Location of quake zone, in Sichuan province, western China.

Location of quake zone, in Sichuan province, western China.

May 12, 2008 – Toronto: Canadian Medical Assistance Teams have readied their assessment team to respond to the earthquake which happened earlier today in China. Chongqing, Toronto’s sister city in the province of Sichuan recently visited by a trade mission of Toronto Mayor David Miller and Toronto City Councillors, was rocked by an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale at approximately 14:00 local time.

Initial reports have indicated over 8,000 people have died, including many school children trapped in collapsed school buildings.

“A disaster has arisen in Toronto’s Chinese sister city, and we are responding to it. We have a large database of medical professionals from both Vancouver and Toronto who are willing to vol unteer their skills and knowledge in this time of need. Our assessment team is departing for the area as early as Tuesday,” stated Valerie Rzepka, Executive Director of the Canadian Medical Assistance Teams.

CMAT has the capability to deploy a fully equipped, inflatable field hospital anywhere in the world within 24 to 48 hours. Skilled and experienced CMAT volunteers have previously responded to disasters in Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Rzepka further indicated that In addition to monetary donations, CMAT will be making an appeal to Canadian Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics, who wish join the volunteer roster. They are encouraged to register through the CMAT website at www.CanadianMedicalTeams.org.