Canada offers aid and disaster ID team to Japan
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Sunday, March 13, 2011 10:37PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 4:10AM EDT
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon announced late Sunday that Canada is offering expertise and technical assisance to earthquake and tsunami-stricken Japan, including help from the Disaster Victim Identification team that helped in the wake of the Pacific tsunami several years ago.
The 17-member Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team is currently on standby and ready to be deployed.
"In addition, we are offering chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) technical expertise and equipment, Canadian Forces assets -- including strategic airlift and personnel -- to facilitate humanitarian relief efforts, Government of Canada relief stocks, and emergency medical and engineering capabilities," Cannon said in a news release.
As well, government officials have been in contact with the United Nations and the International Red Cross. Both organizations have dispatched disaster-assessment teams to Japan.
Canadian aid agencies are preparing to help Japan in any way they can after the most powerful earthquake in the country's history followed by a tsunami left parts of the island nation devastated.
As of midday on Sunday the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) said it had raised $1 million dollars, but a spokesperson said the agency is holding back its crews until the Japanese Red Cross requests further support.
"We are on standby awaiting word from the Japanese Red Cross," Tanya Elliott, CRC communications director, told CTV.ca in a telephone interview.
"We have a large team of international delegates but the Japanese Red Cross is well positioned with specific expertise and assessment teams."
She added that the level of support the Canadian team, which specialises in shelter management and sanitation, can offer ranges from five to hundreds of volunteers.
Meanwhile a spokesperson from GlobalMedic said it has deployed an assessment team to Japan to determine the country's needs.
The charity added that it had offered the assistance of its Rapid Response Team and Emergency Water and Emergency Medical units to the Japanese government.
Matt Capobianco, the organization's manager of emergency programs, was preparing to depart from Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Sunday.
He said the group will assess water needs in the tsunami-affected area, and will determine whether to deploy an inflatable field hospital there.
It is not yet clear if any Red Cross workers will be making the trip east, because the CRC said, "volunteers from the local area will be mobilized" before requests for further help go out to the international community or Western nations.
Relief efforts began soon after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan, triggering a tsunami. The most recent reports put death-toll estimates above 10,000.
A number of other national charities are also raising funds for Japan, including, World Vision, Unicef, Medecins Sans Frontieres, and ADRA, UJA Federation and Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.
The CRC has a web page to handle donations for victims of the earthquake and tsunami and is also taking donations through its toll-free number at 1-800-418-1111.
Customers of most large wireless phone companies can text ASIA to 30333 to donate $5, with donations going to the CRC's Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami fund.
The Salvation Army has allocated $75,000 to support the relief effort. Donations to its 2011 Japan Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund can be made at SalvationArmy.ca/japan, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), or via mail to The Salvation Army, 2 Overlea Blvd, Toronto, ON M4H 1P4.
Donors can also make a $10 donation by texting "QUAKE" to 45678 from most mobile carriers in Canada.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Janice Golding