Red Cross Built Just 6 Houses in Haiti After the Quake

New report reveals murky details of Red Cross projects
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2015 3:00 PM CDT
How the Red Cross Really Spent $500M in Haiti
Photos show a Jan. 20, 2010 file photo, top, of a street devastated by the 7.0 earthquake that struck one week before in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and a photo taken five years later of the same location.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, Dieu Nalio Chery, File)

The American Red Cross raised nearly $500 million after Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, but what happened to the money? According to an NPR and Pro Publica report, the organization claims to have provided 130,000 people with homes but in fact built only six permanent homes. The Red Cross says land-rights issues hindered its efforts, but reporters found other problems, like lengthy bureaucratic delays, changes in staffing, and a full year in which nothing happened. "They never had a real plan for what they wanted to do in housing," says Lee Malany, who was in charge of the organization's Haiti shelter program. He says Red Cross leadership, including CEO Gail McGovern, seemed more concerned with publicity than project details.

NPR and Pro Publica look at the struggling Haitian community of Campeche, part of a Port-au-Prince neighborhood where the Red Cross promised to spent $24 million on rebuilding—but residents say it never happened. The Red Cross reacted with an email that accused reporters of "creating ill will in the community, which may give rise to a security incident. We will hold you and your news organizations fully responsible." The Red Cross also says it provided Haitians with temporary housing, rental assistance, clean water, vaccinations, sanitation, and other services (but won't give details on projects or expenses). A press conference about the report got heated in Haiti this week, Pro Publica reports, and NPR says there may be a Congressional hearing. Click to see the Red Cross' full response. (More American Red Cross stories.)

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