As U.S. President Barack Obama urged people to donate to the American Red Cross to help Haiti amid Hurricane Matthew, Haitians took to social media over the weekend to urge people to do the opposite, pointing to how the organization was accused of squandering more than US$500 million in aid to the country in 2010.
"In the coming days, many of you are going to write and ask me how you can 'help Haiti'," A woman from Haiti said in a Facebook Post earlier this week. “Here are my suggestions: 1. Don't give the American Red Cross. Nope. But... Nah.”
The woman also urged people to only give money to local Haitian groups. The post had more than 5,600 shares by Sunday evening. “4. Lastly, we Haitians are tired. We just want to make it through to tomorrow without another ignorant or sensational headline. Please be respectful of that,” the woman concluded in her post.
Obama asked on Friday for “all Americans to go the American Red Cross and other philanthropic agencies” to give money to help Haiti.
But Haitians have lost trust in the U.S.-based organization after a damning 2015 report by NPR and ProPublica showed how the ARC used more than US$500 million in aid for the 2010 earthquake to build only six of the promised 700 permanent homes.
“The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people, but the number of permanent homes the charity has built is six,” the June 2015 report said. It also added that its investigation had “found a string of poorly-managed projects, questionable spending and dubious claims of success.”
The hurricane struck Haiti earlier this week and left more than 1,000 people dead, sparked a new cholera outbreak, and devastated the country’s already poor infrastructure.
The question of aid and relief has also placed the Clinton Foundation, co-founded by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her partner Bill, under the spotlight again for failing to use billions of dollars of aid collected for the country following the 2010 earthquake.
While millions of dollars were spent by the foundation on formaldehyde-riddled trailers distributed by Clayton Homes – a top Clinton campaign donor – much of the US$6 billion that the Clintons pledged for the country have yet to be used, according to the New York Times.