Clinton gives US support for Haiti's new president
WASHINGTON (AP) - April 20, 2011 (WPVI) -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined Wednesday the daunting task awaiting Haiti's incoming president: 650,000 in camps, a rubble-strewn capital, a broken judicial system and the looming hurricane season. She said the U.S. will help the impoverished, earthquake-ravaged Caribbean nation "all the way."
Clinton heartily congratulated Haiti's pop-star-turned-president-elect Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly in Washington, quoting his campaign slogan to underline the U.S. commitment to Haiti's redevelopment.
But she said that the challenges are many 15 months after the quake that killed more than 300,000 Haitians and that revitalizing the country "takes leadership." She said the U.S. was enthusiastic about Martelly's presidency, scheduled to start next month.
"Now he has a chance to lead and we are behind him," said Clinton, Martelly at her side. "He is committed to results. He wants to deliver for the Haitian people. And we are committed to helping him do so."
The 50-year-old Martelly stressed the need to tackle Haiti's cholera epidemic, warning that hurricanes could spread the disease countrywide. He said he spoke with Clinton about his three priorities: education, finding homes for people living in tents and restarting Haiti's agricultural sector.
Haiti's difficult recovery from the earthquake and years of instability and poverty was underscored Wednesday by 53 members of Congress who wrote to Clinton urging her to work with the Haitian government on providing rapid support for hundreds of thousands of displaced people lacking adequate shelter, water, sanitation and security.
Thirty-eight percent of resettlement camps still lack regular water supplies, their letter said, adding that the percentage had improved little since August. Nearly a third of camps don't have toilets. Where toilets are provided, each one is shared by an average of 273 people.
"The shelter installations in which displaced Haitians live are progressively deteriorating," the members of Congress wrote. Referring to Clinton as "our nation's top diplomat," the lawmakers urged the secretary "to work with Haitian authorities and our international partners to ensure a speedy, short-term response."
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