Saba’s successful implementation of the island’s disaster management plan will serve as an example of how to act in times of crises during the annual congress of the Association of Dutch Municipalities VNG in Maastricht late June.
Saba Island Governor Jonathan Johnson and Saba crisis management advisor Fanny de Swarte have been invited to speak at one of the afternoon sessions on June 26, as part of the VNG congress.
Johnson and De Swarte will explain the importance of having a solid, effective disaster management plan, the significance of preparing for a natural disaster like a hurricane and the response immediately thereafter.
The Saba disaster management plan proved to be working very well before, during and after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September last year. The plan and its application by government officials has been receiving credit abroad. In their address, the Island Governor and advisor will show what the Netherlands can learn from Saba in this area.
A comparison will be made between Saba’s disaster management and last year’s crisis in the Maastricht region caused by a fierce fire in a cave system on the border with Belgium. The Neercanne caves in the past housed both the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation NATO headquarters and the Chateau Neercanne.
Regional emergency service experts will demonstrate what has been learned from the fire at the cave system and the importance of working together outside the national border, in this case with Belgium. Part of the session includes a visit of the cave system in question.
The session will be chaired by Mayor of Soest Rob Metz, who is also a member of the VNG Committee Europe and International. Besides Johnson and De Swarte, there will be speakers from Maastricht Fire Department, VNG and the Dutch Association of Mayors.
The session will be organised by VNG International and the hosting municipality Maastricht. VNG International is assisting St. Maarten with a 2.5-year project to strengthen the island’s disaster management structure as part of the reconstruction process.
VNG’s annual congress will take place on June 26 and 27; this time in Maastricht. The theme will be “Over the Borders.” Government representatives
from Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will attend the congress, as has become customary in the past years.
The Daily Herald.