The handover of three repaired homes damaged during Hurricane Irma’s passage (see related story) was no doubt eagerly anticipated by their inhabitants. After all, it has been three years of waiting in often difficult circumstances.
Wednesday’s rainy St. Martin/St. Maarten Day should serve as reminder that there are still people living under tarpaulin and with leaky roofs, windows, and/or doors. Providing each single one of these cases with a solution should indeed give a new sense of accomplishment as mentioned by National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) director Claret Connor.
Of course, the number of privately-owned homes fixed with means from the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund administered by the World Bank is not what most would have liked to see, with 51 so far and 10 more planned by year-end. The final target is 200 when the programme wraps up in mid-2021.
One advantage appears to be that the work is carried out in a way to make the structure more storm-resistant, which was one of the requirements. This is a bit different from the emergency repairs done by – for example – the Red Cross.
If once considers the latter and similar efforts by, among others, the White Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF), the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and church groups both local and abroad, the conclusion is that several hundred residents in urgent need of improving their living conditions did receive assistance. St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) is tackling rental units under its responsibility too.
With thousands in need, much obviously remains to be done, but that does not mean nobody is getting help as some would have it seem. In any case those directly involved reportedly have no trouble being appreciative.