Wednesday, July 6, 2016

FRAUD ALERT: Red Cross squandered $500M in donations for Haitian recovery effort

FRAUD ALERT: Red Cross squandered $500M in donations for Haitian recovery effort; promised to establish 'brand-new communities' while building only SIX homes

 Red Cross

Where did all the money go?

As Pro Publica reported further:

The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.

After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled ambitious plans to "develop brand-new communities." None has ever been built.

(See the press release here.)

Haiti was, and still remains, the Western Hemisphere's most economically depressed country, and aid groups from around the globe have struggled there following the earthquake. But an investigation by Pro Publica and NPR shows that for the Red Cross at least, its failures are largely of the group's own doing. What's more, the organization's failings in Haiti are typical, following botched delivery operations after other disasters like Superstorm Sandy. That said, the Red Cross nevertheless continues to be a top charity for tens of millions of Americans and many corporations following such disasters.

In a highly critical memo written in 2011, then-director of the Red Cross' Haitian program, Judith St. Fort, said her organization was failing in the hard-hit country, and that senior managers had made improper, disparaging remarks against Haitian employees.

What's more, the organization refused requests from investigative reporters to disclose details of how it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in donations – though it is obvious that what money has been spent did not go towards housing, as promised. Also, Pro Publica noted that its investigators did find that less money reached those in need than Red Cross officials have said.

Since the organization lacked in-house expertise to mount much of its own operation in Haiti, it was forced to rely on other groups to do work for it, and that is where much of the money went. But those groups took a portion of every dollar to cover overhead and management costs. And even with projects that were done by other groups, the Red Cross spent much of the money on its own overhead – salaries, included – that amounted to, in one case, a third of the project's budget.

'It's not possible'

Following the St. Fort memo, Red Cross officials claimed that they moved quickly to correct the problems she laid out. Also, the organization claims it has completed more than 100 projects in Haiti, but won't provide a breakdown of what they are.

Projects supposedly include repairing 4,000 homes, giving temporary shelter to several thousand families, donating $44 million in food following the quake, as well as providing some funding to help build a hospital.

"Millions of Haitians are safer, healthier, more resilient, and better prepared for future disasters thanks to generous donations to the American Red Cross," McGovern wrote in a recent report commemorating the fifth anniversary of the quake.

But again, the organization has not provided any proof or details to back up those claims. And Haiti's former prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, doubts the Red Cross' figures, pointing out that the entire country only has a population of about 10 million people.

"No, no," Bellerive said of the Red Cross claim, "it's not possible."

Read the entire report here.