There are 1,415 citizens missing in earthquake-ravaged Haiti as Canada continues its relief efforts and as concerns set in about health and sanitation issues in the country's capital.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon provided a grim picture of the situation this morning in a briefing, confirming four Canadian deaths so far and 13 injuries. Over 550 Canadians have been located, he said.
"I understand the worrisome situation afflicting everyone impacted by the disaster. This is a very difficult period and some of the images we have seen and continue to see are unbearable for everyone," Mr. Cannon said.
About 50 Canadians have taken refuge at the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince, he said. Another 50 citizens are being assisted elsewhere.
It is believed there are 6,000 Canadians in Haiti.
However, three Canadian Forces planes have so far been able to evacuate 272 Canadians.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who also briefed reporters, said the Canadian military has been able to establish a "footprint" in the country for staging search and rescue operations, relief efforts and aid delivery.
He described the speed at which the military has been able to set up initially as "unprecedented."
However, he said the situation is "very challenging and fluid."
"I am very pleased with the overall progress … yet there remains clearly much to do," he said, adding that Haitians and the international community are worried about "basic health and sanitation."
As well, the airport remains congested and Mr. MacKay said that the government is working with the Americans to deal with this.
However, four flights will be made to Haiti today from Canada. He said further DART components will be brought in, including six armoured SUVs and additional personnel.
There are 144 Canadian personnel on the ground in Haiti now. Five hundred military personnel are on the two ships that left Halifax yesterday; it is expected they will be in Haiti in a few days.
(Photo: Sergeant Stephane Caputo comforts a Canadian quake victim while waiting to be evacuated from Port-au-Prince yesterday. Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Zoom in and out on parallel images of Port-au-Prince to view the magnitude of the destruction. On the left is the 'before' image. Use buttons under the image to navigate, or click on the picture and drag with your mouse.