Canadian toll in Haiti quake rises to 3
Disaster response team, 2 naval ships being sent to Haiti
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A Montreal couple and an Ontario nurse have been confirmed among the dead in the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti.
Georges Anglade, a Montreal university professor for 30 years, and his wife, Mireille, were visiting friends in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and were killed when the house they were in collapsed.
Their daughter, Pascale Anglade, a doctor in Charlotte, N.C., confirmed the deaths late Wednesday in an interview with The Canadian Press.
Anglade spoke lovingly of her parents, saying their last conversation was a few days ago and was about their grandchildren.
The third victim was Elmira, Ont., nurse Yvonne Martin, who arrived in Haiti's capital on Tuesday afternoon, about 90 minutes before the earthquake hit.
Two RCMP officers and former Quebec MP Serge Marcil are among the scores of people unaccounted for as the country digs out.
In a statement released late Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he had spoken with U.S. President Obama about the two countries co-operating closely to co-ordinate the deployment of an emergency response.
"The first priority is search and rescue … to get to those people who may still be alive and can be saved. As the days progress, we will be working on a wide range of humanitarian and other responses through our various departments here," Harper said.
"Because there are so many Canadian families with relatives there. I know many people are losing sleep over this and worrying. Our hearts are with all of them."
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday on the same issue.
About 6,000 Canadian citizens live in Haiti, but only 700 are registered with the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Cannon said.
He said one Canadian suffered minor injuries, while another person trapped in a building sent a text message requesting help. Government officials knew where the message came from, and it was relayed to embassy staff. The person was subsequently found and is safe, Cannon said.
A total of 100 Canadian citizens have taken refuge in the compound of the Canadian Embassy and another 48 are being assisted, Cannon said.
The department's emergency hotline has fielded more then 11,500 calls from Canadians worried about their family and friends in Haiti.
Canadians concerned about loved ones in Haiti are being asked to call the Department of Foreign Affairs emergency operation centre at 1-800-387-3124 or inquire by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadians requiring assistance in Haiti are being asked to contact embassy officials by calling 613-996-8885.
Canada has promised humanitarian aid and will deploy its Disaster Assistance Response Team to Haiti to help the devastated country. A 20-member reconnaissance team was due to land in Haiti on Wednesday afternoon to determine how best to help, Cannon said.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay confirmed DART will go to Haiti. The team's work includes providing drinking water and medical treatment in disaster areas.
A Canadian C-17 transport plane and two Griffon search-and-rescue helicopters are standing by if needed for relief efforts.
HMCS Halifax, which was about 200 kilometres off the coast of Nova Scotia, has been ordered back to port, where the frigate will be outfitted with a Sea King helicopter. It will then be sent to Haiti, along with HMCS Athabaskan.
Bev Oda, the minister of international co-operation, said Canada will give up to $5 million in immediate aid, including emergency shelter, medical services, food, relief items, water and sanitation services and protection.
Quebec, home to the majority of Canada's 102,000 Haitian-Canadians, has also offered to help the Haitian government.
At the time the quake hit, 82 Canadian police officers were in Haiti teaching law enforcement. Two officers were unaccounted for Wednesday, said spokeswoman Patricia Flood.
The missing Mounties are Supt. Doug Coates from Ottawa headquarters and Sgt. Mark Gallagher of Nova Scotia.
Montreal police Chief Yvan Delorme said 42 Montreal officers were working in Haiti. Police in Quebec have managed to contact most of the officers, who are believed to be safe.
There were also five officers from Quebec City, 13 RCMP members and 20 Quebec provincial police officers. The provincial police officers have all been located.
Former Liberal MP Serge Marcil, who now works in the private sector, had only been in Port-au-Prince a couple of hours when the quake happened.
Marcil, who is also a former member of the Quebec legislature, was supposed to stay at the Montana Hotel, one of the many buildings that collapsed. It is not known whether he had reached the hotel when the disaster struck.
Thousands of Haitian-Canadians are trying desperately to contact family and friends in Haiti. With phone lines down after the largest earthquake to hit the area in more than 200 years, many were still waiting for news from the people they left behind when they emigrated.
Marjorie Villefranche, program director at Maison D’Haiti in Montreal, said she was devastated by news of the earthquake.
"I think we were in a difficult position. And we were rebuilding the country. We were trying to rebuild the country. Now everything is collapsing, so it's really … it's really … terrible."
Gerald Alexis, a Quebec resident with family in Haiti, said he was luckier than many of his friends because most of his relatives in Haiti have been accounted for. He said he spoke with his sister-in-law shortly after the quake hit.
"She was in the city and she said she was in this huge cloud of dust," Alexis said. "There were people yelling and there were some fires. There's a gas station nearby that was set on fire. A nearby church, a steeple had fallen."
Eric Pierre, Haiti’s honorary consul in Toronto, said it has been difficult to watch the devastation.
"From what I heard, Port-au-Prince is maybe two-thirds devastated, and the major symbol of our government, the national palace, has crumbled," Pierre said.
Pierre, who still has many ties to Haiti, said there was a "certain level of anxiety bordering on panic" in his family as they waited for news.
"We haven’t been able to reach anybody," he said. "All our phone calls get busy signals, so that is the situation. But as far as knowing what is happening in the country, we don’t know."
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff called the $5 million earmarked by Oda "a good start," but called upon the Canadian government to double the amount given by ordinary Canadians.
"I hope the federal government is prepared to come up with more," he told reporters in Mississauga.
With files from The Canadian Press