In agreement with the government of Sint Maarten, members of the Regiment of Engineers will operate on the island from 10 until and including 24 April 2021. The engineers will form a current map of the island’s terrain and infrastructure. This map will serve as an aid in reconstruction in the event of a future natural disaster. The Royal Netherlands Army will perform this work to ensure that, in cooperation with Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean, it can provide assistance more rapidly if its assistance is required.
In September 2017, the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, particularly Sint Maarten, was battered by Hurricane Irma. Government institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the defense organization have since contributed substantially to the provision of emergency assistance and reconstruction. While Irma was not the first natural disaster (hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis) to strike the Caribbean, it was by far the worst in recent years.
At the request of the government of Sint Maarten, the engineers, led by 13 Light Brigade, will conduct reconnaissance to map the island’s terrain and infrastructure. If a natural disaster occurs in the future, the map will make it possible to rapidly and efficiently determine the damage and effectively provide the emergency assistance required.
The Regiment of Engineers of the Royal Netherlands Army is taking this opportunity to practice skills in a real-life setting. The military objective is to train those who are tasked with engineer reconnaissance. This training will take place under the name Engineer RECCE. The military personnel involved will travel in military uniform using civilian vehicles. They will therefore be recognizable because of their military clothing but, in order minimize any inconvenience to people and the environment, will not use heavy military vehicles. Tactical training will not take place. Therefore, weapons and (training) ammunition will not be used.