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FEMA Administrator Visits USVI

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, right, discusses the territory’s hurricane preparedness and ongoing response efforts with VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen in a meeting at Government House on St. Croix. (FEMA photo by Brett Walsh)

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell reviewed ongoing response and recovery activities in the U.S. Virgin Islands with visits to Government House, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s Estate Richmond Power Generation Plant, and Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital North on St. Croix.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, right, receives a tour of the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital’s new temporary facility under construction on St. Croix. The temporary hospital will provide a new, up-to-date medical facility to ensure continuing hospital care for Virgin Islanders when the current hospital is replaced as part of the Irma/Maria recovery, according to officials. (FEMA photo by Brett Walsh)

This trip marks Criswell’s second visit to the USVI as FEMA administrator.

“Visits like this give me the opportunity to engage with community partners to better understand the ongoing recovery mission,” said Criswell in a press release announcing the tour. “Even as new threats emerge, like sargassum and the effects of climate change, FEMA continues to work closely with Governor Bryan and all of the territory’s agencies to move recovery forward here in the Virgin Islands.”

“We remain grateful for the support of FEMA under the leadership of Administrator Criswell in our effort to not only rebuild a resilient public infrastructure post hurricanes Irma and Maria but also for their support as we transform our territory for generations to come,” said Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell greets FEMA employees who work for the Irma/Maria recovery. (FEMA photo by Brett Walsh)

During her visit, Criswell reviewed the state of the recovery with USVI Recovery Director Kristen Hodge and her staff and discussed the ongoing sargassum response with Federal Coordinating Officer Patrick Cornbill and Caribbean Area Office Coordinator Mark Walters. She also met at Government House with Bryan Chief of Staff Karl Knight, Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency Director Daryl Jaschen, and WAPA CEO Andrew Smith.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, right, receives updates on the Irma/Maria recovery from Recovery Director Kristen Hodge and the sargassum inundation response from Federal Coordinating Officer Patrick Cornbill. (FEMA photo by Brett Walsh)

Following her meeting at Government House, Criswell took a tour of the water desalination plant co-located at the Estate Richmond Power Generation Plant from WAPA leadership to gain new insight into both the recovery from Hurricane Maria and the response to a recent sargassum inundation impacting water production.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, second from right, receives a tour of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Estate Richmond Power Plant and Water Desalination Plant to discuss ongoing projects and internal operations to improve the territory’s power and water infrastructure and reliability. (FEMA photo by Brett Walsh)

Criswell also visited Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital North for an update on the status of construction of the temporary hospital slated to open later this year. FEMA has obligated $111 million for the temporary hospital. FEMA has also awarded $10.5 million for architectural and engineering work for the permanent hospital, currently estimated to cost $800 million for its replacement.

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