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Natural Disaster Response and Risk Reduction

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, through START, has lead responsibility for coordinating the Government of Canada’s operational response to major natural disasters abroad, such as the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010.

In this context, we seek to encourage a whole-of-government Canadian response that is timely, coordinated, coherent and focussed on meeting relief and recovery needs in support of affected governments.


Our disaster response and risk reduction initiatives include, but are not limited to:

  • Working with key federal departments and other actors to ensure a timely, effective, coherent and appropriate Government of Canada response to relief and recovery needs identified on the ground;
  • Liaising with other donor governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to see how they will respond and to ensure that Canadian assistance will not duplicate other international efforts;
  • Communicating with the government of the affected country(ies) to understand and help to respond to their emergency response needs;
  • Communicating to the public about how Canada is responding to a particular natural disaster abroad;
  • Encouraging and facilitating the development of policies and strategies on disaster risk reduction in those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters; and

NB: Public Safety Canada is responsible for coordinating Government of Canada responses to natural disasters that occur in Canada.

See also