NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City is getting at least $1.6 billion in federal money to help public hospitals install floodwalls, flood proof elevators and otherwise become more storm-resilient.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Charles Schumer announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency award Thursday. It includes money to reimburse Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, Bellevue and Metropolitan hospital centers in Manhattan, and Coler Specialty Hospital on Roosevelt Island for measures to recover from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

De Blasio said the funding is “deeply needed.”

“Few services are as critical as our hospitals during extreme weather,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This unprecedented investment will make four key public hospitals much more resilient next time they need to be.”

Sen. Charles Schumer said the funds will give the hospitals “a massive shot of adrenaline” for “their physical and financial recovery from Superstorm Sandy.”

The award “will help ensure that our public hospitals have the necessary safeguards in place to operate continuously during a storm, mitigate damage and power loss, and, if evacuation is necessary, quickly return to normalcy,” Schumer said.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Schumer assured skeptical reporters the money is already in the pipeline and can’t be blocked by political changes in Washington.

“Superstorm Sandy brought tremendous damage down on New York City’s hospitals — but today, we’re building them back better and stronger than ever before,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “By getting these four hospitals the resources they need to recover and become more resilient, we’re laying the groundwork for a safer and more prepared health network in the future.”

About $65 million will reimburse repairs and improvements already made after Superstorm Sandy; the rest is for projects yet to be completed, said Daniel Zarrilli, who runs the mayor’s recovery and resiliency efforts.

“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.”

The improvements will include a new, storm-resilient building to house the emergency room at Coney Island Hospital.

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