Preparing for the Unexpected: Government of Canada Response to Natural Disasters Abroad.
Post on 13-Jan-2016
Preparing for the Unexpected:Government of Canada Response to Natural Disasters Abroad
Objectives of Canadian Humanitarian Action1. To meet needs: save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity; 2. To ensure a coherent, coordinated and timely humanitarian response; 3. To ensure consistency with international legal obligations and principles; and 4. To support effective disaster risk reduction efforts (prevention, preparedness, mitigation, etc.).
Conditions Required for a Government of Canada Response1. Request for international assistance from the government of the affected country 2. Needs assessments and appeals by professional humanitarian actors 3. Trusted and experienced partnersAppeals from trusted humanitarian partnersCan fund UN, Red Cross or Canadian international NGOsNo funding directly to other governments
Government of CanadaProcedures and Mechanisms Government of Canada Standard Operating Procedures in Response to Natural Disasters Abroad (the SOPs) The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) is the Government of Canadas policy and operational lead on natural disaster risk reduction and response
Standing Interdepartmental Task Force on Natural Disasters Abroad, convened and chaired by DFAIT
24/7 stand-by and response capacity
Government of Canada Humanitarian Response ToolkitCash contributions in response to appeals Deployment of Canadian technical experts Deployment of relief suppliesCanadian Forces assetsOther special measures
Civil-military Coordination in Humanitarian ActionGoC Guidelines for Humanitarian Action and Civil-Military Coordination (based on Oslo Guidelines) Military assets a last resort for humanitarian action in support of civilian actors NOT the primary mandate of the Canadian Forces (CF)
Most commonly used CF tool: airlift for relief supplies to the Red Cross Movement
Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART)Composition: 200+ CF personnel
Capabilities: Produce potable water and provide primary medical care (not trauma care) Provides a stabilization measure against the primary effects of disasters, such as earthquakesPrevents the rapid onset of secondary effects of the disaster, such as water-borne diseaseGains time for civilian domestic or international humanitarian aid to facilitate long-term recovery
Criteria for a DART Deployment
In response to a catastrophic natural disaster, where water and health have been identified as needs
Request from government of the affected country Permissive environment required As a last resort, where no civilian alternative exists deployed only four times in its history
Recent Use of CF Assets in Natural Disaster ResponsesHaiti (Sept. 2008) Canadian frigate transported relief supplies to affected areas, on behalf of WFPUS Hurricane Gustav (Sept. 2008) CF airlift used to evacuate US citizens from LouisianaChina Sichuan Earthquake (May 2008) CF airlift delivered 700 tents to the Chinese Red CrossBurma Cyclone Nargis (May 2008) CF airlift delivered 2,000 emergency shelter kits to the Burma Red Cross; CF arranged for the transport of 4 WFP helicopters from Ukraine to Bangkok
Needs-based response is grounded in international humanitarian principles, as are our primary objectives of saving lives and alleviating suffering.
We seek to ensure that our actions are part of a coherent, coordinated and timely international response by humanitarian actors, supported by the broader international community.
We seek to ensure that Canada respects its international legal obligations and principles to which it subscribes.
We seek to ensure that disaster risk reduction is part of our response, so that communities are able to build back better. We strongly support Japan and Indonesias leadership in this domain, particularly in this region. Request from the affected country: This is grounded in UN Resolution 46/182 Strengthening the Coordination of the Humanitarian SystemFundamentally, it ensures respect for the sovereignty of countries affected by natural disasters, as well as the primary responsibility of a government to care for its own people.
Needs assessments: Want to ensure that Canadas assistance is targeted to those who need it the mostWant it to be needs driven, rather than supply driven (what is needed, rather than what weve got to offer)
Partners on the groundNeed a trusted partner to channel aid through e.g. UN, Red Cross Movement or Canadian NGOCanada does not provide humanitarian assistance directly to other governments.
DFAIT has been responsible for the coordination of Government of Canada responses to natural disasters abroad since 1998. Our planning with other government departments and preparedness help ensure that the GoC can rapidly respond to international crises in a timely, effective, coordinated and appropriate manner.
SOPs: Established in 1999. Clarify duties of all interdepartmental actors and how given emergency will be managed (before, during, after). Work well, and continually refined following major events and through the findings of after-action reports assessing the GoC response. NOT a decision-making tool.
DFAIT: has an officer on duty 24/7 for natural disasters. Interdepartmental coordinator of GoC response (includes convening the standing interdepartmental task force 12-24 hours of major event decision-making forum based on needs assessments). Drafts situation reports, develops and maintains response tools, trains (courses); facilitates deployments; liaises with foreign governments and International Organisations, organizes after-action reviews. Organizes the deployment of staff to the field (DFAIT, CIDA, DND): Interdepartmental Strategic Support Teams.
