By: LCdr Kelly Williamson, Senior PAO, DART
KATHMANDU, NEPAL – Warrant Officer Steve Winstanley, conducts a reconnaissance visit at the request of the International organization for Migration to an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Bhaktapur, Nepal on 03 May 2015 in order to assess the living conditions following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the mountainous nation on April 25, 2015.
A native of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, who has spent much of his military career in New Brunswick, WO Steve Winstanley joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1996. He has had multiple postings to various units based at CFB Gagetown including two postings to the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering where he supervised the cell responsible for, and then instructed military engineers in bridging techniques. WO Winstanley has also had his fair share of overseas deployments, representing Canada in Bosnia (1999), Africa (2000-2001), Haiti (2004) and Afghanistan (2010).
Before the earthquake in Nepal, Winstanley was serving as a section 2I/C with 4 Engineer Support Regiment at CFB Gagetown. One of his secondary duties includes acting as Engineering Operations Warrant Officer with the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). Winstanley was one of the first members of Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team to hit the ground running on 29 April 2015.
“Deploying with the DART is both stressful and satisfying,” says Winstanley. “We don’t have much time when the recall notice is issued and that’s hard on families but it’s also extremely satisfying knowing we will be helping others during a crisis. The DART provides outstanding support and relief to those in need, here in Nepal we have been very well received and welcomed by a nation in need.”
During day-to-day operations, WO Winstanley provides technical advice to planning and operations. His vast experience enables the headquarters to provide creative solutions to the complex problems in a Humanitarian Assistance Operations. His expertise is essential to providing flexibility and adaptability to the HQ organisation. Since his arrival he has provided expert advice and assessment on conditions at IDP camps in the Kathmandu area and played a key role in designing and setting up Camp Sumitra, the DART’s forward operating base in Sindhupalchok District, approximately 70 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu.
Canada is supporting the government of Nepal as it rebuilds and enhances its capacity to respond to the disaster. The DART is equipped to conduct emergency relief operations for up to 40 days, until local authorities, national organizations and international aid-agencies are able to sustain long-term recovery efforts. Working alongside local authorities and humanitarian relief partners, DART acts as a stabilization measure until regular services are restored.
Photo Credit: Warrant Officer Steve Winstanley speaks with a local volunteer inside a camp for Internally Displaced Persons during a reconnaissance patrol by elements of the DART in Bhaktapur, Nepal on May 1, 2015. Photo: Captain Gabriel Rousseau, Canadian Forces Combat Camera.