With today’s start of the hurricane season, the Netherlands Defence units stationed in the Caribbean are on official stand-by for providing emergency aid before, during and after hurricanes. This task is an addition to the main tasks of the Dutch navy, army and marechaussee personnel present in the area, counterdrugs operations being one of them.
The staff of the Flag Officer in the Caribbean on Curaçao are keeping a close eye on the weather. Particularly depressions and storms are tracked intensively. Close monitoring is officially carried out during the hurricane season, which is from 1 June to 1 December, but in practice keeping alert to threatening meteorological developments is a continuous process. The first tropical storm of this year, Aletta, appeared on 14 May, closely followed by a second (Alberto) and Hurricane Bud.
In preparation of the hurricane season, a number of reconnaissance trips were carried out on the Windward Islands, where communication equipment was stationed and emergency lines tested. Consultation was also conducted with the Governors, local authorities and members of disaster-response staffs of the islands of St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius.