GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, and Irma—4 of the costliest hurricanes in the U.S. since 2005—caused damage totaling trillions of dollars. Their effects on economic activity and employment in damaged areas varied widely.
Since 1980, weather disasters in the U.S. have caused more than $1.6 trillion in damage. Weather disasters, and federal spending on them, are expected to increase due to climate change, as our High Risk List indicates.
Harmful overgrowths of algae—called algal blooms—are a problem in all 50 states. These blooms can hurt aquatic plants and animals by producing toxins, consuming oxygen, and limiting light penetration in the water.
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.