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Dutch Naval Units on their way to SSS-Islands

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – Dutch military personnel as well disaster supplies and materials from Dutch military units based in the Caribbean on the islands of Curacao and Aruba, have left those two islands on their way to Sint Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius (SSS Islands) to provide emergency assistance due to Hurricane Irma that will pass through the Northern Leeward Islands on Tuesday night into Wednesday.   

The Island Governors of Saba and St. Eustatius have requested assistance from the Dutch Government which has been granted.  The Sint Maarten Government also requested assistance – precautionary measure - and a battalion of 80 Marines arrived on the island on Monday to be pre-positioned prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irma. 

The Marines arrived with the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard DASH-8 aircraft and are from the 32nd Raiding Squadron from Aruba and complemented with personnel from the Aruba Militia.

The Marines and Aruba Militia have been divided over the three SSS islands.  They will be manning Hurricane Shelters as well assist the local Police Forces and Disaster Management organizations.

Two Dutch naval vessels are on their way with additional resources such as specialized personnel, trucks, and disaster relief materials.  The vessels are the Zr. Ms. Zeeland and Zr. Ms. Pelikaan, and will arrive in two days in the area of the SSS islands.  Once sea conditions become calm, the vessels will dock and offload their personnel and equipment.

A unit from the Dutch Army Company West (CIDW) and the Curacao Militia are on-board the Pelikaan.

The additional resources and personnel will go towards immediate disaster relief and recovery assistance.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT

Dutch Naval Vessel Zeeland

zeeland

pelikaan

 Dutch Naval Vessel Pelikaan (right above)

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05.50 AM SEPT.06: HURRICANE IRMA NEARS SINT MAARTEN. EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS BEING EXPERIENCED

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – Prior to Laser 101 Radio going off air, some reports received; an eye witness reported to Laser 101 Radio that there is a fire in the Cul de Sac area near Cake House. 

Laser 101 reported that the Alegria Resort at Beacon Hill is flooded. 

We have a complete white out situation as the sun is now coming up.  Lots of debris flying around.

ARCHIVE, September 6, SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – The Mighty Irma has arrived. The winds are very heavy, hurricane sustained. 

Electricity is out on the southern side of the country which includes the areas of Pelican, Cole Bay, Cay Bay, Simpson Bay, Beacon Hill, Maho, and Cupecoy.

Sea state is extremely rough.  The wind is forcing the rain through under the doors and windows.

Laser 101 Radio which has been keeping the community informed is now offline due to extreme hurricane conditions currently being experienced.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT  

ARCHIVE, September 6, SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – The Mighty Irma described as one for the record books is making its way to the northern most Leeward Islands early Wednesday morning, September 6.

The winds outside are howling and the sea state is very rough with swells rolling in along with intermittent rain showers.  Lights remain on at this point in time, but one expects as it nears 3.00 AM it will be ‘lights out.’

Irma has caught the world’s attention with a wind speed of 185 miles per hour, and described as the strongest hurricane ever to form in the Atlantic which has earned it a place among the five top strongest hurricanes ever.

The country has prepared and now the authorities are looking at dealing with the post period of Irma, damage assessment, recovery and rebuild.

The country rebuilt much stronger after the lessons learnt from Mighty Luis back in 1995. The country reflects on those experiences 22 years ago and now looks at Irma as she approaches the most northern Leeward Islands.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT  

ARCHIVE, September 5, SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - NOAA and Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft data indicate Hurricane Irma has intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with maximum winds of 175 mph (280 km/h) with higher gusts. 

A special advisory will be issued at 800 AM AST (1200 UTC) in lieu of the scheduled intermediate advisory for Irma.

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SXM Airport to suspend operations Tuesday afternoon

SIMPSON BAY – Due to hurricane Irma, which is expected to pass over our area early Wednesday morning, the Princess Juliana International Airport, will suspend all operations as a precautionary measure from Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 2:00 PM.

The traveling public is hereby advised to check with their respective airlines for further information.

“We regret any inconvenience this will cause, but must stress that the safety and security of all is priority #1 at SXM Airport. We will continue to closely monitor the developments of hurricane Irma, as it passes over our area, and keep all our personnel, users and stakeholders informed of any further developments as these occur, via the various media outlets”, said Michel Hyman, COO/Acting CEO of PJIAE.

The management and staff of SXM Airport would like to thank the general public for their understanding and expresses the hope that everyone would stay safe as we weather this storm together. 

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EOC Issues Information about Closures of Schools, Government Offices, Businesses and Curfew for Tuesday Closed on Tuesday. 

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Prime Minister William Marlin on Monday afternoon chaired his third Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting where he was briefed by various Emergency Support Function (ESFs) coordinators with respect to national preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Irma.  

The country is now under a Hurricane Warning as of 11.00AM on Monday morning.  A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area.  

This warning is issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical storm force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.  

Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

School Closure Status:

Schools are closed on Tuesday, September 5 until further notice.

Government Closure:

Government offices are closed on Tuesday, September 5 until further notice.  Emergency services will operate as normal.  Essential services will operate as they prepare for the arrival and passage of Hurricane Irma.

