By Whitney Webb
Though Hurricane Matthew caused more panic than actual damage in the United States, it devastated the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. The fiercest hurricane to make landfall in the Caribbean in over a decade, Matthew slammed into Haiti last week, leaving over 1.4 million in desperate need of aid and an estimated 1,000 dead.
As Haitian authorities begin burying the dead in mass graves, US charities are asking for emergency donations, with the Red Cross alone filing an emergency appeal for $6.9 million to provide “medical aid, shelter, water, and sanitation assistance.” One would assume that Haitians would welcome these donations with open arms, yet many Haitians are urging people NOT to donate to the Red Cross. Though some may find this “rejection” of aid shocking considering the scope of the disaster, Haitians are well aware of a fact that has alluded many Westerners – that the Red Cross has consistently exploited disaster relief efforts in Haiti for personal enrichment.
After a devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the Red Cross solicited donations in order to offer much-needed humanitarian aid, receiving over half a billion dollars to alleviate the widespread suffering and homelessness caused by the natural disaster. However, it was later revealed that the efforts in fundraising were not so much aimed at helping Haitians, but rather at offsetting the Red Cross’ previous deficits and generating its own publicity. A former Red Cross official said that the Haiti earthquake disaster, instead of being viewed as a humanitarian crisis, was seen as “a spectacular fundraising opportunity” for the organization.
Though the Red Cross claims that its work helped 4.5 million Haitians get “back on their feet,” this claim has been widely discredited by former Red Cross officials as well as the Haitian government. Almost all of those funds intended for the Haitian people actually went to the “overhead expenses” of the Red Cross as well as outside organizations they hired to do the actual work.
In what can only be described as a “man-made” disaster, the original total of half a billion dollars intended for the Haitian people resulted in the construction of only six homes. Though the Red Cross blamed Haiti’s confusing land title system for the lack of homes built, other aid organizations that encountered the same issue still managed to construct over 9,000, calling into question the Red Cross’ narrative. No wonder Haitians are pleading that people avoid making donations to the Red Cross.
However, the Red Cross isn’t the only “charitable” organization to blame for Haiti’s suffering. The Clinton Foundation has funneled millions of dollars it raised for Haitian disaster relief to wasteful and largely unfinished projects that have directly benefited its wealthy donors. One such example, is the Clinton Foundation’s $45 million Marriott Hotel Project, which aims to bring a luxury resort to a wealthy area of Haiti’s capital. Marriott has consistently made large donations to the Clinton Foundation over the years.
Yet, one of the most egregious examples of all comes not from a charitable organization, but the United Nations. An ongoing cholera outbreak since the 2010 earthquake has caused 10,000 deaths in Haiti and infected 800,000 more. This same outbreak has now been exacerbated by Hurricane Matthew, as widespread flooding is increasing the number of cholera cases. Yet, this six-year cholera outbreak was never the result of any natural disaster as UN “peacekeepers” were involved in the initial spread of the disease after the earthquake, a fact the UN Secretary-General himself has acknowledged.
Despite all of this gross incompetence and likely criminal activity on the part of these “aid” organizations, Haitians still need help. Haitians themselves have asked that people donate to Haitian-led organizations and non-Haitian organizations with proven track records in Haiti. These organizations include Sakala Haiti, Haiti Communitere, Volontariat pour le Développement d’Haiti, Doctors Without Borders, Nova Hope for Haiti, and Partners in Health. See the full list here.
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