem­ber of the VNG Committee Europe and International. Besides Johnson and De Swarte, there will be speak­ers from Maastricht Fire Department, VNG and the Dutch Association of May­ors.

The session will be organ­ised by VNG International and the hosting municipal­ity Maastricht. VNG In­ternational is assisting St. Maarten with a 2.5-year project to strengthen the island’s disaster manage­ment structure as part of the reconstruction process.

VNG’s annual congress will take place on June 26 and 27; this time in Maas­tricht. The theme will be “Over the Borders.” Government representatives
from Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will attend the congress, as has become customary in the past years.

The Daily Herald.

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