Former President Bill Clinton joins Caribbean leaders for post-hurricane relief

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - Former President Bill Clinton was joined by leaders across the Caribbean at the University of Miami to discuss solutions for hurricane recovery needs.

Although Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean nations and U.S. territories months ago, many are still struggling to recover after the impact.

Clinton was at UM Tuesday to link leaders from the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery to Caribbean who need the help.

“We all know that the region has many treasures, but it’s also one of the most vulnerable areas in the world,” Clinton said.

The formal launching of the action network included more than 350 representatives from governments, businesses and civil societies, including San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, U.S. Virgin Island Gov. Kenneth Mapp and Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

It has been seven months since Hurricane Maria blew through Puerto Rico, but the nation is still suffering.

“I think we go from being angry to being frustrated,” Cruz said. “There’s about 200,000 people that still don’t have electrical power, 55 percent increase in suicide rates, our children are still going to school part-time, the economy is in shambles.”

Puerto Rico is not the only country that is dealing with this ongoing issue.

“We were completely cut off from the rest of the world for several days after the hurricane,” said Skerrit said. “There was absolutely no contact with us, and 100 percent of our power system collapsed.”

The summit hopes to help not only with funding, but also with health care, education, infrastructure and other sectors to help the Caribbean islands in the wake of damage done after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

“Somebody’s gotta figure out everything that falls between the cracks,” Clinton said.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria were two of the most intense hurricanes to ever hit the Caribbean.

Clinton is expected to moderate the first and last sessions at the all-day event. He will be touring parts of the Caribbean next week.

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