MONTREAL - Of all the logistical challenges involved in helping Haiti, this might be the most surprising one: the need for winter clothes.
Canadians escaping that devastated tropical land are arriving back in this country unprepared for the cold winter climate.
The disaster has forced many to flee without their possessions and, furthermore, they aren't being allowed to bring suitcases with them in order to free up maximum space on the return flight.
A Montreal community group is now putting out an urgent appeal for warm clothing.
The Sun Youth Organization is at Montreal's airport, boarding the C-17 military planes to dress passengers in winter clothes. But the organization expects to run out of coats and boots within 10 days.
Sun Youth is not asking individuals for donations. Rather, they are seeking handouts from companies. They're asking companies to donate anything they can spare for adults and children.
"We're asking for winter coats and boots," said Tommy Kulczyk, director of emergency services for Sun Youth.
"They're expecting about 6,000 people here (in Montreal) and they need things right away when they land for the first hours. . .
"(We need) winter coats, boots, hats, gloves, sweat suits, sweat pants, socks."
Sun Youth has set up camp in a hotel near the airport, doling out supplies as each planeload of evacuees comes in.
Most are arriving ill-equipped to deal with the bone-chilling weather and are returning with little more than the clothes on their back.
People have been arriving on military flights wearing shorts and sandals.
Melonie Christie, 24, from Ontario, described being whisked hastily onto the plane in Haiti.
"We weren't allowed to bring our luggage with us," she said.
"I was wearing my shorts, runners and a tank top."
Evacuees have been asked to leave their luggage at the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince.
Christie was given a winter jacket and a hat upon her arrival in Canada. She and other passengers were then ferried to a local mall to buy some more winter clothing.
The Red Cross is handing out vouchers that evacuees can use at local stores.
Christie praised the efforts of aid workers. She said evacuees received valuable help from the Canadian government, military, and civilian workers.
"We were really well taken care of," she said.