Hurricane Sandy: An Investment Strategy Could Help the Federal Government Enhance National Resilience for Future Disasters

US Government Accountability Office

…State and local officials from the states affected by Hurricane Sandy GAO contacted reported that they were able to effectively leverage federal programs to enhance disaster resilience, but also experienced challenges that could result in missed opportunities. The challenges fell into three categories:

1) implementation challenges with PA and HMGP—for example, officials reported that FEMA officials did not always help them pursue opportunities to incorporate mitigation into permanent construction recovery projects;
2) limitations on comprehensive risk reduction approaches in a postdisaster environment—for example, officials reported difficulties with navigating multiple funding streams and various regulations of the different federal programs funded after Hurricane Sandy; and
3) local ability and willingness to participate—for example, officials reported that some home and business owners were unwilling or unable to bear the required personal cost share for a home-elevation or other mitigation project.

FEMA officials told us that they were aware of some of these challenges and recognize the need to further assess them. Assessing the challenges and taking corrective actions, as needed, could help enhance disaster resilience…


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