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Hurricane Irma

  • FEMA Mismanaged the Commodity Distribution Process in Response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria

    Executive Summary

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mismanaged the distribution of commodities in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico.  FEMA lost visibility of about 38 percent of its commodity shipments to Puerto Rico, worth an estimated $257 million.  Commodities successfully delivered to Puerto Rico took an average of 69 days to reach their final destinations.  Inadequate FEMA contractor oversight contributed to the lost visibility and delayed commodity shipments.  FEMA did not use its Global Positioning System transponders to track commodity shipments, allowed the contractor to break inventory seals, and did not ensure documented proof of commodity deliveries.  Given lost visibility and delayed shipments, FEMA cannot ensure it provided commodities to Puerto Rico disaster victims as needed to sustain life and alleviate suffering as part of its response and recovery mission.  In addition, FEMA’s mismanagement of transportation contracts included multiple contracting violations and policy contraventions that ultimately led to contract overruns of about $179 million and at least $50 million of questioned costs.  We made five recommendations that, if implemented, should improve FEMA’s management and oversight of its disaster response activities. FEMA concurred with four of the five recommendations.  Recommendations 1 through 4 are considered open and resolved.  Recommendation 5 is considered resolved and closed

    Report Number
    OIG-20-76
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Pre-Disaster Debris Removal Contracts in Florida

    Executive Summary

    We identified debris removal contract performance issues and concerns.  In the report, we discuss our observations regarding the use of pre-disaster debris removal contracts in Florida following Hurricane Irma.  We also emphasize how FEMA can benefit from implementing effective controls to track systemic issues after a disaster and ensure FEMA follows procedures for uploading required documentation to support debris removal costs for proper grant management.  The report contains no recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-44
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Inadequate Management and Oversight Jeopardized $187.3 Million in FEMA Grant Funds Expended by Joplin Schools, Missouri

    Executive Summary

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Missouri, and Joplin Schools did not properly manage and oversee this disaster award.  Specifically, FEMA and Missouri did not provide proper grant management and oversight of Joplin’s subgrant activities.  Joplin Schools disregarded Missouri’s authority as the grantee and did not always comply with Federal requirements and FEMA policies as required.  This occurred because Joplin Schools heavily relied on the advice of its grant management contractor.  As a result of the grant management and oversight issues, Joplin Schools did not follow Federal procurement standards when it awarded $187.3 million in non-exigent disaster-related contracts, including $609,676 in ineligible contractor direct administrative costs.  We provided five recommendations to help improve FEMA and Missouri’s grant oversight and management process.  We also included four recommendations for FEMA to disallow or not fund $187.3 million in ineligible contract costs.  FEMA determined approximately $56 million, the net obligated amount, was eligible for reimbursement.  FEMA concurred with all nine recommendations and completed actions to close recommendations 1 to 4 and 8.  Recommendations 5 to 7 are resolved and open with a target completion date of June 1, 2020. Recommendation 9 is considered unresolved and open

    Report Number
    OIG-20-41
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Capacity Audit of FEMA Grant Funds Awarded to the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education

    Executive Summary

    KPMG, LLP found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not always ensure Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) established and implemented policies, procedures, and practices to account for and expend Public Assistance (PA) grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  For example, VIDE did not have policies and procedures to address procurement-related conflicts of interest and related disciplinary actions.  This occurred because FEMA did not adequately train VIDE personnel and did not review these policies and procedures.  We made five recommendations that, when implemented, should improve management of FEMA PA grant funds, ensuring the funds are expended according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  FEMA concurred with the recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-30
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Capacity Audit of FEMA Grant Funds Awarded to the U.S. Virgin Islands Housing and Finance Authority

    Executive Summary

    KPMG, LLC found the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not provide adequate guidance to the Virgin Islands Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Agency (VIHFA) and that VITEMA and VIHFA did not adequately manage FEMA Public Assistance (PA) funds.  Also, VITEMA and VIHFA did not always ensure the accuracy of project funding information or promptly notify FEMA about significant project cost overruns.  This occurred because FEMA did not provide the necessary guidance to and oversight of VITEMA and VIHFA to properly manage PA funds.  Because of these deficiencies, PA programs are at increased risk of mismanagement and expenditure of funds for unallowable activities.  We made seven recommendations to improve VITEMA’s and VIHFA’s management of FEMA PA funds, ensuring they are expended according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidance.  FEMA concurred with the recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-29
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Management Alert - Observations of FEMA's Debris Monitoring Efforts for Hurricane Irma

    Executive Summary

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its Public Assistance (PA) Program, is currently responding to Hurricane Irma — one of the most catastrophic disasters in recent United States history.  FEMA’s damage estimates for Florida and Georgia exceed $4.2 billion, with debris removal operations constituting approximately 36 percent of the total PA cost.  Debris removal costs in Florida and Georgia are estimated to reach approximately $1.5 billion as of May 2018.  FEMA’s guidance for debris monitoring lacks sufficient information to ensure adequate oversight.  In the 2011 OIG report, FEMA’s Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations, we identified deficiencies in FEMA’s debris removal guidance.  To resolve these deficiencies, we made 10 recommendations to, in part, strengthen FEMA’s debris removal guidance and procedure.  In response, FEMA released additional criteria pertaining to debris estimating and monitoring to enhance the overall effectiveness of the process.  FEMA removed the detailed responsibilities when it released its Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG).  Going forward from the PAPPG version 1.0, FEMA relies solely on the subrecipient to monitor the debris removal operations, and removes monitoring responsibilities from both FEMA and the State.  Subrecipients now have a greater responsibility to identify issues or concerns during debris removal operations.  We made three recommendations that when implemented will strengthen FEMA’s debris monitoring operations.  FEMA concurred with all recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-85
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
Subscribe to Hurricane Irma

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