In 2017 the United States experienced 16 separate billion-dollar disaster events, including severe weather, hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires. In response, the President signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law No. 115-123) and the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019 (Public Law No. 116-20), which collectively provided approximately $1.9 billion in disaster relief and recovery funds to the Department. These acts provided disaster relief funds to the Economic Development Administration for recipients’ expenses related to flood mitigation, disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure, and to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to mitigate the effects of commercial fishery failures and fishery resource disasters declared by the Secretary of Commerce in calendar year 2017, as well those declared by the Secretary to be a direct result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, and/or Michael as well as Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut.
To ensure that accountability requirements are being met, OIG continues to review the Department’s management of these funds. As such, the following is an account of OIG’s Disaster Relief activities.