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President visits areas left devastated by hurricane

17 September 2017

Investigators probing the deaths of eight residents at a South Florida nursing home that lost its air conditioning amid ongoing power outages following Hurricane Irma said that at least one of them died Tuesday, several hours before authorities say they were alerted to a crisis at the facility early Wednesday morning.

In Lee County, which includes Cape Coral and Fort Myers, the Florida Emergency Management Agency said 66 percent of the area's 290,000 electrical customers were still without power Wednesday.

The city is trying to explain how one of its nursing homes, The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, became a death trap for 8 elderly patients after the facility's power and AC went out during hurricane Irma Sunday night.

Altogether, city officials said eight people between the ages of 71 and 99 had died, but the causes were not yet determined.

The youngest victim was 70, according to the Broward County Medical Examiner's office.

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The Sun Sentinel reported that Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez said authorities are conducting a criminal investigation of the deaths.

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"This situation is unfathomable", he said. Storey said at the city's first news conference there were "a number of critical patients". Randy Katz, medical director of the hospital's emergency department.

Another 18 patients in an adjacent behavioral health facility are also being evacuated, Story said. The order also said that residents were suffering "respiratory or cardiac distress" between 1:30 and 5 a.m. Wednesday, and does not mention the patient who died Tuesday and was brought to the funeral home.

But it was not until multiple patients began experiencing health emergencies, which promoted the evacuation of the center, that the utility company arrived to make the fix, the nursing home said.

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President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, were to visit Florida to survey the damage on Thursday.

"Well, we've had bigger storms than this", Trump said while on board Air Force One en route to Washington, after viewing the damage from Hurricane Irma, which hit the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm, in southwest Florida.

The first floor was just a pile of rubble. "They decided they would take all of the equipment off, and that was it". And my trousers, my phone, my wallet are all gone.

Another woman added, "I think it's disgusting". Power, water and cell service are still spotty. While it's too soon to know for certain how, if, or even where Hurricane Irma might affect the continental United States, Florida officials are urging residents to be prepared after the National Hurricane Center announced there was an "increasing chance" some areas of the state would see at least "some impacts from Irma".

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France, Britain and the Netherlands have been criticized for the pace of relief efforts in their overseas territories amid widespread shortages of food, water and electricity.

President visits areas left devastated by hurricane