In Haiti UN envoy Bill Clinton visits city devastated by hurricane

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During today’s stop in Gonaïves, Mr. Clinton, who was joined by Haitian President René Préval, focused on labour intensive rehabilitation schemes and providing basic services to communities in the Artibonite Valley.They also visited a project to refurbish the La Quinte River, which flooded the city last year, as well as an emergency hospital that has temporarily replaced one destroyed by hurricanes.The two men spoke with flood victims, who are weary of the 2009 hurricane season under way, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today.Mr. Clinton, who recently took up his duties, met last night with both Mr. Préval and Prime Minister Pierre Louis, and will also visit a garbage recycling project that has created jobs in the disadvantaged suburb of Carrefour Feuilles in the capital, Port-au-Prince.Later today, he is expected to meet with parliamentarians, while tomorrow he will hold talks with members of the private sector, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and civil society groups, including women’s groups.During his three-day visit to Haiti, which began yesterday, the Special Envoy seeks to discuss how to support Government efforts to generate new jobs, brace the country for hurricanes and boost the delivery of basic social services.Mr. Clinton “will also focus on how to ensure that the United Nations, civil society and the donor community align their activities with the Government’s recovery plan, as well as with each other,” Ms. Montas said.“Haiti, notwithstanding the total devastation wreaked by the four storms last year, has the best chance to escape the darker aspects of its history in the 35 years that I have been going there,” the former US leader said at a press conference at UN Headquarters last month.Mr. Clinton has already visited Haiti this year, but this will be his first trip to the impoverished State since his appointment as an envoy by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in May. In March, the two men visited Haiti together to assess the situation in the wake of four back-to-back tropical storms battered the country in 2008, killing nearly 800 people and affecting an estimated 1 million people. 7 July 2009The United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti, the former United States president Bill Clinton, today visited the city of Gonaïves – which was devastated by floods last year – as part of his efforts to boost hurricane preparedness and job creation in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

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