The American Red Cross is again in murky waters for mismanaging relief funds raised for Haiti. Or is it?
In 2011, following a devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to help the ravaged Caribbean nation. The primary focus of the project was to build homes for people who lived under indescribable conditions.
After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled ambitious plans, claiming the donations would make a lasting impact in Haiti.
According to a joint report by Pro Publica and NPR, nearly half a billion dollars was raised for the project. The houses were supposed to be finished by January 2013, but apparently the project hardly got off the ground.
Red Cross has reported housing more than 130,000 people, but according to Pro Publica, to date, six homes have been built. Residents still live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, with no access to drinkable water or electricity.
In statements, the Red Cross has cited the challenges faced in post-quake Haiti, including the country’s dysfunctional land title system.
“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,” the charity said.
“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 marking the fifth anniversary of the earthquake.
Bottom line, more than four years later, Red Cross has nothing to show for the half a billion dollars in donations and the hovering question remains: Where did the money go?
Red Cross remains tight-lipped,
This is not the first time Red Cross is suspected of fund misstatement. Following Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, Red Cross found itself scribbling to come up with plausible answers to the same questions.