A photo of Canadian soldiers loading supplies onto an airplane to send to survivors of Hurricane Harvey.

Photo Credit: Canadian Department of National Defense

In keeping with a tradition of cross-border emergency assistance, on August 28 the Government of Canada offered its assistance to the United States following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

After receiving Canada’s offer to support Harvey relief efforts, FEMA’s International Affairs Division, in consultation with Mass Care experts in the National Response Coordination Center, identified select pediatric supplies including cribs, pillows, and baby formula as being a critical need for many survivors.  Responding to a formal request from FEMA, our Canadian counterparts then began to procure the list of target commodities and supplies.

On September 3, a Canadian C-130 Hercules military transport plane delivered over 27,000 pounds of relief goods to FEMA at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. FEMA then donated the supplies to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) through the Salvation Army for distribution to shelters and survivors. 

FEMA implemented the International Assistance System to facilitate acceptance of the Canadian offer. The International Assistance System is a set of policies and procedures used by the federal government to manage foreign donations and resources after a presidentially-declared disaster. The system provides mechanisms for reviewing and receiving foreign offers of assistance to the federal government, as well as requests for international resources made by the federal government following major domestic disasters. Diplomatic concerns, operational need, and regulatory requirements are among the many considerations that FEMA and interagency partners consider when evaluating foreign offers of assistance.

By coordinating the dedicated efforts of response support staff, interagency partners, the Salvation Army, and our Canadian allies, FEMA succeeded in transferring international aid to survivors in need.