A joint report by ProPublica and NPR released Wednesday alleges that the Red Cross “repeatedly failed” in its efforts to provide adequate support to Haiti after the country’s 2010 earthquake. Among other shortcomings, the report says the aid group only built six houses, despite announcing two high-profile housing projects and raising nearly $500 million in the earthquake’s aftermath.
The investigation—which includes field studies in Haiti, interviews with Haitian officials and former Red Cross employees, and transcripts of internal memos and emails—found the organization’s claims that it has housed 130,000 Haitians to be false. Among other allegations, the report says the Red Cross consistently used its earthquake recovery efforts to raise funds—which ultimately exceeded the amounts actually needed for the group’s efforts on the ground—and then failed to be sufficiently transparent in how those funds were used.
Responding to the investigation’s allegations, the Red Cross released a statement Wednesday, saying that it was “disappointed” by NPR and ProPublica’s reporting, citing a “lack of balance, context and accuracy” which it believes is characteristic of the multiple critical pieces about the group that ProPublica has published in recent months.
On its impact in Haiti, the group said it has helped more than 100,000 people move into “safe and improved housing” and “continues to meet the needs of the Haitian people” despite challenges arising from “changes in government, lack of land for housing and civil unrest.” In its statement, the Red Cross did not cite specific examples of its funding or projects, nor did it address the NPR/ProPublica claims that large amounts of funding were lost to overhead and management costs, accusations that conflict with claims from the Red Cross’ CEO that 91 percent of donations go to help Haitians.
In addition to its statement, the Red Cross released a fact sheet on their website listing what it calls “myths” about its recovery process in Haiti and referring readers to its Haiti Assistance Program.