MARIGOT : On Thursday, September 22, a tripartite agreement was signed for the delivery of a crisis management container from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin to the Forces Armées aux Antilles (FAA) to provide emergency equipment in the event of a hurricane alert.
The meeting was held on a brand new tarmac at the Grand-Case Espérance airport, which was represented by Pascal Marcoux, director of the EDEIS group. He was accompanied, among others, by Louis Mussington, President of the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, Rear Admiral Eric Aymard, Superior Commander of the Armed Forces in the West Indies (COMSUP FAA), who made the trip from Fort-de-France, and Vincent Berton, Delegate Prefect of the Northern Islands, who was invited for the occasion.
Christophe Lieb from the Direction de la Tranquillité́ Publique et de la Prévention des Risques Majeurs (Public Tranquillity and Major Risk Prevention Department) within the Collectivité and Mélodie Illidge-Jenkins, his deputy and in charge of Major Risks, were also present for having largely contributed to the realization of this project. The Collectivité is now providing free of charge new equipment for the armed forces for the clearing of debris in the event of an alert. This equipment, which nevertheless remains the property of the Collectivity, includes generators, floodlights, grinders, diamond discs, axes, shovels, pickaxes, saws, hammers, thermal chainsaws, machetes, first aid kits, tarpaulins, and other accessories useful in the event of deployment of the AIF.
The total amount of equipment useful for crisis management in the event of a major meteorological phenomenon stored in a 20-foot container fixed to the ground and positioned in the secure compound of Grand-Case airport amounts to €20,335.10.
It is entirely paid for by the Collectivity which has the will to concretely equip the military for more efficiency and speed on the field. This willingness is rare enough to point out, even if all parties keep the hope of never having to use this emergency equipment that would reflect a natural disaster of scale. During sovereigntý missions, the FAA is committed to deploying the equipment to ensure that it is operational. In case of triggering of the device impelled by the meteorological experts warning of the imminent arrival of a cyclonic phenomenon (36 to 48 hours before), the “harpoon” deployment is carried out with 15 to 30 projected military personnel. The latter set up their camp on the territory and take shelter during the passage of the cyclone.
In the first hours after the hurricane, the soldiers proceed to clean up and clear the area, in partnership with the gendarmerie, which is in charge of security. For Rear Admiral Eric Aymard, it is anticipation that prevails: “anticipate to make the right decisions. Having the emergency equipment already on site is essential. After the visit of the container, the three parties, namely the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Armed Forces in the Antilles, and the EDEIS group, proceeded to the signature of the agreement for a renewable period of 5 years.