Ministerial Statement on the Situation in Chile

(No. 88 – February 28, 2010 – 4:00 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the situation in Chile:

“My department continues to work with other federal government departments to evaluate the effects of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Chile Saturday morning.

“The Government of Chile has assessed the damage caused by the earthquake and President Michelle Bachelet is requesting specific types of assistance from the international community. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated yesterday, Canada stands ready to assist the people of Chile and the Chilean authorities in any way we can during this time of need. We are currently assessing how Canada can best respond to the needs identified by President Bachelet.

“Consular officials estimate that 5,000 Canadians reside in the country, and approximately 1,000 of them are in the affected area.

“Our Embassy in Santiago continues to reach out to those Canadians present in the country. The airport is expected to be closed for at least the next 48 hours, which will affect people’s ability to depart. As the Government of Chile has noted, patience will be required.

“To date, our Operations Centre has received close to 4,000 calls regarding 485 Canadians. A total of 231 Canadians have been located to date. The number of Canadians unaccounted for stands at 254. We continue to use all available means to locate Canadians so they can be reunited with their loved ones.

“I encourage all Canadians who are in the affected areas to call or email home to reassure their loved ones, even if they have not been affected by this event.

“Canadians in Chile requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Canadian Embassy in Santiago at 56-2-652-3800 or call DFAIT’s Emergency Operations Centre collect at 613-996-8885. They can also send an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

“Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be affected by the earthquake in Chile should contact DFAIT’s Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa at 1-800-387-3124 or 613-943-1055 or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.”

For more information, including on how Canadians can provide help, please visit Earthquake hits Chile.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Catherine Loubier
Director of Communications

Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874