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DHS OIG — FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System May Not Be Effective During a Catastrophic Disaster

October 27, 2014 Comments off

FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System May Not Be Effective During a Catastrophic Disaster (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

We audited the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Logistics Supply Chain Management System program. According to FEMA, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System replaced its earlier logistics operations systems to automate and track distribution better and deliver emergency supplies more dependably. FEMA also intended for the system to help track supplies provided by partners in other Federal agencies; nongovernmental organizations; state, local, and tribal governments; and the private sector. Our audit objective was to determine whether FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System is able to support Federal logistics operations effectively in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

After spending about $247 million over 9 years, FEMA cannot be certain that its supply chain management system will be effective during a catastrophic disaster. FEMA estimated that the life cycle cost of the system would be about $556 million—$231 million more than the original life cycle cost estimate. According to FEMA, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System became fully operational in January 2013, which was about 19 months behind schedule. However, the system could not perform as originally planned. Specifically, it cannot interface with the logistics management systems of FEMA’s partners, nor does FEMA have realͲtime visibility over all supplies shipped by its partners. As of March 2014, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System still had not achieved full operational capability. We attribute these deficiencies to inadequate program management and oversight by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA. As a result, FEMA may not be able to efficiently and effectively aid survivors of catastrophic disaster.

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New From the GAO

October 23, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Small Business Administration: Additional Steps Needed to Help Ensure More Timely Disaster Assistance. GAO-14-760, September 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-760
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666218.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/666521

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective (PDF)
Source: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Attribution of extreme events is a challenging science and one that is currently undergoing considerable evolution. In this paper, 20 different research groups explored the causes of 16 different events that occurred in 2013. The findings indicate that human-caused climate change greatly increased the risk for the extreme heat waves assessed in this report. How human influence affected other types of events such as droughts, heavy rain events, and storms was less clear, indicating that natural variability likely played a much larger role in these extremes. Multiple groups chose to look at both the Australian heat waves and the California drought, providing an opportunity to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of various methodologies. There was considerable agreement about the role anthropogenic climate change played in the events between the different assessments. This year three analyses were of severe storms and none found an anthropogenic signal. However, attribution assessments of these types of events pose unique challenges due to the often limited observational record. When human-influence for an event is not identified with the scientific tools available to us today, this means that if there is a human contribution, it cannot be distinguished from natural climate variability.

Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action
Source: Georgetown Climate Center

The Georgetown Climate Center released 100 recommendations today to improve federal programs that could be used to prepare for climate change. The new report will inform the White House State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

The report, Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action, draws from a series of workshops with leading federal, state and local officials and builds upon lessons learned post-disaster in New Orleans (following Hurricane Katrina), New York (following Hurricane Sandy) and Vermont (after Hurricane Irene). The report identifies more than 30 federal programs, initiatives and laws that can be used to prepare for extreme events such as storms, floods and heat waves as well as rising seas.

The report recognizes that recent extreme weather events and the mounting economic losses from such events have shown how vulnerable many states and communities are to climate change. Although state and local governments will be the primary actors when it comes to preparing for climate change impacts, the federal government can boost – or impede – preparedness.

See also: State and Local Adaptation Plans

CBO — Understanding FEMA’s Rate-Setting Methods for the National Flood Insurance Program (presentation)

October 10, 2014 Comments off

Understanding FEMA’s Rate-Setting Methods for the National Flood Insurance Program
Source: Congressional Budget Office

Program Goals

  • Help property owners recover from floods
  • Limit federal costs
  • Reduce flood losses – Better incentives for property owners – Better floodplain management
  • Allow floodplains to play their natural beneficial roles

Encroaching Tides; Tidal flooding, driven by sea level rise, will dramatically increase in U.S. East and Gulf Coast communities over the next 30 years

October 9, 2014 Comments off

Encroaching Tides; Tidal flooding, driven by sea level rise, will dramatically increase in U.S. East and Gulf Coast communities over the next 30 years
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists

Today scores of coastal communities are seeing more frequent flooding during high tides. As sea level rises higher over the next 15 to 30 years, tidal flooding is expected to occur more often, cause more disruption, and even render some areas unusable — all within the time frame of a typical home mortgage.

An analysis of 52 tide gauges in communities stretching from Portland, Maine to Freeport, Texas shows that most of these communities will experience a steep increase in the number and severity of tidal flooding events over the coming decades, with significant implications for property, infrastructure, and daily life in affected areas.

Given the substantial and nearly ubiquitous rise in the frequency of floods at these 52 locations, many other communities along the East and Gulf Coasts will need to brace for similar changes.

DHS OIG — Flawed FEMA System Could Hamper Disaster Relief

October 7, 2014 Comments off

Flawed FEMA System Could Hamper Disaster Relief (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

After spending more than $247 million on a high-tech system, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may still not be able to efficiently deliver emergency supplies to survivors of a catastrophic disaster, an Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit has found.

OIG Report 14-151, “FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System May Not Be Effective During a Catastrophic Disaster,” found the system, developed over nine years, cannot interface with those of its partners and suppliers, making it difficult to track and locate emergency supplies. The report also noted that FEMA does not have enough trained employees to efficiently operate the system.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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