Former President Bill Clinton said Friday he'll try to pattern a disaster assistance fund for earthquake-stricken Haiti along the same lines he and former President George H.W. Bush pursued succcessfully for victims of the Asian tsunami.
"If you want to just give $10, you can make a huge difference, because we've got another week or so of the work you see on television," Clinton said in a nationally broadcast interview.
A U.N. special envoy to Haiti, Clinton was tapped by President Barack Obama Wednesday to work with former President George W. Bush, the son of George H .W. Bush, on a massive fundraising effort for victims of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," Clinton said, "I expect we'll do something like the first President Bush and I did after the tsunami. Our goal is to raise as much money as possible and put it into the most constructive channels possible." He said he and Bush "want everybody to get involved in this."
On NBC's "Today" show, Clinton called the next four or five days crucial, saying that rescuers will be "pulling people out of the rubble who are alive. While that gets done, we've got to move the food, the water and the medical supplies in."
Clinton also said that, before the quake, Haiti was working to adopt an economic plan and modernize, and said that work could get back on track after the crisis.
"Because they started from a low base, we can reconstitute where they are quicker than everyone thinks," the former president said. "I just do not agree that they've been set back 50 years."
"If we go back to work we'll be all right," Clinton said. "But first we have to get through the time that's disastrous now because we don't have enough food, water medical supplies and shelter. . . Get us through the next two weeks. . . I think you'll be amazed how much good we can do, but I don't want to minimize how awful it is now. Let's get through this first."
Clinton rejected the notion some are suggesting that there's no need to donate money to the Haiti disaster relief because U.S. tax money is already going to the effort.
"That's just not true. We give a modest amount of aid to Haiti every year, but the United States and other countries that have committed assistance have done it after Haiti, keep in mind, year before last had four hurricanes that devastated the country," he said on CBS's "The Early Show."
"We've got to help them get through this," he said. "I would just like to ask the Americans who hear that message that they don't need any help: How would you feel if other countries said that to you and you didn't know anybody with water, anybody with food, anybody with a roof over their head and people were still looking for their loved ones buried under rocks."
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