On Monday, during the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti in Montreal, Prime Minister Stephen Harper rallied the international community to a strategic and coordinated effort to help rebuild Haiti.
The Prime Minister outlined three principles to guide the work of Haiti reconstruction:
- Sustainability – the world must commit to Haiti for the long-term.
- Effectiveness – resources must be directed to where they are most needed.
- Accountability – the commitments we make must be firm and lasting to ensure Canadian tax dollars are used effectively.
Last week, our Government was proud to announce Canada will provide an additional $80 million for humanitarian aid and assistance in Haiti. This brings our total response to a potential $135 million.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Laureen Harper recently visited the Canadian Red Cross office in Ottawa to make a personal donation towards the relief efforts in Haiti. Our Government is reminding Canadians that cash donations are the fastest, most efficient way to get help to people living in a disaster zone. We encourage all Canadians to contribute to the registered charity of their choice to help in the earthquake relief. In order to avoid potential fraud, we urge everyone to ensure that their charity of choice is a registered charity. More information can be found at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/donors/index.html
To acknowledge the generosity of Canadians, our Government has also announced that we will match, dollar for dollar, Canadians’ charitable contributions to registered organizations for disaster assistance in Haiti. Thus far, over $30 million has been donated. This is in addition to the $5 million preliminary emergency contribution announced earlier this week.
To date, Canada has provided rapid response to the current situation in Haiti:
- A Canadian Forces DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) team has been sent to Haiti.
- Canadian Forces aircraft are being dispatched daily to bring such things as emergency supplies, personnel, and search and rescue helicopters.
- These same planes are being used to bring Canadians home. To date, almost 1000 people have been brought safely back home.
- Within a short time, we will have approximately 2,000 men and women, seven helicopters and two ships contributing to rescue, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
- The HMCS Halifax and HMCS Athabaskan, two Canadian naval ships loaded with food, bottled water, medical equipment and humanitarian supplies, have left for Haiti.
- A Canadian field hospital is now operating in Haiti.
- We are setting up expedited immigration procedures for Haitians with family in Canada.
- The Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince continues to provide emergency support to Canadian citizens in need.
Our Government offers our most sincere condolences to those who have lost friends and family in this terrible event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people, as well as those who are worried about the safety and security of their loved ones.
Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be in Haiti should contact the Emergency Operations Centre by calling 1-800-387-3124. They may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates on the situation in Haiti are available at: http://www.international.gc.ca/humanitarian-humanitaire/earthquake_seisme_haiti.aspx.