Hail CISAR! The World is Diggin' the China International Search and Rescue Team

Fresh off a successful mission to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, the China International Search and Rescue Team (CISAR) boarded a charter jet to another crisis zone, this time in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The 10-member team immediately began pitching in at the collapsed CTV (Canterbury Television) building in Christchurch (images above and below), where as many as 23 Chinese citizens attending a local English language school lie crushed beneath the rubble.

CISAR is a joint military and civilian rapid response force that has operated under the authority of the China Earthquake Administration since April 27, 2001. Though originally formed to assist in domestic natural disasters caused by flooding and earthquakes, CISAR has more recently been deployed abroad with the permission of other nations who have been most appreciative for their assistance.

“Well-equipped” is an understatement when it comes to describing CISAR. The team includes over 20 dogs specially trained to locate buried earthquake survivors and has access to more than 20 dedicated search and rescue vehicles.

As well, CISAR's team members can bring a wealth of advanced life detection devices, portable medical facilities and heavy duty digging machinery to the most isolated locations, with the over-riding purpose being to save lives and reduce suffering due to injuries.

One quietly recognized benefit advanced search and rescue teams like CISAR provide their home countries lies in the diplomatic arena. Showing the flag on the international playing field – in a helpful, constructive capacity – reflects well on China as a positive force in the world. The work CISAR is doing in New Zealand, a first-world nation, will reverberate long after the team has returned to China. (via Xinhuanet and MND/PRC)