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What Happens When Millions Donated For Disaster Relief Goes Unaccounted For?

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The American Red Cross raised nearly half a billion dollars following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 — far more than any other charity providing relief. Internally, the disaster was seen as "a spectacular fundraising opportunity."

But on the ground in Haiti, the Red Cross effort was marked by a string of failures. A ProPublica and NPR investigation uncovered confidential memos, emails from top officers, and accounts of a dozen insiders that show how the charity broke promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success. For instance, the charity claimed it provided homes to more than 130,000 Haitians. They didn't. They built only six permanent homes.

So where did a half billion dollars in donations go? What relief has the Red Cross managed and how have Haitians benefited? What recourse is there for unfinished work or unanswered questions?

The discussion included community organizer and political science professor Francois Pierre-Louis, Haiti aid expert Jake Johnston, as well as ProPublica reporter Justin Elliott and NPR reporter Laura Sullivan.

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Related stories: For more, read How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti and Built Six Homes and our other Red Cross coverage.

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