Phone Companies Hoarding Aid to Haiti

January 24, 2010

The earthquake in Haiti has sparked a deluge of charitable giving via text messages. This is a useful innovation in disaster relief, to be sure, but what most people doing the giving do not realise is that their money (at least in America) will not get anywhere near a starving or sick Haitian for months.

As ABC News reports, the American Red Cross has pioneered text donations but, “Phone companies will be holding on to most of those donations for up to three months, until customers pay their phone bills and honor their pledges.” That’s right, the phone companies will be hoarding life saving aid money until the pledges are “honored.” Doesn’t seem very honourable to me.

Check out the whole article for information about how Wyclef Jean paid $250,000 to a crony for airtime on Haitian TV to advertise a hip-hop contest


One Response to “Phone Companies Hoarding Aid to Haiti”

  1. watsonlow Says:

    On the World Service this morning, it was reported that the various helpers in Haiti were working out how to reconstruct. One school has small centres being built away from the cities, but Oxfam advocates keeping communities together as far as possible, and close to their homes. The report also pointed out that the country’s poverty is due in large part to the strings attached to IMF loans which mandated removal of tariffs and the country being flooded with American staples, rice in the main, thus destroying the indigenous agriculture. Here’s a chance to start putting that right.

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