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October 29, 2014

Media Report Assails Red Cross Response to 2012 Disasters

The Red Cross botched its emergency response to Hurricane Isaac in August 2012 and Superstorm Sandy two months later, leaving many victims in dire straits as the charity mismanaged volunteers and reportedly diverted vehicles and supplies for photo opportunities, according to a joint investigation by ProPublica and NPR.

The reports cite internal Red Cross documents, emails, and accounts of two "mass care chiefs" who directed work on the ground in detailing problems with the charity's relief efforts and use of resources after Isaac and Sandy slammed the Gulf Coast and Northeast, respectively. The Red Cross received hundreds of millions of dollars in donations in the wake of the storms.

In a statement to ProPublica and NPR, Red Cross officials denied allocating resources for public-relations purposes and defended the charity's overall response to Isaac and Sandy. "While it’s impossible to meet every need in the first chaotic hours and days of a disaster, we are proud that we were able to provide millions of people with hot meals, shelter, relief supplies, and financial support during the 2012 hurricanes," the organization said.