Updated: May 29, 2020
BY: BIANCA BARDEN
FEBRUARY 3, 2020
WARNING: Lengthy read, but necessary to highlight the systemic lack of integrity of overall mismanagement that appears to exist within the Red Cross, both internationally and here in Australia.
"Australian Red Cross has been one of the most trusted not-for-profit health service providers in Australia for over 90 years – for good reason. You'll benefit from our ethical practices, deep experience, large network and professional team", reads the self promotion blurb from their website.
The reality though is very different.
The Red Cross has a particularly nasty reputation of raising good money after natural disasters only to continually find itself questioned over the whereabouts of the money and being asked for a breakdown of where the money has been spent.
In the United States, after Hurricane Katrina, the Red Cross raised $2.1 billion dollars. After the earthquake in Haiti, the Red Crossed amassed a total of $500 million from generous people from around the globe. It was one of the most successful fundraising events ever. Five years after the earthquake, the Red Cross' legacy in Haiti is not new roads, schools or hundreds of new homes. It's difficult to know where all the money went.
The NPR and ProPublica went in search of the nearly $500 million and found a string of poorly managed projects, questionable spending and dubious claims of success, according to a review of hundreds of pages of the charity's internal documents and emails, as well as interviews with a dozen current and former officials.
The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people, but the number of permanent homes the charity has built is six.
It's not unheard of for the Red Cross to make such a claim. Not long ago, the charity hired a group of consultants to review one of its projects in the north of the country. They found the charity's math unreliable when it came to counting people it helped. There was double-counting, undercounting, and in one instance the Red Cross claimed to have helped more people than actually lived there.
David Meltzer, the Red Cross' general counsel and head of the international division, says the Red Cross took the almost $500 million and split it into sectors. For example, the organization spent $69 million on emergency relief, $170 million providing shelter and $49 million on water and sanitation efforts.
But the charity will not provide a list of specific programs it ran, how much they