On January 10, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Port au Prince, killing around 220,000 people and destroying about 105,000 homes. Another 188,000 homes were severely damaged, forcing 1.5 million people into the streets to become homeless. By the time the quake ended, 19 million cubic meters of rubble and debris lined the streets of Port au Prince, strewn with the crushed bodies from those living under poorly built cement roofs.
Many agencies, religious groups, and humanitarian aids were quick to respond, some having fundraisers up within the hour. LDS Helping Hands and the DEC of the UK were speedily on scene to help the victims. The red cross set up a fundraiser and raised, after a while, 500 million American dollars to go toward Haiti victims. People couldn’t believe it, and so the Red Cross set out to rebuild Haiti. On their return from Haiti, they claimed to had helped 4.5 million people, of the ten million that lived there. The Prime Minister at that time, Jean-Max Belleville, stated that was simply, “not possible” that they had helped as many as they claimed to help.
Due to a language barrier, and Haitian laws on land ownership, only six houses were built by the Red Cross. Red Cross eventually claimed it would take 9% overhead and spend 91% of fundraisers on Haiti; but calculations show they only spent around 60% of proceedings on humanitarian efforts. A large chunk of the 40% got sent to other nonprofits, who then took their own portion of overhead. So, basically, the Red Cross used its 500 million in donations to build a whopping six homes, though almost 300 thousand homes needed rebuilding or restructuring. This wasn’t the first time Red Cross had misused donations or neglected victims, and it certainly wasn’t the last.
Not even a year after the earthquake, cholera spread throughout Haiti, killing almost six thousand and infecting another 216,000. Red Cross did not sufficiently combat the situation. Years later, when the ebola virus began spreading around West Africa in 2014, Red Cross was quick to raise funds. The Associated Press stated that the Red Cross employers most likely stole millions of dollars meant to combat the virus. According to a Red Cross internal investigation, workers fraudulently used funds marked specifically for aid; 6 million dollars lost to this type of spending.
Just this last year, Hurricane Harvey struck south central Texas, causing upwards of $180 billion to rebuild the state; the most costly natural disaster to ever hit the US. The category 4 hurricane tore through buildings and cars, damaging or destroying 135,000 homes. Millions of cars were wrecked and the death toll sat at 82, as the 27 trillion gallons of rain damaged the residence below with the historic flooding. Some parts of Houston received more than 50 inches of rainfall, and, according to a California geophysicist, the weight of the water sank most of the city, temporarily, by two centimeters.
Red Cross was sluggish to respond to the disaster, though taking in millions of dollars from donations. While the Houston councilmen expressed gratitude for the individual helpers from the Red Cross, Dave Martin of the councilmen had harsh words to express concerning the ‘Red Loss;’ “Every time I turn on the TV, I see million of dollars in donations(to the red cross)” He says the company is the “most inept, unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced.” and urges the citizens to not “waste your time, and don’t waste your money. Give it to another cause.” The local Government there had done all of the heavy lifting, according to Dave, and provided most of the resources, despite the millions raised by the Red Cross. It seems that the Red Cross has become a cash-grab company, who wait for natural disaster to strike, to benefit off of people’s generosity.