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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Hurricane Irma leaves at least 30 dead in the United States

The provisional figure of deaths related to the devastating hurricane Irma in the southeastern United States reaches thirty, when the final balance of damages and material losses is not known, which will take months to determine.

In the Florida Keys (extreme south of the state), where the eye of the hurricane struck last Sunday as a category 4 cyclone, at least eight people are killed and more than 40 injured, according to official figures.

Twelve others were killed in Broward, Liberty, Duval, Pinellas, Pasco and Marion counties in a state where 110,000 people remain in shelters, according to Interior Ministry data.

A good number of the victims died from inhaling carbon monoxide ejected by generators installed in homes to counter the lack of electricity supply due to Irma.

Others lost their lives in traffic accidents, in the previous preparations or during the storm and one by the electric discharge of a high voltage cable.

To this figure should be added the six people who died today in an asylum in the town of Hollywood (southeast Florida), in a case related to the loss of electricity in the facilities by the impact of Irma.

State Governor Rick Scott said the news had “broken his heart” and demanded answers about this “awful situation.”

However, in the United States there is a disparity of figures because in the local media there is no established criteria to relate some deaths to the hurricane that crossed Florida from north to south, to dissipate on Alabama this Tuesday.

Those killed in Florida and the Caribbean, where Irma left at least 38 fatalities, must be added the deaths of four people in South Carolina and at least two in the state of Georgia.

In Georgia, about 548,000 households and businesses (50% of those affected) still remain without electricity, two days after Irma, already degraded to tropical storm, will discharge heavy rains as it passes through this southern state, according to AJC.com.

Deaths in Georgia and South Carolina were caused by falling trees on homes and vehicles or traffic accidents.

In Polk County, Florida, firefighters had to assist several people affected by the inhalation of carbon monoxide, although they recovered from intoxication.

The consequences of Irma in Florida are still felt by 3.5 million customers of electric service companies, which represent 33% of the state’s users who remain without light three days after the hurricane.

Supply companies are confident that the vast majority of their users have recovered their electricity before the end of the week.

At the economic level and only in the state of Florida, authorities indicated that some $ 250 million had already been spent on recovery and cleanup.

But that figure will be considerably higher, with at least 25% of the homes in the Keys being destroyed, about 65% of the buildings suffered considerable damage and 90% have some kind of malfunction, according to the Federal Agency of Management (FEMA).

Disaster analysis firm AIR Worldwide estimates that Irma’s damage to insured property in the United States ranges from $ 20-40 billion, with destruction in the Caribbean of $5 to $15 billion.

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