OTTAWA — International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says 6,000 Canadians who were in the path of hurricane Maria were evacuated before the storm hit.
She said today 168 Canadians who chose not to leave have requested federal assistance in the wake of the devastating storm that is ravaging the Caribbean.
That number includes 147 students on the hard-hit island of Dominica, who will need to be evacuated by boat to St. Lucia before they can be brought to Canada.
Bibeau says the debris surrounding Dominica is complicating rescue efforts but adds everyone is safe and will be evacuated as soon as possible.
She says 20 other people in the region who have medical needs will also be assisted by Canadian authorities.
The storm's death toll across the Caribbean climbed to at least 19, nearly all of them on Dominica.
Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a category four hurricane on Wednesday and was the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory in over 80 years.
Bibeau says the government didn't receive any requests for aid from Canadians living on that island.
Maria was expected to approach the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas late Thursday and early Friday.
— With files form The Associated Press
The Canadian Press