The United Nations would love to be the go to guy when it comes being the final arbiter of world justice and relief. Yet, when given the opportunity to prove its mettle in such efforts it fails miserably.
The latest example is in Haiti where it has been found that a majority of funds funneled through that esteemed world body for the Haitian earthquake relief effort went not to the struggling islanders but rather to UN staffers.
The United Nations has quietly upped this year's peacekeeping budget for earthquake-shattered Haiti to $732.4 million, with two-thirds of that amount going for the salary, perks and upkeep of its own personnel, not residents of the devastated island.Hat tip to Bruce at Q&O who opines:
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.
So in essence, about $235 million of that $732 million dollar budget is actually going to Haitian relief. Certainly everyone recognizes it costs money to put relief workers and peacekeeping troops in to a situation such as that, but imagine, if you will, the outcry if a private charity was found to be only using 22% of its money to actually do the job for which it was donated, and, instead had spent the bulk on the things the UN seems to think take priority over relief for Haitians.