Clinton focuses on hurricane recovery efforts in Caribbean

Former president launches initiative at University of Miami

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Former President Bill Clinton announced his Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery for the Caribbean Tuesday while speaking at the University of Miami.

The meeting brought together more than 350 leaders from government, business and civil society to discuss solutions addressing immediate and long-term hurricane recovery needs for the Caribbean islands.

"We all know that the region has many treasures, but it's also (the) most vulnerable areas of the world," Clinton said.

The Clinton Foundation launched the effort at UM with the hopes of securing long-term investment in countries still trying to rebuild. 

A number of Caribbean leaders, including the prime minister of Dominica, the governor of the Virgin Islands and the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, made up the panel. Each highlighted areas that need help. 

"You are seeing more Puerto Ricans living now in Florida, Texas and New York, and you may say that's not a bad thing, but think about all those families separated on the island," Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Jenniffer Gonzalez said. 

The Clinton Foundation is using its past work in Haiti to model its future help in the region. The organization secured half a billion dollars to re-build Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.

"If the developed world does not address some of the fundamental issues contributing to climate change, we're going to see a greater frequency of disasters like Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma. The question (is): What do we do?" Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said. 

The challenge remains particularly difficult in Puerto Rico where power is still out on parts of the island and few repairs have been made to the island's infrastructure.

The uncertainty over it debts has also complicated private investment. 

"We also know that every time we get started on something to rebuild, there is another storm season right around the corner," Clinton said.

The event lasts through the day. 

The Clinton Foundation said it's ready to move forward with building homes and schools in Dominica and installing solar power in hospitals and clinics in Puerto Rico.