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TS Erika Notices from White & Yellow Cross and SMMC Medical Center related to services on Thursday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – With respect to the arrival of Tropical Storm Erika, the White and Yellow Cross Foundation would like to inform the public about the following:

The White & Yellow Cross Foundation has closed two of their day care products forThursday, August 27, namely the SBC Educational Facility and the Psychogeriatric day care. Reopeningon Friday will be determined based on the weather at that point in time and the outcome of Erika.

The St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) operating room, outpatient clinic, dialysis department and administrative department will be closed on Thursday, August 27.

Dialysis patients who are scheduled to dialyse on Thursday will be dialysed later that day after the passing of the storm.

All patients will be informed of appointment changes and dialysis patients have a hurricane pass to be able to freely access hospital services.

Family members of dialysis patients also have a letter granting permission to accompany the patient to the hospital.

For weather information visit (www.meteosxm.com) and check the Government of Sint Maarten website (www.sintmaartengov.org) or the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook Page for official information as it relates to Tropical Storm Erika.

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Dutch State Secretary Dijksma to visit Saba and Bonaire

SABA/BONAIRE (Caribbean Netherlands) - State Secretary Dijksma of Economic Affairs will be visiting Saba and Bonaire from August 30th until September 2nd.

It is the first visit of the State Secretary to these islands of Caribbean Netherlands. On the program on both islands are meetings with the Island Governors, the members of the executive councils and visits to projects.

On Saba, the State Secretary with meet the members of the Tourism Committee and she pays a visit to the power station under construction and the nature project ' goat buy back '. There is also a boat trip around the island on the program.

On Bonaire the State Secretary will meet with representatives of the business community, the Chamber of Commerce and the power company. Also on the program is a tour to a rural development project, which is subsidized by the State Secretary and a visit to a successful horticultural company, located on the grounds of Krusada. 

A number of representatives of companies travel along with the State Secretary, in order to explore the possibilities of Bonaire as a testing ground for sustainable agricultural and horticultural techniques. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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UPDATED: NV GEBE Fully Restores Power

PHILIPSBURG - NV GEBE has fully restored power to the public correcting the load shedding of earlier today (Wednesday, August 26). 

As per the most recent weather reports NV GEBE plans to deliver its services uninterrupted to the community of St. Maarten.  We will however, monitor the weather updates into the night.

Lastly, NV GEBE will be closed on Thursday, August 27, 2015, with the exception of continuous service. 

For emergencies please call 1 844 432 3213.  

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Routine Traffic Control leads to the apprehension of Car thieves

PHILIPSBURG - Previously on Saturday 22nd August at approximately 13:45 pm due to the vigilance of the police patrol two suspects were apprehended after a routine traffic control turned into a chase.

As a result of their reckless behavior the two suspects slammed into another car causing damage to the car and injuring the driver of this vehicle.

During control of the vehicle the officers noticed that the steering column was completely dismantled and that the vehicle was indeed a stolen vehicle. The two were immediately arrested and brought to the station.

The injured driver was transported by ambulance to the medical center. At the station it was further discovered that the number plates on this vehicle were also stolen plates. 

Detectives are busy with the further investigation into this matter. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Civilian needs mount in Yemen as medical supplies dwindle – UN health agency

INTERNATIONAL – Life saving medicines, trauma kits and blood bank supplies are urgently needed in war-ravaged Yemen, where nearly half the country’s health facilities have shut down, leaving thousands of injured civilians with fewer and fewer places to seek emergency assistance, according to the UN health agency.

“In Taiz, the ongoing crisis has led to the closure of many health facilities and access to health facilities for the injured civilians and doctors is almost becoming impossible; shortages of basic and lifesaving medicines, medical supplies, laboratory reagents in the health facilities are fast dwindling with limited access for replenishing,” said Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) Representative for Yemen.

In response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Tiaz and Hodeida governorates and the rising number of civilian injuries in the southern governorates of Yemen, WHO is coordinating a rapid response to provide emergency health access to the injured, internally displaced persons and host communities.

But to date, the response to the escalating needs to support life-saving health interventions has been inadequate.

Of $132 million requested for Yemen in 2015, WHO said it has only received $25 million, leaving a funding gap of 8 per cent.

In a press release issued in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, WHO said thousands of people have been injured in Taiz since the start of March 2015 with over 350 casualties recorded in the last one week alone.

“The escalating crisis in the governorate has seen a breakdown in the health system; health facilities have been damaged, close to half of the health facilities have closed down and medical supplies are quickly being depleted,” the health agency said.

Over the weekend, WHO donated 2 trauma kits sufficient to conduct 1,000 surgeries, one surgical supply kit, 15 dressing kits, 40 first aid bags and anaesthesia to treat the increasing numbers of injured patients in Tiaz.

