Ever since Hurricane Harvey touched down in East Texas last Friday, it has already left a severe and deathly path of destruction. As of now, there have been 10 people reported dead and hundreds injured. It has also been reported that roughly 30,000 people will be in shelters and around 450,000 will need some sort of assistance in this disaster. What makes this even worse is that there isn’t an end in sight yet and forecasters say there is a lot more rain to come.
As with any natural disaster, many organizations jump in to offer as much help as they can. From providing victims with resources they need on hand to asking globally for donations, they do as much as they can to relieve the burden for those in need. Especially when it comes to donations, they aim to give it all towards those who need it most.
Well, except the Red Cross Association.
The Red Cross Association has a terrible history of raising a lot of money in donations for disaster relief and not actually putting good use to it. During the 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti, the Red Cross raised around half a billion dollars in donations, yet only built six permanent homes for victims who lost everything they had. There were 3 million people affected by that earthquake and had a death toll of 230,000. Back in 2016, it was said that they now live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal. They do not have access to safe, drinkable water, electricity or even sanitation. When it rains, their homes will flood and residents are forced to dig out the mud and water. What happened to the half a billion dollars in donations? They refused to answer.
“The most important thing is an unwillingness to level with the people exactly where the money went,” Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says. “There’s too many questions in regard to how the money was spent in Haiti … it gives me cause to wonder about other money being donated for other national disasters.”
This even goes back further than their Haiti scandal. When the World Trade Center went down back in 2001, the Red Cross this time raised over a billion dollars in donations. Again, victims of the terrorist attack never saw the money. They opened only a few shelters during the attack and no one came to them. They even handed out coffee and donuts for the rescue workers on site, yet charged them for the food and drinks.
As more natural disasters happened, more sketchy details came to light. The Huffington Post reported that while the Red Cross gave Hurricane Katrina victims food, shelter and helped them relocate to hotels, they get reimbursed for it with pre-existing contracts as long as there’s a state or federal disaster declaration. After Hurricane Katrina, victims saw the same problem with the Red Cross raising a lot of money, yet never actually seeing it used to help.
What’s especially sad about this is that the Red Cross is still heavily promoted by celebrities and politicians. We constantly see TV specials and commercials with a popular athlete, singer or actor asking you to donate to their cause. As if using the world’s most famous people to promote them, they use images of victims to make views feel more compelled to donate. And it works. They always come out on top.
We cannot let this happen to Texas. Residents are begging for people to donate anywhere, except the Red Cross. People are still stranded on top of their roofs and are trapped by severe flooding. This hurricane still isn’t over and people are losing their homes, keepsakes and even their lives.
Instead of donating to the Red Cross, here are some other places you can donate to: