USAR.NL emergency aid efforts under way in St Maarten
On Wednesday 13 September the full USAR.NL (Urban Search and Rescue) team landed in St Maarten. The exploration team already on the island had identified the most urgent priorities, together with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and the local government. This allowed the four rescue groups, totalling 40 members, to get to work immediately. The remaining USAR.NL members continued to their base of operations for the coming weeks.
Thanks to the exploration team’s preparatory work, the rescue groups were able to start work as soon as they arrived. Their first priority is to get the hospital and the various schools in St Maarten functioning to full capacity again.
Base of operations
The USAR.NL team has set up its base of operations at a hotel in Philipsburg. The building is still standing, but there is no running water or electricity. On Wednesday the team used equipment provided by the local fire brigade and several items obtained from a DIY store by the exploration team. The bulk of the team’s own equipment will arrive on the island by German military cargo aircraft on Thursday.
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