November 25, 2010 09:53 ET

Government of Canada Supports First Disaster Rapid Response Field Hospital Based in the Americas

BRAMPTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 25, 2010) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced Canada's support to the Canadian Red Cross's First Responder Initiative. This initiative will enhance the Red Cross Movement's capacity to prepare for and respond more quickly to natural disasters, particularly in the Americas.

"The tragic earthquake in Haiti this January reminded us of the extreme vulnerability of the Americas region to natural disasters. The Government of Canada is already a leader when responding to humanitarian emergencies," said Minister Oda. "Supporting this First Responder Initiative means that Canada and the Canadian Red Cross will be able to respond to humanitarian crisis and disasters in the Americas faster and more effectively. The initiative is a comprehensive package that strengthens the capacity of local Red Cross Societies in country, increases the surge capacity of the Red Cross response, and introduces the first rapid deployment field hospital based in the Americas."

Canada will provide up to $17 million in funding to the Canadian Red Cross Society over three years for the First Responder Initiative. The initiative comprises three components: a rapid deployment Red Cross field hospital based in the Americas; the recruitment and training of a core team of Canadian experts in emergency and disaster management; and strengthened disaster management capacity for Red Cross National Societies in the Americas.

"The Canadian Red Cross is grateful to the Government of Canada for this important Initiative," says Conrad Sauvé, Secretary General and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "Ensuring that the Red Cross has the necessary resources to respond, trained professionals that can be deployed quickly, and strong local Red Cross teams able to support their communities will have a huge impact when disaster strikes."

The rapid deployment field hospital will be the first based in the Americas, with only three others based in Europe. It can be ready for deployment within 24 hours, and will consist of medical services, infrastructure services, such as telecommunications and needed transport, and medical staff. The initiative includes the recruitment and training of an estimated 150 Canadians trained in health, disaster management, relief, and recovery. The third component recognizes that national Red Cross Societies are frequently the first to provide assistance in emergencies and will build their disaster management capacity.

Through this initiative, Canada is contributing to a faster and more effective international emergency response system.

The Canadian Red Cross Society is a leading humanitarian organization that responds to the needs of vulnerable communities around the world. A significant strength of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is its extensive network of national societies and volunteers around the world.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Justin Broekema
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    Canadian Red Cross
    Alison Frehlich
    Public Affairs Coordinator
    Canadian Red Cross Media Line: 613-740-1994