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Red Cross Criticized Despite Huge Hurricane Relief Effort

The American Red Cross has become the latest target of criticism for its Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

The agency is being accused of waging a disaster response operation that was chaotic in some areas, and unequal in others. Some black activists say the Red Cross provided better services in white areas than in mostly black areas, especially in the first few days after the storm.

Many Hurricane Katrina evacuees (search) have also complained about trying to get through to Red Cross telephone hotlines for hours, without success.

The charges come even as the agency's hurricane donations near the one billion dollar mark, more than double all other charities combined.

The complaints have stung deeply in an organization that's been proud of its overall disaster response. A spokeswoman says the agency's been trying its best under extraordinary circumstances, adding "we never said we were perfect."