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DarkKnightNomeD

Texas Official After Harvey: The ‘Red Cross Was Not There’

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 DarkKnightNomeD    2,153

 

Once again, there were appeals for donations to the Red Cross. And once again, local officials are saying the charity hasn’t delivered.

by Justin Elliott, Jessica Huseman and Decca Muldowney

 Oct. 3, 8 a.m. EDT

https://www.propublica.org/article/texas-official-after-harvey-the-red-cross-was-not-there

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This story was co-published with The Texas Tribune.

The Red Cross’ anemic response to Hurricane Harvey left officials in several Texas counties seething, emails obtained by ProPublica show. In some cases, the Red Cross simply failed to show up as it promised it would.

In DeWitt, a county of 20,000 where Harvey ripped apart the roof of a hotel, Emergency Management Coordinator Cyndi Smith upbraided a Red Cross official in a Sept. 9 email:

“Red Cross was not there as they were suppose[d] to be with the shelter and again no communication to what this is actually about and that you have been in DeWitt County doing anything.”

With fewer than 24 hours’ notice, Micah Dyer, a school superintendent in DeWitt County, was forced to run a shelter on his own in an unused district building that would eventually house 400 people. For the first three days the shelter was opened, only two Red Cross volunteers were there — neither had any experience running a shelter, Dyer said in an interview.

“Every hot meal came from us,” Dyer said. “[School district employees] had to go to our pantries and walk-in coolers and get whatever we could get so people would have food.” Dyer says the Red Cross didn’t appear with supplies until the fourth day of the storm, and didn’t bring enough cots or food for those housed in the shelter, he said. A significant portion of the Meals-Ready-to-Eat the charity did bring had gone bad, he said.

The charity contested his account, saying in a statement that it maintained two shelters in DeWitt County — including the one Dyer ran — “and recorded a total of 1,599 overnight stays.”

We have only a partial picture of the Red Cross’ response to the massive storm. ProPublica received emails through public records requests from several counties, large and small. But they don’t cover the full swath of the state affected by the storm.

Still, the frustration many authorities felt with the Red Cross was striking. Officials in Jefferson County, which contains Beaumont, were so fed up with the Red Cross that they kicked out a charity employee assigned to work with government officials from the headquarters for the storm response.

“Everything we asked him to do, I didn't feel was getting done in a timely manner,” said Mike White, Jefferson County’s deputy emergency management coordinator.

In Colorado County, west of Houston, a local official told colleagues on Aug. 30 the charity had simply failed to show up at a shelter as promised.

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Martin urged Houstonians not to donate. “I have not seen a single person in Kingwood or Clear Lake that's a representative of the Red Cross,” he said, referring to two hard-hit areas. “You know who opened our shelters? We did. You know who sent water and supplies? We did.”

In an interview with ProPublica, Martin said he ran into Gail McGovern, the charity’s CEO, in a parking lot several days after Harvey hit. When he raised his concerns to her, Martin said she responded: “Do you know how much we raised with Katrina? $2 billion. We won’t even raise hundreds of millions here.’ I just thought, ‘Really, Gail? That’s your response to me?’”

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 Cinnamon    28,915

A lot of people won't donate to them anymore. Most of those kinds of "charities" spend all the money on administrative fees, meaning huge salaries of the people who run them at the top. 

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 Carnivalpunk    527
14 minutes ago, Cinnamon said:

A lot of people won't donate to them anymore. Most of those kinds of "charities" spend all the money on administrative fees, meaning huge salaries of the people who run them at the top. 

I won't donate to the red cross, united way or the fake breast cancer charities. All run for profit and keep a vast majority of the donations. 

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 kbet    844

Local townships and counties, need to start picking up the slack and actively plan for these kinds of situations instead of relying upon dubious third party organizations.

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