September 11, 2019 (Google Translation) – Around 550 Dutch soldiers have arrived at the Bahamas. They come to the aid of the inhabitants of the island of Abaco, one of the islands that was hit hard by Hurricane Dorian.
Navy ship Snellius arrived in the affected area at 7 am (local time) and Johan de Witt followed at 4 pm in the afternoon.
The first priority is to map the situation on the island. That is why a number of forward-sent soldiers traveled by helicopter to a hospital and the port on the island of Abaco. They also sat down with local authorities and international aid organizations to coordinate where the help is most needed.
The hurricane has destroyed the Bahamas. The tropical storm passed over the island group with wind speeds of 350 kilometers per hour. The category 5 hurricane hung no less than 12 hours above the area. That is why the havoc on Abaco is enormous. Hundreds of people have gone missing, houses have been destroyed and the population is struggling with a large shortage of water and food.
“The first day is all about coordination”, commander Ad van de Sande tells about the mission. “The first soldiers flew to the island by helicopter to make an inventory of what the population on the island now needs most. In addition, we are busy preparing to get our people and our relief supplies on land. We will do our best in the coming days.”
The Defense organization uses 550 Dutch soldiers from the navy, army, air force and military police for Disaster Relief Bahamas . 50 French and 50 German soldiers were also flown in to contribute to the mission.
In addition to the deployment of staff, there is the deployment of equipment. Zr.Ms. As an amphibious transport ship, Johan de Witt offers the possibility of bringing goods ashore with landing craft. Zr.Ms. As a hydrographic survey vessel, Snellius can map underwater damage and other blockages to make the ports on Abaco accessible again.
On board the ships there are, among other things, vehicles for moving emergency goods across the island, building materials for emergency materials and pallets with water and food.
With the deployment of the Air Force Cougars, the area can also be mapped from the air. The transport helicopter is also ideally suited to quickly bring relief goods to land.
The Dutch soldiers come to the rescue at the request of the government in the Bahamas. The coordination of the relief operation is in the hands of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the international Red Cross.