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COMMENT: Red Cross Using Social Media Spin Doctors To Screw Bushfire Victims

Social media, new apps and pop up web sites, has allowed organisations such as the Red Cross to raise money quickly when a crisis like the recent bush fires happen. Now the organisation that raised $90M has admitted that they are only only allocating $30M to those genuinly in need in need of assistance.

Organisations such as the Red Cross appear to be morally corrupt and more interest in future administration and the payment of fees to executives running the Red Cross fund raising than the immediate allocation of relief to those in need.

I have been a journalist working in war zones for decades, I was 500 metres from the towers in New York when they went up and I was one of the first journalists on the ground when Cyclone Tracy hit in Darwin.

I have seen first-hand the people who turn up and who are the real contributors in the hour of need. One of those organisations is the Salvation Army who were there during 911 and were on the ground in Darwin and are seen every day on the streets of Australia helping those in need.

What is happening in Australia with Red Cross Australia is exactly what happened in New York with 911.

Back in 2011 the US Cross raised A$820M but only allocated $223M to those in need despite telling contributors via their advertising and marketing campaigns that were funded with charitable donations from past fund-raising activities.

This is an organisation that has on standby PR and digital marketing Companies who are tasked with taking advantage of a situation such as the recent Bushfires to raise as much money as fast as they can.

The only problem is that money donated to the Red Cross does not necessarily end up when the contributors wanted it to go as I found out working in Ground Zero and in New York.

The Red Cross raised more than US$564 million for the Liberty Fund, which was set up in response to the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

US media hammered New York Red Cross officials following their decision to put aside nearly half of the money raised for future needs that at the time they said may include terrorist attacks.

In nearly 20 years there has been no more major terrorist attacks on the USA.

This was pure PR spin engineered by PR professionals working for the Red Cross.

Now Red Cross Australia is trying to pull the same stunt again and it has to be stopped.

Surely this is where the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission should step in.

If an organisation has said that donations are being raised for Bushfire victims surely the ACCC has the powers to ensure that what is claimed is what is delivered.

Not large junks being allocated for future PR and so-called future charity donation raising.

The Red Cross in Australia is morally corrupt if they can get away saying one thing and then acting differently.

The Red Cross is in essence a large global Corporation masquerading as a Charity.

What they need to do is act like a charity.

If they had stuck their hand up and initially said “This is what we are doing with the $90 million raised for Bushfire relief, they would have won a lot of support.

Instead they were forced to admit that they intended to hold the bulk of the money raised for other activities.

In their annual report they claim that “Red Cross people did their best with limited resources to be innovative last year, and that they experiment to find new ways forward”.

Their so-called annual report goes on page after page outlining what they actually do before you get to their financials.

In 2018/2019 Red Cross Australia reported total revenue of $867.401 million of which $642.927 million funded the Blood Service and $224.474 million was for what they label humanitarian services. This is more than a billion dollars. This is an organisation that also owns properties in major Australian Cities.

Back in 2011 New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said at a hearing into the Red Cross fund raising methods “I see the Red Cross, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars that was intended by the donating public to be used for the victims of September 11 — I see those funds being sequestered into long-term plans for an organization,” testified .

At the time Red Cross officials tried to defend their actions claiming that the 911 fund raising went toward helping communities learn how to deal with other threats such as anthrax.

The hearing was contentious, with panel members trying to get at the issue of donor intent and whether the Red Cross misled donors.

“What’s at issue here is that a special fund was established for these families. It was specially funded for this event, September 11,” said Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-Louisiana.

“And it is being closed now because we are told enough money’s been raised in it, but we’re also being told, by the way, we’re going to give two-thirds of it away to other Red Cross needs.”

The subcommittee asked Healy and her agency to provide the exact language of all of its television and newspaper appeals for donations.

So, who are the people who need this money?

Nymboida resident Robert Gorringe and his partner Narelle lost everything when fires ripped through their northern NSW property last November.

“They made a lot of promises that they’re going to this, that and other, (but) I’ve received nothing, I have no idea where the money is going,” Gorringe told 7NEWS on Wednesday.

Red Cross Australia has admitted it could “take years” to disburse the entire amount and did not rule out the possibility of quarantining some of the funds for future natural disasters such as floods and cyclones.

The admission has angered NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, who nearly lost his home in Batemans Bay to the fires.

“Australians have donated money now so people can get help now, not in three years,” Constance told Seven’s Chris Reason.

The minister invited charity CEOs to inspect fire damaged regions of NSW with him on the weekend.

“Sit in my car on Saturday, we’ll go and see these people and then they might have a change of heart,” he said.

It appears from their recent actions relating to the Bushfire Crisis that Red Cross Australia officals are nor reading their own PR spin documents. On their web site is a document that outlines how to manage a crisis. It states ‘Recovery refers to those programs that go beyond immediate relief to assist
affected people to rebuild their homes, lives and services and to strengthen their capacity to cope with future disasters”.

The document claims “Recovery services support emergency-affected persons in the reconstruction of the physical infrastructure and restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical wellbeing’.

‘Following a disaster, immediate needs are met first. The rapid provision of food, water, shelter and medical care is vital to prevent loss of life and alleviate suffering. However, practical experience, backed by research, supports the view that even at this stage, relief must be conducted with a thought to planning a transition to early recovery and meeting the affected community’s longer-term needs’.

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