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Red Cross to Distribute Most of Liberty Fund by Sept. 11

The American Red Cross said yesterday that it plans to distribute 90 percent of the remaining $360 million in Liberty Disaster Fund donations by the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Of the $360 million, $240 million will be given to families of the deceased, the seriously injured, displaced residents, economically affected individuals and disaster workers. Another $80 million will provide for longer-term disaster relief, and $25 million will go for continuing relief efforts in affected communities.

The plan for distributing the rest of the donations was developed in talks with former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who agreed to act as the independent overseer of the Liberty Fund in December.

At that time the organization agreed to have a plan in place for the rest of the funds by the end of January.

As of Dec. 31, the Red Cross had already distributed $317.5 million from the Liberty Disaster Fund for families affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Controversy arose in October when the Red Cross said it expected to distribute only $300 million of the money donated to the fund, which was set up shortly after the attacks. It said the rest would be earmarked for use in case of future terrorist incidents.

However, public and governmental criticism forced the Red Cross to re-evaluate that plan.

The Liberty Fund stopped soliciting donations following the flap, and money received after Oct. 31 went into the general disaster relief fund unless the donor specified otherwise. Donations to the Red Cross normally go into a general fund to be used for all types of disaster relief.

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