May 12, 2020 WILLEMSTAD - The government of the Netherlands has asked the Red Cross to coordinate humanitarian aid for the islands of St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba. Assistance will be provided in the form of food packages, and distribution of ready-to-eat meals for the homeless and those who are no longer able to cook or shop for themselves. A special payment card will also be made available for grocery shopping. The relief work will start immediately and will run until the end of August.
The office of the Representation of the Netherlands said in a press release on Monday that the consequences of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic can be felt everywhere and the impact in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom is significant.
“The islands are largely dependent on tourism, which has come to a complete standstill. Unemployment on the islands is increasing rapidly, resulting in more and more households falling below the poverty line. There is an urgent need for emergency assistance,” it was stated in the release.
The Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations has made 16 million euros available to provide vulnerable households with direct food aid so that the minimum basic needs are met. “The need is high and immediate. It is important to utilize a capable network quickly. Therefore, the Red Cross will take on the coordinating task and provide aid together with the other aid organizations on the islands.”
The Red Cross, the release said, has departments on all the islands and many years of experience with local aid. The emergency aid organization is in close contact with other aid organizations on the islands. Together they will help those who are most severely affected in this coronavirus crisis.
Discussions are currently being held with various aid organizations so that the preconditions can be met as quickly as possible.