Red Cross "didn't show up" at Florida shelters during Irma

Miami-Dade's hurricane shelters experienced "chaos" during Irma, and the Miami-Dade schools chief Alberto Carvalho says that's because the Red Cross was missing in action.

The Red Cross is contracted to run 42 shelters in Miami-Dade schools, but in many cases, Red Cross personnel were late to show up, and in others, no one showed up at all.

Red Cross spokeman Robert Baltodano referred reporters to regional communications director Grace Meinhofer, who didn't reply to a query.

The Red Cross hired AT&T exec Gail McGovern to serve as CEO in 2008, and since then the organization has been plagued by mass layoffs, low volunteer morale, secrecy and suspicious accounting, massive executive paychecks, and an emphasis on "branding" exercises at the expense of serving the organization's core mission.

The Red Cross drew fire for its inaction during Superstorm Sandy — having sucked up massive sums in government grants and private donations — and it appears to have wasted nearly all of the $500 million it raised for relief in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Independent researchers say it spends 11% of its budget on overheads, a high figure for a humanitarian relief agency (the Red Cross says the number is 9%).

"In some instances the Red Cross showed up very late. In some instances, the Red Cross never showed up," Carvalho said at a press conference at Shenandoah Middle School on Monday. "We made an executive decision that we would open the shelters on our own led by our principals and our custodians and our cafeteria workers."

Miami-Dade schools chief: Red Cross 'didn't show up' at shelters
[Miami Herald]

(via Kottke)