Sint Maarten’s disaster resilience and recovery programme receives $47.5 million boost
Sint Maarten is set to benefit from a $47.5 million grant to support two projects that aim to improve employment and rebuild hospitals following the devastating Hurricane Irma last year.
The funds are being provided by the Sint Marteen Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund financed by the Government of the Netherlands.
The first project will focus on addressing unemployment on the island by offering training and stipends to unemployed and underemployed residents. The second project will build the Sint Marteen Medical Cener, a new hospital with new standards to withstand extreme weather.
Leona Romeo-Marlin, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten commented:
“These two grants are a testament to our commitment to build back better…with the new funds, we plan to invest in the people of Sint Maarten; their job skills, livelihoods and health care. Strengthening our human capital is a key part of the successful recovery of our country”
The first project, called the Emergency Income Support and Training project, will offer income support to those who are not currently working following Hurricane Irma and a decline in tourist revenue. Over the next 18 months, approximately 1,800 people will benefit from skills-training in exchange for a stipend.
The Emergency Income Support and Training Project continues to build on a successful first phase where over 700 under-employed citizens received training, over half of whom were women. The project will also develop a Social Registry which will allow the Sint Maarten authorities to improve the efficiency of the country’s social protection system and identify the most vulnerable following disasters.
Frank Weekers, Steering Committee Representative for the Netherlands added:
“The beauty of this project is that it builds on a successful initiative by Sint Maarten’s private sector. Businesses in the tourism sector have led the response to mitigate the impact of the sudden rise in unemployment”
The second project, the Sint Maarten Hospital Resilience and Preparedness Project, will contribute to existing rehabilitation projects for the Island’s hospitals and enable the construction of a new facility which will be more resilient to climate shocks.
The project will also increase bed capacity in the hospital, improve the scope of health services, reduce costly overseas referrals and strengthen the capacity to deliver medical services in emergencies and extreme weather events.
Michelle Keane, World Bank Program Manager of the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Fund noted:
“The objective is to provide the people of Sint Maarten with access to a broader range of healthcare services on the island in a safer and more resilient facility, better prepared to deliver health services in case of another disaster”
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Image credit: Lionel Chamoiseau/ AFP