Former President Bill Clinton expressed hope Friday that Haiti can be rebuilt in the wake of the devastating earthquake that has killed up to an estimated 50,000 people and left thousands more homeless, hungry and in despair.
But Clinton, who was appointed the United Nation's special envoy to Haiti in 2008, said the island first needs to get through the next week or two with as much help as possible from donors.
"When this emergency passes, when we've gone through all the rubble, when we've recovered every person we possible can, living and dead, when we cleared the streets, then we know Haiti is going to have to get back on its feet again and we want to be part of that," Clinton told Fox News.
"We can rebuild," he said.
President Obama tapped former President George W. Bush and Clinton to help lead Haiti relief efforts. In a joint statement Thursday, they said they are "deeply saddened" by the situation in Haiti and have accepted Obama's offer to lead "private sector fundraising efforts."
Clinton warned that it will be a "long-term recovery process" and in the short run, there will be some unpleasant developments, like looting. He said the government was "disabled" by the earthquake.
"There are going to be some rough edges here," he said. "The infrastructure of the country was essentially crushed in the capital city because of this earthquake. But on the other hand, there's a lot of reason to hope."
Clinton acknowledged the difficulty of rebuilding a country that has long been plagued by political corruption, natural disasters and dire poverty.
"They are trying to turn a corner here and together we may find it easier to take a path of transparency and openness," he said. "They want to do this. They want to build a modern society."