Canada's 2013 DART mission to the Philippines cost $29M

Canada's emergency mission to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan late last year cost just over $29 million, according to figures released by National Defence's chief financial officer.

Emergency teams provided water purification, food and medical supplies in Typhoon Haiyan aftermath

A member of the Canadian military's Disaster Assistance Response Team examines a child in the Philippines, where hundreds of thousands of people were trying to rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan struck. (CBC/David Common)

Canada's 33-day mission to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan last year cost $29.2 million, according to figures released by the chief financial officer for the Department of National Defence.

That number represents the additional cost of the mission to the military, including the additional cost to deploy troops, equipment and to provide support and maintenance while they were away. It does not include such things as base salaries and the cost of purchasing equipment, because those costs would have been incurred anyway.

Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team was sent to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan hit on Nov. 8, 2013.

The storm flattened entire towns across the Philippines. More than 5,000 people were killed, millions were affected.

DART worked on the island of Panay, including in the Iloilo province and Roxas City. That wasn't the region hardest hit by the typhoon, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at the time it was "one of the affected areas that has so far been less served by some of the humanitarian efforts.” 

DART provided water purification services, food, basic medical supplies and help in clearing roads.

Cpl. Dave Balun, a medic from the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) checks a local Filipino child in a refugee camp outside of Roxas city on Nov. 16, 2013, after the area was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the largest typhoons on record. (Cpl. Darcy Lefebvre/Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

In a statement, Johanna Quinney, a spokesperson for Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, said "Canada’s response in the Philippines was quick and robust with the deployment of more than 200 Canadian Forces members, medical personnel, a light support vehicle, C-17 Globemasters, Griffon Helicopters and a multi-purpose engineering vehicle.

"The availability of the C-17 aircraft, in particular, has made it possible for Canada to respond to disasters both at home and abroad much more rapidly and effectively than was previously possible," Quinney said.

The DART team was made of up 319 people, and was deployed from Nov. 13 to Dec. 15, 2013. 

According to the Department of National Defence, DART was able to:

  • Produce nearly 500,000 litres of purified water for distribution.
  • Treat 6,525 medical patients.
  • Deliver approximately 104,546 kilograms of food and 4,683 kilograms of shelter and building materials for non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Deliver approximately 27,005 kilograms of humanitarian assistance goods on behalf of local authorities.
  • Clear 131 km of roads.
  • Repair eight generators.

The team also flew 184 CH-146 Griffon helicopter sorties, according to DND.

The DART team was just one part of Canada's response to the humanitarian crisis in the Philippines. The government launched a donation matching program in November and Canadians gave over $85 million in donations to eligible charities and NGOs that the government pledged to double.

DART is designed to deploy on short notice anywhere in the world in response to natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies. It's meant as a stop-gap measure to provide emergency relief, giving national and international aid organizations time to set up and provide longer term help.

The team also operated in Haiti after the earthquake there in 2010, at a cost of $52.3 million, in Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake at a cost of $9.6 million and in Sri Lanka after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, which cost $10 million. All of these figures are incremental, including only additional costs of the mission to the military.