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Chinese International Search and Rescue Team 10 Years On
Cover Stories Series 2011> Chinese International Search and Rescue Team 10 Years On
UPDATED: August 15, 2011 NO. 33 AUGUST 18, 2011
Fulfilling a Responsibility

Ten years ago, the Chinese International Search and Rescue Team (CISAR) was established in Beijing, the first specialized post-disaster rescue squad in the country.

Compared with counterparts in Western countries, which have histories of more than 100 years, the CISAR is a late starter. But the great effort it has been paying to personnel training, equipment modernization, improvement in work style and international exchanges has contributed to its rapid development to an advanced level, even by international standards.

The CISAR made its international debut in the post-quake rescue mission in Algeria in May 2003. By the fourth year of its operation, it had already assumed the role of UN Rescue Mission Coordinator in a mission in Pakistan due to strong capabilities and rapid response. Following membership expansion and equipment upgrading in 2008, the CISAR passed the evaluation of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification in November 2009, making it the 12th heavy urban search and rescue team qualified for international deployments in the world and the first from a developing country. It is also the first search and rescue team to be able to deploy a mobile field hospital at a disaster site.

In the past decade, the CISAR has participated in 16 disaster rescue and relief missions at home and abroad, traveling more than 138,000 km and rescuing and healing more than 46,000 disaster victims. Giving priority to saving people's lives, the Chinese rescuers did their utmost in every operation despite challenging conditions. Their performance has won international acclaim.

Due largely to unsustainable human activities, natural disasters have occurred around the world more frequently than before and their impact has become increasingly worse. While correcting mankind's errors is essential to address the problem, it is of equal importance for the international community to build up effective emergency rescue and relief capabilities to reduce losses incurred in disasters as much as possible. As one of the world's countries worst affected by various natural disasters, China has an inescapable responsibility in this field.

China has always played a responsible role in international affairs. Its aid to other developing countries has greatly boosted their social and economic development. The CISAR, through its active participation in international rescue and relief missions, again demonstrates China's strong commitment to the benefit of the entire world. And, along with its growing national strength, its contribution will be much greater.

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