GAO Work on Disaster Assistance

RCED-94-293R: Published: Aug 31, 1994. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) summarized its work related to federal disaster assistance; and (2) provided information on federal agencies' responses to its prior recommendations. GAO noted that in response to its recommendations: (1) the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has required states to upgrade their responses to catastrophic disasters, assisted local, state, and federal agencies to better prepare and anticipate disasters, improved its cost information collection operations, and revised its historical reimbursement regulations; (2) Congress has proposed legislation that will establish a Commission to coordinate federal agency response to severe droughts, allow federal agencies to better prepare for catastrophic disasters when there is adequate warning, allow the President to appoint an official to oversee federal preparedness for and response to disasters, and improve the management and coordination of the National Flood Insurance, Federal Crop Insurance, and All-Hazard Insurance Programs; (3) Congress has not taken any substantive actions to define FEMA role in providing disaster-related long-term housing or mitigating the dangers workers face in moderate to high risk areas; (4) states have made limited progress in identifying and correcting seismic-related bridge deficiencies; and (5) there have been various efforts to develop a more effective approach to administering agriculture disaster assistance payments.

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