Another 1,000 Canadian soldiers are preparing to depart for Haiti to provide relief and security as anger, desperation and the death toll from last Tuesday's earthquake mount.
The troops from 3rd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment (Vandoos) based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec will be involved in peacekeeping and reconstruction, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.
“The situation in Haiti is grave and fragile and in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake a lack of basic needs such as food and clean water are causing stress and anger amongst the local population,” Mr. MacKay told a news conference.
“The government of Canada feels it has a moral imperative to do everything in its power to help with the international relief and stabilization efforts in (Haiti), and to do so as quickly as humanly possible.”
The capital of Port-au-Prince was teetering on the brink of chaos, pushed closer to the edge by a deteriorating security situation and a relief effort that many Haitians feel has been far too slow in coming.
Crowds were reportedly attacking UN vehicles in the slums outside the city, accusing the international community of doing too little to distribute food. There were also reports of looting, including at least one case in which looters made off with a coffin from a funeral home.
The Quebec-based troops will complement 500 soldiers aboard two Canadian navy vessels expected to reach Haiti's shores early this week, as well as the 200-plus members of Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team, who are also in the process of deploying.
Two Canadian Forces Hercules and two C-17 heavy-lift aircraft, along with a helicopter contingent, are also operating in Haiti, delivering relief supplies and evacuating Canadians. Officials estimate more than 200 Canadian Forces personnel are already on the ground.
Ottawa to send additional 1,000 soldiers to Haiti - The Globe and Mail