Aruba and St. Maarten will receive an additional 14.9 million euro for food aid, the Dutch cabinet has decided. The islands will survive until April with this. Curacao will not receive extra money because, according to the Netherlands, they will manage until April with the emergency amount already donated last year.
State Secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) informed this in a letter to the Lower House. As Knops indicated during his visit to Bonaire, Aruba and St. Maarten at the beginning of this month, the islands will have to do without this food aid program from the summer onward.
“In the coming months, we will work towards a transition from food aid to a more long-term embedding of the program in the local authorities,” says the State Secretary in the letter to Parliament. This also shows that this process starts earlier for Curacao with ‘target date 1st of April’.
“The agreements concluded with Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten are simultaneously working on a stronger economy, so that fewer people become dependent on food aid and can provide in their own income. The expected effect of this is not clear yet, “says Knops.
Dependent on food aid
20 percent of the population in Aruba and St. Maarten, and 15 percent in Curacao, is depending on Dutch food aid now, according to the Netherlands. He emphasizes that in the transition the Netherlands will remain the starting point of ‘not leaving the most vulnerable people to their own devices’.
In Aruba, as previously reported, it is mostly undocumented immigrants who depend on emergency aid. The Aruban government has said from the start of the crisis that they will not help this group and will refer them to aid agencies such as the Red Cross.
Source: Caribisch Netwerk