Heartbroken and overwhelmed by the magnitude of this catastrophe – Governor General

GGmichaellejeanStatement from the Governor General following the earthquake in Haiti

Dear friends. Exactly one year ago, I was in Haiti to assess the damage caused by the hurricanes that had cruelly ravaged a country that has suffered so much, and to support the reconstruction efforts there.

Yesterday, fate once again turned against the people of Haiti, who had only just begun to see a glimmer of hope.

I would first like to say that my husband, Jean-Daniel, our daughter Marie-Éden and I are all thinking about the victims, the countless families who have been affected and are in mourning, and all those who, like us, are so worried about their loved ones and friends in Haiti.

Like me, Haitian communities across Canada are heartbroken and overwhelmed by the magnitude of this catastrophe. The images and news reports are unbearable to watch. So much distress, suffering and loss. We are also, of course, imagining the worst, situations no image can capture that only increase our feeling of helplessness.

I salute the friendship and solidarity being demonstrated all across Canada and throughout the international community.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Prime Minister of Canada for all the emergency assistance that has been sent. I thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs and in particular the Minister of Defence, with whom I have closely monitored the situation as it evolved and discussed, along with the Chief of the Defence Staff, the urgent needs to be deployed to Haiti.

I am also grateful to our Ambassador, Gilles Rivard, and to his team in Port-au-Prince, with whom we have remained in contact via satellite, who are making remarkable efforts to help Canadians in Haiti and who are standing beside the people of Haiti at this terrible time.

My thoughts are also with our police officers, soldiers, missionaries and humanitarian workers, and our UN family, who have all been hit very hard by this new disaster.

We still have no news of our dear friend, Hédi Annabi, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Haiti. All we know is that he was with his colleagues in the United Nations’ headquarters, which collapsed.

Thank you to you, the media, for your all your reports and updates on the situation.

Now more than ever, it is time for us to show our solidarity with the most vulnerable people in the Americas, our brothers and sisters in Haiti, whose courage is once again being so harshly tested.

Michaëlle Jean