Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

August 31, 2008 16:39 ET

Canada Supports U.S. Evacuation Efforts in Preparation for Gustav

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2008) - The Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, today announced that Canada is providing assistance with the evacuation of those in the path of Hurricane Gustav. At the request of the United States government, a Canadian Forces CC-177 aircraft left Canada earlier today for the southern U.S. Gulf Coast. The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, indicated that he had spoken with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to offer further assistance.

"Canada and the United States have a long history of helping each other in times of need," said Minister Emerson. "We were pleased that we could provide this support so quickly." The multipurpose CC-177 departed from CFB Trenton shortly after midday. Purchased by the Government of Canada in 2006 to assist with a host of operations, including humanitarian emergencies, the CC-177 continues to be an invaluable asset to Canada.

"Our highly trained medical team and this specially outfitted CC-177 have the ability to quickly and efficiently move those in need of medical assistance," said Minister MacKay. "Our military support of civil emergency operations helps to save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate damage to property."

Canada is providing the medical fixed-wing aircraft, with medical personnel on board to assist with any health issues, to conduct an evacuation from potentially affected areas. The exact location of the mission and its duration will depend on the storm's track and needs on the ground.

The Canada-U.S. Civil Assistance Plan provides the framework for the execution of this mission. The Civil Assistance Plan, which was announced in February, enhances the ability of the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.

"I spoke with Secretary Chertoff this morning to discuss the situation," said Minister Day. "Secretary Chertoff expressed gratitude on behalf of the U.S. government for Canada's help. I offered any additional assistance they may require on the ground now or after Gustav hits the Gulf states, including help from a Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team. Canada stands ready to help."

Canadians residing in or travelling to the affected areas in the U.S. and Caribbean should exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, follow the advice of local authorities, and contact their travel agent or tour operator to determine whether the situation will disrupt travel arrangements. Canadians seeking emergency consular assistance in these areas should contact the Canadian embassy or consulate, or the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa.

Canadian officials in Ottawa and at Canada's missions abroad remain in close contact with local authorities to determine how best Canada can support preparedness and response efforts in countries affected by the hurricane.

For the latest information for travellers on Hurricane Gustav, please go to: www.international.gc.ca/humanitarian-humanitaire/gustav.aspx.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Lynn Meahan
    Press Secretary
    613-995-1851
    or
    Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
    613-995-1874
    www.international.gc.ca/index.aspx
    or
    Office of the Minister of National Defence
    Jay Paxton
    Press Secretary
    613-996-3100
    or
    Department of National Defence
    Media Liaison Office
    613-996-2353 or 1-866-377-0811
    After hours: 613-792-2973
    www.forces.gc.ca
    or
    Office of the Minister of Public Safety
    Melisa Leclerc
    Director of Communications
    613-991-2863