Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
January 25, 2010
Canada rushes to aid Haiti in many ways
Government, Development and Peace rally to send money, relief supplies; immigration rules relaxed
FROM WCR NEWS SERVICES
OTTAWA - More than $900,000 in contributions from Canadian Catholics has been raised by Development and Peace in the first few days following the massive Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake.
"I am very moved by the generosity of the Catholic community and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops for supporting us," Michael Casey, executive director of Development and Peace, said in a Jan. 19 news release.
"Thank you for your prayers for the Haitian population who are suffering terribly from this disaster, and all your donations that we are sending to Haiti as quickly as possible."
The federal government announced the same day that it is contributing a total of $80 million to various Haiti relief efforts, including those run by the United Nations, five major non-governmental organizations and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The new monies are in addition to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund that Canada set up to match charitable donations from individual Canadians dollar-for-dollar up to $50 million and the $5 million pledged immediately after the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Eligible donations will be collected from Jan. 12 to Feb. 12 and charitable organizations will have until Feb. 26 to tell CIDA how much they have collected for earthquake relief. The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) is among the many eligible relief organizations.
International Development Minister Bev Oda reported Canadians have already contributed $40 million in private charitable donations that the government will match.
"As we have done in the past, we will continue to support the Haitian government and its people as they recover and rebuild following this terrible tragedy."
Development and Peace is also sending two of its emergency staff members to Haiti to join the Caritas relief mission already underway there.
Development and Peace funnels its money through Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based umbrella organization for Catholic charities.
They will assist the team in providing immediate needs such as shelter, food and water, and will assess the situation in order to relay information to Canada and form a response plan for the long reconstruction process that lies ahead.
CARITAS NEEDS HELP
Caritas staff quickly began delivering aid to the survivors immediately following the earthquake, but was in urgent need of additional relief materials.
Caritas staff in Haiti visited devastated areas of the capital Port-au-Prince Jan. 13 to determine the immediate needs. At least 60 tents were distributed to families, and first aid was given to survivors in clinics and hospitals, Caritas said in a statement.
Canadians can contribute to Development and Peace through their local Catholic parish. They can also donate by telephone (1 888 664-3387), by Internet (www.devp.org) or by sending a cheque made out to Development and Peace (indicate Emergency Haiti).
Cheques should be sent to the following address: Development and Peace, 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd., West, 3rd floor, Montreal QC H3G 1T7.
The Canadian government has also sent another 1,000 troops to Haiti to join those already there. Canada's military also helped evacuate Canadians from Haiti.
Almost 700 Canadians remained unaccounted for as of Jan. 19 and 12 are confirmed dead. The military has already airlifted more than 1,200 Canadians from the island nation.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has instituted special immigration measures to give a priority to new and existing sponsorship applications of citizens and permanent residents with close relatives in Haiti.
Haitians visiting Canada now will be allowed to extend their stay and obtain work permits if they have no other way of supporting themselves here.
The government has set up a special central website for information about Haiti that can be accessed via www.international.gc.ca. Click on the Earthquake in Haiti button on the top right hand side of your computer screen.
Canada already had a strong presence in Haiti and, before the earthquake hit, had committed to a $555 million reconstruction and development program over the years 2006-2011.
Canada was the second largest bilateral donor to Haiti and already was contributing more to Haiti than any other country in the Americas. Haiti was second on the list of priority countries for aid after Afghanistan.
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