Disaster Assistance:

Information on Expenditures and Proposals to Improve Effectiveness and Reduce Future Costs

T-RCED-95-140: Published: Mar 16, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 1995.

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GAO discussed federal disaster assistance, focusing on: (1) ways to enhance the effectiveness of federal disaster programs; (2) proposals to modify disaster assistance policy to lower future federal costs; and (3) the accuracy of financial information in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. GAO noted that: (1) greater flexibility by FEMA in providing grant funding would increase the effectiveness of state and local governments' response to disasters; (2) recovery assistance could be improved if Congress allowed military reserve components to be activated to provide disaster assistance; (3) the extent to which these proposals would lower federal disaster assistance costs is unknown; (4) specific proposals were made to establish more stringent criteria for providing disaster assistance, emphasize hazard mitigation through incentives, and rely more on insurance; and (5) problems with FEMA current accounting systems hamper its ability to audit the Disaster Relief Fund.

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