2017 Hurricanes: Update on FEMA's Disaster Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Statement of Chris Currie, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Highlights: "In September 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico and the USVI [U.S. Virgin Islands], causing billions of dollars in damage. FEMA is the lead federal agency responsible for assisting Puerto Rico and the USVI to recover from these natural disasters. Among other responsibilities, FEMA is responsible for administering grant programs in partnership with the governments of Puerto Rico and the USVI, to rebuild damaged infrastructure and restore services. This statement describes, among other things, (1) actions FEMA has taken to address GAO [Government Accountability Office] recommendations to improve disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the USVI, (2) the status of FEMA's Public Assistance funding in Puerto Rico and the USVI as of August 2022, and (3) potential challenges related to ongoing disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and actions FEMA is taking to address them. This statement is based on prior GAO reports issued between November 2019 and May 2021; it also includes preliminary observations from an ongoing GAO review of FEMA operations in Puerto Rico. For ongoing work, GAO analyzed documents and data on obligations and expenditures; interviewed agency officials; and visited disaster-damaged areas in Puerto Rico, where GAO also interviewed FEMA and local officials. GAO will continue to monitor FEMA's progress toward implementing GAO's prior recommendations."

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