Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 27, 2010 19:44 ET

Minister MacKay Visits Hurricane Igor Relief Effort

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2010) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Cabinet Minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, today visited the Canadian Forces (CF) hurricane relief effort in Newfoundland. He was accompanied by General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, and Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command.

"I am proud of the speed at which over 1,000 troops were able to deploy to Newfoundland and Labrador to rebuild roads, bridges, and communities," said Minister MacKay. "The Canadian Forces stand ready to provide assistance to Canadians with little or no warning and our men and women in uniform will remain dedicated to this effort as long as they are needed."

Minister MacKay visited elements of the Gagetown-based 4 Engineer Support Regiment (4 ESR), currently in Clarenville, N.L., to observe first-hand the work of CF personnel, talk with the troops and observe work to repair and restore essential services to affected communities.

"Our men and women of the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force are proud to be joining with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to help residents affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Igor. This is one of our core missions, to assist civilian authorities and help our fellow Canadians to recover from the aftermath of a natural disaster such as this one," said Gen Natynczyk.

Deployed CF elements to Newfoundland and Labrador include: 4 ESR; a Domestic Response Company composed of approximately 200 reservists from Newfoundland; Her Majesty's Canadian ships St. John's, and Montreal; and three CH-124 Sea King Helicopters. Among the tasks that are being performed by CF troops are bridge and road repairs, transportation of personnel, equipment and food, production and distribution of drinking water. Assessments are currently being conducted to determine future tasks on a priority basis. HMCS Fredericton, which participated in the early stages of the operation, is now on its way back to Halifax.

Joint Task Force Atlantic (JTFA), headquartered in Halifax, N.S., is overseeing this relief effort under the leadership of Brigadier-General Anthony Stack, Deputy Commander of Land Forces Atlantic Area. JTFA falls under Canada Command, which is responsible for CF routine and contingency operations in Canada and North America. Canada Command's roles include sovereignty patrols, air and maritime search and rescue, civil and humanitarian aid (disaster relief), support to law enforcement agencies and support to major public events.

Notes to editor / news director: Images of Operation Lama, the Whole-of-Government response to Hurricane Igor, can be found on the Canadian Forces Combat Camera website at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca

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