Miami, Sept. 13 (Reuters): Hurricane Irma has claimed eight more lives, including six patients at a Florida nursing home that lost power, authorities said today, as more than 4 million people in four states struggled without electricity and residents slowly returned to the devastated Florida Keys.
Categorised as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record when it rampaged through the Caribbean, Irma has killed at least 69 people, officials said. At least 26 people died in Florida and nearby US states, and destruction was widespread in the Keys, where Irma made initial US landfall on Sunday.
Police opened a criminal investigation at the Rehabilitation Centre of Hollywood Hills, where three elderly residents were found dead at the facility and three later died at a hospital, officials said.
Some residents were evacuated early on Sunday morning and some woke up feeling sick at the centre, which had been without air conditioning, Broward county mayor Barbara Sharief said today.
"The building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation inside," Hollywood police chief Thomas Sanchez said today.
Prolonged power outages remains a risk for the elderly through the region.