European Union Civil Protection Team (EUCPT) members and St. Eustatius disaster-management officials gathered for a meeting at The Old Gin House on Thursday, September 12.
St. Eustatius fire chief Andre Bennett (second right) and acting fire chief Chester Tearr (right) holding a map displaying locations that are considered of vital importance for evacuations.
- EUSTATIUS–A European Union Civil Protection Team (EUCPT) was in St. Eustatius for a disaster-preparedness exercise at The Old Gin House hotel on Thursday, September 12.
During the exercise information was exchanged between the local disaster team and the visiting team from Europe concerning what they have and what they need in case of a disaster such as a hurricane or a tsunami.
On behalf of Statia Deputy Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers, disaster coordinator Edris Bennett-Merkman, fire chief Andre Bennet, acting fire chief Chester Tearr, police officer Lenaldo Courtar and acting airport manager Ric Isarin were on hand for the exercise.
Members of the Dutch forces originally were also to participate in the exercise, but navy ships and their crews were deployed to the Bahamas to provide aid after Hurricane Dorian.
One of the issues addressed during the exercise was an up-to-date evacuation plan in case the island’s population needs to be taken off the island, including those areas which could be designated as safe for evacuation purposes.
One point of discussion focused on what facilities and emergency equipment are currently on the island and what assistance the visiting team could provide. The group also touched base on all areas where an emergency plan may be needed.
Statia currently has a newly-built emergency centre, a hurricane shelter, the sports hall, airport hangars, and a reconstruction hangar at Under the Hill. In case there is need for storage, there are various areas and locations where equipment can be stored.
Stepping up emergency preparedness is deemed very essential because of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Dorian, Irma and others. It was stated that Statia residents are more inclined to take notice of emergency warnings to be prepared for any eventuality.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/90854-eu-team-in-statia-for-disaster-preparedness