Disaster Relief Fund: Actions Still Needed to Prevent Recurrence of Funding Shortfall

RCED-93-60 Published: Feb 03, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1993.
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the circumstances surrounding the decrease in appropriations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund and the actions taken to help prevent a recurrence.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Federal Emergency Management Agency The Director, FEMA, should expand the information included in the Disaster Relief Fund budget proposals submitted to Congress to show estimated future costs for disasters that occurred in previous years but for which recovery was not complete.
Closed – Implemented
Due to the difficulty of forecasting disaster activity, FEMA's annual budget request for the Disaster Relief Fund is based on historical needs. In 1991, a shortfall of several hundred million dollars, far greater than average, occurred because not all prior-year disaster costs had been identified and obligated, and in part because Congress was not made aware of the need for unobligated prior-year funds. GAO recommended that future budget submissions to Congress show the estimated costs not yet incurred for prior-year disasters. The fiscal year 1997 budget submission shows this information.

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