by Ritika Rao
Through confidential reports and internal e-mails we find that The Red Cross cloaks itself under the illusions of humanitarian aid and disaster relief through elaborately planned public relations schemes. Hurricane Sandy and Isaac were two incidents that caused uproar and investigation by certain media groups. Despite the $320 million worth of donations given to American Red Cross, they still failed to provide basic needs after the storms.
According to an internal presentation, the charity had orders from their national headquarters to “divert assets to public relations.” During the relief efforts for Isaac, trucks that were meant to deliver aid were instead driven around almost empty just to be seen with nothing to give. The lack of urgency and proficiency left some victims in extreme conditions vulnerable to harm. Handicapped victims had slept in wheelchairs for days because proper cots were not secured. Distastefully, in one shelter, sex offenders were not tracked and were found all over, even in the children’s area.
Even when Sandy victims started going hungry, Red Cross was still apparently wasting 3 out of every 10 meals being prepared. In this case, they were not entirely lacking of resources but the simple, yet crucial, matter of where the hungry victims were located. As consistently reiterated by Richard Rieckenberg, an overseer of Red Cross relief efforts, top Red Cross Officials were concerned only “about the appearance of aid, not actually delivering it.” It makes one wonder if the Red Cross has lost confidence in the ability to do the right thing.
Corporate media coverage has been limited to The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and The Guardian, while smaller groups, ProPublica and NPR, collaboratively did this hands-on investigation. This issue has not been given enough publicity considering the brand image and responsibilities vested in the Red Cross itself. The people have donated millions of dollars, thus they have the right to know what their money is truly being spent on.