Military Operations

DOD's Disaster Relief Assistance in Response to Hurricane Mitch Gao ID: NSIAD-99-122R March 29, 1999

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) relief efforts in Central America in the wake of Hurricane Mitch.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's Hurricane Mitch disaster relief assistance has been broad in scope; (2) initially, DOD provided life-saving assistance, which was followed by infrastructure repairs and medical services; (3) at present, DOD is providing restoration assistance as part of joint-training readiness exercises for combat engineers and medical reserve forces, a byproduct of which will be humanitarian and civic assistance; (4) DOD's estimated fiscal year 1999 costs for these relief efforts total $223 million; (5) to fund these efforts, the President submitted a request in February 1999 for emergency supplemental appropriations of $956 million, including $188.5 million for DOD; (6) the funds requested for DOD are intended to replenish the accounts DOD initially used to fund the cost of Hurricane Mitch disaster relief assistance and to fund the restoration assistance; and (7) there are three reasons for the $34.5-million difference between the DOD cost and requested funding: (a) some previously planned activities financed by the Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid account could not be rescheduled; (b) some of the funds used were provided by the Department of State; and (c) the funding requested for restoration assistance does not reflect all expected costs.

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