Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) Deployments


Canada saw the need to have a rapid-response unit to provide aid to people in crises in 1994. That year, Canada sent a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) medical unit from Petawawa, Ontario, to Rwanda. There, the hundreds of thousands of people living in refugee camps faced an outbreak of cholera. Despite best efforts, the medical group did not arrive until after the epidemic had peaked. After that, the CAF created The Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART).

Since 1998, Canada has sent the DART to help when natural disasters and crises have struck other countries. It assists when local responders are overwhelmed and people have nowhere else to turn. The DART can remain in place for up to sixty days. It works to stabilize a crisis until long-term aid is underway to help the country recover.

DART deployments to date


Nepal (April 26 to May 29, 2015) - Operation RENAISSANCE 15-1

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck western and central parts of Nepal. It caused widespread destruction. CAF members began leaving for the region on April 26, 2015. They were a part of Canada’s response led by DFATD (now known as Global Affairs Canada (GAC)). About 200 personnel were sent to assist. They performed various tasks. These included engineering, medical aid, liaison services and mapping. A second earthquake hit the country on May 12, 2015.

By the end of the mission, the DART had:

  • distributed 75 water filtration units
  • given about 3,400 people access to clean, safe drinking water
  • treated more than 700 Nepalese patients
  • provided 750 maps and imagery products to the Nepalese and foreign militaries, NGOs and UN agencies
  • removed more than 3,000 cubic meters of rubble and cleared roads, allowing access to about 204,000 Nepalese
  • enabled more than 300 public safety announcements
  • distributed more than 355 radios to connect remote communities with relief efforts

Philippines (November 13 to December 15, 2013) - Operation RENAISSANCE 13-1

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8, 2013. The typhoon killed many people, caused injuries, and destroyed property. Canada sent the DART to Iloilo, Philippines, to help. The CAF task force included 319 members and several assets. At the end of the mission, the DART had:

  • purified nearly 500,000 litres of water
  • treated 6,525 medical patients
  • transported 828 passengers by Griffon helicopter
  • conducted 14 construction projects
  • repaired 8 generators
  • cleared 131 km of roads

The task force also helped non-government groups and local authorities by:

  • delivering 230,485 pounds of food
  • delivering 59,536 pounds of goods for humanitarian aid
  • delivering 10,325 pounds of shelter and building materials

Haiti (January 13 to March 31, 2010 - Operation HESTIA

A major earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. Canada raised a whole-of-government response to help. The first DART members were in Port-au-Prince within 24 hours to assess the damage. About 2,050 CAF members were sent on Operation HESTIA. The operation included:

  • a task force
  • two Royal Canadian Navy ships
  • strategic and tactical airlift
  • a field hospital
  • an infantry battalion with engineers and heavy equipment
  • the DART

The DART produced nearly 2.9 million litres of pure water. It also treated 22,000 medical patients.


Pakistan (October 11 to December 1, 2005) - Operation PLATEAU

A massive earthquake struck Pakistan in October 2005. Canada sent the DART to the heavily-damaged regions to help. The DART:

  • distributed 500 tonnes of humanitarian aid supplies
  • purified and gave out more than 3.8 million litres of drinking water
  • treated nearly 12,000 medical patients

Sri Lanka (December 30, 2004 to February 19, 2005) - Operation STRUCTURE

In 2004, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean destroyed much of the Ampara district of Sri Lanka. This is a region of about 600,000 people. It was one of the areas that the tsunami hit the worst. In this region, the tsunami killed about 10,400 people. It also displaced about 180,000. Canada sent the DART to help.


  • treated more than 7,620 patients
  • produced nearly 3.5 million litres of drinking water
  • took more than 70,000 people across a local waterway

Turkey (August 24 to September 25, 1999 - Operation TORRENT

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Turkey on August 17, 1999. It collapsed thousands of buildings. It also damaged much of the area's infrastructure. The Turkish government estimated that:

  • nearly 16,000 people were killed
  • about 15,000 were injured
  • about 30,000 were missing
  • more than 500,000 were made homeless

Canada sent the DART to Serdivan, Turkey, on August 24, to help. The DART:

  • treated more than 5,000 medical patients, including 260 psychological patients
  • produced more than 2.5 million litres of pure water

Most of the water was delivered by truck in the Serdivan and Adapazari areas. About 200,000 litres were provided to the people who needed it most in one-litre sealed plastic bags.


Honduras (November to December 1998) - Operation CENTRAL

Hurricane Mitch struck Central America in late 1998. It killed at least 11,000 people and left more than 3 million homeless. There was major flooding. There were also outbreaks of serious water-borne diseases. Cholera was reported in many areas.

Canada sent the DART to La Cieba, Honduras, to help. There were 180 DART personnel. They were experts in medicine, engineering, logistics, and security. The DART:

  • purified more than 250,000 litres of drinking water
  • treated about 7,500 medical patients

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