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12/14/2005

Evans To Leave Red Cross Over Policy Differences

Left: Outgoing Red Cross chief Marsha J. Evans

(Washington, DC) American Red Cross President Marsha Evans, who led the agency through a much criticized response to Hurricane Katrina, resigned yesterday in yet another sign of continuing troubles inside the organization that bears prime responsibility for delivering relief to victims of disasters ranging from storms to terrorist attacks.

Sources within the Red Cross said that differences over operational procedures led to the departure of Evans.

"Blood donations have steadily decreased over the past ten years, and Marsha wanted to go back to our traditional base: addicts and the poor," said one source. "She told the board last week: "AIDS, schmAIDS. We gotta get those blood supplies up if it kills us."

Among the suggestions Evans proffered was a new campaign to woo addicts from for-profit clinics.

"This plan was called 'Smackdown,' and we would provide some high-grade Afghanistani heroin on every return visit," said the anonymous source. "We figured that blood donations would triple within a month, but the tight-assed board wouldn't go for it."

Although the Red Cross is a private, nonprofit charitable organization, it possesses responsibilities on a scale usually associated with governments. In the National Response Plan, the federal government's blueprint for dealing with disasters, the Red Cross is designated as the primary agency responsible for sheltering, feeding, and offering medical care to people after a large man-made or natural emergency.

Evans also fell out of favor with her revised disaster scenario plans.

"Marsha thought that it would be a lot faster just to fly helicopters over disaster zones and dump baskets of $20 bills over the people," said the source. "We figured that we could eliminate entire levels of bureaucracy, and get the help directly to the needy."

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