Saturday, March 12, 2011 – Canadian Medical Assistance Teams (CMAT) is deploying its rapid disaster assessment team to Sendai, Japan, scheduled to leave Sunday morning from Vancouver. The organization is also making an emergency appeal for donations to help the people of Japan after the powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated the region on Friday, which is centred about 300km north of the capitol, Tokyo. Officially, 649 people are confirmed dead, and numbers are expected to increase sharply. There remains no contact with about 10,000 people in Minamisanriku, more than half the town’s population.
CMAT’s rapid assessment team will conduct a needs assessment in the Miyagi Prefecture, around the city of Sendai to ascertain the level of devastation. This assessment will include evaluating the destroyed infrastructure and surveying the health needs of the earthquake and tsunami affected victims in order to prepare for the potential deployment of CMAT’s inflatable field hospital.
CMAT has also launched an emergency appeal for donations to help teams to provide medical aid to the people Japan. All volunteers cover their own travel costs.
CMAT’s Rapid Assessment Team members are:
- David Johnson, Team Leader from Vancouver, BC
- Kelly Kaley, Advanced Care Paramedic from Squamish, BC
- Kevin Sanford, Primary Care Paramedic from New Westminster, BC
- Ryan Thorburn, Primary Care Paramedic from Comox, BC
- Caris Reid, Communications and Logistics from Toronto, ON.
Assessment team members were also part of CMAT’s teams that provided assessment and assistance in the quake affected regions of Haiti and Chile in 2010.
Canadian Medical Assistance Teams (CMAT) is a Canadian-based grassroots disaster relief organization made up of medical professionals and non-medical volunteers who selflessly give their time and resources to assist and provide relief aid to the victims of natural and man-made disasters around the world. CMAT has been one of the first teams to arrive at the scene of recent global emergencies including: the Indian Ocean Tsunami in Indonesia (2004); earthquakes in Pakistan (2005) Sichuan, China (2008) and Chile (2010), as well as major floods Bangladesh (2007) and Pakistan (2010).
Most recently, CMAT members spent six months providing medical aid to the victims of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti last year. CMAT has accumulated a database over one thousand skilled health care professionals from across Canada.