On November 28th, 2016, IDI hosted DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) with Lieutenant-Colonel Ed Izatt, Commanding Officer and Chief Engineer at the 1st Canadian Division, serving as speaker.
Mr. Izatt explained DART’s role as analysis in the first 11 days and used the bridge exampled. They need to find the bridge, assess what is need to fix the bridge, and find a workaround before they even start to fix the bridge as it takes quite a while. One of the secondary roles is giving confidence to the people in the affected area with the presence of official uniforms, which helps to mobilize the local population and push against the effects of shock.
DART comprises 200–500 personnel from medics and engineers, to soldiers and aviators. Lawyers are even included for things such as property laws that people operating in other areas of specialty would not necessarily consider. Mr. Izatt explained the importance of this as DART is part of the Canadian military and is not a neutral organization nor are they operationally independent.
DART’s future role is becoming more complicated, Mr. Izatt explained, with the reality of complex disasters and humanitarian needs that extend beyond things like earthquakes with the rise of extreme climate change disasters. Humanitarian relief in a war zone is also a tricky thing to navigate since DART needs to be invited into a country, and they work with and for ambassadors and local governments, since they come with the full weight of the Canadian military. They operate in overwhelming disaster conditions where the military needs to be called in as a last resort.