September 06, 2005

Canadian Katrina updates

The Canadian SAR team ended up moving to Chalmette, Louisiana, east of New Orleans, where they were able to commence rescue activities on Sept. 3. Team leaders report "the devastation is beyond comprehension." They rescued 73 people the first day (Saturday), and another 14 the next. Team leaders report they are beginning to plan for their extraction as FEMA resources have started to flood in.

A 35-man Canadian Forces composite diving unit left by plane on the weekend to join the U.S. 2nd Fleet.

The four-ship naval squadron is due to depart Halifax this afternoon and be in the area by Saturday.

Two Canadian Air Force helicopters have deployed to assist the Boston-area Coast Guard, which has sent all its helos to Louisiana.

Twenty-seven Canadian Red Cross personnel were flown to the stricken area on an Air Force plane, as well.

The combined military/coast guard operation is called Operation Unison... a previous report it was called Operation Union was incorrect.

The University of Windsor joined McGill in offering placements to affected university students. The first one to take up their offer arrived on the weekend.

Four Canadians are still unaccounted for, Foreign Affairs reports.

UPDATES, 3 pm: The University of Toronto is also opening its doors.

Also, the Canadian government has offered everything in the national emergency stockpiles if the American government wants it, the Vancouver Sun is reporting (subscriber-pay link):

"Worth about $300 million and housed in half a dozen strategically placed depots across the country, the stockpile includes hospital beds and blankets, pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and 165 field hospitals. Each hospital has 200 beds that can be deployed within 24 hours and set up in schools, community centres, concert halls and other buildings.

"Canada has also offered water purification tablets, gloves, masks, bandages and surgical instruments in "mini clinics" that can be carried in backpacks, federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said Friday."

Posted by BruceR at 10:23 AM