United Nations (CNN) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon handed former U.S. President Bill Clinton additional responsibility Wednesday for earthquake-ravaged Haiti, charging him with overseeing aid efforts as well as later reconstruction there.
"You have demonstrated extremely important leadership," Ban told Clinton, who is already the United Nations' special envoy to Haiti.
Ban asked Clinton "to assume a leadership role in coordinating international aid efforts, from emergency response to new construction of Haiti."
Clinton will work with the Haitian government and the people of Haiti in recovery and reconstruction efforts, according to a statement released by Clinton's U.N. office. He will help coordinate the work of U.N. agencies and other international partners in Haiti, including government donors, private investors, and non-governmental organizations, the statement said.
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the impoverished nation January 12, devastating parts of the country. A spokesman for Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said Wednesday that the death toll had topped 200,000, nearing the 230,000 in 14 countries who died in the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Clinton joined forces with former President George H.W. Bush to raise money for relief from that disaster.
President Barack Obama asked Clinton and former President George W. Bush to do the same for Haiti.
"I cannot find any other better suited leader than yourself, Mr. President," Ban told Clinton at the United Nations Wednesday morning.
Clinton thanked Ban. "I will do the best I can," he said.
"I think the challenges are great; we still have a lot of emergency problems to deal with," he said. "Almost all the infrastructure (is) gone there, so the trick is to get the Haitian people back where they can stop living from day to day and start living week to week or month to month."
Promising to do what he can, the former president added, "The leaders there want to build a functioning modern state for the first time."
Updated: 6:10 p.m.