Update: Canada boosts contributions to Haitian relief to $135m; more manpower coming

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Canada is boosting its monetary and manpower contributions to Haitian earthquake relief.

Government ministers say Canada has committed up to $135 million to the relief efforts, and it is ready to deploy more police to help stabilize the increasingly volatile situation as soon as it is asked.

Some 2,000 Canadian soldiers, sailors and air crew, including two warships, are deploying to the towns of Jacmel and Leogane, about 40 kilometres southwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Leogane is at the epicentre of the Jan. 12 quake and 90 per cent of the town has been flattened.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says Canada is constantly re-evaluating its role and stands ready to commit more police and security forces to Haiti as soon as UN authorities "signal that conditions allow this."

"Immediate needs are being addressed, such as food, water, shelter, infrastructure, port and airport, as well as communication," Cannon told the government's daily briefing on Canadian efforts in Haiti.

"We need to move beyond reconstruction to build a new Haiti. We are loyal neighbours and partners of the Haitian people, and this is what we're focused on."

Twelve Canadians have been confirmed dead so far; another 699 are missing as some estimates of the total killed by the 7.0-magnitude quake top 150,000.

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said Canadians have contributed more than $40 million to earthquake assistance and Ottawa will match those funds dollar-for-dollar.

The federal government is also contributing $60 million to UN efforts in Haiti, $39 million of it to food security through the World Food Program. The WFP expects to provide more than 100 million meals to quake victims over the next 30 days.

Oda said $15 million of the UN-designated money will go to UNICEF for health, nutrition, protection and water-and-sanitation services for women and children.

The Canadian funds will also go to other health and shelter needs through various UN organizations on the ground in Haiti, including the International Organization for Migration, the UN Population Fund and the World Health Organization.

Additional contributions, on top of the $5 million initially distributed for critical relief supplies such as food, tents and blankets, as well as essential services like water, sanitation and protection:

- $11.5 million to six Canadian non-governmental organizations: CARE Canada, Medecins du Monde Canada; Save the Children, Oxfam Quebec, World Vision and the Canadian Red Cross Society.

- About $1 million for an emergency field hospital, along with 10 Canadian medical and technical professionals, operated by the Norwegian Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross.

- $8.5 million to the emergency appeal of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for water, sanitation and health services to about 300,000 quake victims.

The government's Haiti earthquake relief fund is matching the more than $40 million Canadians have donated to registered humanitarian organizations.

The field hospital can provide surgical and medical care to up to 300 quake victims a day.

Many hospitals in the Haitian capital have collapsed, and those that are open are full. The field hospital includes modules for surgery, first aid and triage, a ward of 70 beds, a community health unit and a psychosocial support unit.

"Let me assure you that we are committed to doing everything possible to ease the suffering of the Haitian people," Oda said.

"As we have done in the past, we will continue to support the Haitian government and its people as they recover and rebuild following this terrible tragedy."

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Canada has airlifted 293 tonnes of relief goods into Haiti so far, including three water purification systems, each of which can produce more than 136,000 litres of clean water daily.

"As the Canadian Forces mount this extraordinary effort to assist Haitians on the ground, Canadians continue to pledge their support both monetarily and spiritually to the people of Haiti," MacKay said.

"Together, we will be able to help see our Haitian friends through this crisis and start on the road to recovery."

Google has set up a Person Finder in relation to the Haiti Earthquake. For the latest information on missing people, visit:

Organizations: UN, World Food Program, International Co Red Cross UNICEF International Organization for Migration World Health Organization CARE Canada World Vision Canadian Red Cross Society International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Canadian Forces Google

Geographic location: Canada, Haiti, Jacmel Port-au-Prince Ottawa

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