Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Questioning how the Red Cross spent the Haitian money

One of the Haitian earthquake survivors is wondering where the Red Cross is, and he is using youtube to spread his message. Armed with his camera, Fred Sajous cannot find any evidence of the $430 million dollars that the Red Cross raised in the disaster. In fact, a tent city right across the road from the Red Cross headquarters has not received anything from them.

From the Miami Herald, Frances Robles summarized her story in the following video. Our snippet of the article is after the jump.

``I couldn't find the $106 million,'' said Sajous, a 29-year-old mechanical engineer who left Fort Lauderdale for Port-au-Prince after being laid off last year. ``I didn't see a single sticker or anything.''

More than three months since the American Red Cross raised hundreds of millions to aid Haiti in the aftermath of the 7.0 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 and left 1.3 million homeless, the organization says it has spent about a quarter of the money.

But after consuming $106 million in the first 60 days, the Red Cross in the past month has tapped just $5 million more and has come under fire for what critics call anemic spending.

Other aid groups, members of Congress, bloggers and even a former board member are among the growing chorus asking what the Red Cross is doing with such a massive amount of money raised in such a short time.

Red Cross records are not public, so Sajous settled on registering a watchdog organization called Kontrol Aid and making a video about his hunt for Red Cross relief supplies, which he posted on YouTube. American Red Cross President and CEO Gail J. McGovern last week countered with an Internet video of her own, responding to those who say the organization lacks visibility.

She also scheduled a conference call with members of Congress, underscoring the agency's sudden drive to explain how it funded 43 percent of the global Red Cross efforts that assisted 2 million people, gave tarps and other supplies to 450,000 and distributed almost 24 million gallons of water.

``Slapping our logo on people's temporary homes just didn't seem right,'' McGovern said in the video. ``I can assure you that our presence is being felt by the people of Haiti. We have to answer not just to our donors; we have to answer to the people of Haiti.''

The Red Cross said that expenses so far have included $55 million for emergency relief, such as food and supplies, including $30 million to the World Food Program; $43.6 million for shelter, including tarp; $5.5 million for water and sanitation, and $1.5 million for health costs.

Read more:

No comments: