Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Trump dispenses hoagies, handshakes in hurricane zone

Rising river threatens Florida residents in Irma's wake Trump dispenses hoagies, handshakes in hurricane zone
Melinda Barton | 17 September, 2017, 06:32

Eight people are dead and dozens have been sent to the emergency room after a nursing home in Florida failed to fix its air conditioning system during a prolonged power outage in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Prior to the hurricane, Broward County did not list the nursing home as one of the top priority facilities for restoring power after the storm, the Washington Post reported.

Across Florida, powerless residents are forced to deal with spoiled food in warm refrigerators, cellphones losing battery and service, and high temperatures increasing risk of heatstroke for the young and old.

More than 100 people were evacuated from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills early Wednesday as fire and rescue crews swarming the facility. "Every facility that is charged with caring for patients must take every action and precaution to keep their patients safe - especially patients that are in poor health", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement.

Three patients died at the nursing home, and three others died Wednesday morning shortly after being transported to local hospitals.

"As with millions of other Floridians, our centers are coping with the loss of power and infrastructure in the communities that were most affected by the devastation", director of communications Kristen Knapp said.

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. Scott also said he would ask first responders to check on other nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the area.

"Things look real damaged from the air, but when you clear the trees and all the debris, it's not much damage to the houses", said Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers. And apparently the facility lost some but not all of its power after Hurricane Irma.

An adjacent building, Larkin Community Hospital, was also evacuated.

State investigators from the Florida Office of Attorney General were also at the scene, city officials said in a statement.

Speaking to reporters in the city of Fort Myers on Florida's west coast after a briefing on recovery efforts, Trump lauded the authorities and residents for their preparedness.

Hurricane Irma has been the second deadliest storm to hit the United States in this year and so far it has caused more than 80 deaths and billions of worth of damage to property.

Nursing home officials said they told Scott they needed "immediate assistance", but did not hear back from the governor. "Unfortunately, early this morning several patients experienced distress and there were three fatalities at the facility and three at the hospital they were transferred to", Carballo added.

Florida Light and Power had yet to visit the site, despite being called repeatedly for several days to fix the air-conditioning.

"I don't know if my sister is living", Mitchell said.

With the wreckage Irma has labored, Johnson said he is nervous about the situation in his home state.