The Half a Billion Dollars Received by Red Cross for Haiti Relief didn’t Go to Haiti*
By Arjun Walia
Four years ago, the Red Cross launched a project to help rebuild and transform a poverty stricken area in Haiti which was destroyed by the massive earthquake that happened there in 2010. As a result, they received a tremendous amount of support and money from people all over the world, totalling a staggering five hundred million dollars.
The main focus of the project was to build homes for the population in Campeche, where many people live without access to drinkable water, electricity, or basic sanitation. They live in shacks that are made out of rusty sheet metal. It’s so bad that when it rains their homes flood with mud and water.
Although the Red Cross has been very vocal regarding the work that they do, and told the world that they have provided homes to more than 130,000 people there, the actual number of homes built numbers at 6. This would mean that these 6 homes would all be worth approximately 80 million dollars.
This is also a very relevant story, given the recent Nepal Earthquake. We (Collective-Evolution) did our research and wanted to find a way to help out but we wanted it to be trustworthy, then we met Craig Mitchell and heard of what he was doing… it was amazing. You can watch that interview HERE, and please consider donating at: http://www.gofundme.com/cenepal
This information comes via www.propublica.org, a non-profit corporation that produces investigative journalism. They’ve been awarded with a Pulitzer Prize and have been published in various “mainstream” sources, like the New York Times. They partner with approximately one hundred other news organizations in order to bring a lot of concealed information into the public domain.
They also provide a shocking 2011 memo that shows then-director of the Haiti program, Judith St. Fort, expressing how the project was failing, and that those responsible for the program made some “very disturbing” remarks regarding the Haitian employees. The memo illustrates how there was no desire to pay attention to Haitian CVs. (source)
The crazy thing about this whole story is the fact that the Red Cross won’t even disclose where all that money went, but they did say this:
“Like many humanitarian organizations responding in Haiti, the American Red Cross met complications in relation to government coordination delays, disputes over land ownership, delays at Haitian customs, challenges finding qualified staff who were in short supply and high demand, and the cholera outbreak, among other challenges.” (source)
Half a billion dollars is a lot of money, why isn’t the Red Cross disclosing where the money went? Are government coordination delays, disputes over land ownership, customs, and staff really a justified excuse for the misallocation of this incredible sum of money?
A congressional staffer who helped oversee Haiti reconstruction told ProPublica that “they collected nearly half a billion dollars. But they had a problem. And the problem was that they had absolutely no expertise.” (source)
The CEO still insists that:
“Millions of Haitians are safer, healthier, more resilient, and better prepared for future disasters thanks to generous donations to the American Red Cross.” – Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern.
They (Red Cross) have made some staggering claims, like the fact that they’ve used the money to help millions of Haitians, yet, again, they do not provide any proof to that effect. Instead, they would prefer that the world simply just believe what they say.
ProPublica went on to state that:
“Lacking the expertise to mount its own projects, the Red Cross ended up giving much of the money to other groups to do the work. Those groups took out a piece of every dollar to cover overhead and management. Even on the projects done by others, the Red Cross had its own significant expenses – in one case, adding up to a third of the project’s budget.” (source)
This isn’t the first time the Red Cross has been criticized, the same thing happened when it came to their response during Hurricane Sandy. These are major issues, and to think that something like this could go terribly wrong is a scary thought.
Aid relief isn’t the only industry where we see questionable mainstream charitable organizations do some shady things. We don’t often think this type of thing could be happening when it comes to cancer research, for example:
“Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud, and that the major cancer research organizations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them.” (source) – Linus Pauling, Ph.D, and two time Nobel Prize winner in chemistry (1901-1994).
You can read more about that story here.
So what is the lesson here? Do your research. Make sure you know for sure, without a doubt, where your money is going.
I’d like to end the article with this quote, taken from ProPublica:
“We asked the Red Cross to show us around its projects in Haiti so we could see the results of its work. It declined. So earlier this year we went to Campeche to see one of the group’s signature projects for ourselves.
Street vendors in the dusty neighborhood immediately pointed us to Jean Jean Flaubert, the head of a community group that the Red Cross set up as a local sounding board.
Sitting with us in their sparse one-room office, Flaubert and his colleagues grew angry talking about the Red Cross. They pointed to the lack of progress in the neighborhood and the healthy salaries paid to expatriate aid workers.
‘What the Red Cross told us is that they are coming here to change Campeche. Totally change it,’ said Flaubert. ‘Now I do not understand the change that they are talking about. I think the Red Cross is working for themselves.’” (source)