State Emergency Management Office

Managing Goods Donated in Response to Disasters

The Disaster Preparedness Commission is responsible for preparing New York Stateís emergency management plan, and for directing and coordinating disaster recovery efforts in the State. The Commissionís activities are implemented by the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO). We examined the procedures developed by SEMO for managing donated goods. Our audit focused on actions taken by SEMO in response to the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
We found that SEMO reacted quickly to that disaster and was able to work with other government agencies and volunteer organizations to store and distribute the large volume of donations that was received. However, SEMO had not developed a donations management plan prior to the disaster, and as a result, was limited to some extent in its ability to safeguard and distribute donated goods. For example, since there were no inventory controls at the storage sites, the disposition of numerous goods could not be accounted for. Based on the records that were available, we estimated that at least 46 truckloads of goods, with an estimated value of at least $1.6 million, could not be accounted for. We made several recommendations aimed at strengthening controls over goods donated in the future.

For a complete copy of Report 2001-S-66 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.