Monday, March 8, 2010



The first wave of Canadian soldiers deployed to Haiti in the wake of the Jan. 12 earthquake returned home Sunday night.

About 100 soliders from the Valcartier military base were greeted by family and friends as their plane touched down in Quebec City.

Canadian soldiers have provided two million litres of clean water, treated 20,000 people injured following the earthquake and served 1.5 million meals, said the Canadian Forces.

"It was very special to see the poverty and to see how we were able to help the people with so few resources — because we were first to arrive on the ground," said Cpl. Hugo Labrie.

The troops are the first of the 850 members of the Royal 22nd Regiment, better known as the 'VanDoos', to come home.

The return of the soliders doesn’t mean the mission is over, said Col. Jean-Marc Lanthier, the deputy commander of Canada’s troops in Haiti.

"It just means that at this point there are sufficient resources and non-government organizations to take over [relief efforts]," said Lanthier.

One month from now, the only Canadian soldiers remaining will be those serving as part of the UN mission helping stabilize the Caribbean nation.

"The hardest part is that we know there is still so much to do," said Cpl. Sylvio Lauzin, whose family’s roots are in Haiti.

On Monday, Governor General Michaelle Jean arrived in Haiti to observe the progress.
She is accompanied by Montreal Mayor GĂ©rald Tremblay.

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12 killed 200,000 people and left millions homeless.

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