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Clinton calls for more Haiti aid at Davos

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
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Clinton outlines Haitian needs
  • Former U.S. President Bill Clinton called for more aid to Haiti in a speech at Davos
  • "If there's anybody who knows where I can get pick-up trucks, ... I need 100"
  • But Clinton said he was confident Haiti's economy could emerge stronger than before
  • Haiti
  • Davos
  • United Nations

Davos, Switzerland (CNN) -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has warned that many Haitians still face a daily struggle to find food and water two weeks after the island was decimated by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that killed an estimated 150,000 people.

Now a U.N. special envoy to Haiti, Clinton told a special session of the World Economic Forum in Davos Thursday that the impoverished Caribbean nation lacked the most basic supplies, together with the vehicles to distribute it all.

"If there's anybody who knows where I can get pick-up trucks or something slightly bigger, I need 100 yesterday. They do," he said.

"There are serious, unmet food and water needs and part of it is that a distribution system just does not exist.

"It is simply not enough, even if we had all the food and water we needed every single day, to distribute aid from only 15 sites." He said more than a 100 sites were required.

"I want the people of Haiti not to have to worry about whether they can eat today or get water today... I want them to at least be able to know that from one week to the next they have a place to sleep, that it's safe and it's sanitary."

Clinton also paid tribute to Haiti's people as he gave the assembled delegates a sense of the scale of the tragedy.

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"Right after the quake you had all these people walking the streets not knowing how many of their loved ones were living or dead, with only what they had on their back, with no food or water or even light at night," he said.

"So for days and days the Haitian people were stumbling over bodies, living and dead. So I don't mind the international media showing the people and the unrest at the food distribution centers because it spurs us all on to help.

"But I think you need to know the people of this country behaved magnificently in the aftermath of the most unimaginable tragedy."

See CNN's full Haiti coverage

Despite the depth of the current crisis, Clinton said he was confident Haiti's economy could emerge stronger than it was previously, citing Rwanda's economic improvement after its civil war.

"Four years after the genocide of 1998 Rwanda's per capita income was $268. Ten years later it was $1,100. It had nearly quadrupled.

"Don't tell me they (Haiti) can't do this. This is an opportunity to re-imagine the future for the Haitian people to build the country that they want to become instead of rebuilding what they used to be.

"We have to get through the emergency, we have to get it organized and we have to have the right structure and support."

Clinton also paid tribute to the work being done by Brazil in the country and thanked Foreign Minister Celso Amorim who was also in Davos. On Monday the Brazilian Congress approved a plan to almost double the number of its troops in the U.N. force in Haiti, to as many as 2,600 soldiers.

Known as MINUSTAH, the U.N. force has been led by a Brazilian general since 2004. It lost dozens of its civilian headquarters staff during the earthquake.