04/25/2012 09:10 EDT | Updated 06/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Ottawa RCMP return to Haiti to open orphanage

A group of RCMP officers in Ottawa are returning to Haiti this week to reopen an orphanage destroyed in the country's earthquake in January 2010.

Cpl. Christine Briand and her colleagues have raised more than $300,000 for the Enfant-Jesus de Prague Orphanage, which they discovered while on a United Nations mission after the natural disaster ravaged the nation.

Children were without shelter and many people were without a home. The group watched the sight in disbelief.

Across the country, the death toll was believed to be more than 316,000. One million people were left homeless.

"(Children) were making beds out of leaves and tree branches, anything they had that they managed to get out of the building, they salvaged," Briand said.

"Some of the babies were even sleeping in banana leaves to avoid the snakes and the scorpions."

Now the group is relieved the orphanage has been rebuilt, housing 40 children once again. The money raised will also go to pay new teachers and supplies at the orphanage.

The group flies to Haiti Friday for a ceremony.

"I want to see the kids and I want to hug them all and kiss them all. And I'm sure I'm going to shed a few tears," said Briand.

The Red Cross said rebuilding efforts throughout the country are only half complete with about 600,000 people still homeless.