Medal for Irma relief workers | THE DAILY HERALD

THE HAGUE–Several hundred military and civil relief workers will receive a medal from St. Maarten Governor Eugene Holiday and Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten on Thursday for their work in the Windward Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The military and civil relief workers will receive the so-called Remembrance Medal for Humanitarian Relief Assistance in Disasters. The governor and minister are scheduled to give short speeches at the ceremony, which takes place in Nijkerk.

Dutch Defence played an active role in providing relief assistance after Hurricane Irma caused widespread devastation in St. Maarten on September 6, 2017. Less than two weeks later, Dutch Defence provided assistance in Dominica after the havoc created by Hurricane Maria.

In St. Maarten, and to a lesser extent in Dominica, personnel of the Royal Dutch Navy, Marines, Air Force and Marechaussee, together with the local authorities, restored connections and roads, carried out emergency repairs, distributed food, water and other necessities, helped to evacuate patients and stranded persons, and assisted in maintaining public order and safety.

Defence ships and aircraft supplied multiple tonnes of relief aid, mostly in St. Maarten, but also in Dominica.

The emergency assistance mission in St. Maarten lasted from September 5 to November 28, 2017. At the height of the mission there were more than 600 Dutch military personnel from the Netherlands, Curaçao and Aruba in St. Maarten, while another 400 provided support from the different Navy ships and from the military stations in Curaçao and Aruba.
In Dominica the mission was much shorter and smaller, and mostly carried out by personnel of the Navy ships HMNLS Zeeland and Pelikaan, which also provided extensive assistance in St. Maarten. The largest Navy joint logistics ship HMNLS Karel Doorman brought one million kilos of relief goods to St. Maarten and 800,000 kilos of goods to Dominica.

According to the Royal Decree, the Remembrance Medal will be bestowed on persons in government service who “as part of or together with Defence really participated in the designated disaster area.” On the medal the motto, “The helping hand was offered” can be read.

The Remembrance Medal for Humanitarian Relief Assistance in Disasters was last presented to the crew of the Navy patrol vessel HMNLS Holland in February 2017 for the emergency assistance provided in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew razed the country in October 2016, killing an estimated 1,000 people.

Source: The Daily Herald