Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- On Tuesday evening St. Eustatius held an Ecumenical Service at the occasion of the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
During the well-attended and well-organized service, acting Government Commisioner ALida Francis reminded Statians that, especially during crises, the island was as strong as its weakest link.
“Here on St. Eustatius collectively we (government, emergency support services, Island Support Team EBT and residents) have experience preparing for hurricanes and dealing with the aftermath and effects on nature, social life and the economy. The effects of the hurricanes of 2017 are still fresh in our minds. Hurricane Irma followed by hurricane Maria have caused severe damage to nature (erosion to the coastlines) and the economy. The material damage to homes was less compared to previous years and also compared to the devastation on neighboring islands”, said Francis.
Francis reminded those present that in 2020 the island had to prepare for managing hurricanes in times of COVID-19. “Who could foresee that there would be a COVID-19 pandemic? I am pleased to inform you that the groundwork is already laid down in a contingency plan and we now need to prepare to face the new hurricane season with the same level of vigor and readiness as we have done throughout the decades” said Francis. According to the commissioner, as part of this preparation several actions are currently taking place to ensure that the island is ready to face for any possible disaster. Examples are residents who have been offered support with the removal of debris from their immediate surroundings, and owners of containers have been requested to have these containers securely anchored avoid the inevitable when they remain unanchored.
Francis also told the community that In the coming weeks the Public Entity St. Eustatius would release a series of videos about tropical storm, regular hurricane updates from the KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) and hurricane preparedness. Residents are asked to closely follow the developments via local radio, the FB page Government of Sint. Eustatius and Website. An engaged and informed community will be prepared to face any storm/hurricane /crisis.
Francis expressed a special thanks and appreciation to the Christian Community for hosting the service each year as a kick off to the Atlantic hurricane season.
“Let us continue to work together, because in every crisis St. Eustatius will be as strong as the weakest link”, said Francis in closure.