While Canadians have been very fortunate to avoid major disasters, there has been no shortage of serious events internationally and the CVR has received a number of enquiries from CVR Members asking what the CVR is doing/has done to assist in these circumstances.
Though international response capacity is the third priority area for the CVR, the CVR did offer animal emergency response assistance in 2010-11 to both Japan and Haiti. In each case, the country in question made the final decision based on its own needs and determined whether to call upon the CVR.
March 2011 – Japan – Earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear disasters. The CVR contacted the Japanese Veterinary Medical Association; CVR partners in Canada; the CVR’s USA counterparts and other international organizations. One CVR partner, the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society (OERS) requested the CVR to be part of a potential deployment under the OERS organization if Canada (at the federal level) were asked to assist. Japanese authorities did not request Canada to provide emergency response assistance for animals and the CVR was not deployed.
February 18, 2010 - Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Joanas Gue (second from right) meets in Ottawa with (L-R) Dr. Enid Stiles, VWB/VSF Vice President; Michael Bedoya, IICA’s Canadian representative in Ottawa; and (far right) Jost am Rhyn, Executive Director for the CVMA.
January 2010 – Earthquake – Haiti. Soon after the earthquake occurred, the CVR issued a Stand-By notification to CVR Reservists who were fluent in the French language. 39 Reservists responded indicating their availability to serve and willingness to deploy to Haiti. The CVR and its partner, Veterinarians without Borders (VwB), met directly with Haiti’s Agriculture Minister to discuss the disaster situation in regard to animals.
The Haitian government determined their needs to be in the area of long-term agricultural support and development as opposed to short-term animal emergency response.
The offer of assistance was very well received by the Minister from Haiti, but the CVR was not called upon to serve. Veterinarians without Borders (VwB) continues to maintain contact with officials in Haiti and may assist in longer term development initiatives at some point in the future.