Bush, Clinton Join Forces For Earthquake Relief; Urgent Appeal Issued In Aftermath Of Devastating Temblor In Haiti

President Obama has asked his predecessors to spearhead a fundraising effort for Haiti earthquake relief. The president appeared yesterday with former President George W. Bush and former President Clinton at the White House to make the announcement.

“[W]e’re moving forward with one of the largest relief efforts in our histoy — to  save lives and to deliver relief that averts an even larger catastrophe,” Obama said. “The two leaders with me today will ensure that this is matched by a historic effort that extends beyond our government, because America has no greater resource than the strength and the compassion of the American people.”

Cash is desperately needed, Bush said.

“Like most Americans, Laura and I have been following the television coverage from Haiti,” Bush said. “Our hearts are broken when we see the scenes of little children struggling without a mom or a dad, or the bodies in the streets or the physical damage of the earthquake.”

Clinton said he knew some of the victims.

“I was in those hotels that collapsed,” Clinton said, speaking of his previous trips to Haiti.  “I had meals with people who are dead. The cathedral church that Hillary and I sat in 34 years ago is a total rubble.”

The two former Presidents have established the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF).

Here is a joint statement by Clinton and Bush:

On January 12, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti just outside the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The devastation – in lives lost, property destroyed, and families displaced – is immense.

At the request of President Obama, we are partnering to help the Haitian people reclaim their country and rebuild their lives.

AFP/Getty Images

Our immediate priority is to save lives. The critical needs in Haiti are great, but they are also simple: food, water, shelter, and first-aid supplies. The best way concerned citizens can help is to donate funds that will go directly to supplying these material needs.

Through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, we will work to provide immediate relief and long-term support to earthquake survivors. We will channel the collective goodwill around the globe to help the people of Haiti rebuild their cities, their neighborhoods, and their families.

We ask each of you to give what you can to help ensure the people of Haiti can build back stronger and better than ever.

Both of us have personally witnessed the tremendous generosity and goodwill of the American people and of our friends around the world to help in times of great need. There is no greater rallying cry for our common humanity than witnessing our neighbors in distress. And, like any good neighbor, we have an obligation and desire to come to their aid.

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and we hope you will donate to this worthwhile cause. The people of Haiti now need our assistance more than ever.

President William J. Clinton
President George W. Bush

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