The American Red Cross may be snatching most of the spotlight when it comes to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, but it doesn’t mean that the humanitarian organization is getting the job done. Houston City Councilman Dave Martin recently urged residents not to donate their money to the “inept” and “unorganized” Red Cross, reports the Houston Press.
Martin also questioned why the Red Cross (or the “Red Loss” as he calls it) appears to be taking credit for relief efforts in Houston, when local government has been doing most of the work. “Yet every time I turn on the TV, I see [the Red Cross] taking in millions of dollars in donations,” he said during a city council meeting Wednesday (Sept. 6).
“Don’t waste your time, don’t waste your money,” Martin said. “Give it to another cause.”
The Red Cross has long been criticized over its natural disaster relief efforts, most recently in Miami after Hurricane Irma swept through the city. In 2010, the organization was exposed for building only a handful of homes in Haiti following a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake, despite receiving $500 million in donations.
According to a 2016 released by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Red Cross spent $125 million (or a quarter of the money donors gave to help victims of the Haiti earthquake) on internal expenses.
When pressed about what percentage of each dollar will go directly to Hurricane Harvey relief, logistics executive Brad Kieserman, said he didn’t have a number amount.
“I don’t think I know the answer to that any better than the chief fundraiser knows how many, how much it costs to put a volunteer downrange for a week and how many emergency response vehicles I have on the road today,” Kiserman told NPR last month. “So I think if he was on this interview and you were asking how many relief vehicles in Texas, I don’t think he’d know the answer and I don’t know the answer to the financial question I’m afraid.”