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Haiti: How The Relief Money Is Being Spent

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MIAMI (CBS4) – One year after the earthquake ravaged Haiti, progress is still slow to see. The death toll continues to rise from cholera, lack of clean water and lack of appropriate housing.  Nearly a million earthquake survivors are still homeless living in tent cities.

It’s a situation that is pushing  many to question where all the aid went. South Floridian Sonicka Charles donated $50 to help Haiti and wonders if it did any good.

“I don’t really see a lot of progress going on there,” said Charles. “So it is a concern where is all that money going and when are they gonna get the help that they need?”

The American Red Cross estimates it collected $479 million in donations over the past year. It has only spent slightly more than half of that amount.

“The fact is that this is going to be a long term recovery project and we want to be here helping Haiti in ways that are going to be sustainable going forward,” said Julie Sell, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross. “So things like building housing don’t happen overnight.”

The Chronicle of Philanthropy analyzed 60 U.S based charities. Overall the groups raised $1.4 billion, yet they spent less than 40 percent of that.

Its an issue back here at home in South Florida as well. Months ago the Broward County School district designated 92 portable classrooms to give to Haiti. The portables could help with housing or portable medical clinics. But as of now the district says most of those portables remain in Broward County. The district can not afford to ship them to Haiti.

In North Miami there has been more criticism for slow moving aid. Mayor Andre Pierre presented Haitian officials with a symbolic check for $200,000 back in July. It wasn’t until city officials were questioned about it back in November that money was finally given to charity. That is five months after the fact. In November, the Mayor acknowledged the problem.

“We should have moved quickly on the use of this funds to build a school or to build a woman’s shelter and I take full responsibilities if we have not done so,” said Mayor Pierre.

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