Canadian aid reaching devastated Haiti

  • January 21, 2010
{mosimage}OTTAWA - From soldiers on the ground, to special arrangements for Haitian immigrants, to gifts of cash, the Canadian government has mobilized a multi-pronged disaster-relief effort in Haiti.

At an Ottawa news conference Jan. 19, International Development Minister Bev Oda announced a $60 million contribution to the United Nations appeal for Haiti. This includes $39 million towards food and the security for food distribution and $15 million to UNICEF’s health, water and sanitation programs.

Oda also announced grants of $11.5 million each to CARE Canada, Médecins du Monde, Save the Children, World Vision, CECI (Centre d’etude et du coopération internationale), and OXFAM Quebec. Canada will also contribute $8.5 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The new monies complement the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund Canada established to match donations from  Canadians up to $50 million. Canadians donated $40 million in the first week of the campaign.

Donations will be collected until Feb. 12 and organizations will have until Feb. 26 to report how much has been collected. The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and ShareLife are  among the eligible relief organizations. 

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has instituted immigration measures to give priority to new and existing sponsorship applications of Haiti citizens and permanent residents. Priority is also being given to adoptions of Haitian children by Canadians, and Haitians visiting Canada will be allowed to extend their stay and obtain work permits.

“Canada has welcomed a large community of Haitians to this country and is working to reunite families affected by this disaster as quickly as possible,” said Kenney.

The Defense Department dispatched the Canadian Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to provide medical assistance, clean water and engineering to the Jacmel-Legoane region. Canada also sent two warships from Halifax that are anchored off the Haitian coast.

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