Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Davos 2010: Clinton makes Haiti appeal to business

Bill Clinton: "I need 100 trucks, yesterday"

Former US President Bill Clinton has launched an appeal for Haiti to business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

People at the forum were told during his speech they would be able to sign up for action at a special Haiti desk.

He tried to give a sense of the scale of the tragedy, and appealed for private investment to help the devastated nation rebuild.

The earthquake two weeks ago has killed as many as 200,000 people.

An estimated 1.5 million people have also been left homeless.

"We need to get a distribution network up to get the food and the water out," Mr Clinton said. "If there's anybody who knows where I can get pick-up trucks or something slightly bigger, I need 100 yesterday. They do."

Opportunities

He said the day prior to the earthquake, less than the 10 planes landed. "Now more than 100 planes are landing everyday, on what is basically a one-runway airport," he said.

Rico Dibrivell is checked by US soldiers after being rescued
People are still being pulled out of the rubble in Port-au-Prince

Mr Clinton also noted that the UN suffered its biggest loss of life in a single day in the history of the organisation.

Other panellists - which included Irish entrepreneur Denis O'Brien - emphasised the potential investment opportunities in a rebuilt Haiti, such as tourism, biofuels and the reconstruction of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The Haitian government needs billions of dollars in assistance to begin the task of rehabilitating the country.

In March, a major UN conference is scheduled to persuade the international community to contribute to what was already the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

Politicians and philanthropists have often used Davos as an opportunity to get some of the world's richest people to contribute to help the world's poor.



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