The last few weeks have seen disasters in different parts of the world involving flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes. The impact of these events has devastated thousands of lives and livelihoods. IHE Delft wishes to express its sympathy and support to all those involved. To highlight the impact of water related disasters, as well as some of the practical work that the Institute is doing, we will be publishing a series of articles about some of the affected regions. This first article focuses on Sint Maarten, that was hit by the category 5 hurricane Irma in the beginning of September.
Over the past 13 years, IHE Delft has been involved in numerous activities related to flood risk reduction on St Maarten. Some of these activities are: St Maarten Stormwater Modelling Study carried out in 2005-2006; Analysis of Flood Protection Measures in the Cul De Sac Catchment carried out in 2006-2008; Belle Plain Flood Modelling Study carried out in 2008-2010, Regional Risk Reduction Initiative (R3i) concerning Hurricanes and Tsunamis carried out in 2010-2013 and PEARL EC FP7 project (http://www.pearl-fp7.eu/), which started in 2014 and it is still ongoing. PEARL is dealing with assessment of risk and development of measures to minimise impacts from extreme hydro-meteorological events and St Maarten is one of the project case studies.
Following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the PEARL team is preparing to undertake an in-depth assessment of damages and produce a separate report which will deal specifically with impacts from Irma and also development of measures that can increase resilience to similar events in the future. As part of the upcoming Amsterdam International Water Week, our work in St Maarten will be featuring in three PEARL related events and we will invite key personnel from St Maarten’s Ministry of VROMI to give presentations and to participate in roundtable discussions.