Justin Trudeau says Canada will ‘stand ready’ to assist Hurricane Irma relief
“Canada is engaged with and in close contact with the Caribbean disaster emergency management agency to determine the needs and to co-ordinate potential assistance as requested,” said Trudeau during the briefing.
WATCH: Hurricane Irma: Some Canadian residents still stranded down south
The HMCS St. John’s, which is leaving for a training session in the region soon, has been ordered to be “at the ready” should the relief effort need any further assistance, he said. Trudeau also warned Canadians who may be in the affected areas to contact the nearest Canadian government office should they need emergency assistance, or Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 emergency watch centre.
How has Canada lent a hand in past natural disasters?
Hurricane Irma is a Category 5 storm currently wreaking havoc on the Caribbean Islands, with experts predicting that the storm could soon reach Florida. This comes just a few weeks after the state of Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey, which brought high-velocity winds and unprecedented rain.
WATCH: Canadian Air Force delivers emergency relief supplies to Hurricane Harvey victims
The Canadian government, as well as independent Canadian institutions, have consistently offered support in the wake of natural disasters such as these in the United States, as well as elsewhere in the world.
“Of course, Canada and Canadians will always stand ready to assist in this time of need for our neighbours to the south,” said Trudeau during the briefing.
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When called upon to assist in the relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey, the Canadian government sent hygiene kits, bed pillows, bath towels, baby formula, baby disposable bottles, baby cribs and baby linens. These items were flown in by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In a statement, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said that Canada and the U.S. are there for each other in times of crisis, “like all good neighbours.”
The Ontario and Quebec governments are also contributing to help with relief aid.
Over a decade ago, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the Canadian government dispatched support for the region by offering supplies and equipment.
Canada’s military assistance during Hurricane Katrina was dubbed Operation UNISON, and included sending three warships, a coast guard vessel and three helicopters to the area. The government also send thousands of blankets, surgical gloves, dressings and other medical supplies to the region.
Canada offered relief for Hurricane Sandy through the national NGO, CARE Canada. With the support of the Canadian government, CARE Canada offered non-food relief items, emergency shelter materials, safe water and hygiene promotion to affected populations in Grand’Anse, Haiti, including female-headed households.
An estimated 24,000 people affected by the storm were aided through these efforts.
WATCH: Trump promises $7.85 billion for Hurricane Harvey relief
CARE Canada is still operational in the areas of Afghanistan, Cuba, Cameroon and others. In addition, CARE Canada is currently preparing to respond to Hurricane Irma.
Other natural disasters where Canada has offered support:
- Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean
- Earthquake in Ecuador
- Earthquakes in Nepal
- Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines
Any Canadians located in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma who need emergency assistance are asked to contact Global Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 613 996 8885 or toll-free numbers in some countries, submit the Emergency contact form, or call the nearest embassy or consulate.
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