Haiti 2004-2

International Information

International Operation Name: Haiti 2004-2

International Mission Name: Haiti 2004-2

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Central America

Location: Haiti

Mission Date: 28 October 2004 - 29 October 2004

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (Haiti 2004-2)

Canadian Task Force Mission Statement: To airlift relief supplies to Haiti after major flooding.

CF Mission/Operation Notes: The Caribbean was hit by a series of powerful hurricanes in 2004. Ivan was the fifth hurricane of the year and one of the most intense on record, fluctuating between Category 4 and 5 status as it made its way towards Cuba. Passing south of the island of Hispaniola, on 15 September Ivan’s leading northern tip struck the southern peninsula of Haiti, deluging this country with heavy rains. Over 2500 people were left homeless. Ivan then swept around the western tip of Cuba before striking Florida. 

Hurricane Jeanne followed Ivan. Jeanne took a northern route, hitting the north shore of Hispaniola on 16 September. Hitting the mountains of the island, Jeanne weakened to a tropical storm, but in doing so dumped a relentless rain on Haiti while slowly moving along the coast. On 19 September, Jeanne finally left Hispaniola, heading north and regaining its strength and hurricane status before hitting Florida. 

For Haiti, the effects from Jeanne, following upon those of Ivan, were devastating. Decades of poverty had stripped Haitian hills of their forest cover, the wood being used a fuel. Rainfall, instead of being absorbed by the soil and slowed in its course to lower ground, now created flash floods and mudslides. Bridges, roads and infrastructure such as water and sewage systems, were washed away. Between the floods and the mudslides, over 2,500 people died and 300,000 left homeless. Most heavily hit was the city of Gonaives on the central coast. 

In the aftermath of the two hurricanes, food, shelter, and clean water became priorities. The UN Peacekeeping force already there to restore peace and stability following a coup d`etat attempted to restore order as Haitian militias – in effect armed bandits – began looting. The UN forces also began the delivery of aid. Non-governmental organizations started relief efforts through their already-established missions in Haiti. 

The response of the Canadian government to the disaster in Haiti was almost immediate. Canada provided over $3 million in aid to relief agencies, including $1 million for the World Food Programme. Medicins du Monde Canada received $250,000 to provide emergency health services and vaccination clinics. In addition, the Canadian Forces delivered relief supplies for the Red Cross and the Canadian International Development Agency. 

On 22 September, a Hercules transported 2400 blankets and 400 rolls of plastic for use in temporary shelters to Port-au-Prince. The CF 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 tons of supplies to Haiti. This aid included over 3000 20-litre water containers and 27,000 hygiene kits. The Ministry of Public Security of the Government of Quebec, and the Quebec Division of the Red Cross provided these supplies in response to specific requests from the International Federation of the Red Cross. 

On 15 and 16 October a CC-150 conducted two flights to Haiti to deliver further supplies from organizations in Montreal to Haitian flood victims. One further flight occurred in response to the humanitarian situation in Haiti. On 20 December, a Hercules from 8 Wing delivered 13 tons of food that had been collected in Montreal.

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