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Communications problems hamper search for missing Canadians in the Philippines

A man searches through debris in front of a house with a message asking for help in a part of Tacloban devastated by Typhoon Haiyan November 16, 2013.

JOHN JAVELLANA/REUTERS

At least 55 Canadians remain unaccounted for after Typhoon Haiyan, though there are no confirmed cases of Canadians being injured or killed by the storm.

After the typhoon struck, family and friends of some Canadians who'd been in the area called the government for information. As of Friday evening, Ottawa had 187 such cases, and had made contact with 132 of the individuals, none of whom were harmed. However, it has not been able to contact the remaining 55.

"We have sought to reach them repeatedly, but we haven't been able to reach them," said Neil Reeder, Canada's ambassador to the Philippines.

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The typhoon affected communications in the region.

"We expect that as communications in the Philippines are restored, our ability to reach Canadians will improve," Foreign Affairs spokesman Ian Trites said.

Canada continues to roll out aid to the Philippines. On Friday, the Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, began building its base in Roxas City. On Saturday, DART was expected to send a medical team to a nearby evacuation centre.

A third wave of DART soldiers will arrive Saturday, raising Canada's contingent to 190 people. A fourth wave is on its way, and another is expected to depart over the weekend.

Canada continues to weigh whether to send up to six helicopters, but has ruled out any naval mission.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Josh is a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa. Before moving to the nation's capital in 2013, he covered provincial affairs in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. He joined the Globe in 2008 in Toronto before returning to his home province in 2010. More

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