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Bill Clinton Visits Haiti as Relief Efforts Make Progress


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, is visiting that earthquake-ravaged country, where relief efforts are gaining momentum as tens of thousands of survivors await food, water and other basic necessities.

In short order, Haitians have received a U.S. secretary of state, a U.N. secretary- general, a South American president and Monday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton. But they still have yet to receive the food and water that they need.

Mr. Clinton toured the decimated Port-au-Prince Municipal Hospital with his daughter Chelsea and offered words of encouragement.

"The second thing we need to do is what the people on the ground are working to do, they need to increase the distribution - the pace and scope of the distribution - there are just more people who need the aid than have been able to get it. But I think we are getting there, I see it," Mr. Clinton said. "It is much better now than it was two days ago and day after tomorrow it will be better again."

The words may be hopeful, but they bely the reality on the ground. At one of the many tent cities that have sprung up in open spaces around the city, hope is mixed with encroaching desperation.

Help is on the way according to Mr. Clinton, and with the succession of dignitaries, even those lining up at the airport to evacuate, are optimistic.

But a better economy is a long way down the road and after seven days, it's just the basics of life that are so desperately needed.

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