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In today's Morning Brief, CBC's Peter Armstrong and Ellen Mauro report from earthquake-stricken Haiti, where local medical staff and Canadian volunteers are trying to contend with scores of injured people as supplies run low.

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Despair sets in as a quake-ravaged Haiti grapples with a lack of aid

The courtyard of the Ofatma hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti, is a scene of abject misery right now. 

People wait with arms that were crushed under cinder blocks, heads gashed open by a falling wall. There are children, with skin torn from their bodies, screaming in pain as someone tries to dress the wound. 

Dr. Edouard Destine has been working nearly non-stop since the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the country's southwest on Saturday morning, killing more than 2,000 people and injuring some 12,000 others. He looks dazed as he wraps a cast onto a woman's broken arm.

Destine, who is the hospital's orthopedic surgeon and chief of staff, says they're running out of supplies, but that his staff is doing everything they can.

"We have to see the patients," he said.

Proper treatment is hard to come by right now. Dozens of staff and volunteers have been working around the clock — but they can only do so much.

WATCH | Lack of aid fuels desperation, hopelessness in Haiti: 

Lack of aid fuels desperation, hopelessness in Haiti

10 months ago
Duration 3:43

"This building itself has suffered minor damage in the earthquake," said Brian Johnson, a retired paramedic from Ontario who flew down to help. "We can't use the surgical area because it's completely damaged."

Co-ordinating efforts is Canadian volunteer Valerie Rezpka. She's constantly on the move, assessing patients and marshalling what resources the hospital has left. Five days into the effort, you can hear a certain weariness in her voice.

"There's nothing in this hospital," she said. "The beds are full, the cupboards are empty. We need as much as we can get." Read more on this story here.

Protesters arrested, pepper-sprayed as Halifax police clear shelters from city land

(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

A protester jostled with a police officer in Halifax on Wednesday as officials began clearing dozens of tents and temporary shelters from encampments in parks and green spaces in the city's downtown. Read more about the confrontation here.

In brief

Canadian voters will be hearing a similar message from each of the federal parties during the current election campaign: housing has grown too expensive, and we have a plan to fix it. The consensus reflects the increasingly dire state of housing in Canada, experts say, which affects everyone from prospective homeowners feeling squeezed out of the market to lower-income families languishing on waiting lists for affordable housing. "It doesn't really matter where you fit on the housing spectrum, housing is in a state of crisis in this country," said Jeff Morrison, executive director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association. Click here for a look at what we know about each party's plans, as well as some policy ideas that experts and advocates say Canada's next government should consider if it's serious about addressing the problem.

Social media giant Facebook should be more transparent about how it is reducing the political content Canadians are seeing as they prepare to head to the polls in the federal election, says New Democrat Charlie Angus. "When Facebook says they're going to be having less political coverage, I want to know what does that mean practically, because if they are throttling political conversation and political information when many people coming off the pandemic are getting their information online, that could be very troubling," said the longtime MP. His comments came as Facebook unveiled its 2021 Canadian Election Integrity Initiative, which outlines steps it plans to take to prevent its platform from being used by bad actors to influence the election or to spread misinformation or disinformation. It also includes the continuation of a pilot project to reduce the political content that Canadian users see automatically in their Facebook feeds in favour of posts from friends and family. Read more on this story here

If you have a question about the federal election, send us an email at We're answering as many as we can leading up to election day. 

As kids and teachers get ready to head back to classes — many of them in person after a year of interruptions caused by COVID-19 — parents across the country are organizing to take action to ensure their kids and school staff stay safe. In Winnipeg, parents are petitioning the government to require regular rapid testing for students and staff. In Vancouver, many parents rallied for a mask mandate in elementary and secondary schools. In Toronto, a mom is advocating support for kids and teachers struggling with online learning. And in Newmarket, Ont., Shameela Shakeel is pushing for strong ventilation systems, smaller class sizes and vaccination mandates for school staff to protect kids under 12 who are too young to get the shots themselves. "We are still pushing for the same things we were pushing for last year," said Shakeel, a mother of four, who is the co-chair of parent-teacher coalition York Communities for Public Education. Read more as students get ready to return to class

WATCH | Vaccination rules in schools ease concerns for some Ontario parents: 

