Canadian peacekeepers’ first medical air evacuation in Mali a success despite severe weather – National


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The Canadian Armed Forces have performed their first medical air evacuation of a United Nations’ solider in Mali.

An announcement from Canada’s Division of Nationwide Defence stated the Canadian troops “have been woken up within the early hours this morning (Sept. 11) by a request for medical evacuation north of Gao.”

The assertion stated the evacuation was profitable, although the deployment was briefly delayed on account of extreme climate situations within the space.

Jeff Semple: Canadian peacekeepers ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with German, Dutch troops in Mali

Canada joined the peacekeeping mission within the West African nation final month, with a mandate to offer air help to 15,000 UN forces with eight Canadian helicopters.

Canada’s most necessary job is air medical evacuations. However within the early days of the Canadian mission, the climate is making the operation troublesome and even harmful.

WATCH BELOW: Unique: Inside Canada’s army mission in Mali

Since Canada formally joined the UN operation, Mali’s “wet season” has lived as much as its identify. The typical August rainfall in Bamako, Mali, is 311 mm (by comparability, Kelowna, British Columbia, is 26 mm).

Camp Castor, the Canadian base within the northern metropolis of Gao, is usually lowered to a large puddle. Canada’s UN allies, such because the Dutch and German forces who conduct floor patrols within the area, have discovered the roadways washed out.

“Particularly within the wet season, some roads can’t be handed by automobiles,” stated German Lt.-Col. Michael Weckbach. “Helicopter is the one medium.”

A Canadian CH-147F Chinook helicopter is deployed on a medical evacuation training exercise near Gao, Mali. The medical team includes a doctor, nurse and two medics.

A Canadian CH-147F Chinook helicopter is deployed on a medical evacuation coaching train close to Gao, Mali. The medical workforce consists of a health care provider, nurse and two medics.

Jeff Semple / International Information

However Canada’s helicopters have had their very own climate troubles. Canadian avionics technician Mike Kovalev has been busy conducting upkeep and repairs.

“A rainstorm rolled within the different day and really flooded one in all our helicopters — the pedestal within the center, the entire cockpit was soaked. So we needed to take every thing aside.”

Like a lot of Africa’s Sahel, Mali suffers from each an unpredictable wet season and frequent droughts.

The Canadian troops have already skilled duststorms — a wall of sand that may arrive with out warning — and scorching temperatures of over 40 C.

Heavy rainstorms in Mali have flooded roads and even one of the Chinook helicopters.

Heavy rainstorms in Mali have flooded roads and even one of many Chinook helicopters.

Jeff Semple / International Information

“The toughest factor on the helicopter is the setting,” stated Main Sue French, a Canadian engineering officer. “In fact, the warmth, devices don’t at all times reply effectively to the warmth.”

For a mission that includes flying rescue missions at a second’s discover, that’s a harmful mixture.

Throughout a go to to the Canadian Forces base in Gao this month, International Information was invited aboard one in all Canada’s Chinook helicopters for a coaching train that concerned a apply touchdown on an overcast night time.

Night vision used during a training exercise in Mali.

Evening imaginative and prescient used throughout a coaching train in Mali.

Jeff Semple / International Information

However shortly after takeoff, the visibility went from poor to zero. A mix of mud, haze and an surprising lightning storm compelled the helicopter to show again to base.

Thankfully, it was solely a coaching train. Nevertheless it was nonetheless a reminder of a local weather that may be each unforgiving and unpredictable.

“This is a gigantic nation with not an entire lot of climate stations in it,” stated Col. Chris McKenna, Canada’s Job Pressure commander. “So we do numerous predictive evaluation utilizing fashions, utilizing satellites, however not numerous climate stations. We’ve got a climate problem right here.”

Canadian helicopters are ‘flying emergency rooms’ in Mali peacekeeping mission

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