Hurricane Irma Kills Six In US Home
Six people at a Florida nursing home that was left without power for days after Hurricane Irma have died.
Police evacuated 115 residents on Wednesday from the facility, whose air conditioning was cut by the storm.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said three were found dead at the nursing home in the city of Hollywood. Three others died in hospital.
Ten million people are still without power in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas after Hurricane Irma.
The storm – which has claimed more than two dozen lives in the US – struck southwestern Florida on Sunday morning as a category four hurricane before weakening to a tropical depression on Monday.
Irma earlier left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean, where nearly 40 people were killed.
Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez said the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills facility has been sealed off and police are conducting a criminal investigation.
State investigators from the Florida Office of Attorney General were also at the scene, city officials said in a statement.
“It may be related to a loss of power in the storm,” he said, adding that officers were checking in on 42 other assisted living facilities and nursing homes throughout the city.
Hollywood Fire Rescue found several patients “in varying degree of medical distress and immediately began treatment” when they arrived at the Hollywood Hills facility on Wednesday morning, according to the city’s statement.
Some residents there awoke sick, the Miami Herald reported.
Kitchen worker Jean Lindor told the newspaper a generator allowed staff to cook but did not provide the facility with air conditioning.
Temperatures on Tuesday in Hollywood reached 32C (90F), according to the National Weather Service.
The Florida Health Care Association called the deaths a “profound tragedy within the larger tragedy of Hurricane Irma”.
The facility is not the only Florida nursing home that has been left without power by Irma.
An estimated 150 facilities out of the nearly 700 in the state are currently without full power services, the association said.
The group said it was working with officials to prioritise “the locations with the greatest need”.
More than half of a large retirement community in Pembroke Pines, Florida, still had no electricity by Wednesday morning, leaving elderly residents stuck in rooms with no access to lifts.
Pembroke Pines police spokeswoman Amanda Conwell told the Miami Herald that officers were at the scene.
She said some of the 15,000 residents at Century Village were vulnerable and “we are concerned about their welfare”.
Another assisted care facility for dementia patients in Fort Myers, Florida, went without power for three days after Hurricane Irma as elderly patients suffered in the rising heat.
Cape Coral Shores kept 20 patients during the storm as part of an agreement with authorities because local emergency shelters had been evacuated as Irma bore down on the coast.
Florida residents are still returning from shelters to their households to count the cost of Irma’s destruction.
Authorities say preliminary estimates suggest 25% of the homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed and 65% sustained major damage.
US President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the hard-hit Florida city of Naples on Thursday to view the damage, US media have reported.
It will be his third trip related to hurricanes in two weeks and he will be joined by his wife Melania, the first lady.
What’s happening in the Caribbean?
Of the nearly 40 people killed by Irma in the Caribbean, victims include 10 dead on the French island of St Barts and on the French part of St Martin – which is shared with the Netherlands.
In the Dutch territory of St Maarten, about 90% of buildings were damaged and a third destroyed, the Dutch Red Cross said.
Critics have accused France, the UK and Netherlands of not doing enough to help hurricane victims in their overseas territories.
French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to swiftly rebuild the French Caribbean islands.
The UK announced it would give an additional $33m (£25m) of funding to help with the recovery effort.
At least 10 people were killed when Irma hit Cuba as a category five hurricane, the island nation’s worst hurricane death toll since 16 died in Hurricane Dennis in 2005.