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National Council on Disability Monthly Bulletin for February, 2008
Date:3/18/2008

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Using lessons from the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, the Federal Government released the National Response Framework (NRF) in January 2008. This report examines (1) why the primary role for mass care in the NRF shifted from the Red Cross to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and potential implementation issues; (2) whether National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) -- an umbrella organization of 49 voluntary agencies -- is equipped to fulfill its NRF role; (3) the extent to which FEMA has addressed issues with mass care for people with disabilities since the hurricanes; (4) the extent to which major voluntary agencies have prepared to better serve the disabled since the hurricanes; and (5) the extent to which FEMA has addressed issues voluntary agencies faced in receiving public assistance reimbursement. To analyze these issues, GAO reviewed the NRF and other documents, and interviewed officials from FEMA, voluntary agencies, and state and local governments.

GAO recommends that (1) FEMA improve coordination with voluntary agencies, for example, 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.

The entire document, including the scope and methodology, can be found at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08369.pdf.

For more information, contact Cynthia Fagnoni at (202) 512-7215 or fagnonic@gao.gov.


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SOURCE National Council on Disability
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