Neighbors have been helping neighbors for three weeks since Hurricane Andrew swept across South Florida and Tuesday, the United States' northern neighbor was on hand to pitch in.

A Canadian naval vessel loaded with building materials, tools and willing hands sailed into Miami on Monday, making Canada the first foreign country to pitch in since Hurricane Andrew."It strikes me as something neighbors and allies do for each other," said Capt. Douglas McClean, commanding officer of the Canadian supply and maintenance ship Protecteur.

The work force, only 30 on Monday, joined an Air Force engineering squadron rebuilding two schools in Miami's shattered southern suburbs. An additional 200 airmen and naval personnel from Canada will be joining them.

The 24,700-ton ship brought wood, roofing materials, tools, machinery, dump trucks, backhoes, pickups and navy construction and repair specialists.

"I've been to places in Kuwait that had been bombed that don't look as bad as here," said Master Cpl. Chris Vezeau, who just last month was training with U.S. forces in Whitehorse, Yukon.

School started in Miami Monday, but Mays Middle School and neighboring Pine Villa School were too badly damaged to accept children. McClean said the mission at the schools would take about three weeks.

Maj. Darwin Gould, the officer in charge of work on Mays, said the job is perfect for his squadron, which repairs bombed airfields in wartime.

"This is what we call battle damage repair," he said.