The American Red Cross promised $400 to every family in Houston who needed it after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Now, weeks later, many of those families still haven’t received that “immediate relief.”
NBC reports that the delays are due to the ARC’s servers crashing as a result of the high volume of calls and registration. With any insurance payouts a long way off and daily routines completely disrupted, families need that money for their day-to-day expenses—but the system crash has prevented any registration from taking place.
According to the International Business Times, the ARC has apologized for the problem, and announced that registration will re-open tomorrow and remain open until Oct. 10.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says that’s not good enough. He told NBC, “If you promise people something, you got to make it happen, otherwise, don’t promise at all.” What is especially frustrating about the ARC’s failure to deliver immediate aid is that immediate aid is all that the ARC is capable of delivering. As journalist Jonathan Katz told IBT, the ARC isn’t a medical aid organization, so “it cannot do much other than hand out immediate relief like blankets, hygiene kits or temporary shelter.” The ARC is best at generating funds and giving those funds to smaller, local relief efforts, but if it can’t do that, it has little use.
NBC notes that this is not the first time the ARC has come under fire for mismanaging funds, citing an earlier report alleging that over a quarter of its money raised went into its own administration.