Multi-national coordination unit relief transport ceases

~ Dutch Defence emergency relief phased out ~

THE HAGUE–Dutch Defence announced on Tuesday the ceasing of the operations of the so-called Multi-National Caribbean Coordination Cell (MNCCC) in Curaçao, an instrumental unit in the efficient organising of relief transports to St. Maarten after Hurricane Irma.

The MNCCC organised large amounts of food supplies, medication and goods via air and sea with countless flights and ship transports to ensure that the material arrived in the Windward Islands and Dominica as soon as possible. The MNCCC was discontinued on Monday.
France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom together formed the MNCCC that consisted of some 25 persons. The unit’s task was to prevent a shortage of means of transport via an efficient system and to ensure in this manner that the relief aid would not stagnate. The most urgent goods have arrived on the islands and, therefore, the coordination of the transports was no longer necessary.
Close to 900,000 kilos of goods were transported via the MNCCC. The largest batch, some 375,000 kilos, was from the World Food Programme. Also, 120,000 kilos of goods from the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK was transported, 59,000 kilos from the Curaçao Red Cross and 11,000 kilos from the European Union (EU).
Aside from the close to 900,000 kilos relief goods, the MNCCC arranged the transport of about 10 relief organisations and secured the transport of more than 450 persons to and from the islands that were hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Dutch Defence transported more than one million kilos of relief goods and material to St. Maarten on board His Majesty Karel Doorman. Two other Dutch Navy ships, His Majesty Pelikaan and His Majesty Zeeland, made multiple trips to the Windward Islands, in particular to St. Maarten.
The Karel Doorman has made its last trip to St. Maarten, where it arrived Saturday, with temporary homes, trucks, medical equipment and beds on board. Also on board were containers with relief goods, including chainsaws, concrete mixers, building supplies and household goods for St. Eustatius and Saba.
Military aircraft and Navy ships brought in total 2,260 tonnes of relief goods to St. Maarten from early September, directly after Hurricane Irma passed. The majority of the relief goods consisted of food and water, tarpaulins, medical supplies and personal hygiene products, and vehicles. About one million litres of water were distributed to the people.
Hercules transport aircraft of the Dutch and Belgian Air Forces flew 35 times from Curaçao to St. Maarten, taking in total 1,804 evacuees with them on the way back. Even larger military aircraft, in cooperation with France, flew eight times from the Netherlands to Curaçao with 550 tons of relief goods.
Dutch military personnel and members of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) have repaired essential buildings such as the airport, hospital and schools. Roads were cleared, and debris and fallen trees removed. Military personnel also went into the districts to make home repairs for those persons who needed it most.
Of the more than 1,000 Dutch military personnel who have assisted in St. Maarten in the past seven weeks, only 18 remain to wrap up the last work. A group of more than 100 such personnel arrived back in the Netherlands on Tuesday morning, including members of the Royal Army Engineers (Genie) and the Marine Corps.
New Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops announced last Friday that emergency assistance to the Windward Islands, mostly St. Maarten, has cost 55 million euros so far. The Dutch Government is footing this bill. The next phase is the reconstruction, for which the Dutch Government is willing to make available several hundred million under strict conditions.

Source: The Daily Herald