Coney Island, Other Sandy-Damaged Hospitals, Get $1.6B From FEMA

NEW YORK (AP) -

Coney Island Hospital and three other public hospitals in flood-prone parts of the city are getting at least $1.6 billion in federal money to protect them from the kind of harrowing damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy, officials announced Thursday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency money, its second largest disbursement ever, will create a new, storm-resilient building to house the emergency room and such key equipment as X-ray machines at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, where the 2012 storm inundated the basement and came into the first floor. The water plunged the hospital into darkness and sent staffers scrambling to move patients on stretchers to higher floors before ultimately evacuating.

Manhattan’s Bellevue Medical Center, which also was evacuated after flooding and losing power, is getting money to build a big floodwall and flood-proof elevators, among other improvements. Coler Specialty Hospital on Roosevelt Island and Metropolitan Hospital Center in Manhattan are getting funding for flood barriers and other modifications.

“This money will allow us to do the kinds of things we know are necessary for resiliency,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Congress approved $60 billion in Sandy relief in 2013, but specific projects have needed approval from FEMA or other agencies for the money to be dispensed.