Business Closure Status:

It is mandatory that all businesses including casinos close at 12.00 PM on Tuesday, September 5, with the exception of

Supermarkets, Hardware stores, Restaurants, Pharmacies, Gas stations, and Bakeries, which are allowed to remain open until 5.00 PM on Tuesday, September 5, as they provide essential services/products in preparing for the hurricane.

Only restaurants on hotel properties are allowed to remain open after 5.00PM.  Hotels are advised to make arrangements for staff at the property.

Curfew:

A curfew will be in effect as of 8.00 PM on Tuesday, September 5 until the passing of the hurricane and the damage assessment has been completed.  Everybody should be off the road by that time.  

The EOC will meet on Thursday morning at 9.00 AM to assess the situation and decide about the curfew.

The EOC will meet again on Tuesday morning to assess the latest information about Hurricane Irma.

The Prime Minister will be making a national address on Tuesday afternoon at 2.00 PM.

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Police Force KPSM introduces T.A.P.S. training for at risk-youth

PHILIPSBURG - On Friday, September 1st, 2017 the Police Force of Sint Maarten introduced its T.A.P.S. training program, one of several youth programs which will be rolled out in future. 

Teens and Police Service (T.A.P.S.) is a program primarily designed for at risk-youth, where students partner with mentor’s officers to discuss issues including bullying, anger management, avoidance of gang life, drug usage and conflict management, as well as other youth and law enforcement focused-topics.

The opening ceremony took place at 11.00 a.m. at the Milton Peters College by Inspector and Community Police Officer E. S. Josepha in the presence of the Acting Chief of Police, Chief Inspector B. A. Gout, the School Principle Mr. Wim de Visser and the school coordinator Mr. Richard Garrin.

With the introduction of this program the police force will give students the tools the need to become better citizens in their communities.

TAPS creed Sint Maarten: We are going where we have never gone. To do what we have never done before. To have what we have never had before. Be a good citizen in this country.

TAPS Academy 01

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21-Year Old Driver loses life in traffic accident on Sunday

PHILIPSBURG - On Sunday, September 3rd at approximately 3.10 a.m. the Emergency Dispatch received a call of a serious accident which took place on the A. J.C. Brouwers road involving one car with license-plate and which was lying on its side.

The paramedics and Police Traffic Department were immediately sent to the scene to investigate. The driver identified as S.R.A. (21) who was treated on the scene by paramedics was pronounced dead on his arrival at the Sint Maarten Medical Center.

The traffic investigation indicated that the victim lost control of the vehicle and then slammed into a light pole causing the vehicle to overturn and throwing him from the vehicle causing his death. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Prime Minister Marlin Calls on Nation to Take Hurricane Irma Serious and to Prepare

POND ISLAND, (DCOMM) -  Prime Minister William Marlin as Chairman of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), had his second meeting with the EOC where he was briefed about national preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Irma. 

The country is now under a Hurricane Watch issued by the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS).  Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate on Tuesday evening, and residents and the business community are advised to complete preparations by Tuesday afternoon.

Hurricane Irma on Sunday afternoon was located over 700 miles from the Leeward Islands.  It is a major Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour.

The Prime Minister would like to remind the Sint Maarten community that they should complete their Hurricane Emergency Preparedness plans; check the hurricane shutters/roof on your homes and businesses, and take stock of what needs to be done when the call is made to shutter the aforementioned.

Stay off the road network in order to allow clean-up crews from the Ministry of VROMI, contractors and emergency services to carry out their work unhindered.

Government Status:

Government offices will operate as normal on Monday.

School Closure Status:

Schools will be open on Monday. 

Business Closure Status:

Businesses will operate as normal on Monday.

The EOC will meet on Monday to decide status of schools, businesses and government offices with respect to Tuesday.

Hurricane Shelters:

Shelters should only be used as a last resort as they will only open after a hurricane has passed, and will be open for only 48-hours. Persons who make use of the shelter after the hurricane has passed must bring water and non-perishable food with them

Persons who don’t feel safe at home prior to the arrival of a hurricane, should make preparations to stay with family or friends before a hurricane is to hit the island.

The list of hurricane ten shelters for the season are: New Testament Baptist Church (Philipsburg), Sr. Marie Laurence School (Middle Region), Community Center (Dutch Quarter), Milton Peters College (South Reward), Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Center (St. Peters);

Sint Maarten Academy (Cul de Sac), National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA, Cay Hill), Leonard Connor School (Cay Bay), Christian Fellowship Church (Cole Bay), Allan C. Halley Community Centre (Simpson Bay).

An additional shelter will be added to the list and this will be in Belvedere and will be announced on Monday.

Potential Hazards:

During and after heavy rainfall, roads along hillsides experience rock falls and possible landslides. Residents living in these areas should exercise extreme caution.

Construction sites: These should be secured on Monday. Contractors and home builders should take action to secure construction sites for the protection of the public, property and surrounding areas. 

Materials such as plywood, shingles, zinc, and other construction material could become flying missiles capable of impaling brick walls or anything in its way.

