To the residents and visitors of Sint Maarten
On Saturday morning I activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) due to the pending weather. All ten Emergency Support Functions of the country’s disaster management system as well as supporting entities such as the Marines were present for the meeting.
The ten Emergency Support Functions comprises of GEBE, Telecommunications, Police, Fire, Communications, Government Organization, Tourism, Social & Welfare Affairs, Public Health, and Ministry VROMI (Public Works).
During the EOC meeting an overview was presented of the current state of affairs regarding disaster preparations and management by the Emergency Support Functions.
Beryl on Saturday morning was downgraded to a Tropical Storm. A number of watches and warnings are in place with respect to Beryl for several islands.
The Meteorological Department will decide later this afternoon regarding issuing a Tropical Storm Watch for Sint Maarten.
Tropical Storm Beryl on Saturday morning was located over 700 miles east of the Lesser Antilles or 900 miles south-east of Sint Maarten. The storm is moving west-north west towards the Lesser Antilles.
Tropical Storm Beryl is expected to approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday. Beryl is forecast to maintain tropical storm status when it reaches the Lesser Antilles.
On this approach the center of Beryl is expected to pass about 150 miles south of Sint Maarten early Monday according to the Meteorological Department.
Beryl is a small tropical storm and tropical-storm force winds extend up to 35 miles from the storm center.
Even though Tropical Storm Beryl does not pose a direct threat at this time to Sint Maarten, the Government of Sint Maarten has decided to take precautionary measures.
Due to a number of homes still under construction, and roofs not fully repaired; the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) took the decision on Saturday morning to open three Hurricane Shelters.
Due to the weakening of Beryl from a hurricane to a tropical storm, it was deemed not necessary to open five shelters as was previously announced on Friday.
Individuals and families should first make arrangements to stay with family, friends or neighbors and to secure their personal belongings before they leave their current location for one of the three shelters.
The shelters that are to be opened are:
Milton Peters College Gym, L.B. Scott, South Reward;
Dutch Quarter Community Center, Zorg en Rust, Dutch Quarter;
Christian Fellowship Church, Welfare road #95, Cole Bay.
The opening of the shelters will be made known in a subsequent statement.
Shelters will only be open before the passing of the storm and for a minimum of 24-hours to a maximum of 48-hours. Those making use of the shelter will have to return home as the shelters will be closed after the passing of the storm.
Persons who will be making use of these shelters must bring along with them, water, food, snacks, baby formula, medications for the 24 to 48-hour period. Families must also ensure that they bring along enough of the aforementioned for each member of their family.
The Shelter Management Team will provide sleeping bags, cots and blankets.
The Shelter Management Team will be enforcing the rules related to safety and security at shelters. Therefore, the cooperation of those making use of the shelters is greatly appreciated.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Beryl. Residents are advised to do the same.
Additional updates about Tropical Storm Beryl will be provided by the Meteorological Department and the Department of Communication.
All residents are advised to monitor weather reports from (www.meteosxm.com) and check the Government of Sint Maarten website (www.sintmaartengov.org) or the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook Page, and Government Radio 107.9 FM for official information as it relates to national preparations.
Thank you for your attention and May God Bless our Sint Maarten land and keep us safe.