First plane with Sint Maarten evacuees returning to Netherlands
The first plane carrying evacuees from Sint Maarten is on its way back to the Netherlands. The air force KDC-10 plane is expected to land at Eindhoven air base at around 3:30 p.m., Omroep Brabant reports. The evacuees were previously only taken as far as Curacao.
Eindhoven airport is the Netherlands' only military transport airport and plays a crucial role in the aid mission for Sint Maarten, which was hit by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday. All air traffic between the Netherlands and Sint Maarten is currently happening from Eindhoven Airport, according to the broadcaster.
This afternoon a team of 59 Urban Search and Rescue members will be traveling to the island on the sixth emergency supply plane to be sent to Sint Maarten. The team consists mostly of firefighters, nurses and other first responders with experience in working in disaster areas. They were all given leave by their employers to go help out on Sint Maarten.
The USAR team is traveling with a trailer that has enough supplies to sustain the team for 10 days without them having to count on local resources. Spokesperson Jop Heinen told Omroep Brabant that they don't really know what to expect on the island, but they will definitely not be looking for victims.
Food and drinking water will also be delivered to locations on Sint Maarten on a larger scale than the past few days. Another deployment of soldiers is also heading towards the island.
King Willem-Alexander and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations are visiting the island, as well as the islands of Saba and Sint Eustatius, on Monday.
Th National Crisis Center established a public information number for people who want more information about the situation on the three Dutch islands that were hit by Hurricane Irma.