WASHINGTON − The World Bank Monday signed an agreement with the State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Affairs of the Netherlands, Raymond Knops, providing US$580 million to help Sint Maarten build back better and increase resilience following the devastation caused by hurricane Irma last September.
“This is an important step and we look forward to working with the World Bank and the Netherlands in speeding up recovery efforts and returning Sint Maarten to its position as a beacon of prosperity by building back better,” said Prime Minister Marlin-Romeo, who witnessed the signing agreement.
Knops said he was delighted to team up with the World Bank, which has a proven track record in the successful execution of this type of projects.
“Together with Sint Maarten, we want to rebuild the island in a sustainable and hurricane-proof manner,” said Knops.
The Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund will support recovery efforts and help the government of Sint Maarten prepare projects with well-defined development objectives, and provide capacity support for effective, efficient and transparent project execution.
“The World Bank is working closely with Sint Maarten and other Caribbean countries to help their people recover and rebuild after the recent hurricanes,” said Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank chief executive officer, who signed the agreement.
“We are fast-tracking the preparation of emergency projects and using our global and regional expertise to speed up reconstruction, build resilience, and support all of those who have been affected.”
In Sint Maarten, the World Bank has already supported the government to carry out a Recovery Needs Assessment and prepare a National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP); and is now helping set up a Recovery Bureau to guide the recovery, reconstruction and resilience efforts.
According to the post disaster assessment, the effects of Hurricane Irma are estimated at US$1.8 billion, affecting 90 per cent of all infrastructure and large parts of the natural environment.
The World Bank said that with the next hurricane season due to start in June, it is working with the governments of the Netherlands and Sint Maarten to fast track the preparation of three emergency projects amounting of up to US$128 million.
These projects will focus on the recovery and disaster preparedness and the rehabilitation of water and electricity utilities; debris removal; as well as skills and hospitality training and a cash-for-work programme to provide affected communities with a social safety net in times of economic uncertainty.
It said future projects will continue to be selected by agreement from the steering Committee composed of representatives from the Netherlands, Sint Maarten and the World Bank, based on the needs identified in the NRRP. (CMC)