DART is a 'not for profit' Non Government Organisation (NGO) of highly trained, trade qualified and widely experienced, volunteer Arborists, motivated by a humanitarian desire to provide specialist support to international disaster relief operations.
Trees are an important natural resource. In many parts of the world they are vital to the local culture and economy as valuable sources of food, shelter and raw materials. However, during a natural disaster trees are often the direct cause of death, casualties and destruction.
Their secondary impact can be even more far reaching:
Fallen trees damage vital emergency buildings such as hospitals and food distribution centres, they bring down power lines, disrupt water supplies and block major road and rail links.
Tree damage is a common problem following earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and typhoons responsible for delaying rescue operations, impeding the flow of humanitarian aid and hindering the wider recovery operation.
Understandably therefore in the immediate aftermath of many natural disasters there has been a tendency to view fallen trees simply as obstructions, a problem to be removed as quickly as possible, using whatever local resources are available.
In practice this often translates to untrained and inexperienced NGO staff, volunteers or unskilled labour carrying out highly dangerous 'hack and burn' clearance operations using a collection of hastily procured tools ranging from machetes to chain saws.
Owing to a lack of professional knowledge and experience little or no attention may be given to inherent dangers of clearing fallen and hung-up trees, the potential value of the timber itself or even the possibility that some trees might be saved for future generations.
Not only does this ad hoc approach risk the health and safety of everyone involved, it also destroys a potentially valuable commodity that, if processed correctly, could retain economic value and be saved or recycled as part of the reconstruction process.
DART International UK aims to address this gap in the international framework of disaster relief organisations by providing teams of rapid response arborists who are appropriately trained and equipped to support disaster relief operations worldwide.
DART will always respond in accordance with the Humanitarian Charter, ensuring that its actions reflect the Sphere Project philosophy. That philosophy is grounded in two core beliefs:
First, that those affected by disaster have a right to life with dignity and, therefore, a right to assistance;
Second, that all possible steps should be taken to alleviate human suffering arising out of disaster.
In its approach to operations, DART will uphold the core standards of the Charter and focus on the capacity and active participation of those affected by the disaster.
To that end it will strive to consult with the disaster-affected population, and be sensitive to their safety, culture, welfare and best interests at all times.
Where possible, it will promote greater awareness of the inherent dangers posed by fallen and hung-up trees and train local people in the safe use of chainsaws and other associated equipment, aiding them to move on with their lives.
This is where the DART team of qualified, highly trained, skilled adaptable arborists comes in.
Disaster Arborist Response Team (D-A-R-T) has been set up as a professional arborist team of trained volunteers in the aftermath of some of its members responding to the Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines in November 2013.
DART is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), which is a new form of legal entity designed for non-profit organisations.
Has no paid members of staff and is run fully on donations and sponsorship, all of which goes directly back in to the organisation to help with our training and response needs, to save lives and help others. DART International UK is a Response team, made up of many different people with many different skills. We market ourselves as arborists but have many other skills that are utilised in our response work internationally.
Since our official launch at the Arboricultural Association's ArbShow 2014 we have carried out two highly successful deployments. Further information Deployment news
March 2015 Vanuatu: Due to the lack of funds we could only send two volunteers to Vanuatu in the South Pacific which was devastated by Cyclone Pam. The category five storm hit Vanuatu in March 2015, bringing wind gusts of up to 300km/h (185mph).
January 2016 San Jose, Northern Samar, Philippines: A team of 4 volunteers was deployed on New Years Eve in response to a direct request from the municipal mayor of San Jose after Typhoon MELOR (known locally as NONA) swept across the central Philippines with winds gusting in excess of 165kph. Three quarters of a million people were evacuated, 100,000 homes destroyed, 181,000 damaged and 290,000 people continue to receive shelter and food aid.