Haiti: Operation HESTIA

News and Press Release
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Operation HESTIA is the Canadian Forces participation in humanitarian operations conducted in response to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 12 January 2010.

Op HESTIA is the military component of a whole-of-government response that also involves Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) and the Canadian International Development Agency. For details of the non-military elements of the Canadian effort, visit the Earthquake in Haiti page on the DFAIT website.

The mission

At 16:53:09 hours local time (21:53:09 UTC) on 12 January 2010, Haiti was struck by an earthquake measured at 7.3 on the Richter scale. The epicentre of the earthquake was located about 15 km from the centre of Port-au-Prince at a depth of 10 km. Significant aftershocks followed, including at least 12 having magnitudes between 5.0 and 5.9. The island of Hispaniola has not experienced such a severe earthquake since 1751.

The tremor damaged or destroyed most of the important buildings in Port-au-Prince, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, the National Penitentiary, most of the city's hospitals, and the headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Fortunately, the MINUSTAH logistics base was spared. Basic services such as water and electricity collapsed almost entirely, and all surviving health care facilities were flooded with the injured. According to Red Cross estimates, some 3 million people - one third of Haiti's population - are affected by the quake.

The Humanitarian Operations Task Force

Commander: Brigadier-General Guy Laroche

The Humanitarian Operations Task Force (HOTF) deployed in Haiti under Operation HESTIA has a mandate to deliver a wide range of services in support of the Government of Haiti and the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince.

The HOTF includes the following Canadian Forces assets:

* A Naval Task Group from Halifax, Nova Scotia, under the command of Captain (Navy) Art McDonald, comprising:

o the destroyer HMCS Athabaskan (with a CH-124 Sea King helicopter detachment); and

o the frigate HMCS Halifax;

* Two CH-146 Griffon helicopters;

* The lead element of the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART);

* An urban rescue and recovery team; and

* A Military Police detachment to support the Canadian Embassy.

The HOTF receives extensive support from 8 Wing Trenton, the home of transport squadrons flying the CC-130 Hercules tactical airlifter and the CC-177 Globemaster III strategic airlifter.

Canadian operations in Haiti

* Operation HORATIO World Food Programme, September 2008

* Haiti 2004-4 December 2004

* Haiti 2004-3 October 2004

* Haiti 2004-2 October 2004

* Haiti 2004-1 September 2004

* Operation HAMLET United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), August 2004-present

* Operation HALO MINUSTAH, March-August 2004

* Operation HALO Multinational Interim Force, February-July 2004

* Haiti 1999 December 1999

* Operation STANDARD June 1996-July 1997

* Operation DIALOGUE January-December 1994

* Operation CAULDRON September 1993-June 1996

* Operation FORWARD ACTION October 1993-September 1994

* Haiti 1989 January-October 1989

* Operation BANDIT January-February 1988

* Haiti 1963 May 1963