Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Holy Paperwork of Antioch

The earthquake and subsequent tidal waves that have devastated coastal regions in Asia has left behind an almost unimaginable death toll (over 50 thousand and counting). In addition, there are thousands of injured and missing persons and, depending on the country affected, a desperate need for medical and search expertise and just plain old clean water.

The Canadian Forces has a disaster relief team, which was created for just such circumstances. Called the Disaster Asssistance Response Team, or DART, it is has about 200 assigned military personnel. The Department of National Defence site says the unit is:
...designed to deploy rapidly anywhere in the world to crises ranging from natural disasters to complex humanitarian emergencies. The DART: responds rapidly, in conjunction with national and regional governments and non-governmental agencies, to stabilize the primary effects of an emergency or disaster; provides potable water and medical aid to help prevent the rapid onset of secondary effects of a disaster; and gains time for the deployment of national and international humanitarian aid to facilitate long-term recovery in a disaster-struck community. (I bolded certain key words)

Doesn't that sound like the sort of unit needed right now in the wake of the Asian earthquake? Well, think again. According to the National Post's, Chris Wattie (tip to Norman's Spectator):
Canada 's military disaster response team must wait for an official request from the Department of Foreign Affairs before it can be sent to help victims of a tsunami in Southeast Asia .

While other nations had teams already in the air yesterday to help with the aftermath of the deadly tidal wave, defence spokesmen said the Canadian Forces' Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) will not be going anywhere without the proper paperwork.

Ah yes, the paperwork. Let victims of the tsunamis die like flies while the Liberal Government of Canada dithers over its sacrosanct memos and briefing notes. This is the conclusion of the DND site on the DART team.

Canada is an important provider of international humanitarian assistance and emergency relief. The creation of the DART enhanced the federal government's ability to meet both domestic and international requests for aid, and it demonstrates Canada's resolve to support disaster victims anywhere in the world.

If this situation demonstrates the Liberal government's resolve to provide enhanced support to disaster victims anywhere in the world, I'm a purple mongoose with six legs.

Pray tell us, Prime Minister, just why we're spending millions on a rapid response DART team again? Hope you're enjoying your vacation in Morocco. Any big waves on the beaches there?


At 7:43 pm, December 28, 2004 , Blogger Rhi said...

I couldn't agree more!!!! How incredibly frustrating!

At 8:17 pm, December 28, 2004 , Blogger Rebecca said...

I heard on the news (CTV Newsnet) that the DART team had not been asked to help. I'm assuming here that they had not received a request from any of the aid agencies dealing with the disaster. So now I'm confused (not unusual!) - who has to ask whom? Does the Red Cross request help from the Dept of Foreign Affairs, and then they sit with their thumbs you know where filling out paperwork, or does the Red Cross (or Oxfam or whomever) request help directly from DART? In any case, we have the people trained and ready to go, and how frustrating it must be for them to have this opportunity to help and have to wait for some beaurocrat to dot their t's and cross their i's. Can Mr. Martin please just stay in Morocco?

At 10:30 pm, December 28, 2004 , Blogger Andrew said...

Strong & Free suggests we couldn't deploy them quickly if we wanted to:

Love what the government has done to our military.....


At 1:25 am, December 29, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that affected foreign government's have to formally request assistance. Of course, they would normally be offered assistance before asking. So, ....

Andrew has suggested the answer. It is our Forces degraded airlift and sealift capacity that is the culprit. Paul Martin is all spin and no action with respect to the Canadian Forces and foreign affairs. Very sad, tending to why I'm Mad (in both senses of the word).

At 6:24 pm, December 29, 2004 , Blogger John the Mad said...

Sorry. That anonymous comment was mine. JTM


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