Thursday, September 01, 2005

Canada responds to Katrina

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, a department of the Government of Canada, has set up an information page to help Canadians locate friends/relatives and donate to the Canadian Red Cross and registered charities.

Direct links:

In addition, both the prime minister and the government have issued statements to address the aftermath of Katrina and the ongoing state of emergency in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.

Prime Minister Paul Martin (issued yesterday):

"Like all Canadians, I am distressed by the destruction and loss of life wrought by Hurricane Katrina. On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I offer our sincere condolences to the American people. During this most difficult time, Canada stands with you, and we are ready to provide whatever support you may require in the days, weeks and months ahead.

"Even before the enormity of the devastation became clear, I asked Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan to lead the Government of Canada’s response to any requests for assistance. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely. I know that she and a number of her Cabinet colleagues have been in touch with their American counterparts and have begun to determine what assistance Canada can offer. We have made it clear that we are prepared to offer any and all possible assistance, and we will continue to work closely with our neighbours as they deal with this terrible event."

The Government of Canada (issued yesterday):

The Government of Canada today responded to the unfolding crisis in the southern United States in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"This hurricane was one of the most powerful to hit the United States in recorded history," said Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. "The force of the storm -- combined with the unique geography of the region -- will require relief operations to be undertaken over a long period of time."

Minister McLellan was in contact with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Monday and informed him that Canada stands ready to provide assistance if needed. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) is coordinating federal assistance efforts in the event that a formal request is made from the United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). No request for assistance has been received at this time.

"Following on our offer, the United States Department of Health and Human Services today asked for information on the kind of emergency assistance that our Public Health Agency could provide, and to which our officials are now responding," added the Minister.

"In addition, we continue to work with our partners in provincial and territorial governments to identify what goods and services we could provide to our American neighbours, should they request our assistance. The United States has a long and proud history of assisting other countries in times of crisis, and we now stand ready to help them in their time of need."

Financial donations are the most effective way for individual Canadians to assist in the relief efforts. Those wishing to donate may contact the Canadian Red Cross’s 2005 Hurricane Fund at 1-800-418-1111 or online at www.redcross.ca.

Needless to say, we Canadians stand by our American friends in this time of need.

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