And in Hodeida governorate and Tehama region, where the crisis has equally escalated, WHO has donated emergency trauma kits and other medical supplies sufficient to treat over 4,500 patients at a hospital and a renal dialysis centre to address immediate health needs. Shortly after the delivery of the supplies to the hospital, 25 major surgeries were carried out as a lifesaving intervention.

“WHO is committed to ensuring that all Yemenis continue to have access to health services, including those in the hardest to access areas through the provision of emergency lifesaving medicines, trauma kits, interagency emergency health kits, diarrhoeal disease kits and blood bank supplies which currently are urgently needed,” the WHO representative said.

But in the coming month, the health situation is expected to deteriorate further among the displaced people and host communities due to the continued crisis and escalating needs.

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Europe's response to migrant crisis isn't working, UN rights expert warns

INTERNATIONAL – The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert today advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants.

“Let's not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe', the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said.

“Territorial sovereignty is about controlling the border, knowing who comes in and who leaves. It has never been about sealing the border to migration,” the expert continued. “Democratic borders are porous by nature. Providing migrants and asylum seekers with legal and safe mobility solutions will ensure such a control.”

The Special Rapporteur urged Europeans to start focusing on regaining control of their external border from the smugglers by increasing mobility solutions available to most migrants, investing in integration measures – especially through supporting the action of cities – and developing a strong public discourse on diversity and mobility as cornerstones for contemporary European societies.

“If Europeans want their governments to regain control of their borders, then they must urge them to bank on mobility and offer migrants and asylum seekers official channels to enter and stay in Europe,” the human rights expert said.

“Opening up the regular labour markets through smart visas allowing people to come to look for work and incentivise them to return if they don't find the job in question would allow for a much better regulated and controlled official labour market,” Mr. Crépeau noted.

However, he cautioned, such measures must be supported with sanctions against employers who exploit irregular migrants in underground labour markets. “This would considerably reduce the pull factor they exercise on irregular migrants and further reduce the market for recruiters, smugglers and exploitative employers,” the expert explained.

“In addition, there is an obvious urgent need for Europe to create, jointly with other Global North countries, a massive resettlement programme for refugees like Syrians and Eritreans that could offer protection to 1.5 or 2 million of them over the next five years,” he said, highlighting that such a programme would impact the market for smugglers and allow European countries to decide who comes and make appropriate preparations.

Welcoming the positive steps taken by the EU in rescuing migrants and asylum seekers at sea so far, Mr. Crépeau however warned that rescuing people who arrive by sea and then turning a blind eye to their plight leaving them vulnerable to human rights violations is irresponsible,” the expert said.

“Talking about 'flows', 'marauders', and 'swarms' is an unsubtle way of dismissing the legitimacy of the asylum seekers and migrants' claim to human rights, by creating images linking them to toxic waste or natural disasters” he noted. “We are talking about men, women, children and even babies, who have faced traumatic experiences. These are people just like you and me, and none of us have the moral high ground to say that we would never do the same if we were in their shoes.”

The UN Special Rapporteur warned that the political and popular discourse in Europe has seen a race to the bottom in the anti-migrant sentiments and use of inappropriate language which is often linked to criminalising migrants. “Migrants are human beings with rights. When we dehumanise others, we dehumanise ourselves,” he underscored.

Mr. Crépeau therefore called on European political leaders “to show moral and political leadership in fighting much more vigorously racism, xenophobia and hate crime, in consolidating the common human rights culture that is now framing the evolution of all traditions, in strengthening the free movement of persons throughout the EU while developing regulated mobility solutions at its external borders, and in celebrating the diversity of cultures and religions as enrichment for everyone, citizens and foreigners alike.”

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TelEm Group offices closed Monday, staff urged to keep safe from possible flooding conditions

POND ISLAND - TelEm Group announced Sunday that all company locations will be closed Monday as a precautionary measure from Tropical Storm Danny.

According to Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mrs. Helma Etnel, while it appears Danny is heading further south than expected and also despite the fact that the Tropical storm is continuing to weaken, the threat of heavy rain, flash floods and mudslides remains present, therefore in the interest of the safety of TelEm Group staff, company offices will close to the public Monday.

Staff required for emergency work immediately after the storm passes will be contacted directly by their managers, supervisors or team leaders. Mrs. Etnel said business hours will resume on Tuesday.

She urged employees to continue to monitor the weather and not to drop their guard because or reports that conditions are become more favourable.

“We want personnel to be safe and to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families,” said Mrs. Etnel.

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EOC Meets Saturday to Review National Preparations for Hurricane Danny

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – A meeting of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was convened on Saturday at the Fire & Ambulance Building in Cay Hill where the various Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) gave briefings with respect to preparations for Hurricane Danny.

The meeting was opened by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs and the National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson.