Construction debris can cause severe damage to property and lead to possible loss of life. 

Ministry VROMI is busy making sure that civil work trenches by utility companies and other contractors are closed and secured prior to arrival of the hurricane.

Food Wholesalers & Warehouse Depots: Food wholesalers and warehouse depots are requested to execute plans to prepare and secure their properties.  Every effort must be made to be prepared to take timely action in clearing storage areas properties of loose pallets and other materials in the event of a weather related threat.

Materials such as plywood, shipping pallets, food pallets, pieces of metal used to secure pallet shipments, can easily become flying missiles capable of impaling brick walls or anything in its way. 

Coastal residents: Coastal residents are advised to have plans in place for possible storm surge.

Coastal areas of Sint Maarten are: Beacon Hill, vicinity of the Princess Juliana International Airport road connection to Beacon Hill, Simpson Bay, Pelican, and Philipsburg (along the boardwalk).

During the passing of a hurricane, homeowners should secure their possessions to upper levels of the structure.  If you decide not to stay in your home, you should make the necessary arrangements before the passing of a hurricane on where you would stay to ride out the storm system.

One should not wait until the last moment to evacuate their home; this should be done before the hurricane arrives.  First responders won’t be able to go out during hurricane force winds to execute a rescue. Rising storm waters can also flood coastal roads, therefore you should leave before.

Here is a check list if you have to leave your home before a hurricane strike due to high storm surge that is expected: turn off water and gas; have a radio and spare batteries; a first aid kit; flashlight; spare bedding; bottled water and tinned food; house keys; prescription medicine; cash and credit cards; mobile phone and spare clothing.

Ministry VROMI Continued Preparations:

According to the Ministry of VROMI, trenches have been cleared and additional trenches are being cleaned for the anticipated rainfall from Hurricane Irma.

Ministry VROMI has lowered water levels to below sea level in the Great Salt Pond. Due to this, a number of fish will die, but the lowering of water was necessary in order to ensure that surrounding homes and properties are protected in the event of a large amount of rainfall.

Two additional pumps will be brought online bringing the total to three.  Storm water pumps will remain operational during the passing of the hurricane.

The objective is to ensure that if there are a large amount of rainfall, the pond’s holding capacity will be sufficient to retain the water thereby avoiding potential flooding of nearby areas.

Heavy equipment will be pre-positioned at different locations throughout the country in order to start clearing roadways once the hurricane passes.

The Government’s Disaster Management Organization continues to monitor closely the progress of major Hurricane Irma.  Notices and information will be released to the media and via the Government Radio Station 107.9FM with respect to the national preparations and advisories for the people of Sint Maarten. 

The country’s Disaster Management Organization is making all the necessary preparations.  Approximately 90 Marines are to arrive on Monday.  The Prime Minister requested the assistance as a precautionary measure.

The Red Cross Organizations of Curacao and Aruba are prepared to send personnel to the island to assist should this be required.

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Minister Arrindell-Doncher warns businesses against price gouging

POND ISLAND - Minister of Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell Doncher is warning business establishments not to engage in price gouging (sudden increase in prices) with the threat of Hurricane Irma to the island.

The Minister said she has received reports that this is already happening and has responded by dispatching controllers from the Department of Economic Controls to determine if there is indeed price gouging occurring.

The controllers will be conducting controls the entire weekend and until the storm passes St. Maarten. If a business is found to have increased their prices, the proper measures under the law will be taken.

Price gouging is a term referring to when a seller spikes the prices of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair, and is considered exploitative, potentially to an unethical extent.

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CARPHA prepared to assist Member States in Public Health, Water, Hygiene and Sanitation as Irma approaches

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Dr. Virginia Asin-Oostburg, Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in an interview with the Department of Communication (DCOMM) on Friday, said CARPHA along with other partners are monitoring Hurricane Irma.

“At present, Hurricane Irma poses no immediate threat to any CARPHA member states.

“According to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Irma is a major category 3 hurricane and given its potential to strengthen and impact the Caribbean, CARPHA urges member states to continue to monitor the progress of this system.

“A number of countries have commenced preparatory activities and we stand ready to provide assistance upon request should the need be especially on issues relating to public health, water, hygiene and sanitation.

“Member States are encouraged to review their disaster plans and to carry out simulations to ensure that they can respond in the event of any emergencies.

“We will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Irma and provide updates as necessary to member states as we receive these updates from CDEMA,” Dr. Virginia Asin said on Friday.

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COCI provides advice for business community in preparation for Hurricane Irma

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) would like to bring Hurricane Irma to the attention of the business community, the COCI said in a press release on Friday.

“The importance of ensuring that your business is secure and protected against the elements can not be stressed enough.

“We urge everyone in the community to take an extra look at their establishment to make sure that windows & doors are secured from objects that may become airborne during the hurricane.

“If your establishment is prone to flooding, please ensure that all precautions are taken in order to minimize water damage.

“Any objects that may become loose during the hurricane should be placed indoors or properly secured to the ground. Where it comes to food and water, it is better to have too much than not enough. So, take advantage of the early notification and be safe during this time,” the COCI concludes.

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