Published On: Mon, Oct 23rd, 2017

UN team to conduct damage, loss assessment in St. Maarten

Sint-Maarten-from-the-airPHILIPSBURG - A 15-person team from the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) will be conducting a damage and loss assessment exercise in St. Maarten from October 22 to October 27.

The team is led by Dr. Omar Bello, Coordinator for Sustainable Development and Disaster Unit. The assessment is expected to be broad based with an emphasis on the economic impact of hurricane Irma.
While in St. Maarten, the team will have meetings with various stakeholders, including those representing sectors such as social affairs, housing, education, health care, the country’s transportation infrastructure, water and sanitation as well as collection and treatment of solid wastes. The group further hopes to gain insight into, among other things, post disaster information on electricity supply and distribution, broadcasters, telecommunications, Internet and tourism.

This will not be the first time ECLAC will be on a similar mission in St. Maarten. Following hurricanes Luis and Marilyn, more than two decades ago, ECLAC also completed an assessment of damages and loss in St. Maarten, which served as valuable analyses, it was stated in a press release over the weekend. Early assessments were already carried out in St. Maarten immediately following the passing of hurricane Irma.
However, as time passes and more information is gathered, a more thorough assessment is always possible and actually recommendable, the release said. “That in turn facilitates a more accurate forecast of the long-term economic impact. With that in mind, stakeholders are encouraged to lend their full cooperation to the ECLAC damage and loss assessment exercise.”

ECLAC is a United Nations regional commission to encourage economic cooperation. The commission’s work includes contributing to solutions by conducting research and analysis and providing sound policy advice and technical assistance to Caribbean governments, focused on growth with equity and recognition of the sub region’s vulnerability. ECLAC has 45 member-States (20 in Latin America, 13 in the Caribbean and 12 from outside the region) and 13 associate members which are various non-independent territories, associated island countries and a commonwealth in the Caribbean. St. Maarten was conferred Associate Membership in ECLAC in May 2014.

A questionnaire to be forwarded to stakeholders prior to the planned meetings is to serve as guideline for the expected conversations. The Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations BAK is coordinating the meetings between stakeholders in St. Maarten and the ECLAC team. For more information, interested stakeholders may call BAK and ask for Cheryl Rohan at tel. 520-0194.

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