Trump tweets that Irma's devastation 'was far greater ... than anyone thought'

Lester Mason
September 17, 2017

Eight people in a Hollywood, Florida, nursing home died after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to the facility, police said Wednesday.

In the battered Florida Keys, meanwhile, county officials pushed back against a preliminary estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that 25 percent of all homes in the Keys were destroyed and almost all the rest were heavily damaged.

A total of eight others died in Georgia and the Carolinas.

The five women and three men ranged in age from 70 to 99.

"It's a sad state of affairs", the police chief said.

He said: "We believe at this time they (the deaths) may be related to the loss of power in the storm". Scott said the state has had multiple points of contact with the facility before the Wednesday's deaths. "We are there for you 100 percent", he said, adding, "this is a state that I know very well".

The cause of the two other deaths is still under investigation.

Police have launched a criminal investigation.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long says preliminary estimates suggested that 25 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed and 65 percent sustained major damage. Another 18 are being evacuated from Larkin's behavioral health services facility Wednesday.

Dr. Randy Katz, the medical director of Memorial's emergency department, said at least a dozen patients remain in the emergency room.

"As you can imagine, evacuating 115 people from a facility is quite an undertaking", the spokeswoman said.

In a press conference Thursday, Memorial Regional staff members said that when they arrived at the center, they saw patients in distress and in bad shape.

Florida officials have made restoring lost power a priority and tens of thousands of utility company workers are engaged in the huge effort, many from out of state.

The nursing home has had brushes with the regulators in recent years for violating federal rules on its power system, a generator and because of a faulty alarm, according to records.

In Naples, Trump and the First Lady stood beneath a tent to hand out sandwiches wrapped in cellophane and bottled water to residents and recovery workers.

President Donald Trump plans to visit storm-stricken Florida on Thursday, the White House said, his third such trip to a weather devastated state after a spate of violent USA weather. When residents of the lower Keys are finally allowed to return they will find nearly total devastation.

The president, wearing a white baseball cap with "USA" written on it, later visited Naples, near where Irma first reached the U.S. mainland on Sunday, handed out sandwiches to residents at a feeding station under a blue shade pavilion. In addition to the resident taken to a funeral home on Tuesday, three others were found dead on the second floor of the nursing home, and several others were in distress. And my trousers, my phone, my wallet are all gone. "So I hope he runs for the Senate".

"There are more electrical people in this state, I think, than ever accumulated anywhere in the world", the president said, referring to the scores of fix teams that have poured in from several states.

An official confirmed to ABC News that a visit by the president to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which was also hit by the hurricane, is a possibility, and said that if it does occur, it wouldn't happen until next week at the earliest.

Critics have accused France, the United Kingdom and Netherlands of not doing enough to help hurricane victims in their overseas territories.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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