New GAO Report

New GAO Report: Emergency Management: Implementation of the Major Disaster Declaration Process for Federally Recognized Tribes

According to tribal officials GAO surveyed and interviewed, there are several factors they considered when deciding whether to make a direct request or to join a state’s request for a major disaster declaration. Key factors that tribes reported considering were the (1) importance of tribal sovereignty, (2) financial matters such as the timeliness with which they receive funds, (3) the level of support they anticipated receiving from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and (4) their own emergency management capacity. For example, survey results showed that tribal officials’ confidence in their capacity to manage the declaration was a key factor in determining whether to make a request directly. Specifically, various elements of emergency management capacity, as illustrated below, could affect tribes’ ability to manage a declaration.

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