First group of Haiti evacuees to arrive in Montreal
Published Thursday, January 14, 2010 6:07PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 12:42AM EDT
The first group of Canadian evacuees airlifted from quake-ravaged Haiti is expected to arrive at Montreal's Trudeau airport Thursday night.
One hundred people will be onboard the Hercules, a military aircraft that carried Canadian soldiers to the earthquake zone.
Catherine Loubier, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, confirmed that the plane is scheduled to land at 10:05 p.m. ET.
Priority in the evacuation effort is being given to injured people, women and children.
The evacuees are currently in the Dominican Republic.
CTV's Tom Clark, who is the Dominican Republic, said a second plane load of Canadian evacuees were to be air lifted out of Haiti shortly after the first plane load took off.
Premier Jean Charest announced that a welcome centre will be set up at the Trudeau airport to help those returning from the devastated Caribbean island.
A number of federal officials are expected to be on standby at the airport to meet the evacuees.
Ottawa reaches out to Haitian Montrealers
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon met with about a dozen community representatives at a community centre in St. Michel, and sought to reassure them that the federal government was doing everything it could.
"What we need to do, we will do," the minister told the group.
But that did little to calm anxieties.
One sobbing woman told reporters she couldn't get any news about her missing father, husband, and the four-year-old sister she has been helping to raise following the death of their mother.
"I just want my family. . . I hope they're going to do something," Stones Jean-Louis, 25, said through tears. The 25-year-old woman hasn't seen her relatives since they left to visit Haiti a month ago.
Sheltered in embassy
There are as many as 6,000 Canadians living in Haiti, and the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince is sheltering 100 people as the country tries to recover from the worst earthquake in more than 200 years.
The death toll is expected to be in the thousands following the 7.0-magnitude tremblor that leveled much of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday afternoon.
Scam artists are already taking advantage of the disaster, going door to door to solicit cash.
Liberal MP Denis Coderre warned Montrealers to avoid such solicitations and to instead give money to reputable organizations such as the Red Cross or Oxfam..
Sun Youth issued an advisory Thursday morning, also warning the public to be vigilant about impostors
"Sun Youth wishes to inform the public that it is not collecting funds, food or any other material goods to assist the people of Haiti," said the statement.
"People wishing to contribute to the relief efforts are referred by Sun Youth to the Canadian Red-Cross, Quebec division." The telephone number is 1-800-418-1111, or you can log onto www.redcross.ca.
CTV Montreal has a special page with information about how you can help quake victims.
With files from The Canadian Press