Disaster coordinator: “St. Maarten will review, analyze and adjust disaster response” 

POSTED: 10/20/14 6:45 PM

GREAT BAY –St. Maarten will review, analyze and adjust its disaster response mechanisms according to disaster coordinator and fire chief Clive Richardson who believes there are many lessons to be learnt from the passing of hurricane Gonzalo.

Richardson stresses that preparedness is key to the prevention of large-scale damage and the responsibility of each person living on the island. “One of the first things is that you must always be prepared at the beginning of the hurricane season. This is an individual responsibility of every resident and business because we are in the hurricane belt. Preparation is key to minimizing the effects of a hurricane…. You never know when a storm could be at your doorstep, and can develop very quickly into a hurricane as happened in this case.”

St. Maarten sustained considerable damage during the passing of Gonzalo when it developed into a category one hurricane shortly after residents began making preparations for a storm as was originally forecasted. Many residents reported being caught unaware and of not having been sufficiently informed ahead of time.

“Unfortunately, there was one loss of life, and on behalf of the emergency services, I express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the mariner,” Richardson stated on Sunday. “We have bounced back quickly, which, as a tourism destination, we must.  Much emphasis and effort is going into rebuilding and removal of debris and the reconnection of those to the grid of essential services, such as electricity and water.”

The fire chief took the opportunity to commend those working to get the island back on track in the wake of the destruction visited by Gonzalo. “I would like to say thank you once again to all those who played their role during this natural disaster and we will fully recover in the coming days, weeks and months. Much has already been done in a space of a week for us to bounce back so quickly, because we are a resilient people.” He extended his gratitude to all emergency services personnel and members of the community who played a role in the response and clean-up effort. Richardson also extended thanks to the contractors who are still involved in the national clean-up effort for their role in getting the country back on track.








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