Haiti Spurs Debate about Sharing U.S. Relief Donations

February 25, 2010

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A woman in Haiti carrys a bag of rice distributed by aid organizations.
When the earthquake struck Haiti last month, a group of thirteen humanitarian organizations in the U.K, including the British Red Cross and Oxfam, issued a joint appeal for donations. By the end of January, the coalition—known as the Disasters Emergency Committee—raised 88.8 million dollars. The funds are spread across the aid groups according to their expertise and capacity to help. DEC, as the group is known, brought in a similarly impressive sum for the Asian tsunami, and disasters before that.

Of course, we do things differently in the United States. Peter Bell is the former head of the American branch of the relief group CARE. He says that while many American groups could stand to benefit from a joint appeal system, marquee names like the Red Cross would receive a little less of the pie.