(No. 60 - February 9, 2010 - 12:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the situation in Haiti:
"Our government continues to do everything in its power to assist Canadians affected by this disaster. Evacuation operations are ongoing, with over 4,000 Canadians evacuated to date. Most of the 43 evacuation flights have been operated by the Department of National Defence; Canadian commercial carriers have also provided pro bono flights to support our efforts.
"We are still working to confirm the whereabouts of all Canadians. Our officials are following up on all reports to the best of their ability, given the devastation to infrastructure and communications in Haiti. To date, there are 27 confirmed Canadian deaths; 73 Canadians remain unaccounted for in the affected area.
"The return to Canada of the remains of Canadian victims of the earthquake is a priority for the Government of Canada. We are in regular contact with families who may have lost loved ones as a result of the earthquake.
"Canadian forensic experts, under the leadership of the RCMP, are currently on the ground to carry out the identification process. Throughout the repatriation process, great care is taken to respect the dignity of the deceased and the privacy of the families."
Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be in the affected area should contact Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada's Emergency Operations Centre at 1-800-387-3124 or, for those in Ottawa, 613-943-1055. They may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, including advice on how to help those affected by the disaster, please visit Canada's response to the earthquake in Haiti.
- 30 -
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada