This Will Make You Think Twice Before Donating To The Red Cross

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If you've ever wondered what happens to the money the Red Cross collects through donations after major disasters, a new report has found some disturbing answers to that question. A joint investigation between NPR and Pro Publica has uncovered widespread mismanagement and dysfunction in the Red Cross's projects in Haiti. The details are enough to make anyone skeptical about donating money in the future.

According to the story, despite raising half a billion dollars after the 2010 earthquate that devastated the island nation, the relief organization has virtually nothing to show for it. Communities promised total revitalization have remained unchanged, planned projects have not materialized, and the Red Cross has reneged on promises of transparency.

But this is only the latest story about the Red Cross's failings. A story published last year revealed widespread incompetence and failure after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in 2012. To make matters worse, the group resisted Pro Publica's efforts to obtain public records on how it spent money after the hurricane.

Relief groups and charities can provide life-saving services after natural disasters, and their work is neither easy nor cheap. This makes the revelations about the Red Cross even more disturbing — after a tragedy as awful as the earthquake in Haiti, or the more recent one in Nepal, it's natural to want to help. If the bad behavior exposed by these stories discourages people from donating money to any groups, then problems at the Red Cross will end up creating even more humanitarian crises.
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