Alexandria Hassell (left) and Sarah van der Horn of the public entity Saba during the training.
SABA–The public entity Saba on Thursday started a pilot programme with the Ministry of Justice and Security on information management during crises, as reliable and fast exchange of information with the ministries in the Netherlands is critical in cases of disaster such as a hurricane.
Saba took the initiative to organise the programme in which Saba and the National Operational Centre in the Netherlands have the initial necessary operational contact established in a web-based application. This application is already in use in the Netherlands during incidents and disasters.
Saba’s disaster-management advisor Pauline Kauffmann has introduced a Caribbean page in this application to establish a closer link between the six Dutch Caribbean islands and the ministries in the Netherlands. “There is no disaster management without information management,” she said.
Kauffmann explained that with this information management system, crucial information about the needs of the Saban people can be read at the same time by colleagues in the Netherlands who work in crisis management.
On an operational level, the disaster-management colleagues in the Netherlands will have a general, reliable picture of what exactly happens in Saba and what is needed.
One of the goals of the Saba pilot is to establish a better exchange of information between the six islands as well. St, Maarten is an important hub for Saba, and it is crucial for Saba to have a quick understanding of what is happening in St. Maarten. This will aid Saba in organising alternative measures in case, for example, the St. Maarten airport and/or harbour are closed due to a hurricane or other disaster.
The pilot programme will run until the end of the 2019 hurricane season. Sarah van der Horn and Alexandria Hassell, who both work for the public entity Saba, received training on the information-management procedure and learned how to work with the application.
An evaluation will be made when the programme is finished to see how improvements can be made to the system of exchanging information during disasters. St. Eustatius, Bonaire and St. Maarten will join the programme in the coming weeks. Curaçao and Aruba will follow as soon as possible.