PHILIPSBURG–United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) experts started their roof repair programme in June for 76 homeowners who were unable to fix their roofs on their own. Government identified these persons and once they met the criteria for assistance, contractors started rebuilding their roofs stronger and better.
The final roof will be completed before January 15, 2019, making it 76 roofs repaired thanks to the Dutch government funds made available for quick impact projects for the island.
UNDP projects form part of the island’s recovery and rebuilding phase. UNDP’s Quick Impact Projects recognised under the theme “Building Back Better St. Maarten” focus on community clean-up, fixing of community structures and roof repairs.
UNDP resident representative Magdy Martinez-Soliman said in an interview with The Daily Herald on Friday that the project was a success, with majority of homeowners being satisfied with the work done.
“There are some that felt that more could be done to their home, but it was a roof-repair programme and not a complete home-repair programme. The majority of homeowners were satisfied by the free-of-charge assistance by government and UNDP,” said Martinez.
He highlighted the three construction companies that worked for the programme since June this year.
“The companies went beyond the call of duty and I do want to mention their efforts: Power Construction, IAWA technical consultant and Confident Construction. There were instances where homeowners would ask the contractor to do additional work and the workers complied with no extra cost to UNDP.
“One of the companies even donated US $9,000 in material to one home that needed urgent repairs. These companies are locally-owned and after a public tender they even assisted each other if they had to. It was really a community project and we are satisfied with the results,” said Martinez.
The contractors at times assisted homeowners with clearing of debris or helped them with odd jobs around their property.
UNDP believes resilience is built through a “building back better” approach by ensuring development as part of the island’s recovery process. The programme is one of the early recovery projects financed from the Dutch Recovery Fund for St Maarten, under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. Seven million euros were made available during the early recovery phase for projects that will have a direct impact on the population of St. Maarten.
There are more persons who need their roofs repaired, but UNDP works with the strict guidelines of government, which selects the candidates for assistance.
“We do see that some people still need their roof fixed, but the criteria set forth by VROMI [Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure – Ed.] are what we use before working on a home. Oftentimes homeowners choose not to rebuild or have a reason for not wanting their roof built. In some cases, the person does not qualify for the roof repair programme,” said Martinez.
Before starting the current programme, UNDP executed the Cash for Work, Community Clean-up project in which 204 persons participated and were paid to clean up post-Hurricane Irma in 2017.
With the completion of the current programme, UNDP will continue providing technical support to the government of St. Maarten and hopes to kick off another development programme directly affecting the community soon.
“We thank the homeowners, contractors, vendors, the government and the Netherlands government for their confidence in UNDP,” Martinez said.
The project was executed by Programme Manager Massimiliano Tozzi, Operations Officer Leandra Cyntje and Chief Technical Advisor Norbert Balentina.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/83671-undp-repairs-76-roofs-in-8-months