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Why GAO Did This Study Between January 1980 and July 2020, the United States experienced 273 climate and weather disasters causing more than $1 billion in damages each, according to NOAA. The total cost of damages from these disasters exceeded $1.
The nation has experienced vast losses from natural hazards. The potential for future events, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, demonstrates the importance of hazard mitigation--actions that reduce the long-term risks to life and property from natural hazard events.
In accordance with Public Law 108-324, GAO is required to audit the reimbursement of up to $70 million of appropriated funds to the American Red Cross (Red Cross) for disaster relief associated with 2004 hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne.