As rescue workers continue to search through the rubble of earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince, the number of dead is climbing to unimaginable proportions.
By some accounts, 50,000 people have already been buried in mass graves and that number is expected to at least double over the course of the mission.
On Saturday, three more Canadians were confirmed to be among the victims: Ottawa RCMP Supt. Doug Coates, Canadian International Development Agency worker Guillaume Siemienski and his colleague Helene Rivard, both of Montreal. Siemienski’s wife Maka Cielecka was also in the country at the time, but survived the tremor in the couple’s apartment.
There are also reports the body of Denis Bellavance, a computer science professor from Drummondville, Que., was found in the rubble of the Port-au-Prince University. Foriegn Affairs could not confirm the information.
“Their deaths are a reminder of the sacrifice Canadian men and women like Mr. Siemienski and Ms. Rivard are willing to make in order to bring Canadian generosity and aid to Haiti and the world,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement early Saturday.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I would like to offer their families and friends our profound sympathies. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.”
The Canadian death toll from the earthquake now stands at six. RCMP Sgt. Mark Gallagher, Montreal professor Georges Anglade and his wife Mireille as well as Yvonne Martin, a nurse from Elmira, Ontario were all found dead within two days of Tuesday’s disaster.
There are still about 1,360 Canadians missing while 781 have been located and 460 flown back home on Canadian Forces aircraft.
Ottawa also promised it would speed up immigration applications from Haitian refugees with family in Canada and temporarily extend the stay of Haitians currently in Canada.
In Washington, President Barack Obama joined with former heads of state George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to appeal for donations and he sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Caribbean nation.
“Both of us have personally witnessed the tremendous generosity and goodwill of the American people and of our friends around the world to help in times of great need,” reads a joint statement on the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund website.
“There is no greater rallying cry for our common humanity than witnessing our neighbors in distress. And, like any good neighbor, we have an obligation and desire to come to their aid.”
With files from the Canadian Press
This Sunday at 6:30pm on Citytv, Breakfast Television’s Kevin Frankish will host a special segment called “Help For Haiti,” which will feature special coverage from the disaster zone and show how Canadians are contributing.