Eight Canadians killed in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti [PeterPaul.ca] — Following are details of the latest Canadians reported dead in Haiti after a January 12 earthquake rocked the impoverished country:

Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda confirmed Saturday the deaths of two CIDA employees stationed in Haiti.

  • Guillaume Siemienski was a CIDA employee since 1999 on assignment with the United Nations in Haiti when the magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked the Haitian capital. He was a native of Montreal.
  • Hélène Rivard, a CIDA specialist stationed in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, was a CIDA consultant for more than 20 years.

Speaking about the deaths, Minister Oda said “I was deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of Mr. Siemienski and Ms. Rivard.” “They will be remembered for their long-standing commitment to development and to improving the lives of Haitians. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families,” she added.

  • The remains of RCMP Superintendent Douglas Coates were found early Saturday in the UN Headquarters building in Port-au-Prince. The building was completely destroyed following the earthquake.

Coates was one of 82 Canadian police officers serving in Haiti at the time of the earthquake and had served with the RCMP for 32 years.

  • Sergeant Mark Gallagher, 50, died January 14 while serving on a UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti. Gallagher, who joined the RCMP in 1998, received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal in 2002. He later received the Police Exemplary Service Medal.
  • Denis Bellavance, a professor from Drummondville, Quebec, who was teaching computer science at the University of Port-au-Prince, was found dead in the rubble of the university, Cégep de Drummondville Director General, Norman Bernier, confirmed Saturday.

“It is with profound sadness that we have just learned the death of our colleague and friend Denis Bellavance. Our first thoughts are obviously with his family, to whom we extend our deepest condolences and all necessary support, and his colleagues who coexist for years and students who liked both,” said Bernier in a statement.

  • Yvonne Martin, a nurse from Elmira, Ontario, and Montreal university professor Georges Anglade along with his wife, Mireille, were also confirmed dead, the CBC reported Saturday.

As of January 16, eight Canadians have been reported dead.

Other developments:

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon on Saturday said that 1,362 Canadian’s were still unaccounted for in Haiti since the devastating earthquake.

“There are approximately 50 Canadians in the Embassy compound this morning. I am pleased to confirm that we have accounted for all 51 locally engaged Embassy staff,” said Minister Cannon on Saturday.

Cannon added that 451 Canadians had been located safely since the earthquake struck and 460 “have been evacuated since yesterday onboard four Canadian Forces flights.”

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