Saturday, January 16, 2010

Canada and Haiti: Operation Hestia

Canada's response to Haiti is partially recorded at their Defence Force site and partly at their Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)  site. They are not writing as many press releases as the U.S., so the information I have is a little less robust. And they write them differently, so straight-on comparison with the U.S. will not work. In fact, you can bet that both countries are doing much the same things but with style variants.

Operation Hestia is commanded by Brigadier General Guy Laroche and includes search-and-rescue teams, a destroyer with enhanced helicopter detachments, and some additional guards for the Canadian Embassy. The Embassy will likely become a hub for communications and administration on land.

Their Disaster Alert Response Team (DART) is trained to enter 'permissive environments' where the local government allows them to give aid. They have a shining record of humanitarian response. 200 members of the team left for Haiti on January 13th amid a land, air, and sea campaign of other Defence Force elements. The DART will provide primary care, temporary housing, a drinking water facility, and 'limited engineering capability': in other words, first needs first.

The Canadian effort is at least partly focused on evacuation. At least 100 members of the distressed Haitian community were evacuated into Canada on the fifteenth of January. The way Operation Hestia is set up includes coordination at home for evacuees.

Canada has long been committed to Haiti's development. They are the primary recipient of Canada's long term aid. Canadian forces entered Haiti in 2004 to bolster MINUSTAH, and a second Operation Horatio delivered food aid in 2008. They also have a police contingent in Haiti as part of a United Nations police training project. Sadly, one of those officers, Sergeant  Mark Gallagher, died in the quake.

A most informative article on Canada's commitment to Haiti is at the Police One wire service.
Picture above is from the DFAIT site.


real estate agent in Toronto said...

I'm happy that Canada is involved a lot in helping Haiti. It's also good that Canada has sent 1,000 troops to Haiti but on the other it's sad that it's too late to help those that have been trapped under the rubble too many days. I hope that even if Haitians are more and more desperate they will accept this help.


Ann T. said...

Dear REA,
I certainly hope so too. I've been lucky to find bloggers who understand disaster relief and they are all saying it's not the will to give or accept, but rather
the logistics problems and
the time is running out.

You are right to be concerned.

Thank you very much for stopping by. Reader comments almost always help me think further!

Sincerely yours,
Ann T.