Sunday, February 14, 2010

Canada's Prime Minister to Visit Haiti

MONTREAL — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to become one of the first heads of government to visit Haiti since the country was decimated by an earthquake.

During a two-day tour that begins Monday, Harper will inspect efforts by Canadian armed forces to help rebuild the country. Harper is expected to land in the capital of Port-au-Prince Monday afternoon aboard a military transport plane.

The prime minister will then head to Canadian Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean's ancestral hometown, Jacmel, and from there to Leogane, a key hub of Canadian activity.

Harper will also meet with Haitian President Rene Preval and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

"We are continuing to work with the government of Haiti to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance," Harper said in a statement Sunday.

"At the same time, we now need to address the long-term challenges of reconstruction, based on the principles of sustainability, effectiveness and accountability."

Some 2,000 Canadian troops were deployed to Haiti after the quake and are set up mainly in Jacmel and Leogane, where they are involved in food distribution, water purification, medical aid, installing shelter, clearing roads and enforcing security.

Ottawa managed to evacuate more than 4,325 people after the quake, which killed 31 Canadians. Fifty-five Canadians are still missing.

Source: AP

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