Five years ago, when the earthquake struck Haiti killing over 200,000, I donated a significant sum to the Red Cross. I was not alone. Millions of people were touched by the plight of a people violently stripped of their homes in matter of seconds. Half a billion dollars was raised by the Red Cross to rebuild Haiti. Alas, the Red Cross, skilled in relief management, had never managed reconstruction before. Sadly the results were similar to the 10 billion dollars in relief aid that never reached the people in direst need. Thousands of people are still living in desperate conditions years after the earthquake.
NPR and ProPublica have been following the money trail, and share the saga of poor money management, thoughtless spending and unfounded claims of successful projects.
The Red Cross brochures claim they rebuilt the neighborhood of Campeche, much to the surprise of the residents. None of the work promised by the Red Cross in a 2012 booklet has been done. No homes, clinics, water or bathrooms. The project cost $24 million.
According to Meltzer, the Red Cross attorney, restoring shelter has been a top priority. He said that the Red Cross has been instrumental in bringing housing to over 130,000 Haitians. Unfortunately, that number is grossly exaggerated.
After extensive correspondence with NPR and ProPublica by email, the Red Cross has finally admitted that the number of 130,000 Haitians is actually comprised of several groups it assisted in some way. Some had attended a seminar on fixing their homes, some had received temporary housing, some had received temporary rental aid. Temporary housing tends to self destruct after a short period of time, leaving the people in the same situation they were in before.
While there has been gross mismanagement of so many international projects to rebuild Haiti, there are organizations that are making a difference in Haiti. Some of the most successful are staffed and managed in large part by Haitians. For example, Global Communities and PCI have built more than 300 multifamily homes in the Ravine Pintade neighborhood. These home are complete with bathrooms and kitchens.
I don’t know about you, but I am angry and outraged at the incompetency and mismanagement that has plagued the relief efforts to rebuild Haiti. It’s not rocket science to build houses. Simple tin roof houses of concrete with 3 or 4 rooms can be built for under $5,000.00 using local materials and local labor.
I’m working closely with my longtime friend, Gladys Thomas, to build homes for earthquake survivors and I hope you will join me in this project. Gladys, founder of the Foundation for the Children of Haiti, is building a technical school near the site of the future Haiti Housing Project homes. She has a great track record, having successfully built schools, outreach programs and one of the best hospitals in Port-au-Prince.
Join us today to make a difference and be the change. It’s a big project and we need help to make it a reality.
Are you interested in being part of the Haiti Housing Project? Want to learn more?
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© 2015 MarBeth Dunn and Destination Empowerment, Inc. All rights reserved