|Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Travel to Haiti to Asses Aid and Recovery Efforts|
The Prime Minister will discuss with Rene Preval, President of Haiti, and Jean-Max Bellerive, Prime Minister of Haiti, the challenges of the relief effort and Haiti's reconstruction priorities. Prime Minister Harper will also meet a number of Canadians who are delivering humanitarian aid on the ground.
"I am deeply proud of the remarkable work being done by Canadians to help the Haitian people rebuild," added the Prime Minister. "From providing water, shelter and medical attention to helping rebuild and promote security, they are making a real difference in people's lives."
Canada's leadership role in Haiti reflects the long-standing deep ties between the two countries. Approximately 100,000 Canadians have roots in Haiti and a large number of Canadian families have been personally affected by this disaster.
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CANADA' S RESPONSE TO THE EARTHQUAKE
On January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti, close to the capital Port-au-Prince. The quake killed approximately 200,000 people and injured more than 300,000. Major infrastructure was destroyed, and power and communications were severely disrupted.
Canada was one of the first countries to respond to the crisis, pledging $5 million within 24 hours to meet urgent humanitarian needs.
The following day, on January 13, Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, followed by calls to other world leaders, to discuss the deployment of a coordinated response.
Within hours of the earthquake, the Government deployed civilian and military emergency management experts to Haiti to begin a significant humanitarian response. This included:
More than 4,000 Canadians have been evacuated from Haiti on military and commercial flights.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is helping reunite family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have been seriously affected by the disaster and has implemented a series of special immigration measures. As a result of a decision to expedite existing adoption applications, 183 Haitian children have now arrived in Canada.
Canada also is making available additional police, corrections officers and military personnel to MINUSTAH, the United Nations Mission in Haiti.
On January 25, the Government of Canada hosted the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti in Montreal, which was attended by foreign ministers from the Group of Friends of Haiti, major donors and key regional and multilateral partners. The conference contributed to establishing a clear and common vision for the recovery and long-term reconstruction of Haiti. The United States will host, and Canada co-chair, a pledging conference of international aid donors at the United Nations in New York this spring.
On February 6, G-7 Finance Ministers committed to forgiving Haiti's debt and agreed to work with multilateral institutions toward the forgiveness of Haiti's debt as soon as possible. Canada announced on July 2, 2009, that it would forgive all outstanding bilateral loans to Haiti.
Haiti is the largest recipient of Canadian development assistance in the Americas. Canada has been working on several fronts to help reduce poverty in Haiti and has allocated $555 million over five years (2006-2011) to reconstruction and development efforts in Haiti.
Canada and Haiti officially established diplomatic relations in 1954 when Edward Ritchie Bellemare was appointed Charge d'Affaire of the Canadian Embassy in Haiti. Over the years, relations between both countries have been further cemented with the growth of a substantial Haitian community in Canada as well as the continued presence of Canadian development organizations in Haiti.
Haiti and Canada are members of the United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS) and La Francophonie.
For more information, please consult the following websites:
Canada's response to the earthquake in Haiti
Operation HESTIA and Joint Task Force Haiti
The Disaster Assistance Response Team
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) -- Response to earthquake in Haiti
Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund
Donations raised by Canadians
Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) -- Earthquake in Haiti
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) -- In Focus: Earthquake in Haiti
Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti
Canada - Haiti Relations