Press Releases   |    In the News   |    Op-Eds   |    Transcripts   |    Multimedia

Press Releases

President Bill Clinton Convenes Key Actors on Haiti

NEW YORK, 14 January 2010 – Two days following the devastating earthquake that rocked Port-au-Prince, President Bill Clinton convened senior executives, NGO’s, and key experts in the area of emergency response to discuss how best to support the Government of Haiti in its relief efforts. Leslie Voltaire, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, attended the meeting and reinforced the Government of Haiti’s urgent need for food, water, humanitarian assistance and shelter. Other participants included Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Moreno, United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, former FEMA Director James Lee Witt, former UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, Stewart Paperin, Executive Vice President, Open Society Institute, and Adam Goldstein, CEO Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Former Director of FEMA, James Lee Witt highlighted the need for radio communication on the ground, to ensure that the affected population receives vital information about the efforts underway. Former UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy stressed the importance of focusing on the long-term recovery as planning for the immediate relief is underway.

Some of the commitments made during the meeting include: * Chris Korge, CEO and Chairman Anagenis, committed to providing 1,000 temporary hurricane proof houses in approximately three weeks. * Walmart committed $600,000 for relief efforts. * Millard Drexler, CEO of JCrew committed 22,000 new items of clothing for men, women and children * Stephen Robert and Pilar Crespi, Source of Hope Foundation, committed to fund immediate needs on the ground.

President Clinton also participated in a separate meeting with senior representatives from the key donor countries to urge them to support the relief effort while disbursing the pledges they made at the 2009 April Washington Conference expeditiously.

For background information:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon ordered $10 million to be released from the Central Emergency Response Fund.

MINUSTAH has an estimated 3,000 troops and police in and around Port-au-Prince to help maintain order and assist in relief efforts. MINUSTAH engineers have also begun clearing some of the main roads in Port-Au-Prince which will allow assistance and rescuers to reach those in need.

The UN World Food Programme began small-scale food distributions yesterday for an estimated 3,000 people in Jacmel, a city south of the capital, and is planning to start distributions in the Port-au-Prince today for some 2,400 people. The WFP is mobilizing resources to assist as many as two million people affected by the quake for an initial six month period.

UNICEF essential emergency supplies, including tarpaulins, water containers, blankets, and health and medical kits arrived in Panama today by boat. A cargo plane carrying $500,000 worth of supplies will land in Haiti today, bringing enough oral rehydration salts, water purifications tablets, tarpaulins and tents to provide temporary housing for 10,000 people. These will be prioritized and loaded onto a DHL commercial flight from Panama to Port-au-Prince on Saturday. UNICEF has released a total of $3.4 million toward the relief efforts from several emergency sources. The agency says that more funding, basic medical and health supplies, family kits/shelter and water hygiene and sanitation supplies are urgently needed.

Given the current lack of access to basic health services, the immediate response of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) includes delivering emergency reproductive health kits that contain essential drugs, equipment and supplies to provide life-saving services to pregnant women. The agency said it will also work to ensure that women and girls have access to basic hygiene supplies so that they can live with dignity, even amid the worst circumstances.

The United Nations Population Fund is prioritizing assistance to pregnant women in the impacted areas who are especially vulnerable during the crisis. It is estimated that one quarter of the impacted population are women of childbearing age, with thousands of pregnant women among them. UNFPA’s immediate humanitarian response includes delivering emergency reproductive health kits that contain essential drugs, equipment and supplies to provide life-saving services to pregnant women.

The World Bank, IMF and the United States have each pledged $100 million in support to the people of Haiti in response to the crisis. For further information, please contact:

Jehane Sedky, Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti
646 781 4107
[email protected]