Vaccination rules in schools ease concerns for some Ontario parents

10 months ago
Duration 2:02

More than 2½ years after Meng Wanzhou first stepped into a Canadian courtroom, legal arguments at the Huawei executive's marathon extradition hearing concluded Wednesday. A final decision on whether to render Meng to the United States to face fraud charges now rests with B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, who isn't expected to deliver a verdict for months. The hotly contested legal battle has seen the case picked apart in minute detail by Meng's team of prominent defence lawyers and Crown prosecutors led by the Justice Department's chief counsel, Robert Frater. The arguments concluded with a pithy Crown response to a defence case mounted over three days, and then a defence reply to the reply. Holmes reserved her decision Wednesday, setting a next appearance in the proceedings for Oct. 21. She said she would not have a verdict at that point, but expected to have a better idea of when one might be delivered. Read more on Meng's extradition hearing

Canadians who are trying to sponsor their Afghan spouses to come to Canada say the process should be expedited now that the Taliban has taken over the country. But some say they're getting little to no help from their MPs or from the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Mastora Mohammad Azim is a 29-year-old nurse who lives in Scarborough, Ont. Her 32-year-old husband Omar — she asked that he only be identified by his first name because she fears he could be in danger — lives in Kabul, which fell to the Taliban on Sunday. She worries Omar's neighbours will report him to the Taliban for being married to a foreigner and for, until recently, working at a girls' school. "There's no life without him for me," she said through tears in an interview with CBC News. "I just want to be with him and for him to be safe." Read more on the Canadians trying to get their spouses out of Afghanistan

WATCH | Growing pleas for Canada's help getting people out of Afghanistan: 

Growing pleas for Canada’s help getting people out of Afghanistan

10 months ago
Duration 2:02

A former Lytton, B.C., resident has filed a potential class-action lawsuit against both the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National rail companies, claiming their negligence caused the fire that burned down her community. A fire tore through Lytton on June 30, destroying most homes and businesses in the village and killing two people. Carel Moiseiwitsch lost her home, her business and her cat in the fire. In the lawsuit, Moiseiwitsch claims the fire was caused by heat or sparks from a freight train owned by CP Rail that was operated by CN Rail on tracks owned by CN Rail. The lawsuit, which has not yet been certified as a class action, says the defendants knew, or ought to have known, that the weather conditions in the area at the time made it unsafe for trains to operate. Lytton set nationwide temperature records as it reached 49.6 C the day before the fire started. None of the allegations have been proven in court. A CN spokesperson said the company has received the filing. CP said that because official investigations remain ongoing, "any conclusions or speculation regarding any cause of the Lytton fire or contribution factor remains premature." Read more on the lawsuit here

Now for some good news to start your Thursday: Sixteen-year-old Jena Yue has been busy this summer organizing and hosting painting sessions for seniors, with the help of some of her high school friends. The West Vancouver teen came up with the intergenerational workshops as a way to help seniors and youth connect through art after an isolating and challenging year. "I started painting a lot more [during the pandemic], because when you can't go outside, what else do you do? So I thought we could bring that to other people," said Yue, who starts Grade 12 in September. For Lise and Ellis Brayham, married for more than 60 years, it's a way to renew a hobby they both enjoy. They bring their own paint brushes to each session. "We've been painting for 20 years, less and less as the years go," explained Ellis as he chuckled, "It's fun but the hands aren't as steady as they used to be." Read more on the painting sessions here

Front Burner: 'Not again': Haitians cope with another earthquake

Still recovering from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010, Haiti is now grappling with the aftermath of a magnitude 7.2 quake on Saturday. 

Overflowing hospitals, thousands of people without homes and critical supply shortages have Haitians remembering the country's challenges in recovering from previous natural disasters.

Today on Front Burner, we get a portrait of what's happening on the ground in Haiti, and the community organizing that's happening in Canada to support relief efforts there. In Port-au-Prince, Jameson Francisque is a journalist and editor of the online news site AyiboPost. And in Montreal, Marjorie Villefranche runs La Maison d'Haiti, a help centre for Montreal's Haitian community.

Today in history: August 19

1921: Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry is born.

1942: Nearly 5,000 Canadian troops, supported by British and U.S. forces, carry out a raid on the French port of Dieppe. For Canada, it was the costliest day of the Second World War. More than 3,300 troops were killed, wounded or captured. Despite the losses, many military strategists regarded the raid as a valuable lesson for later seaborne landings. Two Canadians and one British soldier won Victoria Crosses that day.

1960: Two dogs, Belka and Strelka, survive an Earth orbit aboard a Soviet Sputnik spacecraft, becoming the first living creatures to circle the Earth and come back alive.

1994: American chemist and peace activist Linus Pauling, the only person to win unshared Nobel prizes twice, dies at age 93. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954, and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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