Netherlands send Dutch Navy Ships to Bahamas for humanitarian aid and disaster relief

The Kingdom of the Netherlands will be providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief to the Bahamas.  At this moment navy Ships HNLMS Johan de Witt and HNLMS Snellius are in Saint Martin and preparing to extend help as soon as possible to the island group.

The Dutch navy ships are already present in the Caribbean Area in accordance with the large humanitarian aid and disaster relief exercise named Caribbean Coast. This exercise is now cancelled and making place for the real emergency assistance, after a request for help from the Bahamas came in, through CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency).

Both Dutch naval ships are in Saint Marten at this moment to make the logistical preparations for the aid operation. The ships are expected to depart within a few days and will be on site on 11th of September to provide humanitarian aid. The actual aid these ships will provide is currently being coordinated by the Dutch Defense and the CDEMA. The emergency assistance will be financed from the budget that Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has made available.

HNLMS Johan de Witt is an amphibian transport ship which serves as a harbor, airport and a storage area in one. It has a large deck for vehicles and relief goods and medical personnel of the Land Forces, with an interior dock from which ships can enter and leave.

On board there are also 2 Cougar-helicopters, of the Defense Helicopter Command, a Marines unit with two FRISC boats (fast raiding interception and special forces craft), and four landing vessels, members of the military engineers unit, a Marine unit specialized in civil-military actions and two specialized diving teams.

HNLMS Snellius is a hydrographic utilization vessel. The ship features advanced sonar equipment that can chart the seabed. In this way sea charts can be made up, plus coastal areas can be charted.

Hurricane Dorian has had a devastating effect on the Bahamas. The category 5 hurricane has claimed many victims and, according to the Red Cross, around thirteen thousand houses have been destroyed or severely damaged. The first estimates of the World Food Program are that 76.000 people need help. Large parts of the islands are under water and the infrastructure is suffering heavily from the situation. The population urgently needs help. With the presence of several naval vessels in the Caribbean, the Netherlands is well able to offer humanitarian aid and disaster relief.q