The Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is a unique organization created to deploy to a crisis situation anywhere in the world - situations ranging from natural disasters to complex humanitarian emergencies. The DART, formed in June 1996, gives Canada additional capabilities for speedy response to requests for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. This military team deploys quickly into a crisis area, bridging the gap until members of the international community arrive to provide long-term help.|
BackgroundThe Canadian government has consistently demonstrated strong support for humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief operations throughout the world. In 1994, the CF deployed 2 Field Ambulance to Rwanda to provide medical relief to the refugees suffering from the many ill effects of the conflict in that country. Despite the best efforts of all concerned, the relief effort arrived after the peak of a cholera epidemic that brought great suffering. This experience convinced the Canadian government of the need to create a rapid-response capability to provide effective humanitarian aid. The concept of the CF Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was born.
Nationally and internationally, the Canadian Forces has deployed to disaster-stricken regions to conduct humanitarian relief operations. DART's international missions include relief operations in Honduras (hurricane - 1998), Turkey (earthquake - 1999), Sri Lanka (tsunami - 2005), Pakistan (earthquake - 2005), Haiti (earthquake - 2010), Philippines (hurricane - 2013), and Nepal (earthquake - 2015).
Operational CriteriaThe DART is a military organization designed to deploy rapidly anywhere in the world to crises ranging from natural disasters to complex humanitarian emergencies. The DART:
Mission CapabilitiesComprising about 200 CF personnel ready to deploy quickly to conduct emergency relief operations for up to 40 days, the DART can either enhance emergency relief efforts or bridge the gap until members of the international community arrive to provide long-term help. The DART is designed to deploy only to permissive environments — that is, locations where it will not encounter any organized resistance or threat.
For international missions, the DART can be activated by a request from either an individual country or from the United Nations (UN). Regardless of the source of the request, the final decision to deploy the DART rests with the Canadian government, based on advice from Foreign Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence, and the Canadian International Development Agency.
In a UN operation, the DART is required to co-ordinate its work with the UN-appointed humanitarian co-ordinator. The DART also co-operates with international agencies on site to achieve the maximum positive impact.
The DART serves four critical needs in emergencies, namely:
DART CompositionThe DART is composed of highly trained military personnel drawn mostly from Land Force units. It comprises the following main elements: