In December 2004, an earthquake caused a tsunami that devastated several countries in the Indian Ocean region. In May 2005, Congress appropriated $908 million in aid, of which the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is implementing $482 million in recovery projects in many affected countries, including Indonesia and Sri Lanka. This report examines (1) the progress of USAID's program; (2) USAID's financial and technical oversight of its efforts, and risks it faces; and (3) actions taken by the Secretary of State in response to an April 2006 GAO recommendation. Specifically, GAO recommended that State, in its required reports to Congress, provide updated cost estimates and schedules and show the need for additional funding sources, if necessary. GAO examined USAID's signature projects in both countries; reviewed project documents and periodic reports, interviewed USAID officials, and visited project sites in August and October 2006.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||1. To ensure that Congress has access to information that clearly reflects both USAID's progress in its tsunami reconstruction programs in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and factors that may slow its progress and to clearly show USAID's progress in using the appropriated funds for tsunami reconstruction, the Secretary of State's required semiannual reports to Congress should include the amounts that USAID obligated to recipient countries for tsunami reconstruction and the amounts that it "subobligated" in transactions with implementing organizations, such as contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements, for specific reconstruction projects.|
|Department of State||2. To ensure that Congress has access to information that clearly reflects both USAID's progress in its tsunami reconstruction programs in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and factors that may slow its progress and to indicate risk of potential changes to the costs, schedules, and scopes of work of USAID's signature projects in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, the Secretary of State's required semiannual reports to Congress should identify factors that may impact the agency's implementation of the projects and provide strategies for mitigating any impact.|