Statement by Minister Cannon on the Situation in Chile

(No. 89 – March 1, 2010 – 7:20 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the situation in Chile:

“On behalf of the government and people of Canada, I would like to again express our heartfelt sympathies to those who have been affected by the disaster. We extend our condolences to grieving families and friends.

“My colleague, the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), spoke yesterday with Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mariano Fernández. They discussed Chile’s response to the disaster and specific needs that are being identified by Chilean authorities. Minister of State Kent reiterated Canada’s support and intention to respond to Chile’s requirements in the most effective way possible.

“I am pleased to confirm that all locally engaged and Canada-based staff at our mission are safe and that we have no reports of Canadians seriously affected by the earthquake. Thus far, our Operations Centre has received more than 5,000 calls. We have been able to locate 520 Canadians in Chile and are actively trying to establish contact with 337 Canadians in the region who have not yet been located.

“Canadian officials in Santiago, including consular officials, are operating out of an alternative location due to potential structural concerns with the building housing the Canadian Embassy. At this point, this is a precautionary measure.

“Until results of the thorough structural inspection of the building housing the Canadian Embassy are known, Canadian officials will be available at Hotel Rugendas located at Callao 3123 con Augusto Leguia in Santiago, daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (local time).”

Canadians in Chile requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Canadian Embassy in Santiago at 56-2-652-3800 or call Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Emergency Operations Centre collect at 613-996-8885. They may also send an email to sos@international.gc.ca. Calls to the Canadian Embassy in Santiago will continue to be answered by the Operations Centre.

Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be in Chile should contact the Emergency Operations Centre by calling 1-800-387-3124 or, for those in Ottawa, 613-943-1055. They may also send an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

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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