In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan and Tropical Storm Jeanne passed through the Caribbean, taking lives and causing widespread damage in several countries. After initial U.S. emergency relief, in October 2004 Congress appropriated $100 million in supplemental funding, primarily for Grenada, Jamaica, and Haiti, which were significantly affected. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), leader of the U.S. recovery programs, agreed, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, to complete the programs by December 31, 2005, giving the agency a 1-year time frame. GAO was asked to (1) review the nature and status of the programs in Grenada, Jamaica, and Haiti as of December 31, 2005; (2) identify factors that affected the programs' progress; and (3) assess USAID's use of guidance and lessons learned from previous similar programs and efforts to draw lessons from the current programs.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|United States Agency for International Development||To better facilitate USAID's ability to design and implement future disaster recovery programs and address its previously documented recurring staffing challenges, the USAID Administrator should develop disaster recovery and reconstruction program guidance that incorporates lessons learned from the Hurricane Ivan Recovery and Reconstruction Program and Tropical Storm Jeanne Recovery Program as well as previous disaster recovery programs.|
|United States Agency for International Development||To better facilitate USAID's ability to design and implement future disaster recovery programs and address its previously documented recurring staffing challenges, the USAID Administrator should revise staffing procedures to allow the agency to more quickly reassign or hire key personnel, either to augment staff responsible for disaster recovery efforts in countries with a USAID mission or to manage efforts in countries where USAID does not maintain a permanent presence.|