In new internal Red Cross documents released by ProPublica and NPR on their continued investigation into the spending of post-quake aid, lack of oversight and slow response are outlined as main contributors to why the Red Cross is unaware of where the nearly $500 million has gone. Of the half a billion dollars raised, a large portion was passed on to other groups contributing to aid in Haiti. However, the Red Cross kept almost no oversight of these groups, at least one of which has been proven to have mismanaged funding. Due to a lack of assessment of the effectiveness of projects and poor management from American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., the spending has not been tracked, leaving everyone to wonder where the donations have gone.
Confidential Documents: Red Cross Itself May Not Know How Millions Donated for Haiti were spent
Justin Elliot, ProPublica, and Laura Sullivan, NPR
July 21, 2015
The American Red Cross is under pressure this week to answer detailed questions from Congress about the spending of nearly half a billion dollars it raised after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
But internal documents newly obtained by ProPublica and NPR call into question whether the Red Cross itself has an accurate accounting of how money was spent.
The reports, assessments from 2012 of some of the group’s health and water projects, conclude that the charity failed to properly track its own spending, oversee projects, or even know whether or not they were successful. The documents also cast doubt on the accuracy of the Red Cross’ public claims about how many Haitians the group has helped.
An internal evaluation of one of the group’s water and sanitation projects found there was “no correct process for monitoring project spending.”
Another report concluded that the Red Cross’ figures on the number of people helped in a hygiene promotion project were “fairly meaningless.”
The findings parallel ProPublica and NPR’s earlier reporting about the Red Cross’ troubled Haiti program. The group has so far not given details of how it spent the almost $500 million in donations for Haiti.
Asked about the internal reports and what the Red Cross did in response to the concerns they raised, spokesperson Suzy DeFrancis said in an email that the group would no longer respond to questions from ProPublica and NPR. (Read the email.)
The consultant who wrote one of the evaluations, Bonnie Kittle, told us the Red Cross followed up by hiring her to train staff in Haiti how to work more effectively.
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