Minister Fantino participates in emergency response training with the Canadian Red Cross

October 17, 2012 - Today, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, met with Canadian aid workers training to become part of the Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit. These women and men are participating in a one-week training exercise to prepare for deployment overseas following emergencies and disasters.

"The training session conducted by the Red Cross is essential to allow for rapid deployment overseas during a humanitarian emergency," said Minister Fantino. "I was proud to see how professionals from across Canada come together to participate in training and simulations that equip them with the skills and knowledge required to deploy, set up, and run a Canadian Red Cross field hospital during times of crisis."

During this training, participants learned how to work safely in insecure operating environments, assess the medical needs of affected populations, and work effectively with international and local communities, as well as affected populations, during an emergency response.

"In times of emergency, every minute counts," said Conrad Sauvé, secretary general and chief operating officer of the Canadian Red Cross. "Thanks to the support of the Government of Canada, the Red Cross has the capacity to deploy both world-class expertise and equipment in as little as 48 hours."

The Emergency Response Unit is funded via the CIDA supported Canadian Red Cross First Responder Initiative project. The training exercise is the first event to be organized since the signing in June 2012, of a memorandum of understanding establishing a strategic partnership between the Canadian Red Cross and the Government of Canada through CIDA.

The partnership between CIDA and the Canadian Red Cross aims to strengthen national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in developing countries so that they are better able to respond to disasters and conflict, improve Canada's ability to respond quickly and efficiently to humanitarian crises, and increase public awareness of Canadian humanitarian efforts.

The Canadian Red Cross is one of the 187 National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies that are part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the largest humanitarian network in the world. The Canadian International Development Agency and the Canadian Red Cross have successfully collaborated for more than 40 years, improving the lives of the vulnerable and meeting the basic human needs of emergency-affected populations around the world.

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For more information, media should contact:

Stephanie Rea
Director of Communications to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: stephanie.rea@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @CIDA_CA

Backgrounder

First Responder Initiative Project

The First Responder Initiative enhances the Canadian Red Cross Movement's capacity to prepare for and respond more quickly to humanitarian crises around the world.

The initiative comprises three components: a rapid deployment Canadian Red Cross Society field hospital, 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 rapid deployment field hospital can be ready for deployment within 24 hours. It comprises medical services; infrastructure services, such as telecommunications and needed transport; and medical staff. The initiative includes the recruitment and training of an estimated 300 Canadians trained in health, disaster management, relief, and recovery. Another component recognizes that national Red Cross ocieties are frequently the first to provide assistance in emergencies, and this initiative will build their disaster management capacity.

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

Strategic partnership between the Canadian International Development Agency and the Canadian Red Cross

On June 23, 2012, The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Canadian Red Cross Society (CRCS) signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance Canada's humanitarian assistance. The strategic partnership will serve to:

  • strengthen and build the capacity and resiliency of people, local authorities, national societies, and communities in developing countries to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from crisis situations so that they can lead their own humanitarian response efforts;
  • enhance collaboration between CIDA and the CRCS based on a shared commitment to rapidly reach more people in need and increase sustainable humanitarian emergency response capacity that respects human rights, international humanitarian law, sound and accountable management practices, and an enhanced understanding of developing countries; and
  • expand or develop new, cooperative humanitarian response initiatives with a view to strengthening the global humanitarian response system.

The partnership between CIDA and the CRCS will seek to achieve sustainable and effective humanitarian outcomes in targeted countries, capitalizing on CIDA's and CRCS's humanitarian experience, institutional strengths, and networks.

In addition, a key component of the strategic partnership is to build on and enhance the Canadian Red Cross Society's Emergency Response Unit capabilities.