Published On: Sun, Oct 22nd, 2017

UN ECLAC team to conduct damage and loss assessment on St. Maarten

Great Bay – A team of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is to conduct a Damage and Loss Assessment exercise on St. Maarten from October 22 to October 27 upcoming. The 15 person strong 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.

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.

Broad emphasis on economic impact after 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 others, post disaster information on electricity supply and distribution, telecommunications, 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, years ago, ECLAC also completed an assessment of damages and loss on St. Maarten, which served as valuable analyses.

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. 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.

A questionnaire to be forwarded to stakeholders prior to the planned meetings is to serve as guideline for the expected conversations.

The government’s Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) is coordinating the meetings between stakeholders on St. Maarten and the ECLAC team. For more information, interested stakeholders may call the BAK office and ask for Cheryl Rohan at telephone 1 721 520 0194.