Red Cross builds six houses in Haiti despite raising $500M

Joint NPR, ProPublica report says Red Cross built only six homes in Haiti despite raising $500M following 2010 earthquake

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

American Red Cross (ARC) has built only six houses despite raising almost $500 million for disaster relief in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that hit the Caribbean country, according to an investigative news report.

NPR and ProPublica, two non profit news organisations based in the US, found that much of the money raised to help the people of Haiti after the disaster, went to management costs and local middlemen, resulting only six houses being built despite the ARC appropriated about $170 million to shelter, according to its own reports.

The ARC claims to have provided shelter to 130,000 Haitians, but a close examination of reports and interviews with locals reveal that overwhelming majority of those are “transitional shelters.”

While gathering the money, the ARC said: “Minus the 9 cents overhead, 91 cents on the dollar will be going to Haiti.”

Yet, the joint investigative report by the ProPublica and NPR show that only 60 percent of the donations went to Haitians, as 24 percent was spent for Red Cross management costs, 9 percent for Red Cross overhead and 7 percent for other groups overhead.

Haitian prime minister at the time of the quake Jean-Max Bellerive also challenged the Red Cross claim about how the money is distributed saying “it is impossible.”

“I'm not a big mathematician, but I can make some additions. It doesn't add up for me,” Bellerive said.

The report also said that the provided aid was inefficient and there were major problems with the organisation hampering the programme.

Red Cross internal reports also show the problem as official Judith St Ford noted in 2011 that there are “serious program delays caused by internal issues that go unaddressed.”

Many international NGOs including Red Cross and Doctors without Borders had run to help of Haiti in 2010 after the earthquake.

According to Haitian government accounts, about 230,000 people died in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake and millions lost their homes.

TRTWorld and agencies