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Canada's response to the earthquake in Haiti

First response: January 12 to March 31, 2010

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Members of the Canadian Forces lift the wall of a shelter being built for an orphanage in the hills just outside of Jacmel, Haiti. Photo: MCpl David Hardwick


Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s Minister of Foreign AffairsCanada participated in the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti, at the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 31, 2010.

• Canada helps Haiti eliminate all debt owed to World Bank
• Canada will provide further $400 million
• Canada to participate in international donors’ donference

 

Humanitarian aid

A Haitian woman distributes a daily portion of rice and beans to Haitians from Jacmel that gather in the food distribution compound at Pinchinant, Haiti. Photo: Cpl Julie Bélisle From January 12 to March 31, 2010, the Government of Canada mounted a rapid and comprehensive humanitarian response, involving departments and agencies from across the federal government.

The numbers 

  • Canada acted swiftly to evacuate 4,620 Canadians citizens and permanent residents on 49 flights from Haiti.
  • Operation Stork resulted in the successful union of 203 Haitian children with their families in Canada. This was a monumental task — in just a month and a half, the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories processed as many cases from Haiti as are normally done in about two years.
  • Some 56 expert personnel deployed from DFAIT, CIDA, CIC, CBSA, CSC and the RCMP, including search and rescue technicians, medical and logistics personnel, engineers, and humanitarian and disaster victim identification experts. 
  • 19 Canadian humanitarian technical experts deployed to support trusted humanitarian agencies on the ground, including 10 Canadian medical staff deployed to support the joint Canadian-Norwegian Red Cross Field Hospital funded by CIDA. 
  • Important cash contributionsto facilitate rapid action by trusted and experienced humanitarian agencies: 
    • $5 million for urgent humanitarian needs.
    • $60 million to the UN appeal to fund essential necessities and basic services provided on the ground by UN agencies.
    • $11.5 million to support critical relief efforts by Canadian NGOs.
    • $8.5 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' (IFRC) appeal for the provision of humanitarian assistance. The IFRC is helping to meet emergency needs of some 300,000 affected people.
    • The Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund – Canadians donated $220 million to eligible Canadian charitable organizations in support of Haiti, an amount that will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the government.
    • At the International Donors' Conference at the United Nations on March 31, 2010, Canada announced it will provide an additional $400 million for humanitarian and reconstruction programs in Haiti.

 The actions 

Canadian Forces members are setting up the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU) at the dock in Jacmel, Haiti, to produce clean drinking water for the local population and Canadian Forces members. Photo: MCpl David Hardwick.

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada is committed to helping reunite family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have been, and continue to be, seriously affected by the disaster, and has implemented a series of special immigration measures
  • March 4, 2010 marked the conclusion of Operation Stork which resulted in the successful union of 203 Haitian children with their families in Canada since the earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince on January 12.
  • At the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, an Interdepartmental Strategic Support Team (ISST) was sent to the affected region within 20 hours of the earthquake. This joint civilian and military team, composed of DFAIT, CIDA and DND personnel deployed to the most affected areas to assess needs, engage other donors and the Government of Haiti, and identify possible actions that Canada could take. 
  • Based on a recommendation from the ISST that there was an urgent need for a Canadian focus on water purification, primary medical care, logistics and coordination support for the UN, the Prime Minister decided to deploy Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) on January 18. 
  • Under Operation HESTIA, the Canadian Forces participation in humanitarian operations conducted in response to the earthquake in Haiti, Joint Task Force Haiti (JTFH), which includes the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), has the mandate to deliver services in support of the Government of Haiti and the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince. In particular, JTFH offers emergency medical services, engineering expertise; mobility by sea, land and air; and defence and security support. After reaching an effective strength of 2,000 soldiers, sailors and air force personnel, Joint Task Force Haiti has begun its progressive withdrawal.

Diplomatic efforts

Prime Minister Harper in Haiti The Government of Canada is working closely with the Government of Haiti, the United Nations and the international community in support of a coordinated and effective response to this disaster.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon continues to collaborate with the Ministers of National Defence, International Cooperation, Citizenship and Immigration, and other Cabinet colleagues to ensure a cohesive approach.

  • From March 15 to 17, 2010, a Canadian delegation composed of DFAIT and CIDA senior officials participated in the technical meeting on reconstruction in Haiti hosted by the Dominican Republic. The meeting aimed at assisting the Government of Haiti in the development of its National Reconstruction Plan as well as coordinating donor support in preparation to the New York Conference, to be held on March 31st.

Minister Cannon (centre) and Minister of State Kent (on right) welcome Haiti's Prime Minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, to the opening sesion of the Ministerial Prepaatory Conference in Montreal on January 25, 2010.

  • On January 25, the Government of Canada hosted the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti in Montreal, with foreign ministers from the Group of Friends of Haiti, major donors and key regional and multilateral partners engaged in Haiti. Chaired by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, the conference contributed to establishing a clear and common vision within the international community for the early recovery and longer-term reconstruction of Haiti.
  • On January 18, Minister of State Kent attended a meeting hosted by the Dominican Republic, to discuss the development of longer-term reconstruction plans in Haiti. In attendance were the President of Haiti, René Préval, regional leaders and representatives of international organizations including the United Nations.
  • On January 17, Minister Cannon, at the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, hosted a teleconference with Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy, nine foreign ministers from the Group of Friends of Haiti, and José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, to strengthen the international community’s commitment to coordinate relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.
  • On January 14, Minister Cannon spoke with UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy. Minister Cannon has also spoken with his Brazilian counterpart, Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, as well as with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and American Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson. 
  • On January 13, Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the emergency situation in Haiti. The Prime Minister also spoke with President Obama to discuss the deployment of a coordinated response.

Context

Haiti is the largest recipient of Canadian development assistance in the Americas. Canada has been working on several fronts to help reduce poverty in Haiti. Canada has allocated $555 million over five years (2006-2011) to reconstruction and development efforts in Haiti. Find out more at Our Priorities: Prosperity, Security, and Democratic Governance.

Related links

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