Hurricane Irma – one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic basin – made landfall on Sint Maarten just after dawn on September 6, 2017. The intense, category five winds surrounding the eyewall battered the island for hours, tearing out tall trees by their roots and tossing shipping containers as if they were match sticks. The devastation was complete, horrendous, and unimaginable.
When the storm clouds cleared, much of Sint Maarten’s critical public infrastructure was left severely damaged. The Fire and Ambulance Building, the police stations in Simpson Bay and Philipsburg, and the radiosonde building of the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS) all required significant repairs. The same was true for emergency shelters, public and private schools, as well as countless homes across the country.
The Emergency Recovery Project (ERP-1) – the first project authorized under the Sint Maarten Trust Fund – was created to respond to these immediate and long-term recovery needs.
A wide range of activities and components are being implemented through the ERP-1, which aims to repair public and private infrastructure and increase the capacity of Sint Maarten’s emergency services to respond to future natural disasters.
ERP-1 had an initial budget of US $55.2 million, which was supplemented with an additional US $45 million in 2021. The additional funding is necessary to complete ERP-1’s activities because, in the time since the project was designed by the Government of Sint Maarten, the activities have encountered financial challenges due to necessary changes in scope.
Based on the expanded budget of US $100.2 million, the project encompasses four main components. These are:
1.1 Critical Disaster Preparedness and Infrastructure Repairs and Improvements US $8.23 million
This sub-component includes repairs at four national agencies (the police, the fire service, the ambulance service, and the meteorological service), and repairs of designated emergency shelters.
1.2 First Responders’ Emergency Equipment and Priority Vehicles US $8.18 million
This sub-component provides for the purchase of vehicles (including fire trucks, ambulances, command vehicles, support vehicles, and an evacuation bus) as well as related equipment, and repairs to damaged equipment, that are necessary to support government services and improve response and operational readiness.
The sub-component also provided for the purchase of communication equipment to improve Sint Maarten’s emergency communications network, as well as supported a LiDAR terrain and bathymetric survey.
1.3 Training and Institutional Strengthening US $0.07 million
This sub-component provides for workshops and training of government officials, as well as other relevant stakeholders (e.g. civil society) as needed, to promote a greater understanding of the national disaster response plan, as well as its strategies and implementation.
2.1 Restoring Electricity Services US $9.57 million
This sub-component will restore electrical services and improve performance in future disasters by accelerating the trenching program to move remaining utilities underground.
2.2 Increasing Resilience of the Water System US $1.43 million
This sub-component financed investments to increase the water storage capacity of Sint Maarten’s government-owned utility company (GEBE) to two days, as well as strengthening the water system’s resilience to hurricane and other climate shocks.
2.3 Updating GEBE Business Plan US $0.6 million
This sub-component will finance technical assistance to improve GEBE’s performance and accountability to the users, including, among other things, updating GEBE’s business plan.
3.1 Home Repair Program US $15.37 million
This sub-component finances home repairs, with improved technical specifications, to achieve more resilient standards. The program targets the most vulnerable households, which were selected based on set administrative and socio-economic criteria.
3.2 Support to Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation US $6.92 million
This sub-component supports the SMHDF to: (1) repair the foundation’s damaged housing stock, (2) provide technical assistance to redesign a proposed housing complex, and (3) strengthen SMHDF as an organization.
3.3 Public Building Repairs US $16.5 million
This sub-component finances the repair of high priority facilities and the cost of temporary relocation. As reconstruction needs far exceeded the available budget, the Government of Sint Maarten prioritized the repairs of 19 schools to be addressed under this sub-component.
This component finances the institutional arrangements made by the Government of Sint Maarten to implement and coordinate the projects to be financed by the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. It also includes resources for capacity building, which will also benefit the Government of Sint Maarten.
This component enables Sint Maarten to access sovereign catastrophe risk insurance offered by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), and will also cover the cost of membership fees to other regional organizations, such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
Project at a glance
|Grant Agreement Signed||July 11, 2018|
|Effective since||July 18, 2018|
|Grant Amount||US $100.2 million|
|Disbursed Funds||US $ 40.47 million|
|Contracts Awarded||US $ 35.9 million|