Most UN Haiti Relief Aid Goes to UN Staff, Not Haitians

|
Posted: Apr 20, 2010 4:40 PM
Fox News is reporting this afternoon that an astounding amount of humanitarian aid money from the United Nations is not reaching those most in need following the country's disastrous earthquake, but instead going to the UN's own personnel. 

According to Fox, the UN increased its Haiti peacekeeping budget this year to $732.4 million, but two-thirds of that amount is used to pay for the "salary, perks and upkeep of its own personnel, not residents of the devastated island."

The world organization plans to spend the money on an expanded force of some 12,675 soldiers and police, plus some 479 international staffers, 669 international contract personnel, and 1,300 local workers, just for the 12 months ending June 30, 2010.

Some $495.8 million goes for salaries, benefits

, hazard pay, mandatory R&R allowances and upkeep for the peacekeepers and their international staff support. Only about $33.9 million, or 4.6 percent, of that salary total is going to what the U.N. calls "national staff" attached to the peacekeeping effort.

Presumably, the budget also includes at least part of some $10 million that the U.N. has spent on renting two passenger vessels, the Sea Voyager (known to some U.N. staffers as the "Love Boat") and the Ola Esmeralda, for a minimum of 90 days each, as highly subsidized housing for some of its peacekeepers and humanitarian staff. The tab for the two vessels, which offer catered food, linen service and comfortable staterooms and lounges, is about $112,500 per day.

Under a cost-sharing formula, the U.S. pays a 27 percent share of the entire $732.4 million peacekeeping tab for Haiti during this 12 month period, or about $197.7 million.

Money well spent?