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On October 8, 2005, a major earthquake (7.6 on the Richter scale) struck Pakistan in the Muzaffarabad region, some 95 kilometres northeast of Islamabad.

On October 11, following a request from the Government of Pakistan, the Government of Canada deployed an inter-departmental evaluation and assessment team to Pakistan with the task of working with relevant authorities and international agencies to identify intermediate actions that Canada could take in support of relief and recovery efforts, including the possibility of deploying Canadian Forces assets such as the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART).

On October 14, based on the recommendation of the evaluation and assessment team, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that the DART would deploy to the earthquake affected region of Pakistan.

This DART deployment is known as Operation Plateau.

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