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Bill Clinton Visits Haiti as Special UN Envoy

July 10th, 2009

imagesFormer United States President Bill Clinton is finishing a three-day visit to Haiti today, his first since being appointed United Nations Special Envoy for the impoverished Caribbean nation.

During a visit to the country in March, Mr. Clinton and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon assessed the situation in the wake of four back-to-back tropical storms that battered the country in 2008, killing nearly 800 people and affecting an estimated 1 million people.

Mr. Clinton’s current trip was aimed at discussing how to support Government efforts to brace the country for hurricanes, generate new jobs and boost the delivery of basic social services.

Today he met with representatives of the private sector, women’s groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and discussed the key challenges facing them today in Haiti. The meetings aimed to ensure private sector investments in the country, coordination of NGO activities and the inclusion of women in recovery efforts.

Last night, Mr. Clinton and President René Préval had a working dinner with donors to encourage them to honor the commitments they made at a pledging conference in Washington, D.C. in April and align their contributions to the Government’s recovery plan.

The dinner capped off a day that included visits to, among others, the city of Gonaïves, which was devastated by floods last year, and to an emergency hospital that has temporarily replaced one destroyed by hurricanes. Oblate Fathers John St. Cyr and Albert Cator work there with the Sisters of Charity, ministering to the T.B. and H.I.V. patients. Learn more about the impact of the hurricanes in Gonaïves last September.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, with an annual estimated gross domestic product (per capita) of $390.

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