Prime Minister Paul Martin and David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, were dockside in Halifax Tuesday as four ships loaded with emergency supplies prepared to head for the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Three navy ships and a Canadian Coast Guard vessel are expected to reach Louisiana in about five days. They are being joined by several Sea King helicopters.
One thousand Canadian Forces and coast guard personnel are aboard. They're are bringing provisions including clean water, massive tents, cots, body bags, assault boats, lumber, pollution cleanup equipment, bug spray, and even diapers and baby wipes.
Navy officials were not sure how long the mission will last. Planes will continue to replenish supplies once the ships are in waters off Louisiana.
Canadian navy divers have also been dispatched from Halifax and Esquimalt, B.C. They will help their U.S. counterparts clear navigational hazards such as loose barges and inspect New Orleans' damaged levees.
HMCS Athabaskan sits in port in Halifax, Monday. (CP Photo/Halifax Daily News/Jeff Harper))
Although the current emphasis is on basic supplies, Canada could consider sending more sophisticated equipment, such as mobile hospitals.
The aid is coming from stockpiles set aside as part of the Canadian military's own disaster preparedness plans.
Some of the Canadian crew said they were anxious about the assignment, since the mayor of New Orleans has predicted as many as 10,000 people may have died in the hurricane and flooding.
*EDIT* Oops my bad, put it in the wrong section, can a Mod put it in the world events section please, and delete this edit
Edited by Thanato, 07 September 2005 - 02:13 AM.