Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The death toll left behind by Hurricane Irma continued to rise Wednesday, as five people died at a South Florida nursing home that apparently was without air conditioning, according to local officials.
Three people died at the facility in Hollywood, Fla., and two others were pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, Barbara Sharief, the Broward County mayor, said at a news briefing Wednesday morning. The facility was being evacuated, but it was unclear when the order to clear the site was put in effect.
Sharief said it was not immediately clear what caused the deaths at the nursing home, which is believed to have lost air conditioning after the storm. Authorities said other people at the facility were being evacuated to other locations.
Millions of people across Florida have lost power since Irma began lashing the state, and utilities have warned that some of the outages could extend for days or even weeks.
This has cut off air conditioning for scores of Floridians, and it poses an acute danger for the particularly young or old in a state known for its sweltering temperatures.
Florida's heat adds a perilous element to the ongoing outages. In Hollywood, where the nursing home is located, temperatures are expected to reach the 90s this week.
The storm has presented risks and challenges for the elderly population in Florida, where about one in 5 residents are age 65 or older.
The Associated Press reported that before the deaths at the Hollywood nursing home, Irma was blamed for a combined 19 fatalities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
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