Canada’s two naval ships are scheduled to be docked off Haiti today as crew members begin to help in the humanitarian effort of a country still reeling from last week’s devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

HMCS Halifax and HMCS Athabaskan pulled away from the Halifax dockyards Thursday afternoon and slowly closed in on the disaster-stricken country yesterday.

According to the CBC, 60-person teams will go ashore from inflatable boats while both ships remain at sea. The CBC reports the sailors will be protected by a naval boarding party carrying 9-mm handguns in response to a large amount of lawlessness taking place.

Brig.-Gen. Guy Laroche, who is commanding the Canadian military contingent, told the CBC HMCS Athabaskan is docking near Port-au-Prince while HMCS Halifax is going to Jacmel, a town cut off from the rest of the country since the earthquake.

The soldiers will aid in search-and-rescue efforts and distribute clothes, purified water, food, tents, blankets, and medical supplies.


The 500 crew members aboard the two ships are expected to be in Haiti for more than a month.