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8 dead in Florida nursing home Irma left without air conditioning

8 dead in Florida nursing home Irma left without air conditioning

Hurricane Irma has claimed five more lives, patients at a Florida nursing home that lost electricity during the storm that brought widespread flooding and power outages over the weekend, authorities said yesterday.

The owner of the nursing home also is an officer of Larkin Community Hospital, a medical center with a troubled history.

According to Local 10 News, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said during a morning news conference that two people died at the facility and three more died at nearby Memorial Regional Hospital.

The overall death toll from Irma climbed to 81 on Wednesday, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands accounting for more than half the fatalities, and officials continued to assess damage inflicted by the second major hurricane to strike the US mainland this year.

The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hill had been operating with little or no air conditioning, officials said. "It's a sad event".

A statement released by the Florida Health Care Association, which represents 81 percent of Florida nursing homes, says 150 out of 700 facilities in the state now do not have power.

Almost 120 residents of the facility have been evacuated "due to intense heat and no power", WSVN said.

As patients suffered at the Rehabilitation Center, help wasn't far away: It's located across the street from a medical complex that includes the Memorial Regional Hospital - where the center's patients were taken after the scope of the problem became evident.




However officials say the older care facility is not part of the Memorial Healthcare System.

The facility's administrator did not return messages left by The Washington Post.

He added that calls to Florida Power & Light had not been returned. He said Broward County did not list the facility as critical infrastructure - the places where restoring power is a top priority after a storm - in a hurricane planning meeting earlier this year.

"The loss of these individuals is a profound tragedy within the larger tragedy of Hurricane Irma, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of these residents", Knapp said.

Irma, categorised as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record when it rampaged through the Caribbean, has killed at least 77 people, including over 20 in the United States.

Some 4.3 million homes and businesses were still without power on Wednesday in Florida and neighboring states, down from 7.4 million customers on Monday, according to Reuters.

With millions of people in Florida still lacking power, officials are urging those who need a break from the heat to visit cooling centers and drink water. Almost 3.8 million power customers in the state still lacked service early Wednesday as the mammoth effort to restore electricity in the often hot and humid region continues.

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