Clinton calls Haiti's post-quake reconstruction "remarkable thing"

10:29, April 07, 2011      

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Former U.S. President and UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton speaks during a high-level debate on Haiti, at the UN headquarters in New York, April 6, 2011. UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon said here on Wednesday that despite efforts to rehabilitate Haiti after a massive January 2010 earthquake, there is still much work to be done in the small Caribbean country. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

For Haiti, post-earthquake life and reconstruction has been a "remarkable thing," particularly with the successful outcome of the presidential election, former U.S. President and UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton said Wednesday.

"Sometimes we focus so much on the problems, we forget to acknowledge the small miracles of human nature and concern for the future of a country," Clinton told the Security Council here at a high-level open meeting on the Caribbean nation. "I personally believe that this is a remarkable thing."

The meeting was chaired by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos whose country holds the rotating Council presidency for April.

After the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, Clinton said, it had took out 20 percent of all public employees and devastated more than half of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Haiti.

"The quake was a dramatic setback to daily life as well as to the development, but it also presented new opportunities," Clinton said.

Clinton also lauded Haitian President Rene Preval and the people of Haiti for undertaking the presidential election with hundreds of thousands of people living under tarps and tents.

Haiti completed "almost an impossible task" of verifying where people live and getting their identification up, Clinton said. "It is a remarkable thing."

On Monday, popular singer and carnival entertainer Michel Martelly was elected president of Haiti with 67.57 percent of the votes, the Haitian Provisional Electoral Council said. Martelly is expected to be sworn in next month.

Turning ahead, Clinton said it was critical for more support to build up the capacity of the Haitian government.

Also at the open Council meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon urgently called for more funding for Haiti.

"The Cholera Appeal is 45 percent funded, and the overall Haiti Appeal received only 10 percent of the requested funds," he said. "Additional financial support is urgently needed."

"The United Nations will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Haitian government and people in the noble and necessary work of building a more just and prosperous future," Ban said.
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