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Archived - OP HESTIA Update By The Honourable Peter Mackay, Minister Of National Defence

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Thank you,

We are continuing to send equipment and supplies to the affected regions, but our current priority in Haiti is still to deliver basic assistance to those most in need - food, water and medical care to the injured or sick.

As you know, the majority of the Canadian Forces elements we've deployed have left the area of Port -au-Prince and relocated to Jacmel, in the southern part of the country, and to Léogâne, more to the North.

The Canadian Forces medical personnel in place are lending a hand at Saint Michel Hospital, where 6 members of our medical staff, are providing the local population with essential medical care.

Other members of our medical personnel should be arriving from Port-au-Prince in the coming days.

Yesterday, this team was able to treat roughly 100 patients suffering from a variety of injuries and illnesses.

Most of the CF components that we have in Haiti have been moved out of the Port-au-Prince area to Jacmel in the southern part of the country and Léogâne, further to the North.

Further to our efforts to provide medical care to Haitians, deployment began yesterday of the components and personnel for the field hospital that we will establish in Léogâne.

These are expected to begin arriving in Haiti within the next 24 - 48 hours.

As well, a Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit, or ROWPU, is now operational in the Jacmel area and providing potable water to the local population.

As with Jacmel, our priorities in the Léogâne area are to provide medical support, and help Haitians move forward in what will be a long process of rebuilding their nation.

HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Halifax continue operations in their assigned areas off Jacmel and Léogâne, with shore parties continuing to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

While there is still a very long way to go, the tireless efforts of the CF and our whole of government and international partners are making major improvements to the infrastructure throughout Haiti.

In Jacmel, 8 Air Control and Communication Squadron transformed the badly damaged Jacmel Airfield in less than four hours, installing runway lighting that now permits 24 hour a day flying operations.

In fact, more than 34,000 pounds of cargo has been airlifted into Jacmel Airport by the CF since we began using this airfield earlier this week.

Though the majority of CF resources are located in Jacmel and Léogâne, we continue to support the security and recovery efforts in Port au Prince, including at a local University where our search and rescue technicians (SAR Techs) persevere in their efforts to locate survivors, following a report of people still alive in the rubble.

We are also providing security to the Role 2 hospital, the Canadian Embassy and to food and supply convoys travelling in the region.

In total, approximately 1300 Canadian Forces members are deployed to Haiti, doing such important work as, for example, repairing an orphanage, fixing a jetty and setting up a medical clinic - amongst other activities.

They are there to make a difference in the lives of Haitian people and to fill a critical role in support of the Haitian Government, the United Nations, the international relief efforts and our Whole of Government partners.

Canada will continue to do everything we can to save lives, help maintain stability, and assist in the reconstruction of Haiti.

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