Nepal earthquake: Canada deploys Disaster Assistance Response Team
DART members from Canadian Forces travel to Nepal along with Foreign Affairs officials
Members of Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team will be deployed immediately to earthquake-stricken Nepal, federal officials announced on Saturday.
DART members from Canadian Forces Base Trenton will be heading to Nepal, along with civilian political and humanitarian personnel from Foreign Affairs.
The government will also provide another $5 million in humanitarian assistance funding in response to an appeal launched by the United Nations, International Development Minister Christian Paradis announced in a release.
The funding, which is in addition to the $5 million announced last week, will help UN humanitarian agencies address the critical needs of those affected by the earthquake.
Nepal police say the death toll from last week's magnitude-7.8 earthquake has climbed to 6,841, as more reports come in from remote areas and rescue workers dig out more bodies from under the rubble.
More than 14,000 people have been reported injured.
"The loss of life and the destruction of civilian homes and communities have been overwhelming," Chris Alexander, citizenship and immigration minister, said Saturday.
"Today's announcement of the immediate deployment of additional DART elements to the affected region is evidence of Canada's ongoing support and dedication to the relief effort," Alexander said.
The team expects to have a camp set up within the next day or so along the Friendship Highway in Sindhupalchok District to help locals needing medical attention, Lt.-Cmdr Kelly Williamson said on Sunday.
"From there we will also push coordination and liaison elements forward from the camp into the Charikot region to assist and enable local initiatives and facilitate the operation of NGOs in the region," she said in a statement.
Phased approach based on needs
The day after the earthquake, Canada deployed the Interdepartmental Strategic Support Team, followed by DART members to assess the situation in Nepal.
On Friday, the assessment team delivered its recommendations and called for additional elements of DART to support the relief efforts.
Officials say the elements of DART will be deployed in a phased approach, adjusting capabilities and personnel based on needs on the ground.
DART will be capable of providing field and construction engineers, and medical assistance that could include first aid, laboratory, pharmacy, rehydration, preventive medicine and limited obstetrics services.
DART headquarters will be providing command and control, and linking with other Canadian government departments, the government of Nepal and international humanitarian groups.
"The deployment of DART will allow Canada to continue to work with our partners to provide assistance to Canadians and the people of Nepal," said Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson.
With files from CBC News