New York City is getting at least $1.6 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to help public hospitals install floodwalls, flood proof elevators and otherwise become more storm-resilient, officials announced Thursday.
The money for Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, Bellevue and Metropolitan hospital centers in Manhattan, and Coler Specialty Hospital on Roosevelt Island is "deeply needed," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
About $65 million will reimburse repairs and improvements already made after Superstorm Sandy in 2012; the rest is for projects yet to be completed, said Daniel Zarrilli, who runs the mayor's recovery and resiliency efforts.
The improvements will include a new, storm-resilient building to house the emergency room at Coney Island Hospital.
"New York City's public hospitals serve a very vulnerable patient population and must not be allowed to remain susceptible to future storms," Dr. Ram Raju, president of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, said in a statement. "HHC hospitals returned to service quickly after Sandy thanks to the extraordinary efforts of their dedicated staffs, but they remain at risk."
Sen. Charles Schumer called the funding "a massive shot of adrenaline" for the hospitals' recovery.
"We will take what we learned from that experience and build back better and stronger," Schumer said.