Sint Maarten and British Virgin Islands: Improvement of Emergency Response Systems

Sint Maarten & British Virgin Islands
Delegation of the European Union to Barbados and Guyana
Environment & Climate Change

project description

Over the period August to September 2017, Sint Maarten and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) were impacted by three adverse weather systems, including two category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, which caused severe damages to the social and economic infrastructure and private businesses and residences of both islands. In the BVI, the overall damage is estimated by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at the amount of EUR 1.17 billion. In the case of Sint Maarten, a National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) drafted with the World Bank, estimates damages at US$ 1.4 billion. Including losses, the total amount is US$ 2.7 billion.

The overall objective of this assignment was to provide Technical Assistance to the Governments of BVI and Sint Maarten in the identification and formulation of a detailed project plan for strengthening their emergency response, in line with the needs identified at the first programming stage and in accordance with the respective project proposals to be funded through the 11th EDF Reserve B.

The specific objectives were:

  • To identify the exact scope of the projects (1 for each), including the needs of the different stakeholders and further steps to be taken
  • To identify the preferred locations and priority actions for the implementation of the projects
  • To have draft Action Document(s) ready for review by the European Commission
  • To have draft Financing Agreement(s) and/or the Delegation agreements ready for signature by the parties

The Action was aligned with the priorities identified in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) developed by the Government in close collaboration with the World Bank, after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The overall objective of the Action was to improve the safety of the population of Sint Maarten. Specifically, the action aimed at improving the emergency response, rebuilding and disaster preparedness of Sint Maarten.

Based on the above objectives, the outputs of this Action were:

  • Two resilient emergency shelters were constructed, outfitted and pre-stocked. This entailed the construction of two shelter facilities with a multi-purpose function, applying the highest resilience standards. It was envisaged that the support of the European Union will serve as a best practice to be replicated in future reconstruction efforts identified in the NRRP
  • Awareness and capacities of communities in Sint Maarten on disaster preparedness response were increased. Communities in Sint Maarten were informed and trained in disaster preparedness response. This comprised the development and implementation of a large-scale community communication and training plan aiming at sensitizing Sint Maarten’s communities on disaster response strategies and services offered in the shelters, and provide shelter management training to targeted community members
  • Institutional capacity of Sint Maarten to plan, monitor and coordinate post-disaster response and reconstruction is strengthened

The Action promoted the adoption of Building Back Better (BBB), safer and greener approaches. These approaches were applied to ensure improved disaster resilience in the two emergency shelters constructed. The purchase of good quality construction materials and the promotion of safe and resistant installation techniques as well as green building methods were ensured. The Action was implemented through indirect management with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and complemented ongoing programmes, such as the Emergency Recovery Project (Phase I) – implemented by the World Bank through a Single Donor Trust Fund, set up by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Action Documents were developed by the Sogerom – Luvent Consulting consortium in close cooperation with the governments of Sint Maarten and the British Virgin Islands. To substantiate the project design, the key experts held site visits, stakeholder interviews, and maintained close communication with the EU delegation and the government counterparts.

services provided

  • Assisted the Governments of both territories in designing and formulating their corresponding emergency response programs
  • Assisted both Governments in defining and formulating the full Action Document(s) and related documents
  • Assisted both Governments throughout the process of signing the Financing Agreement and preparation of the delegation agreements for signature with implementing partner(s)