Port-au-Prince, Haiti (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton said desperately needed U.S. aid is coming to Haiti despite delays after listening on Wednesday to refugees in a sprawling homeless camp complain of a lack of food, jobs and housing nine months after a devastating earthquake.
"First of all, in the next day or so it will become obvious that the United States is making a huge down payment on that," the former U.S. president and husband of the current secretary of state told reporters without providing details. "Secondly I'm not too concerned -- although I'm frustrated -- because the Congress have approved the money that the Secretary of State and the White House asked for."
The stakes were made clear in a morning visit to a storm-battered hillside former golf-course in
Hours later Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive stood in the sweltering heat before the former U.S. Embassy that is now Bellerive's office to announce $777 million in projects for education, business, rubble removal and other areas freshly approved by the commission they jointly lead.
Citing "a rather bizarre system of rules in the United States Senate,"
"Since I believe that we are still essentially a sane as well as a humane country I believe the money will be released, and when that happens that will also give a lot of other donors encouragement to raise their money,"
This week the
At Tuesday's meeting the
The State Department has also gone ahead and created a nearly identical office to the one Coburn objected to last week, naming department veteran Thomas C. Adams to the post of special
But the Oklahoma Republican will not release his hold, because he does not believe he is preventing money from being spent on
"Dr. Coburn wants to approve additional funds without increasing the deficit and without creating duplicative roles," said Coburn staffer John Hart. "What we've seen is the typical
During his visit to the camp,
Camp residents, some up to their ankles in mud, hooted and cheered as the former president walked deeper into the camp, exclaiming, "We are hungry!" and "We can't take this anymore!" Some called for the ouster of President Rene Preval and the return of exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Edwin Auguste, a 26-year-old unemployed man who lost both parents and his home in the quake, said he was glad that Clinton came, but that he has lost what little faith he had in Haitian leaders and the international community.
"When the leaders tell the Haitian people I will do something for you, after that they do nothing," he said.
Associated Press writer Martha Mendoza contributed to this story.