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St. Maarten Cleans Up Following Hurricane Earl, Reports No Loss Of Life, Relatively Minor Damages

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PRESS RELEASE #145


PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (August 31, 2010) - Following the passing of Hurricane Earl, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau is pleased to report no extensive damages or loss of life in St. Maarten. No damage has been reported at the Princess Juliana International Airport and many resort guests throughout the country are back in the pools with drinks in hand. The commencement of flights is expected to be announced shortly.

"Hurricanes are no laughing matter, but thanks to our preparedness and infrastructure we sustained relatively minor damage," said Regina LaBega, director of tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.

Below is the official statement from the St. Maarten Government Information Service (GIS):

Written by Roddy Heyliger, Government Information Service (GIS), Ennia Bldg., Longwall Rd., Philipsburg, Sint Maarten D.W.I. Tel. +599-543-1162, +599-542-4119, Fax: +599-543-1169; Email: gis@sintmaarten.net;

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 31, 2010/EOC - Advisory #4 - 12.00pm

EOC: Curfew lifted as of 10.00am

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (GIS) - Operational leaders of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) met at the Fire Department in Cay Hill this morning to assess the situation on the island with respect to post Hurricane Earl clean-up as well as approaching Tropical Storm Fiona.

Curfew: The curfew was lifted at 10.00am by order of the Acting Lt. Governor Reynold Groeneveldt. This was done because of the accelerated clean-up efforts carried out by the Departments of Public Works, Fire and private contractors of the main road network system.

Acting Lt. Governor Groeneveldt recommends those persons who don't need to be on the road should remain at home cleaning up their yards in order for the national clean-up effort to continue in the various districts.

Groeneveldt would like to thank all government departments and emergency services that played a role in the pre and post hurricane period for their efforts and doing a great job.

Schools: An assessment of schools will be carried out on Tuesday and a decision will be taken quickly when schools can reopen.

Electricity/Water: GEBE continues to be confronted with the situation of rough seas at the Cay Bay Power Plant. A number of generators that use sea water to cool the systems are still offline due to the sea state. Load shedding will be necessary and you are hereby advised to use as less electricity as possible in order to limit load shedding in the various districts.

GEBE crews are out assessing overhead lines and the distribution grid and making the necessary repairs.

Water levels in the storage tanks are at low levels. A transformer at the Water Plant has some problems and technicians are busy working on repairing the problem. Until that issue has been resolved water production is limited and residents are advised to use water sparingly until this problem has been resolved.

Clean-up & Debris Removal:

The Public Works Department has teams out clearing the various districts. Front and Back Street should be cleared of most debris within the next few hours. The Boardwalk will be cleared once an assessment has been made with respect to Tropical Storm Fiona which is forecasted to pass over 100 miles from Sint Maarten.

Drains are to be cleared prior to any inclement weather.

Airport/Harbour and Hotel Infrastructure:

No damage has been reported at the Princess Juliana International Airport. The airport will provide information about flight operations.

Assessments are to be carried out at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo facilities. No major damage has been reported based on a preliminary assessment. Divers need to assess the water depth before the all clear sign can be given. As the seas clear and subside these assessments will be carried out immediately.

The hotel plant infrastructure is all intact. No major damages have been reported other than minor water damage.

Food Safety/Dengue Fever Prevention: Health inspectors are out in the field assessing food safety matters where supermarkets, grocers and restaurants are concerned. Residents are urged to implement measures to prevent mosquito breeding by removing any and all containers that can hold water.

Tropical Storm Fiona: The public is hereby asked to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Fiona which is several hundred miles East of Sint Maarten. The island is under a Tropical Storm Watch.

The EOC meeting was chaired by Acting Lt. Governor Reynold Groeneveldt. Also present was second Acting Lt. Governor Nilda Arduin-Lynch.

For more information, contact the St. Maarten Government Information Service (GIS) at +599-543-1162 or e-mail gis@sintmaarten.net.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten is truly a unique island in several ways. It is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. St. Maarten is also the culinary capital of the Caribbean with an eclectic array of elegantly-perfected culinary fusion to keep “food lovers” returning each year. And with more than 300 restaurants, the island has tastes to satisfy every palate and pocketbook.

Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island’s 36 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions including the vastly abundant treasure of rare animal and plant species at the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden. Unique attractions include the historic Fort Amsterdam, the St. Maarten Museum, and the picturesque and symbolic Mount Concordia, where the Treaty of Concordia was signed more than 350 years ago to promote peaceful coexistence of two cultures on one island.

The Dutch capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with bustling city atmosphere in the heart of the Caribbean, while nightlife activities provide endless entertainment with 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs. During the day water sport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island’s scuba diving and snorkeling facilities which are located throughout the island. The island boasts a wide array of marine biodiversity and unique underwater dive sites that include the H.M.S. Proselyte, a notable British frigate which sank in St. Maarten’s waters since 1801.

Accommodations are varied with many designed to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning traveler and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

For more information, visit www.VacationStMaarten.com. Find us on Facebook by searching "Vacation St. Maarten" and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StMaartenTravel.

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