Where did money for Haiti’s renovation go?

construction in haiti

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Haiti was struck by an earthquake back in January 2010 and ever since then, the country has not been the same. In light of this, Red Cross decided to raise money to help the cause, but it later sky rocketed into speculations of the organization using the money to alleviate their deficits. Whether or not this is true, the world may never know fully what happened, but Gail McGovern, chief executive of Red Cross stated to the public that all donations would be used to help Haiti in their time of need.

In late 2011, Red Cross launched a multi-million dollar campaign project to transform the country of Haiti under the name ‘A Better Life in My Neighborhood’. The focus of the project was to create hundreds of homes for residents each equipped with toilets, showers, floors and rainwater collection systems. Unfortunately, the project has not come to fruition to this day and the people of Haiti have continued suffering as a result because of the living arrangements they find themselves having to tolerate. While Red Cross claimed that their organization has provided homes for more than one hundred and thirty thousand persons, in all actuality, sources say that they have only built six homes.

“Like many humanitarian organizations responding in Haiti, the American Red Cross met complications in relation to government coordination delays, disputes over land ownership, delays at Haitian customs, challenges finding qualified staff who were in short supply and high demand, and the cholera outbreak, among other challenges,” the Red Cross charity said.

While the project outlined that the organization would repair four thousand homes, provide temporary shelters, donate forty four million dollars to food and supplies, and aid in the construction of a hospital after the earthquake, these plans lack supportive evidence. Residents also admitted to a road being built, street lights being installed, some homes receiving earthquake reinforcement and a few schools being repaired. In all actuality, the project was scaled down and the proposal to perform the aforementioned tasks outlined in the project failed.

haiti earthquake

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Marking the fifth anniversary of the earthquake’s occurrence, McGovern commented in a report that “Millions of Haitians are safer, healthier, more resilient, and better prepared for future disasters thanks to generous donations to the American Red Cross,” In other promotional materials, the Red Cross organization added that it has helped “more than 4.5 million” individual Haitians “get back on their feet.”

In contrast, Haiti’s prime minister at the time of the earthquake, Jean-Max Bellerive was startled by the figure, stating that the country’s entire population is in fact about ten million.

“Five hundred million American dollars in Haiti is a whole lot of money,” the Prime Minister said.  He also added, “I’m not a big mathematician, but I can make some additions. I know more or less the cost of things. Unless you don’t pay for the gasoline the same price I was paying, unless you pay people 20 times what I was paying them, unless the cost of the house you built was five times the cost I was paying, it doesn’t add up for me.”

An internal evaluation found that as the Red Cross claimed to have helped persons in said areas, their figures were off since they reported to helping more than those in the actual community. In other cases, reports showed that the figures which were either low or double-counted went uncorrected by the organization.

All in all, the Red Cross still refuses to disclose the details as to how it has spent the donors’ money summing to almost half a billion dollars. Reports have provided evidence to show that less money reached those in need than the Red Cross stated. The accusations and remarks set against the organization, the Red Cross needs to refute these claims, or at least provide a detailed report to shed light on the matter at hand.

By Alexandra Daley

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