D.A.R.T. is finally going ....
Plane carries disaster relief team's gear to Pakistan
Last Updated Sat, 15 Oct 2005 18:47:21 EDT
A giant transport plane packed with equipment and supplies for Canada's disaster relief team has departed for Pakistan, while the bulk of the troops are getting ready to leave Sunday.
INDEPTH: Canada's disaster-response team
The Ukrainian Antonov AN-225 plane left Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Eastern Ontario at 10 a.m. EDT on Saturday, carrying 75 tonnes of cargo.
The chartered plane was flying to Islamabad, where it will be met by the two dozen members of the Disaster Assistance Response Team who have been trying to determine how it can best help in the aftermath of last week's massive earthquake.
RELATED STORY: Quake death toll nears 40,000
The bulk of the team – about 200 troops – are scheduled to depart for Pakistan on Sunday evening.
The six-engine Antonov, which is the biggest plane in the world, will need to make as many as four more flights to ferry all of DART's supplies to Islamabad.
Prime Minister Paul Martin confirmed Friday that DART was being deployed, hours after Pakistani army officials said they were abandoning their search for survivors of the 7.6-magnitude quake.
The prime minister said the advance team would go to Pakistan-controlled parts of the state of Kashmir, where the earthquake did the most damage, to help in the next stage of recovery.
After the advance team prepares the way, the rest of the DART personnel will follow early next week, Martin said.
Part of the military team's job will be to establish clean drinking water supplies and help set up makeshift villages for survivors as winter approaches.
The 200 members of DART were last deployed after the Dec. 26 tsunami that swept over the shores of nations around the Indian Ocean.
Last Saturday's disaster killed at least 25,000 people in Pakistan and 1,400 in India.
Pakistani authorities estimated that two million people lost their homes.
Tens of thousands of people were injured and many people remain without medical care, food or shelter.
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