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Highlights

GAO reviewed the effectiveness of the Agency for International Development's (AID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Agency for International Development 1. The Administrator, AID, should develop a work-force plan for OFDA to ensure that its headquarters and field staffing needs are clearly identified and documented, and on the basis of a thoroughly justified work-force plan, request that the Office of Management and Budget authorize adequate staffing levels for OFDA.
Closed - Implemented
The workforce plan has been completed, more staff have been added, and OFDA has submitted an office reorganization plan to the Administrator.
United States Agency for International Development 2. The Administrator, AID, should require that OFDA perform or arrange for regular evaluations of its disaster responses and require grantees of larger OFDA programs to conduct program evaluations.
Closed - Implemented
OFDA has signed the contract and a long-term evaluation of its relief efforts is under way.
United States Agency for International Development 3. The Administrator, AID, should develop and submit realistic disaster relief budget requests that reflect the agency's best estimates of funding needs for the period involved.
Closed - Implemented
The fiscal year 1994 AID budget request for disaster assistance is approximately $148 million, a substantial increase over its fiscal year 1993 request of $40 million. The request is based on $100 million for African relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, plus an additional $48 million for other natural and man-made disasters. The fiscal year 1996 budget request will be $200 million. According to the Chief, Prevention, Mitigation, and Preparedness Division, this is a realistic budget estimate, and he expects realistic budgeting to continue.
United States Agency for International Development 4. The Administrator, AID, should direct AID officials to conduct an evaluation of how AID can better integrate disaster assistance and country development programs.
Closed - Implemented
AID completed draft guidelines that mandate the integration of emergency preparedness and relief planning into development design criteria.
United States Agency for International Development 5. The Administrator, AID, should finalize and implement an updated agency policy on linking longer term development activities with the delivery of disaster assistance. This policy should specifically discuss responsibility for long-term disasters and include provisions for direct linkages between the regional bureaus and the Bureau for Food and Humanitarian Assistance in planning and implementing the prevention, mitigation, and preparedness, disaster assistance, and development activities.
Closed - Implemented
AID has taken numerous steps in response to this recommendation. AID's draft strategic plan for humanitarian assistance mandates the integration of emergency and relief planning into development design criteria. In addition, AID has created the Office of Transition Initiatives to coordinate rapid return from instability to developmental progress.

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