PHILIPSBURG–A team of 60 members from the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) group from the Netherlands have arrived in St. Maarten and are assisting residents who suffered damage during the passage of Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, September 6, with urgent needs.
The team left the Netherlands last week Tuesday and had been in Curacao until they managed to board a flight to St. Maarten on Wednesday. They were out in the various districts from early Thursday looking for residents whom they can assist with urgent needs such as cutting of trees, assisting to patch up roofs or board up homes amongst other things. They are being guided by local firefighters.
While in the communities, the group is also taking stock of what the urgent needs of residents are. One of the representatives of the group told The Daily Herald while in Union Farm Estate on Thursday that the urgent needs of residents will be communicated to their superiors in the Netherlands so that further assistance can be provided.
This newspaper captured the team walking through Dutch Quarter looking for residents to assist. USAR consists of persons working in the different areas of emergency services. Members include firefighters and medics amongst other professions.
Another example of the trouble-shooting work USAR.NL is carrying out on St. Maarten was noted today, when one of the sections led by Marcel Huijbrechts, was dispatched to Amaryllis Road Mary’s Fancy to safely remove a fallen lamppost and cut the attached power cables.
Huijbrechts said their mission here is humanitarian with the aim to improve the infrastructure of the island. “We will work on opening up roads and ensuring that when things get difficult we will find a way to solve the problem,” he said.
The teams are usually dispatched all over the world to offer search and rescue services after natural disasters. However, he said being on St. Maarten is special because St. Maarten is part of the kingdom. The teams are expected to leave the island next Friday.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/69377-update-usar-team-from-netherlands-assisting-locally