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Report blasts Red Cross for failure in Haiti

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by MisterCreosote, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    Wow. This is great reporting job on a really all-around terrible situation:

    How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti and Built Six Homes - ProPublica

    The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars.

    The group has publicly celebrated its work. But in fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti. Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success.

    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.
  2. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    NPR partnered with ProPublica on this.

    You can read and listen to their story on it here:

    NPR Media Player
  3. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    The Red Cross’ initial plan said the focus would be building homes — an internal proposal put the number at 700. Each would have finished floors, toilets, showers, even rainwater collection systems. The houses were supposed to be finished in January 2013.

    This is the above neighborhood earlier this year, two years after the expected completion:

  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Well, thankfully for the Red Cross, the new standard for any charitable organization is a lack of clear evidence of criminality, and that it does "more good than harm".
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    The sad thing is that as far as charities go, the Red Cross does OK. ... up until the time they need to put the money to work, apparently. There are so many boondoggles out there in which the bulk of the money goes toward a cadre of administrators taking salaries or fundraisers taking huge fees -- keeping everyone employed and making money off the charity -- but leaving crumbs for any actual programs.

    The American Red Cross is not that bad when it comes to that stuff. Something like 90 percent of the money it raises makes its way to programs, if you believe how Charity Navigator looks at it. As a donor, I'd prefer a charity run even more efficiently than that -- and a good many do. But that isn't a bad number compared to a lot of large charities.

    Getting that part right is so difficult for most non profits. Which is why it's sad that they actually get a lot of money into what they are trying to do. ... and then are apparently inept at using the money in any meaningful way. I had no idea their execution was that bad in Haiti. That was an interesting piece. It's wild to me -- things have been so bad in Haiti that you pretty much could have done ANYTHING there the last several years if you have money and it was going to help someone who was suffering.
  6. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    The Red Cross appears to place a lion's share of the blame on the land-ownership snafus within the Haitian government. I could almost buy that.

    But coupled with the rest of the failures - botching handwashing education campaigns, distributing treatment courses for cholera, giving scant, if any, details on where money is going, etc. - it's hard to give the Red Cross the benefit of the doubt on any of this.
  7. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I could almost buy that first part too. You just assume going in that there's going to be miles of red tape to build anything down there. Plus, the locals are going to want a cut of the money.

    Actually, that last part is probably true of everything they're trying to do down there.
  8. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    My grandfather who fought in WWII hated the Red Cross because, he said, they charged GIs for coffee while the Salvation Army provided it for free.
  9. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I haven't read the story yet but I've heard horror stories about the amount of corruption and difficulty organizations, including my own, have faced trying to deliver aid and materials to Haiti.
  10. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    It's an interesting story. ... The Red Cross had comfort stations and didn't charge for snacks. Then one day they started charging. And for years afterward, you had ex-GIs saying they hated the Red Cross.

    The Cost Of Free Doughnuts: 70 Years Of Regret : Planet Money : NPR

    "The organization started charging only because the U.S. Secretary of War asked it to. British soldiers had to pay for their snacks, and the free doughnuts for Americans were causing tensions. So the Red Cross complied, after protesting to no avail. It didn't last long — for most of the last 70 years, Red Cross doughnuts have remained free — but veterans haven't forgotten."
  11. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    That bitterness lasted until the day he died.
  12. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

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