The Susan Centeno community health center in Vieques, known locally as a treatment and diagnostic center, will receive more than $39.5 million in funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a result of damage caused by Hurricane María in 2017.
“I’m extremely happy that funds have finally been obligated for the people of Vieques to have a proper medical facility. I’ve kept a close watch on this effort, particularly since I met with residents of Vieques in early October, and when I personally went to the site on Nov. 20,” said the Gov. Wanda Vázquez.
“I know how essential it is to have adequate and appropriate medical services for all the needs of the people of Vieques,” she said.
Funding was approved after the Office of Management and Budget concurred with the review and recommendation of the Independent Expert Panel, which based its approval on FEMA and the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency’s, or COR3, joint recommendation that funding to restore the Vieques diagnostic and treatment center be based on the replacement value.
“This obligation sets the tone for what we anticipate will be a banner year of recovery for Puerto Rico,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo.
“We have built a solid working relationship with the local government and look forward to supporting the residents of Vieques and of all Puerto Rico throughout this historic recovery,” he said.
The joint recommendation was developed through a collaborative effort with information that FEMA received from the municipality of Vieques, the Puerto Rico Health Department and COR3.
“The obligation of funds for the Vieques hospital facility is extremely important and significant to the entire recovery process that we are developing in coordination with FEMA,” said COR3 Executive Director Ottmar Chávez.
“It is satisfactory to inform that the people of Vieques will be able to count on a new health center for the benefit of the entire community,” he said.
FEMA has obligated approximately $6 million for the temporary health facility currently operating in Vieques. This facility will continue to provide services by the Puerto Rico Health Department of and remains in operation until a permanent facility is available.