FEMA to take over primary mass care role from Red Cross

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report with broad implications for how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should interface with volunteer organizations. The report examines:
  • Why the primary role for mass care shifted from the Red Cross to FEMA and potential issues with implementation.
  • Whether National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD)—an umbrella organization of 49 voluntary agencies—is equipped to fulfill assigned role.
  • The extent to which FEMA has addressed issues with mass care for the disabled since the hurricanes
  • The extent to which major voluntary agencies have prepared to better serve the disabled since the hurricanes
  • The extent to which FEMA has addressed issues voluntary agencies faced in receiving Public Assistance reimbursement.
GAO recommends that (1) FEMA improve coordination with voluntary agencies, such as by enhancing capabilities of its specialized staff, (2) NVOAD improve information-sharing during the response to disasters, and (3) FEMA increase coordination with the National Council on Disability. Agency officials agreed with the recommendations. Click here to view the entire report.