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What happened to Red Cross donations for Haiti?

Following a harrowing earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, the American Red Cross launched a project to raise funds and rebuild the area. Roughly $500 million was donated. The Red Cross claims to have provided homes for more than 130,000 people in Haiti, but according to a new report from ProPublica and NPR, as it stands today, only six homes have been built in the four years since those efforts began.

The organization won’t say where the rest of the money has gone. When they declined to show ProPublica’s Justin Elliot and NPR’s Laura Sullivan the grounds of one of their projects in Campache, the reporters visited the area on their own:

The Red Cross’ initial plan said the focus would be building homes — an internal proposal put the number at 700. Each would have finished floors, toilets, showers, even rainwater collection systems. The houses were supposed to be finished in January 2013.

None of that ever happened. Carline Noailles, who was the project’s manager in Washington, said it was endlessly delayed because the Red Cross “didn’t have the know-how.”

The investigation also points to a cholera epidemic that spread throughout Haiti shortly after the earthquake. The Red Cross planned to distribute soap and oral rehydration salts, but was delayed due to “internal issues.”


Read the full report on Pro Publica’s website. And watch Jeffrey Brown’s conversation with Laura Sullivan.

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