Red Cross will continue recovery projects in 2020 | THE DAILY HERALD

SIMPSON BAY–The St. Maarten Red Cross said in a press release on Tuesday that it will implement a new phase of its home repair project from January until the end of September. In the new phase, the Red Cross aims to repair the roofs of around 200 houses.

Beginning in Philipsburg on Thursday, January 16, teams of Red Cross personnel will be going from district to district to assess damaged homes. After this, the Red Cross will select qualifying beneficiaries.
Red Cross has been providing recovery aid since Hurricane Irma devastated the island in 2017. This aid has consisted of food vouchers, school meals and home repair projects.

According to the Red Cross, 669 households were able to repair the exteriors of their homes in the first home repair project, which was funded by donations from the Dutch public in 2017. The project provided materials to most of the households, said the Red Cross.

“Based on social criteria, 187 households also received help in the form of construction crews. In this project, assistance was given to people living in Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, Sucker Garden, Over the Bank, Fort William, Cay Hill, Cay Bay, Cole Bay and St. Peters,” according to the press release.
“In the upcoming roof repair project, Red Cross will focus again on the most vulnerable. Red Cross will provide materials and construction workers to repair 200 additional houses,” said Red Cross Project Manager Esmeralda van den Bout. “We intend to work in different areas than where we worked during the first project.”

Those areas will be announced once they are selected, said the Red Cross, adding that social and technical eligibility criteria have been posted on the Facebook page “Red Cross Sint Maarten.”
“The project does not focus on reconstruction of houses, but on roof repair only. Houses which need full reconstruction, or which are accepted in other repair projects, will not qualify,” said the Red Cross.
The Red Cross’ upcoming repair project will be funded through the World Bank-administered St. Maarten Recovery Trust Fund. It is not the same as government’s home repair project.

In addition to the repair project, the Red Cross said it will continue to contribute to St. Maarten’s recovery through its other projects, such as the livelihoods project. “The aim of the livelihoods project is to provide people with training in different skill sets. These skills can provide and supplement income after a next hurricane,” said Red Cross Project Manager Fernando Suarez-Jimenez.

Together with National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA), the Red Cross started an air-conditioning maintenance course in October 2019 and said it is currently evaluating whether to start a second round of the course.

The Red Cross said it will start a baking course was organised with the Caribbean Institute for Social Education Foundation (CIFSEF) and a sewing course later this month. Also this month, the Red Cross disaster risk reduction project is expected to launch a disaster awareness song contest.
“All amateur songwriters and performers can enter the contest,” said the Red Cross. According to the Red Cross, contestants will write their songs with the help of mentors and perform them during several smaller events scheduled from February to May, and one large event on June 13. The final event will also feature well-known guest performers from the Caribbean. Entrance to this event will be free of charge.

“The song contest supplements efforts to promote household safety plans and other activities aimed to increase disaster preparedness. More information about the song contest can be found on Facebook, gathered at the Red Cross building in Simpson Bay or at the Red Cross service point in Philipsburg,” said the Red Cross.
It said it is also working with the Ministry of Education and the Fire Department to prepare students for hazards and disasters.

“We really believe that working together with multiple partners is crucial to increasing the disaster resilience of St. Maarten. We cannot prevent hurricanes and other natural hazards from happening, but we can prevent them from becoming a disaster in our communities,” said Red Cross Project Manager Tamas Marki.

The Red Cross said training in psychological first aid to members of community-based organisations will also continue in 2020. This project started in 2019.

Source: The Daily Herald