Published On: Fri, Sep 16th, 2022

Dutch Marines requested to provide military assistance during passing storm Fiona

PHILIPSBURG –Just as Hurricane Exercise 2022 (HUREX 2022) kicked off today, Friday, September 16, and is scheduled to last until September 26, the local authorities of Saba and St. Eustatius have made a request to the Dutch Marines to provide military assistance in connection with the passage of tropical storm Fiona.

Fire Chief and National Disaster Coordinator of the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) Clive Richardson (see photo) announced the start of the HUREX 2022 on Friday today.

Richardson said that the training exercise was already scheduled and not linked to the current weather system approaching the Leeward Islands.

The exercise will include participation of the Dutch Marines, the Sint Maarten Police Force KPSM, the Sint Maarten Voluntary Corps (VKS), the Coast Guard, Ambulance Service, and the Fire Department.

With the request of Saba and Statia, the hurricane relief exercise that the Dutch Marine is currently holding in the Caribbean region from September 15 to September 27, has been temporarily changed to actual deployment on the Windward Islands.

The local authorities of Saba and St. Eustatius have made a request to Defense to provide military assistance in connection with the passage of tropical storm Fiona. A lot of rain and strong gusts of wind are expected, resulting in a high degree of expected damage and nuisance. During deployment, Defense acts together with local security partners.

Saba has asked the Ministry of Defense to support them in clearing areas and clearing roads. There is also a need for possible support with minor repairs, both before and after the storm passage. Saba has a limited infrastructure, which makes it important to clear roads quickly for the emergency services already present. More than 30 marines and a military nurse from the Royal Netherlands Navy are present.

Dutch soldiers will also provide military assistance on St. Eustatius in the form of possible emergency aid. Due to the expected rain and wind, there is a risk of damage to buildings and therefore also a potential danger for the inhabitants. What can become a particularly big problem on the island are mudslides, flooding and landslides.

Here too, Defense can make a difference with the marines already present and provide the island with possible emergency aid. Defense will provide an advisor for the disaster staff to ensure smooth cooperation between the local authorities and Defense. In addition, more than 30 marines will act in partnership with the police and the fire brigade where necessary to perform various tasks.

There is currently no concrete need for military assistance on Sint Maarten, but the units are ready to carry out any requests. If no deployment is required from Defense on Sint Maarten, the exercise program will be resumed. The soldiers to be deployed are already present on the islands because of training for providing emergency response to a hurricane passage, called the ‘Windward Express’. When the situation permits, the units from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten will resume (parts of) the training. Supporting the local authorities is one of the main tasks of Defense in the Caribbean Region.

The public will notice during the training exercise, that there will be an increase in movement of emergency services and military vehicles along the road network heading to the training exercise locations between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM, and that there is no need to be alarmed.

HUREX 2022 is part of the annual hurricane season training exercise.


Watch an informative video of what the Royal Dutch Marines have been up to so far while on Sint Maarten for the HUREX 2022 training that turned into a full blown deployment rendering assistance on the island during the passing of Tropical Storm Fiona on Saturday, September 17, 2022. Video provided to StMaartenNews.com courtesy of the press office of the Royal Dutch Marines in the Caribbean. Click here to watch online now: https://fb.watch/fFpXrwLnxT/