Philipsburg, The Bottom, Saba, Oranjestad, St. Eustatius – The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) recently released its Disaster Risk Mitigation Manual to be used by the Park Management Organizations to lessen the impacts of weather-related disasters on nature protected areas. The Manual, developed by contractors Nature2 and Parks Work, is a result of the experiences had by the Park Management Organizations on Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten during the disastrous 2017 Hurricane Season.
This Natural Disaster Response Manual was produced for the Dutch Caribbean islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten after those islands were heavily impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The manual is heavily based on the experiences of the Park Management Organizations the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation (NFSXM), the Saba Conservation Foundation(SCF) and STENAPA St. Eustatius and aims to give the tools necessary to effectively respond to natural disasters in terms of preparation, response and restoration. The funding for the manual is part of the emergency financial support given to the NFSXM, SCF and STENAPA by the DCNA Trust Fund as a response to the 2017 Hurricane Season.
The Manual provides guidance on how to deal effectively with hurricanes and severe weather events from a natural resource management perspective. The need for response protocols for similar events, such as sargassum influx and pandemics, was identified by managers and space has been left for such additional protocols to be included. The Manual acts as a tool to assist park managers and staff with disaster management, preparation, response and recovery. The content includes details on planning and preparing for a severe weather event, assessing the impact on natural resources and how to deal with response, recovery and restoration.
“This manual will greatly increase the response capacity of the NFSXM, the SCF and STENAPA St. Eustatius to respond to natural disasters. Even from my own personal experience before, during and after the passage of Hurricane Irma and Maria and the way the Nature Foundation responded this is a critical tool for ensuring adequate, safe and structured response, also in terms of giving the financial and capacity support necessary to the organizations in the absence of a government structure in the aftermath of a major storm,” commented former Manager of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation and current Director of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance Tadzio Bervoets.