House committee report finds Red Cross ill-prepared for disaster relief

Published 16 December 2005

Minority staff report harshly critical of Red Cross’ ability to cope with mass-casualty disasters

A House Committee on Homeland Security investigative report prepared for Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-Mississippi) finds that American National Red Cross emergency disaster relief efforts over the past several years have not provided effective and necessary critical emergency relief services after large-scale natural disasters and other emergencies. “The Red Cross has pulled the wool over our eyes. Despite its reputation for being a reliable and trusted organization, a closer look at its performance in disaster relief reveals an inefficient group hampered by mismanagement and bureaucracy.”

Specifically, the report finds that Red Cross protocols are inadequate for large-scale emergency disaster response. Cumbersome rules hamper the Red Cross’s ability to mobilize resources to quickly provide equal care for all disaster victims, including the economically disadvantaged and people of color. The findings of the report are significant because the Red Cross is the only nongovernmental organization tasked by the Federal Government to provide “mass care” duties under the National Response Plan. Legislation Rep. Thompson introduced today would address these problems.

-see the report at the House committee Web site