Haiti 2004-1

International Operation Name: N/A

International Operation Dates: N/A

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name: Caribbean

Location: Haiti

Canadian Operation Name: Haiti 2004-1

Canadian Operation Dates: 2004/09/22 – 2004/09/29

Mission Mandate:

To airlift relief supplies to Haiti after major flooding.

Mission Notes:

The Caribbean was hit by a series of powerful hurricanes in 2004. Ivan, the fifth hurricane of the year, was one of the most intense on record, fluctuating between Category 4 and 5 ratings. Passing south of the island of Hispaniola, on 15 September, Ivan’s leading northern tip struck the southern peninsula of Haiti. More than 2,500 people were left homeless.

Hurricane Jeanne followed Ivan and took a northern route. Jeanne, hit the north shore of Hispaniola on 16 September before weakening to a tropical storm, but dumped significant rain in Haiti while slowly moving along the coast. On 19 September, Jeanne finally left Hispaniola as it headed North.

For Haiti, the effects from hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne where devastating. Decades of poverty and deforestation had already stripped the Haitian hills of their forest cover as wood was used as a fuel. Rainfall, instead of being absorbed by the soil and slowed in its course to lower ground by natural barriers, created flash floods and mudslides. Bridges, roads, and infrastructure such as water and sewages systems were washed away. More than 3,000 Haitians died. About 300,00 were left homeless. Most heavily hit was the city of Gonaives, located on the central coast.

In the aftermath of the two hurricanes, food, shelter, and clean water were priorities. The response of the Canadian Government to the disaster in Haiti was almost immediate. Canada provided 3$ million in aid to relief agencies, including 1$ million for the World Food Programme. Médecins du Monde Canada received $250,000 to provide emergency health services and vaccination clinics. In addition, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) delivered relief supplies for the Red Cross and the Canadian International Development Agency.

On 22 September, a Hercules transported 2,400 blankets and 400 rolls of plastic for use in temporary shelters to Port-au-Prince. The CAF provided this service, as no private freight forwarder was available to dispatch the supplies quickly enough. On 28 September, an Airbus and Hercules transported more than 30 tonnes of supplies to Haiti. This aid included more than 3,000 water containers each containing 20L and 27,000 hygiene kits. The Ministry of Public Security of the Government of Quebec, and the Quebec Division of the Red Cross provided the hygiene kits and water in response to specific requests from the International Federation of the Red Cross.

On 15 and 16 October, a CC-150 (Polaris aircraft) conducted two flights to Haiti to deliver further supplies from organizations in Montreal. One additional flight occurred in response to the humanitarian situation in Haiti, on 20 December, when a Hercules from 8 Wing delivered 13 tonnes of food collected in Montreal.

The content of this webpage was prepared by the Operational Records section within the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH).

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