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Trump helps volunteer efforts in hurricane-ravaged Florida

17 September 2017

More than 100 people were evacuated from a Florida nursing home Wednesday after eight people were reported dead from conditions at a Hollywood facility, where residents were suffering from intense heat caused by a lack of electricity after deadly Hurricane Irma swept through.

Trump said restoring electricity in Florida was a priority following the storm, which left at least 20 people dead in the southern U.S. state, including the eight retirement home residents in Hollywood, north of Miami. The Broward County medical examiner has yet to determine whether all eight deaths are heat-related.

At least 34 storm-related deaths have been reported on the USA mainland, according to local officials.

As Trump visited Florida, French President Emmanuel Macron wrapped up a visit to the French overseas territories of Saint Martin and Saint Barts, two Caribbean resort islands devastated by Hurricane Irma. He added: "As of Tuesday, [the facility] was reporting that everything was OK, that it was using portable air conditioners and fans".

Irma, which made landfall Sunday morning in the Florida Keys as a Category Four hurricane, had triggered orders for more than six million people to flee to safety, one of the biggest evacuations in United States history.

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But what nursing home staff did to ensure the residents' welfare is being looked at as part of the criminal investigation, according to CBS12.

The storm also cut off power, water and sewage to the islands, which are home to some 70,000 people.

More than half of a large retirement community in Pembroke Pines, Florida, still had no electricity by Wednesday morning, leaving elderly residents stuck in rooms with no access to lifts. Prosecutors say that after he bought the hospital in 1998, Michel and others fraudulently increased the number of patients at the facility, along with their Medicare and Medicaid revenues, by bringing in patients from nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Florida officials including Governor Rick Scott and US Senator Marco Rubio greeted Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Fort Myers, Florida. Police have said the deaths are under investigation.

While Southeast Texas took the brunt of Harvey's wrath, Hurricane Irma's destruction was more widespread, causing damage in the Caribbean and across the Florida peninsula.

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The nursing home did have a generator, but it is unclear if the generator was functional, WSVN reported.

Four more patients died at or en route to hospital and a fifth was later identified as having died the night before, officials said. Broward County said the home alerted officials Tuesday that it had lost power, but when asked if it had any medical needs or emergencies, it did not request help.

The facility's air conditioning system stopped working after a transformer had "prolonged power failure", an administrator for the nursing home told NBC 6. As of Wednesday afternoon, 3.7 million customers still were without power, according to state statistics.

The Naples Municipal Airport also reported a gust of 142 miles per hour, near reports of 135mph gust and sustained winds of 93mph - the most powerful recorded gusts on the mainland.

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Trump helps volunteer efforts in hurricane-ravaged Florida