Canadian military team heading to Haiti

An additional 1,000 Canadian Forces personnel will be sent to Haiti to help with earthquake relief efforts, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.

1,000-strong contingent to arrive this week

An additional 1,000 Canadian Forces personnel will fly to Haiti to help with earthquake relief efforts, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.

Canadian Task Force commander Brig.-Gen. Guy Laroche (right) tours the port of Jacmel, Haiti, on Sunday, a day after he landed in the country to lead Canada's military relief efforts there. ((Tyler Anderson/Canadian Press))

He told a media briefing the soldiers would, among other tasks, work to keep order in the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince, where there is growing frustration among survivors waiting for aid.

"We have Canadian forces that are trained specifically to crowd control and how to respond to this type of deteriorating situation," MacKay said.

The 1,000 military personnel, based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec, will be sent to the impoverished Caribbean country in the coming days.

How to help

To help those affected by the earthquake, here is a list of organizations accepting donations.

"We have the aircraft available. We have secured time slots [for landing at the Port-au-Prince airport], which makes this a more orderly deployment," the minister said.

The soldiers will be serving as engineers, medics and security forces. They'll join at least 200 members of Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team, who are already in Haiti.

The troops from Valcartier will complement an additional 500 soldiers aboard two Canadian Navy vessels that are expected to reach Haiti's shores early this week.

Three water purification units were to leave CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario on Sunday and arrive in Haiti later in the day to set up "immediately," MacKay said.

More Canadians found alive

Finding loved ones

In an effort to help people locate friends and relatives in Haiti, CBC News has set up  a photo gallery  where people can post pictures of the missing and provide information to aid in the search.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, meanwhile, announced that more Canadians have been located in the quake zone. The number of missing is now 1,115, down from 1,362 on Saturday.

The confirmed Canadian quake death toll remains at eight.

An evacuee awaits processing by the Canadian Red Cross at a Montreal airport hotel after flying in from Port-au-Prince early Sunday. ((Peter McCabe/Canadian Press))
Canadians are continuing to leave Haiti by the planeload. About 200 weary Canadians arrived at Trudeau Airport in Montreal aboard two flights late Saturday from Port-au-Prince.

They were evacuated from the quake zone on a military transport jet and an Air Canada plane.

More evacuees returned to Montreal on Sunday morning. A total of six flights to Canada have left Haiti since Thursday and 725 evacuees have been brought home.

The Haitian capital remains in a "grave and fragile" state, with hunger, desperation and ongoing infrastructure problems leading to stress and anger among locals, Cannon said.

"The government of Canada feels it has a moral imperative to do everything in its power [to help]," he said.

Reconstruction meeting

Cannon said Sunday afternoon that he spent an hour on the phone with key players helping Haiti, including Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and foreign ministers from the 16 countries that make up the Group of Friends of Haiti.

The group, which includes the United States, Mexico and several Central and South American countries, began talks on long-term reconstruction efforts and has agreed to a reconstruction conference in Montreal on Jan. 25.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will host the meeting, which will be attended by Bellerive, UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Efforts Alain Le Roy and Organization of American States Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, as well as foreign ministers from various nations, including Peru, Mexico and Uruguay, Cannon said Sunday afternoon.

Other diplomatic efforts include sending Peter Kent, the minister of state of foreign affairs for the Americas, to the Dominican Republic for a meeting on Monday with regional leaders to discuss co-ordination efforts, Cannon said. Haitian President René Préval has been invited to the meeting.

Between Haiti, the ongoing mission in Afghanistan, a new rotation getting ready to travel to Kandahar and preparations for next month's Olympic Games in British Columbia, there are "four major muscle movements happening in the Canadian Forces simultaneously," MacKay said.

"It's something that the Canadian Forces do very well," he said.

The new contingent of soldiers will bring along engineering units, as well as headquarters and support elements and 60 additional vehicles, MacKay added.

Cannon, meanwhile, offered Canada's "heartfelt sympathy" to the families of the eight confirmed Canadian dead, including Ottawa-based RCMP Supt. Doug Coates, Canada's most senior police officer in Haiti.


  • An earlier version of this story reported that Peter Kent, minister of state of foreign affairs for the Americas, was going to Haiti to meet with Haitian President René Préval. The French-English translator incorrectly translated Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's update, which mentioned Kent would be in the Dominican Republic for a meeting.
    Jan 18, 2010 8:56 AM ET

With files from The Canadian Press