VNG recovery project gets Govt. green light

PHILIPSBURG–The Council of Ministers has approved a proposal for the recovery project of the International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities VNG International, which presented the scope of the project and its activities to ministers.
VNG International will support Government in strengthening its disaster preparedness to anticipate, adapt, provide safety and response in future disasters, as well as the process of building back better to mitigate future disaster risk, it was stated in a press release on Tuesday.
The implementation phase starts at the end of March and the entire project will come to an end mid-2020. The themes for support have been identified jointly by Government and VNG International over the past months.
For the coming months, and prior to the start of the next hurricane season, the following activities have been prioritised by the Government of St Maarten in the framework of the VNG project: the development of disaster management manuals on various themes; the organisation of trainings and exercises, in close consultation with all stakeholders involved; and the revision of the building norms to foster both disaster-resistant and sustainable building practice.
Dutch municipalities, international and local experts will implement policies, procedures and activities to mitigate disaster areas, the release said.
For the longer term, Government and VNG International will work on a revision of the current disaster management structure and improved access to information for disaster management. Specific attention will be paid to the psychological preparedness of emergency services and residents of St. Maarten.
Attention will also be paid to having a more effective and more efficient implementation of the reconstruction programmes by improving project management skills. While the main focus will be on St Maarten, some activities will also be implemented to support Saba and St Eustatius.
Following Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017, Dutch municipalities contacted VNG to define a common response to support the islands within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. VNG called on its members to donate to the fundraising campaign of the Netherlands Red Cross. Fifty per cent of the funds donated by Dutch municipalities will be available for recovery support activities to be developed and implemented by VNG International.

Source: The Daily Herald