Clinton delivers drugs to hospital and a promise to rebuild

Tuesday, January 19, 2010; A11

Former president Bill Clinton on Monday delivered a truckload of medicine to a Port-au-Prince hospital, where patients with amputated limbs and open wounds were sprawled on soiled sheets on the bare dirt.

Blinking back tears, Clinton stood in the courtyard of the General Hospital, a hundred feet away from an open-air morgue piled with days-old corpses, and said it was heartbreaking to see the devastation in a country he visited just months ago, when he brought together business investors in an effort to improve the economy.

"I wish that every American can see this," said Clinton, the U.N. special envoy to Haiti. "It's astonishing what the Haitians have been able to accomplish, performing operations at night in the dark, without lights, with no anesthesia, using vodka to sterilize equipment."

Aid supplies are arriving but distribution is the major challenge, Clinton said, echoing the conclusions of U.N. officials.

Clinton, who was greeted warmly but wanly by exhausted family members of the wounded, promised Haitians that their country will be rebuilt.

"The earthquake was an equal-opportunity destroyer, and as tragic as it is," he said, "we have the chance to rebuild the nation together, into a stronger, most just society, with more clean energy and many, many more jobs."

-- William Booth

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