FEMA has many challenges ahead, according to a new report published by the Government Accountability Office. GAO combed through data from the disaster management agency’s 2017 efforts, and found ways that the agency could improve the way they do business before and after a disaster strikes. Chris Currie, director of Emergency Management, Disaster Recovery & DHS Management Issues at GAO, says that levels of preparedness were inconsistent across the country, leading to more problems in some places than others.
“I don’t want to say everything was perfect in the response. Those were terrible disasters, but we saw lock step coordination with the state, local and federal governments before, during and right after the disaster,” Currie said. “With Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and Irma in the Virgin Islands, what we saw were two places in this country that did not have the same level of preparedness as those other states. That’s what we’ve been working towards since Hurricane Katrina. We have to build up everybody’s preparedness, and it wasn’t there. The territories struggled and FEMA struggled to help them respond.”