Troops from New Brunswick military base making a difference in Haiti

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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FREDERICTON It's hot, they're working long hours and they haven't showered since they arrived, but soldiers from Canadian Forces Base Gagetown say they're making a difference in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
Master Cpl. Clinton Mainville, an engineer with 4 Engineer Support Regiment and part of the military's Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART), said he and his colleagues are doing everything they can for the residents of the shattered city of Jacmel.
That includes opening supply routes and providing potable water.
"Any little bit that you can do makes you feel good - especially if you can put a smile on a local face," Mainville said Friday in a telephone interview from Haiti.
"You can tell that they're pretty desperate. It's nice to see them be able to smile when they're living in rubble."
There are more than 40 people from Mainville's group in Jacmel.
With its reverse osmosis water purification unit, DART members can turn dirty water into something safe to drink.
Mainville said the team's two water-making sites - one in Jacmel and the other about two hours north of the city - have made about 45,000 litres of clean water.
"It's made a great deal of difference because they don't have clean water here to drink," said the Oromocto resident.
"The water they get is from the ditches, river and stuff like that. The biggest things they need are food and water. A lot of people are living on streets and they have nothing."
Mainville said people are probably not getting the amount of water they would like, but at least they're getting what they require.
"We're distributing enough so it's not to the point where they're rioting or crime is on the rise or anything like that."
Mainville said that despite the Jan. 12 disaster, which aid workers say has claimed an estimated 200,000 lives, people are showing signs of recovery.
"We are into the rebuilding stage now. They have a lot of heavy equipment out and about trying to take care of the rubble. It will probably never be like it was. It flattened pretty much the whole country. It will be a few years before they get everything sorted out the way that it used to be."
Mainville said engineers from Gagetown will be returning to the mountains outside Jacmel to open a supply route to Port-au-Prince. Right now, it isn't passable by anything larger than a motorbike, he said.
Because of landslides caused by the earthquake, there are at least 60 places where debris has fallen onto the road.
"Once open, they are going to have access to Port-au-Prince and to all of the supplies coming in," Mainville said. "Right now, they are sort of cut off from anything outside their little city."
At the moment, supplies are being flown in.
Mainville said he and his colleagues are holding up well, despite having nowhere to shower.
"Sometimes some of the things you see are a bit disturbing, but we're a close-knit crew. Most of us were in Afghanistan together. Morale is up ... we're in good spirits."
Mainville said he doesn't expect to see his wife and two children until March.

Organizations: Canadian Forces Base Gagetown

Geographic location: Haiti, Jacmel, New Brunswick FREDERICTON Port-au-Prince Oromocto Gagetown Afghanistan

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