Bill Clinton in Haiti to seek hurricane preparation answers

The Miami HeraldJune 2, 2010 

Former President Bill Clinton arrived in Haiti's most earthquake-ravaged city Tuesday looking for answers: What would it take to be prepared for hurricane season and what do Haitians need to get out from under tents?

"You don't have to have hurricane-force winds to blow down tarps," he said before meeting with nearly two dozen aid representatives and three local camp leaders in Leogne.

Clinton said he wasn't happy with the progress so far but was pleased with efforts to provide temporary shelter.

But along with hearing about the fears of Leogne's 200,000 residents, most of whom were displaced after the Jan. 12 quake destroyed more than 80 percent of the city, he also got a look at the challenges of getting quake victims to leave the camps.

The tour revealed a lack of coordination by aid groups, conflicts between landowners and quake victims, no clear government directives, and a population increasingly dependent on foreign aid since the quake took a government-estimated 300,000 lives in the country.

"Since the 12th of January, misery has been killing us," screamed Madame Orilus Menard as Clinton passed her.

Clinton announced in Leogne, a pledge from his foundation of $2 million, consisting of $1 million for disaster preparedness and hurricane safety and another $1 million for the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC) that is working to spend more than $5 billion in foreign aid. The Haitian government is also providing $1 million for the commission, which held its first meeting Tuesday night in the Dominican Republic.

Some of the Clinton Foundation money will be used to build and improve emergency shelters in at-risk areas.

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