MONTREAL — A group of exhausted teens from British Columbia are back on Canadian soil after being stranded in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
The 17 teens and their adult chaperones arrived just a few hours before the earthquake hit the Caribbean nation, and they had to wait five days before officials were able to get them out.
Anxious family members expect to be reunited with the kids on Tuesday, when they’re scheduled to fly home to B.C.
Most of the students were aboard a military aircraft carrying about 180 evacuees that was the first to arrive at Trudeau International Airport in Montreal early Monday. The remainder of the group arrived on board a second flight.
School superintendent Patricia Dooley said she’d spoken to some of the students as they waited to pass through the Customs line in Montreal.
The Grade 12 students from a high school in South Slocan, B.C., and seven adult chaperones were on a mission to set up a goat farm in a town about 45 kilometres outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
The group went to Haiti to take part in a humanitarian mission and Dooley said that while they awaited evacuation, staying at a Christian mission outside the city, they were not idle.
“They pooled their own money and they bought 4,000 pounds of rice, which they distributed. They were involved in cleaning the roads. So they have definitely been serving,” Dooley told a local television station in an interview.
Dooley said the school district will bring in counsellors to help the students deal with the horrific scenes they witnessed during the disaster.
“There will be a need for some counselling. They have had a horrendous experience and we are actually starting today with a session for parents.”