Red Cross' $500 Million In Haiti Relief, where all the money went

US$500 million in Haiti is a lot of money. In 2010, the Red Cross had a deficit fund of about $100 million, but it has long been known for providing emergency disaster relief -- food, blankets and shelter to the people in need. And they worked in Haiti too. When a devastating earthquake leveled Haiti in 2010, the American Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars. Millions of people donated to the American Red Cross, it was one of its most successful fundraising efforts ever. They undertook a project (named LAMIKA, a Creole acronym for 'A Better Life in My Neighborhood') to build homes to more than 130,000 people. But with little experience in the difficult work of rebuilding in a developing country, the number of permanent homes the charity has built so far is just six. That is just over $83.3 million a house.


The total fund of $500 million was split it into several sectors like $69 million on emergency relief, $170 million for providing shelter, donating $44 million for food and $49 million on water and sanitation efforts. The organization could not provide details on how it spent the almost $500 million that it received. NPR and ProPublica went in search of the nearly $500 million and found that many of the Red Cross's failings in Haiti are of its own making. Some of the reasons behind the failure are that the Red Cross "didn't have the right know-how" and "they had no development experience and these were coupled with issues like language barriers, no proper system of record keeping. In some cases of sub-contracts, millions were given without proper supervision. Another cause of hindrance could be Haiti's dysfunctional land title system. Furthermore, a lot of money was spent which had nothing to do with Haiti. The money was just going back to the United States. There are complaints that Red Cross officials focused more on programs which would generate good publicity than those providing the most homes. Some estimates suggest that the organization has repaired some 4,000 homes, erected temporary shelters for thousands of families, and donated $44 million for food aid and hospital construction. However, the Red Cross has criticized the investigative report and has claimed that they have built and operating eight hospitals and clinics, provided clean water and sanitation, and have helped more than 100,000 people out of makeshift tents.

Some, however, term the Haitian earthquake as "a spectacular fundraising opportunity for the organization."

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