October 06, 2016 - 12:41 PM
OTTAWA - The federal government has deployed a team to Haiti to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew and determine what assistance Canada can provide.
"The team is in the field right now, so we will wait for their recommendation before we take any more specific action," International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said Thursday.
The assessment is expected to take several days. In the meantime, Bibeau said, the government has set aside $3 million to provide immediate assistance whenever the United Nations or Canadian Red Cross make a specific request.
The hurricane swept through Haiti on Tuesday, levelling entire communities and cutting off parts of the country from outside assistance.
At least 136 people have been killed, Bibeau said, adding that there were no reports of Canadians among the dead.
The storm, which has since moved north and is approaching Florida, is latest in a string of natural disasters to hit the Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.
In addition to hurricanes, the island country has been hit by deadly flooding and a devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed at least 100,000 people.
Canada sent two naval vessels, six helicopters, transport aircraft and 2,000 military personnel to help in the aftermath of the earthquake. Canadians also donated $222 million in response to the quake.
The U.S. military announced late Tuesday that it was sending about 150 troops to provide disaster relief in Haiti, with more assistance standing ready if required.
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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016