December 7th, 2006 11:15 EST
Senate Hearing Regarding GAO Report On FEMA's Assistance Programs
"Following Hurricane Katrina, FEMA acknowledged weaknesses in the processes and systems that resulted in ineligible individuals receiving assistance. Although FEMA has not had an opportunity to review GAO's latest report, FEMA continues to focus our rebuilding efforts to greatly improve our reliability, accuracy and response in providing aid to disaster victims.
As with all reports that have offered insight in improving FEMA's disaster response and recovery efforts, the agency will consider and evaluate any new findings that can assist in improving our processes and procedures.
In the fifteen months since Katrina, FEMA has already made great strides in correcting deficiencies. Examples of improvements put into service at the front end of a disaster include an upgraded registration application that prevents duplicate registrations, and adding identity verification so that all registrations for assistance are subjected to the same stringent criteria.
The stringent controls instituted this past year by FEMA will dramatically improve safeguards and help eliminate processing errors and fraudulent abuse."
- Pat Philbin, Director of Communications
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.