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Emergency Management: Actions to Implement Select Provisions of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act

GAO-09-433T Published: Mar 17, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 2009.
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Hurricane Katrina severely tested disaster management at the federal, state, and local levels and revealed weaknesses in the basic elements--leadership, capabilities, and accountability--of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. In its 2006 work on the response to Hurricane Katrina, GAO noted that these elements needed to be strengthened. In October 2006, Congress enacted the Post-Katrina Act to address issues identified in the response to Hurricane Katrina. GAO reported in November 2008 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had at least preliminary efforts under way to address most of the provisions, but also identified a number of areas that required further action. This statement discusses select issues within the basic elements related to (1) findings from the response to Hurricane Katrina, (2) provisions of the Post-Katrina Act, and (3) specific actions DHS and FEMA have taken to implement these provisions. GAO's comments are based on GAO products issued from February 2006 through November 2008, and selected updates in March 2009. To obtain updated information, GAO consulted program officials.

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AccountabilityDisaster relief aidEmergency managementEmergency preparednessEmergency responseEmergency response plansEmployment assistance programsEvacuationstate relationsHomeland securityHurricane KatrinaHurricanesInteragency relationsInternal controlsLocal governmentsPerformance measuresPolicy evaluationProgram evaluationProgram managementRegional planningRisk managementStrategic planningDisaster responsibilitiesPolicies and proceduresProgram goals or objectives