Disaster Relief: Reimbursement to American Red Cross for Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne

GAO-06-518 Published: May 30, 2006. Publicly Released: May 30, 2006.
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In accordance with Public Law 108-324, GAO is required to audit the reimbursement of up to $70 million of appropriated funds to the American Red Cross (Red Cross) for disaster relief associated with 2004 hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. The audit was performed to determine if (1) the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established criteria and defined allowable expenditures to ensure that reimbursement claims paid to the Red Cross met the purposes of the law, (2) reimbursement funds paid to the Red Cross did not duplicate funding by other federal sources, (3) reimbursed funds assisted only eligible states and territories for disaster relief, and (4) reimbursement claims were supported by adequate documentation. The 2004 hurricane season was one of the most destructive in U.S. history. Fifteen named storms resulted in 21 federal disaster declarations. Four hurricanes affecting 19 states and 2 U.S. territories from August 13 through September 26, 2004, triggered the nation's biggest natural-disaster response up to that time. Over 150 deaths and $45 billion of estimated property damage are attributed to hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne in the United States alone. Through 2005, these four storms rank among the seven costliest in U.S. history.

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