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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Canada should do in Kenya

A man pulls a donkey-cart carrying his belongings past an African Union Mission to Somalia armoured personnel carrier on patrol in the capital Mogadishu on Friday.
African Union troops in an armoured vehicle in Somalia
Ministry of Defence

Kenya and its neighbours

Dadaab Refugee Camp
Chronic food insecurity has spiraled into a massive humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, where today more than 10 million people are in acute need of assistance. The situation, affecting large parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, is only expected to deteriorate at least until next year, with some areas experiencing the worst drought in 60 years and no sign of resumed rains in sight.
Some 1,300 refugees a day, the vast majority from war-torn Somalia, are pouring into the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya – now the world's largest such site, with almost 400,000 displaced people in three camps originally designed for 90,000.
CARE, UN Refugee
Dadaab Camp
Dadaab Refugee Camp

Photo: Approximately 13,500 people live in the Red Cross refugee camp in Eldoret in Kenya. Photo: Frederic Courbet/Panos

Approximately 13,500 people live in the Red Cross refugee camp in Eldoret in Kenya. Photo: Frederic Courbet/Panos

Kenya needs our help and as a member of the Commonwealth we deserve to help it.  Kenya is in a very hostile portion of the continent but has remained remarkably peaceful even after election violence in 2008.
AU forces in Somalia
AU Troops in Somalia
Kenya has 63 000 active service troops and is dealing with the largest famine to hit the region in a generation as well as instability to the west and to its borders with Somalia.  Kenyan troops are already in operations around the border region within Somalia and in securing the kenyan border.  
Kenyan military helicopters over Somalia towns.
Peacekeepers from the African Union Mission in Somalia guard outside the office of the Prime Minister in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Jan. 13, 2009. Commander of the Ethiopian troops in Somalia Tuesday handed over security for the country to officials from the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction at a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, hours after the troops began vacating some of their bases. (Xinhua/Abdurrahman Warsameh)
AMISOM conducts a Peace Support Operation in Somalia to stabilize the security situation, including the take over from Ethiopian Forces, and to create a safe and secure environment in preparation for the transition to the UN.The African Union has almost 9000 troops in Somalia fighting al Shabaab and other insurgents as well as trying to create stability in the broken country.
 The United States military and the British military all have an active piece within Kenya. The American Special forces and the Special Air Service all have a presence within Kenya.  Its time for the Canadians to step up to the table.
The worst drought in over half a century has hit parts of East Africa affecting more than 10 million people. Thousands of families have travelled for days across scorched scrubland from Somalia to Kenya, including barefoot children with no food or water after their crops and livestock were destroyed by drought. More than 10 million people have been affected across the Horn of Africa. Acute malnutrition has reached 37% in some parts of north east Kenya and child refugees from Somalia are dying of causes related to malnutrition either during the journey or very shortly after arrival at aid camps.

Two-year-old Aden Salaad looks up toward his mother as she bathes him in a tub at a Doctors Without Borders hospital, where Aden is receiving treatment for malnutrition, in Dagahaley Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya
Picture: AP/Rebecca Blackwell

Image of Special Operations Assaulter Sniper
Canada's famed Joint Task Force 2 Special Forces Team
The West can up its support for Kenya and its defence of the Horn of Africa by providing troops to help secure refugee camps and the border region.

Canada can provide military instruction from various regiments including its special operations community with the Kenyan military and to the African Union troops that are fighting in Somalia.
Now is the time.
Canadian Special Operation Regiment (CSOR)

It can also provide troops these SF forces to help with the area and hit high value targets that will destabilize al Shabaab.
Canadian Special Operations Regiment in the desert.
CSOR in the desert
CSOR is a battalion-sized, high-readiness special operations unit capable of conducting and enabling a broad range of missions, including Direct Action (DA), Defence Diplomacy and Military Assistance (DDMA), Special Reconnaissance (SR) and Domestic Counter Terrorism (Dom CT). CSOR personnel are intelligent, physically fit, and possess a host of skills that enable them to operate effectively in challenging environments.

Canada also has a very strong Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) that's is capable and very strong.
Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART)

What does DART do?

DART medical staff treated about 7,500 patients in the Honduras, after a hurricane ripped through in October 1998.DART medical staff treated about 7,500 patients in the Honduras, after a hurricane ripped through in October 1998. (DND Photo)
DART consists of about 200 Canadian Forces staff who can ship out quickly to conduct emergency relief operations for up to 40 days.
The team has four main goals:
  • Provide basic medical care: Its tented medical aid station can serve up to 250 outpatients and 10 inpatients a day. The medical platoon treats minor injuries and tries to keep diseases from spreading, but doesn't perform surgeries. The aid station includes a lab, a pharmacy, limited obstetrics services and re hydration and preventative medicine section.
  • Produce safe drinking water: Water purification staff can produce up to 50,000 litres of potable water a day, as well as chlorinating local wells and monitoring water supplies.
  • Repair basic infrastructure: Engineers can fix roads and bridges, repair electrical and water supply systems and build refugee camps.
  • Make communication easier: DART sets up facilities to make communication easier between everyone involved in the relief effort, including the afflicted country, non-governmental organizations and UN aid agencies.
DART does not go into places where it will face organized resistance and tries not to step on the toes of aid agencies.
The team receives less money than any other unit in the Canadian Forces, with an annual budget of $500,000.

What troops are in DART?

Apart from a handful of staff at DART headquarters in Kingston, Ont., the team uses personnel from military units across the country.
The team consists of:
  • Engineer platoon: About 37 field and construction engineers.
  • Medical platoon: About 40 staff who operate the aid station.
  • Defence and security platoon: About 45 personnel who guard camp and support DART operations.
  • Logistics platoon: About 20 staff who provide maintenance, transportation and supplies.
  • Headquarters: About 45 personnel who oversee operations and co-ordinate DART's response with other countries and aid organizations.

How does it get sent out?

DART troops often face washed out bridges and roads when they try to deliver help.DART troops often face washed out bridges and roads when they try to deliver help. (DND Photo)
The Canadian government makes the decision to send DART after it receives a request from an individual country or the United Nations.
A reconnaissance team of about 12 people — drawn from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Canadian International Development Agency, National Defence Headquarters and DART — heads out first to find what's needed.
Once DART knows where to set up camp, it begins shipping troops and equipment, usually from Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario. Almost everything DART needs — more than 40 vehicles and 340 tonnes of supplies — is stored in a warehouse at the base, ready to be shipped at 48 hours notice. Another 11 tonnes of medical supplies are stashed nearby.

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