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American Red Cross as a disaster relief organization: Haiti Earthquake, 2010 (2011 Report)

Where we looked

All of the below was examined in October 2010, unless otherwise noted.

Notes on the relationship between the American Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Cross:
  • The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) works with and coordinates the efforts of Participating National Red Cross Societies on international disaster relief. For example, after the tsunami in 2005, the American Red Cross as well as nearly 100 other National societies contributed their efforts in the region.1
  • IFRC and the American Red Cross (as well as the other National Red Cross Societies involved) post their reports, field updates, and fact sheets on their own websites. Because their operations are distinct, their activities are reported separately in what follows.

How much did the organization raise and how much did it spend?

Source Dates: Jan 12, 2010- Amount donated Amount spent
Chronicle of Philanthropy2 February 3, 2010 $231 million N/A
1-month report3 February 10, 2010 $255 million $80 million
Chronicle of Philanthropy4 February 12, 2010 $271 million N/A
Chronicle of Philanthropy5 February 17, 2010 $276 million N/A
2-month report6 March 10, 2010 $354 million $106.4 million
3-month report7 April 6, 2010 $409 million $110 million
Chronicle of Philanthropy8 May 11, 2010 $444 million N/A
6-month report9 July 12, 2010 $468 million $148.5 million
USA Today10 November 30, 2010 $476 million $184 million
1-year report11 January 12, 2011 $479 million $245 million

How specific is the organization about how it spent its funds?

The American Red Cross provides a breakdown of its spending into six major categories:

Within those, it provides some information on subcategories (e.g., within shelter: $28.6 million for semi-permanent shelter, $23 million for tarps, tents and tools).12

Non-disaster relief activities

  • Domestic programs: American Red Cross responds to 70,000 emergencies per year (the majority of them house fires, but also including explosions, natural disasters, transportation accidents, etc),13 assists troops and their families, teaches health and safety classes, and collects and distributes blood products.14
    • In its annual reports, American Red Cross provides some facts (e.g., number of people helped) as well as very general break-downs of expenditures (i.e., fundraising, health, community services, domestic disaster services, etc).15
    • We have not found a comprehensive account of its activities at a more detailed level.
  • International Review for 2009:
    • A breakdown of expenses by region is provided.16
    • A breakdown of expenses by very general category (Disaster management: 71%, Disease prevention: 26%, Restoring family links and International humanitarian law: 3% - Tsunami Recovery Program is excluded) is provided.17
    • We have not found a comprehensive account of its activities at a more detailed level.

Sources

  • 1.

    “Nearly 100 members of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (International Federation) around the world have provided assistance.” American Red Cross, "Tsunami Recovery Program: Three-Year Report," Pg 5.

  • 2.

    Chronicle of Philanthropy, “Haiti Donations Exceed $644-Million, as of February 3.“

  • 3.

    American Red Cross, “One-Month Progress Report for the American Red Cross Response,” Pg 2.

  • 4.

    Chronicle of Philanthropy, “American Charities Raise $709-Million for Haiti Relief, Chronicle Tally Finds.”

  • 5.

    Chronicle of Philanthropy, “American Charities Raise $774-Million for Haiti Relief, Chronicle Tally Finds.”

  • 6.

    American Red Cross, “Two Month Progress Report for the American Red Cross Response,” Pg 3.

  • 7.

    American Red Cross, “Three-Month Progress Report on the American Red Cross Response,” Pg 6.

  • 8.

    Chronicle of Philanthropy, “$1.1-Billion Donated for Haiti Relief: Updated Tally.”

  • 9.

    American Red Cross, “Six Months After the Earthquake: Rebuilding for the Future,” Pg 1.

  • 10.

    "The American Red Cross has spent 39% of the $476 million it raised, most of it on emergency aid such as tents, tarps, food and hygiene kits...At the American Red Cross, spokeswoman Julie Sell says... that of the $184 million the group has spent, 38% was spent on temporary shelter, such as tarps and tents; 35% on emergency relief, such as food; 12% on cash grants for families and entrepreneurs rebuilding businesses; and the rest on water and sanitation, health and disaster preparedness." USA Today, "Much of Aid for Haiti is Still Unspent."

  • 11.

    "The American Red Cross has received $479 million in donations to date. The first chart reflects $245 million in spending as of January 12, 2011." American Red Cross, "Haiti Earthquake Relief: One-Year Report," Pg 14.

  • 12.
    • Shelter: $28.6 million for semi-permanent shelter for 40,000 people (spent or signed contracts). Commitment to provide shelters for 165,000 people total. $23 million to provide tarps, tents and tools for 625,000 people.
    • Health services: $3.8 million for Haitian doctors, nurses and staff salaries; $1.8 million to keep a German Red Cross field hospital open, $1.4 million in prosthetics and rehabilitation support; $900,000 in health and hygiene education costs.
    • Disaster Preparedness: $7 million to reduce risk in the case of further disasters.
    • Water and Sanitation: $1.6 million towards clean water and sanitation; 165,000 benefitting from latrines, rainwater collection systems, drainage systems; Daily water to 280,000 people and sanitation services to 238,000 people.
    • Food and Emergency Services: Food for 1.3 million people
    • Grants to partner organizations: American Red Cross made grants to the U.N. World Food Programme (Food distribution, $30m), ACTED, Habitat for Humanity, and Haven (Emergency transitional shelter, $12.5 million), Concern Worldwide (water and sanitation, $111,000), Partners in Health (health services, $7 million), Fonkoze and Mercy Corps (Livelihoods and host family assistance, $14.3 million).

    American Red Cross, “Six Months After the Earthquake: Rebuilding for the Future,” Pg 2.
    From the 1-year report:

    • "As of the writing of this report, 2,889 homes have been completed for 14,400 Haitians."
    • "Reached more than 112,900 people with cholera prevention messages. Distributed more than 179 million gallons of water to date. Providing more than 317,000 people with daily drinking water. Treated nearly 217,000 patients in Red Cross healthcare facilities."

    American Red Cross, "Haiti Earthquake Relief: One-Year Report."

  • 13.

    "Each year, the American Red Cross responds immediately to more than 70,000 disasters, including house or apartment fires (the majority of disaster responses), hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents, explosions, and other natural and man-made disasters." American Red Cross, “Domestic programs.”

  • 14.

    "Today, in addition to domestic disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers compassionate services in five other areas: community services that help the needy; support and comfort for military members and their families; the collection, processing and distribution of lifesaving blood and blood products; educational programs that promote health and safety; and international relief and development programs." American Red Cross, "About Us."

  • 15.

    “We provided 470,000 emergency communication services for 154,000 military families. We delivered $6.1 million in emergency financial assistance to 5,400 individuals or families on behalf of the military aid societies. We trained more than 100 mental health volunteers to teach Coping With Deployments. More than 20,000 family members had an opportunity to discuss the challenges of deployment and reintegration. We distributed more than 11,000 donated calling cards and 145,000 pounds of coffee to deployed troops.” American Red Cross, "Annual Report (2009)," Pg 11.

  • 16.

    American Red Cross, "International Review (2009)," Pg 16.

  • 17.

    American Red Cross, "International Review (2009)," Pg 16.