Hurricane Florence death toll rises to 51

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(Reuters) - The death toll from Hurricane Florence has risen to 51, officials said on Tuesday, more than two weeks after it made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and brought devastating floods to the region.

Two people died in North Carolina while repairing damage from the hurricane in late September, bringing the number of storm-related deaths in that state to 39, Governor Roy Cooper said on Tuesday.

A 47-year-old man died when he fell from a ladder while repairing damage to a Duplin County home on Sept. 21. Another man, 69, died when he fell from a roof in Pender County on Sept. 22 while cleaning debris.

“Florence cut a broad path of death and destruction through our state and we will not soon forget this storm or the lives it claimed,” Cooper said in a statement. He also pledged $12 million in state funds to help families in shelters who were displaced by the storm find more permanent housing.

In Virginia, where the death toll had been widely reported as two, Jeff Caldwell, a state emergency official, said on Tuesday that three people died as a result of the storm.

Hurricane Florence, which caused billions of dollars in damage, is also responsible for nine deaths in South Carolina, according to the state’s emergency management department.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter; additional reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Joseph Ax and Jonathan Oatis