>PHILIPSBURG – On Friday February 8th, Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin chaired the first meeting of the Disaster Management Organization (EOC) at the Government Administration Building. Attending the meeting were nine of the ten Emergency Support Function (ESF) groups, support staff, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Governor’s Aide and a representative of the Dutch Military stationed here on Sint Maarten.
A number of topics were discussed in this first meeting, including the continuation of the program of VNG International to lend its support and expertise in general to preparing and strengthening ESF Groups upon request. VNGI is also supporting the EOC in its efforts to update legislation as it relates to Disaster Management and the lines of authority during a Disaster.
The annual Hurricane Drill / HUREX is scheduled to take place in June 2019. The HUREX this year will bring together all ESF groups for an extensive training over a number of days. The public will be properly informed, over the coming months leading up to the annual training drill.
This year, plans for 2 events that were initiated last year namely, the Taking Charge Disaster Conference and Hurricane EXPO are slated to take place on July 5th and 6th. The Taking Charge Disaster Conference, which brings together the ESF Groups and key stakeholders, will take place on Day 1.
While on Day 2, the focus will switch to the Hurricane EXPO which will cater to the general public and will feature businesses and NGO’s that are geared towards Hurricane preparedness. As preparations intensify more information on the Day 2 activity will be forthcoming.
Additionally, another National Drill / Exercise is proposed to take place in November 2019. This training/drill exercise will not focus on Hurricanes but another type of disaster yet to be determined. The objective of the National Training exercise is to involve more emergency response organizations from within the community. As plans are further developed, the organizing team will be in contact with the relevant NGO’s & Community organizations.