Bill Clinton and Haiti

As I said in my Daily Beast item, one of the best things that Haiti has going for it right now is Bill Clinton.  Last spring, the Secretary General tapped the former president to be his special envoy for Haiti. At an emergency General Assembly meeting yesterday, Bill Clinton was emphatic about the urgent need to raise cash for food, water, shelter and first aid supplies.  He even promised to hand deliver the cash donated for Haiti through his foundation. 

I’ve just received word that, in the past 24 hours, the Clinton Foundation has raised  $2.6 million from 30,000 donors.  That excludes funds raised through text message donations, so the total number will be higher. 

But Bill Clinton’s most important role will come in the next few days as the United Nations launches its “Flash Appeal.” This is the mechanism by which the United Nations asks donor countries to contribute funds quickly to an emergency. Individuals can also donate to the Flash Appeal through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. (This is what Ted Turner did yesterday.)  The UN then coordinates the distribution of funds across the UN agencies according to their needs. So, for example, money donated through the Flash Appeal will be dircted to buy food rations for the WFP, medicines for UNICEF, equipment for the peacekeeping mission MINUSTAH, etc. In short, the Flash Appeal is how the UN streamlines the distribution of aid following a disaster like this.  

At the Secretary General’s press conference this morning, he noted that President Clinton will likely play a role in this Flash Appeal.  This is good news for the people of Haiti.  The man is a very skilled fundraiser.