Canada can draw on a number of tools to respond to international disasters. These include, but are not limited to: Cash contributions in response to emergency appeals issued by trusted international partners, such as the International Federation of the Red Cross/Crescent (IFRC), UN humanitarian agencies or Canadian NGO proposals; The deployment of pre-identified technical experts, such as infectious disease specialists from our domestic departments such as Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC), to the World Heath Organization; Relief stocks owned by CIDA, managed by the Canadian Red Cross, that meet international standards (which guarantee their quality and appropriateness for disaster response) and are pre-positioned in close proximity to both the main Canadian Forces air assets and Toronto airport;As necessary and if available, assets of the Canadian Forces, including strategic airlift and personnel, such as in exceptional circumstances - the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART).Other special measures in exceptional circumstances: immigration fee waivers, debt relief.What we dont do: Search and rescue teams, fund independent specialists, bear the costs of transporting unsolicited goods collected by Canadians. We encourage Canadians to provide cash, not goods, to trusted humanitarian actors.The Government of Canada has established Guidelines on Humanitarian Action and Civil-Military Coordination,allowing us to respect the civilian character of humanitarian action. These follow closely the internationally agreed Oslo Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets In Disaster Relief.
The approach of the Government of Canada is to use military assets only as a LAST RESORT in humanitarian action.Canada's policy is to support civilian and humanitarian actors in the first instance. Working through these experienced partnerson the ground allows us to use local capacity, rejuvenate the local economy and respect the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity and independence. We use military assets (of any kind)as a last resortwhen no civilian alternative exists, or if civilian capacity has been completely overwhelmed. This is in keeping with the internationally endorsed Oslo Guidelines and our own Government of Canada guidelines.Humanitarian action is NOT the primary mandate of the CF. Before committing CF assets, the Government will want to be assured that the CF will still be able to fulfill its core mandate and that military assets are indeed available and can be drawn upon.The most commonly used Canadian Forces assets in a Canadian humanitarian response is airlift. CF aircraft can be used to transport relief supplies that are owned by CIDA and meet international humanitarian standards. Normally, these supplies are delivered directly the Red Cross Movement, in response to a specific request for clearly identified items. (Supplies can include: Tents, blankets, tarps, health kits, non-food household items.)
The Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team is a team of 200+ CF personnel, with the capability to respond to the specific need for water purification and primary health care (not trauma care)
THE DART IS A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE INITIAL RELIEF PHASE OF THE DISASTER AND THE AVAILABILITY OF SUFFICIENT Civilian Humanitarian CAPABILITY TO RESPOND OVER THE LONGER-TERM.
IT HAS THREE PRIMARY OBJECTIVES
1-TO DEAL WITH THE PRIMARY EFFECTS OF NATURAL DISASTERS SUCH AS EARTHQUAKES OR FLOODS
2-TO PREVENT THE RAPID ONSET OF ANY SECONDARY EFFECTS OF THE DISASTER SUCH AS THE SPREADING OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES
3-TO ACT AS A STOP-GAP MEASURE TO GIVE TIME TO THE HOST NATION AND TO THE INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN SYSTEM TO TAKE ACTION TO FACILITATE LONGER TERM RECOVERY
The DARTs mandate is for a maximum of 40 days. After 40 days:-The effects of the disaster have been mitigated to a point where our assistance is not required anymore.-National and/or international agencies are in place and are able to provide the necessary relief.
Criteria for DART deployment:Catastrophic disaster e.g. hundreds of thousands displaced or homeless, infrastructure and services overwhelmed or not functioning.A request from the government of the affected country - we must ensure we respect the sovereignty of the affected countryPermissive environment the DART is not meant to operate in a conflict-affected area, an area of political unrest, or where the local authorities would not welcome such a presence.An identified need by civilian humanitarian actors for water purification and primary health care capabilities (it has to be both not either or) Our response is NEEDS-BASEDThe DART is an option of last resort, where no civilian alternative exists. The DART is an exceptional military response to a natural disaster it has only deployed four times in its history since 1998 (Honduras, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Pakistan)
Steps:If a disaster appears to be catastrophic, and it seems likely that water purification and primary health care will be an area of need, an interdisciplinary team of Government of Canada officials will deploy to the affected country, along with a Canadian Forces recce team. The interdisciplinary team, led by DFAIT, will assess whether the deployment of the DART would an appropriate response option, based on the needs identified and the permissiveness in the affected country. The CF recce team can provide an assessment of whether it is technically feasible to set up a DART operation in theatre. Once the interdisciplinary team makes a recommendation in favour of a DART, the Prime Minister, our Head of Government, provides the green light and the full DART mobilizes.
The most common response from the Canadian Forces in support of DFAIT and CIDA is the airlift of relief supplies. 2008 was a very busy disaster season and saw CF military assets being relied upon more than ever before. Here are a few examples of our responses last year:Haiti (Sept. 2008) One of our frigates, the HMCS St. Johns, was in the region on an unrelated mission, and was used to transport relief supplies from Port-au-Prince to affected areas in the south of Haiti, on behalf of the World Food Programme.US Hurricane Gustav (Sept. 2008) CF airlift was used to evacuate US citizens from Louisiana. The request for this capability was made under the Canada-US Civil-Assistance Plan, which provides for the military of one country to assist the military of the other country in support of a civilian-led response emergency in either country. Although Canada and the United States cooperate often across borders in an emergency, in order for federal assistance to be provided, there must first be an exchange of diplomatic notes between the foreign ministries of the two countries.China Sichuan Earthquake (May 2008) CF airlift delivered 700 tents to the Chinese Red Cross SocietyBurma Cyclone Nargis (May 2008) CF airlift with a C-17 delivered 2,000 emergency shelter kits to the Burmese Red Cross Society and further arranged for the airlift of four helicopters from Ukraine to Bangkok, at the request of the Executive Director of WFP.