Council of Ministers for the Kingdom meets in response to Hurricane Irma

The Council of Ministers for the Kingdom has met today to discuss the situation on the Caribbean islands of St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius, which have been severely affected by Hurricane Irma.

The Council discussed the enforcement of public order and the provision of emergency aid to the three islands. In first instance, the focus will be on distributing basic necessities such as food and water, providing emergency facilities for those left homeless, repairing vital infrastructure and addressing health care issues (preventing outbreaks of infectious diseases and getting St Maarten’s hospital up and running again).

The ministers also considered what will be necessary in the weeks ahead for day-to-day life to resume as best as possible on the three islands. To this end, Dutch teams have been dispatched to St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius to survey the island’s needs, jointly with local authorities and aid workers.

The Netherlands, Curaçao and Aruba are doing what they can to help. The Council confirmed that the constituent countries are providing each other with support and assistance in accordance with the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Gratitude was also expressed for all the work being done by military personnel, police officers, aid workers and volunteers from the various parts of the Kingdom.

The Council of Ministers for the Kingdom is made up of government ministers of the Netherlands and the ministers plenipotentiary of the Kingdom’s three other autonomous countries: Curaçao, Aruba and St Maarten. Saba and St Eustatius (along with Bonaire) have the status of public bodies within the country of the Netherlands, and fall within the remit of the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.