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  • 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

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