Ministerial Statement on Haiti: Thursday, January 21, 8:30 a.m.

(No. 36 - January 21, 2010 - 2:30 p.m. ET) The following is an edited transcript of a statement made to media by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the situation in Haiti. The statement was made at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada headquarters at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2010:

"As the response to the earthquake in Haiti enters its 10th day, coordination on the ground continues to progress.

"The ports of Port-au-Prince and Jacmel are slowly opening up to receive shipments, but logistical challenges remain, and this not unusual with a humanitarian operation of this size.

"We need to combine the strengths of donors, international organizations and the Government of Haiti to be effective.

"The number of confirmed Canadian fatalities remains at 13. We offer our sympathies to families and friends of the deceased.

"The number of Canadians located has risen to 1,818—up from 1,727 at the end of the day yesterday. The number of Canadians unaccounted for in the affected areas has decreased to 357 from 479 at the end of the day yesterday.

"We are actively continuing our efforts to locate Canadians so they can be safely returned to Canada.

"We expect that more Canadians will arrive at the Embassy compound over the course of the coming days. There are 175 Canadians taking refuge there now; there were 56 yesterday.

"Since the beginning of the crisis, 20 flights have returned a total of 1,765 evacuees to Canada.

"Our Emergency Operations Centre has now responded to a total of 29,200 calls, up from 29,000 yesterday.

"The World Food Programme has now delivered more than 1 million rations.

"Canadian aid is meeting immediate needs. Besides making cash contributions to trusted partners, we have deployed essential supplies, for example 2,925 blankets, 4,104 buckets with lids, 1,200 hygiene kits, 3,111 kitchen sets, as well as other equipment.

"The United Nations radio station in Port-au-Prince, MINUSTAH FM, is now back on air and is a vital communications tool.

"Amidst this good news, however, we need to remember that we are just at the beginning of relief efforts. The road ahead will be long and will present new challenges to overcome.

"Day by day, more Canadians are being deployed. To date, we have 51 Canadian government officials on site, in addition to the 33 embassy staff. They are working with over 900 Canadian Forces colleagues.

"We continue to work toward the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti, to be held next Monday [January 25] in Montreal, and to be attended by delegates from 11 nations and from international organizations and development banks.

"Our efforts reflect Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper's deep commitment to providing a concerted whole-of-government response to this devastating earthquake. Together, we have set in motion a rapid, comprehensive and determined disaster-relief effort on behalf of the Government of Canada."

For more information, including advice on how to help those affected by the disaster, please visit Canada's response to the earthquake in Haiti.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada