Trump to visit hurricane-hit Florida

The deaths brought the total number of storm-related fatalities in Florida to 20, and illustrate the urgency of restoring electricity to millions of people across the southern state.

Trump to visit hurricane-hit Florida

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Donald Trump is to visit storm-ravaged Florida on Thursday as authorities investigate the deaths of eight residents of a nursing home that lost power when Hurricane Irma whipped through the region.

Trump and his wife Melania will head to the city of Fort Myers, where they will be briefed on hurricane recovery efforts along with Vice President Mike Pence, the White House said.

The three will then head to nearby Naples to visit with hurricane victims.

Both cities are on Florida's west coast, far from Trump's swank Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, on the state's east coast.

The visit comes as Florida residents who evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irma trickle back home, and as tens of thousands of utility company workers, many from out of state, work around the clock to restore power to millions of customers.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said he was "absolutely heartbroken" on Wednesday to learn of the deaths of the elderly residents at a retirement home in Hollywood, north of Miami.

Around 115 of the nursing home residents were evacuated after a nearby hospital began receiving patients suffering from heat-related problems as there was no air conditioning due to power outages.

Three of those who died were in their nineties, including 99-year-old Albertina Vega. The youngest was 70, according to the Broward County Medical Examiner's office.

"We believe at this time they (the deaths) may be related to the loss of power in the storm," Hollywood police chief Tomas Sanchez told a news conference.

Scott vowed to "aggressively demand answers" on how this happened. "This situation is unfathomable," he fumed in a statement.

The governor said he ordered a probe by state authorities, while Sanchez confirmed a criminal investigation has been launched.

Memorial Regional Hospital began receiving patients early on Wednesday, said Dr. Randy Katz, medical director of the hospital's emergency department.

"(We) quickly identified some issues inside the facility with fire rescue and immediately evacuated the building," Katz said.

He said most of the patients admitted to hospital have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related problems.

Last Mod: 14 Eylül 2017, 12:38
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