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Sgt Mark Gallagher speaks to the media during a news conference in Halifax, N.S., in this Sept. 2008 file photo. (The Canadian Press)
Sgt Mark Gallagher speaks to the media during a news conference in Halifax, N.S., in this Sept. 2008 file photo. (The Canadian Press)

Canadian nurse among dead in Haiti Add to ...

A Canadian nurse who travelled to Haiti to do missionary work has died in the earthquake that devastated the impoverished country.

As well, two Canadian police officers who were participating in a peace operations program are missing.

Lou Geense, the director of global initiatives with the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada, said Yvonne Martin was one of seven people who arrived in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday afternoon.

"It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the death of our dear sister, Yvonne Martin. Yvonne passed away as the result of the earthquake in Haiti, where she had just arrived to do medical mission work for the fourth time," says a statement on the website of the Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church.

Ms. Martin, of Elmira, Ont., was the only one of her group who did not survive. Her body was discovered this afternoon.

"We are deeply saddened by this loss, and wish to express our sincere sympathy to her family," church president Phil Delsaut said in a statement.

The RCMP said on Wednesday that three of the 82 Canadian police officers on the ground in the country that has been devastated by an earthquake were unaccounted for.

But Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told reporters shortly before noon that the number of missing officers had been reduced to two.

The officers are Superintendent Douglas Coates, of Ottawa and Sergeant Mark Gallagher of Halifax.

"Everything is being done to reach them. Don't worry, we are doing everything we can," said RCMP Sgt Pat Flood.

Lisa Gallagher, Sgt. Gallagher's wife, said she is worried her husband might be trapped in the rubble of a two-story apartment building he was living in in the country's capital.

Ms. Gallagher said she last spoke to her husband about 30 minutes before the earthquake struck.

"I'm assuming his apartment building has sustained some damage and I just hope he's not stuck in the rubble," she said. "I'm just hoping that if he's stuck somewhere he can hang on until they get to him."

In a statement, Foreign Affairs said it had received reports of "possible Canadian casualties" and expects more as search operations unfold.

The department also said the trapped Canadian who sent a text message asking for help is now safe.

The RCMP manages the peace program and deploys Canadian police from agencies across the country to trouble spots around the world. Haiti is the largest of the missions.

Just 13 of the officers who are currently stationed in Haiti are members of the RCMP, said Sgt. Flood. The others are with "partner services."

Sgt. Flood would not say whether the missing officers are members of her force or belong to another police service. Nor would she release any information about their names and home towns.

"We're not doing a breakdown at this time," she said. "We are still focusing on trying to locate them. As soon as we have any additional information in where they are from and who they are, we will be releasing that."

The RCMP is also not saying where in the country the officers were working when the earthquake hit. "We were not exclusively in Port au Prince," said Sgt. Flood. "We were posted to many different areas of the country."

Meanwhile, the Disaster Assistance Relief Team will be deployed to help with emergency relief in Haiti as part of Canada's humanitarian effort, which the military has dubbed Operation Hamlet. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon confirmed the deployment of DART just after noon in a news conference with Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

"Canada is committed to supporting the Haitian people in these devastating times. We understand the situation is very chaotic and damage is extensive," Mr. Cannon told a press conference earlier in the day in Ottawa.

It is not clear yet how the DART will be configured. A Canadian Forces Hercules is on its way to Haiti now and will determine exactly what is needed.

As well, HMCS Halifax, which was about 200 km off the coast of Nova Scotia, is now steaming back to port to be outfitted to go to Haiti. It will be equipped with a Sea King helicopter.

The government is also pledging $5-million immediately to help with emergency shelter, medical, food, water and sanitation for earthquake-stricken Haiti.

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announced the measure Wednesday morning on a conference call with reporters. Ms. Oda also said the Canadian government, through the Red Cross, is working with the Norwegian government on a field hospital.

As news emerged Wednesday of mounting deaths and extensive damage, Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital. It was unknown how many people were still trapped.

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