The Meteorological Department of St. Maarten informed the EOC about the latest information from the National Hurricane Center.  The country is now under a Tropical Storm Watch.  Despite Hurricane Danny is weakening, the community (residents, businesses) are advised to take the necessary measures and prepare for tropical storm conditions. Hurricane Danny is forecast to pass the country on Monday.

Residents are advised to have a first aid kit handy; residents are also reminded that during the height of the passing of the storm, requests for emergency assistance will be limited due to the safety of the personnel from the emergency services with respect to being able to navigate through dangerous conditions.

A national address will take place on Sunday at 1.00PM from the Government Administration Building and will be rebroadcasted every hour via the local radio stations with a rebroadcast via St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20 from 3.00PM to 11.00PM.

GEBE – ESF 1

Residents are advised to fill up water containers and have bottled water as a back-up in case water national water supply grid has to be shut down as a precautionary measure.  GEBE has already taken measures to fill the water tanks throughout the country.

Ministry VROMI – ESF 3

The ministry reports that the mouths of various ponds have been opened as a precautionary measure; floodgates have been tested and water levels in the Fresh Water Pond have been reduced; the three storm water pumps have been tested and are in standby mode; the landfill has been prepared and is ready; the clearing of trenches continues and road closures are being coordinated with the Police.

Ministry VROMI is overseeing the clearing of certain areas along the Ring Road with respect to trenches.  Drivers are advised to stay off the Ring Road.

Police Force – ESF 5

Members of the Police Force are on standby and building infrastructure has been prepared.  Police Sub Stations in Maho, Cole Bay and Simpson Bay will be open and accessible to the public in case of an emergency.  The Voluntary Corps of Sint Maarten will be working with the Police and military assistance that was requested has been approved and the marines will be assisting the national police where necessary.

The Marines will be based in Pointe Blanche.  They are ready to assist in carrying out any damage assessment and remain on standby for any assistance that will be required.

Ministry of Public Health (VSA) – ESF 6 & 7

SMMC Medical Center operating, outpatient clinic and dialysis department as well as the administrative department will be closed on Monday.  Dialysis for patients will take place on Sunday, August 23.

Services continue at the While & Yellow Cross, but the educational facility and psycho geriatric center are closed as a precautionary measure.

Hurricane shelters will only be opened based on the decision of the EOC after evaluating weather reports and forecast.  Those who feel unsafe at home should prepare early and make arrangements with family or friends.

The listing of hurricane shelters are: New Testament Baptist Church (A.C. Cannegieter Street, Philipsburg), Sr. Marie-Laurence School (Ellis drive 1, Middle Region), St. Maarten Academy (Cupper drive, Cul de Sac), Milton Peters College (L.B. Scott, South Reward), Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Centre (St. Peters road, St. Peters), Leonard Connor School (Venus drive, Cay Bay), Allan C. Halley Community Centre (Simpson Bay road 27, Simpson Bay), The Salvation Army Building (Union road 59, Cole Bay), Christian Fellowship Church (Welfare road 95, Cole Bay).

Ministry of General Affairs – ESF 9

Measures have been taken to protect all Government buildings and infrastructure and generators are on standby.

Ministry TEATT – ESF 10

No flights have been canceled at this point in time.  Port St. Maarten remains operational.  Both ports of entry continue to monitor closely the progress of Hurricane Danny.  The Tourist Bureau has been in contact with hotels with respect to their preparedness status and measures.

Another meeting of the EOC is planned for late Sunday morning.

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NV GEBE Offices Closed on Monday. Restoration teams in place and call center to open after passing of Danny

PHILIPSBURG - NV GEBE hereby informs the general public that its offices will be closed on Monday August 24, 2015, with the exception of the company’s continuous services. 

In case of emergency please call NV GEBE emergency number at 1 844 432 3213.  

NV GEBE has instituted a call center that will take effect after the storm has passed.  The public can call the following numbers from 7:30AM to 10:30PM:

1 721 546 1193

1 721 546 1189

1 721 546 2283

1 844 432 3213

NV GEBE restoration teams are in full gear and ready to assist the public, according to a company press statement on Friday.

NV GEBE is asking the public to make use of their hurricane email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to deliver feedback and photos of actualities in a customer’s area.

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St. Maarten AIDS Foundation Visits Rotary Mid Isle

PHILIPSBURG - Guest speakers at Rotary Club of St. Maarten Mid Isle’s meeting were Rajesh Chintaman and Alita Singh from the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation while Rotarian Veronica Jansen, a Real Talk facilitator provided some insight on the Real Talk workshops for adolescent boys.

Rotary Club of St. Maarten Mid Isle made a small donation to the AIDS foundation with funds collected from the fines after dinner. Some members signed up to volunteer for Real Talk and Girl Power while the Rotary Club encourages more people in our community to contact the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation to volunteer their time.

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