PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Canada will help the Haitian government get back on its feet by building an adminsitrative base to replace a number of smashed buildings in the country's shattered capital.
During a visit to Haiti, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Monday that Canada would spend up to $12 million to create a temporary facility to house government departments and civil servants.
A number of Haitian government buildings have been reduced to rubble, from the presidential palace to the tax department and the education ministry.
Workers have been trying to salvage any scraps of paper documents while crews remove bodies and bulldozers demolish what's left of the condemned buildings.
The Canadian-funded base will include soft-covered tents and hard-shelled temporary buildings. It is expected to be up and running for up to a year, and construction will start once the Haitian government chooses a location.
"(This is) an important step toward recovery and reconstruction," Harper said.
The prime minister is the first G20 leader to visit Haiti since the earthquake, following the heads of several neighbouring countries who have already made the trip.
He landed in Port-au-Prince in a military transport plane Monday, kicking off his two-day trip by meeting with President Rene Preval.
The prime minister plans to get a glimpse of Canadian aid efforts, assess longer-term needs, and stress the message that Canada is in Haiti for the long haul.
The Canadian military and civilian volunteers have been providing clean water, food, security and medical care since the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Harper will visit Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean's ancestral hometown of Jacmel, and Leogane, another hub of Canadian activity.
Haiti already receives more Canadian aid than any other country beside Afghanistan; with Canada's Afghan mission scaling down next year, Haitian reconstruction will likely become Canada's biggest foreign-policy effort.
The quake killed 31 Canadians and has left 55 missing.