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tv   New Day  CNN  September 12, 2017 4:00am-5:00am PDT

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the flooding has just been devastating. >> we will recover. we will rebuild. >> it's not a story of tragedy. it's a story of resilience. >> chris cuomo. we are in the florida keys. this is big pine key. but it will be known now as ground zero. we are just a few miles from
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where hurricane irma made landfall, where that eye did the most punishment in this part of america, 120-mile-an-hour sustained winds. that's what happened here. we've picked a scene for thank you morning of the good news this is the good news. tremendous property damage. the people who stayed here are alive in that home. their home is still standing. being someone who made it through and still having a home, those are rare commodities down here. we will show you. because now we know the truth of the situation. the current standing of irma is no longer a hurricane. she's not being tracked as that anymore. the death count, five people have lost their lives in the united states because of this storm. at most recent count. again, we are still in the discovery phase. 36 lost their lives throughout the caribbean. in terms of power outage, that is the big blow from this storm in our country. 7 million customers throughout the southeast. now, remember, customer is a household. it's not people.
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okay? so there's many more people who lost power. 7 million customers. in florida alone, 6.2 million customers. that means that about two-thirds of the state is in the dark this morning. all right? so the good news, some of the upper keys are going to reopen. there are a lot of people who live here who did evacuate and they want to get home they want to see what's going on, especially when they start seeing the images we're going to bring you this morning. and they can start to get back in key largo, in tavinier, in island mirada. only a resident. only a local business owner. bill weir is in key largo. he will show us the reality on the ground. the pentagon says they may have to do -- >> chris is in big pine key. that is the farthest point that we can tell that a reporter has made it. you can see how remote, where he
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is, is. he made it with the first responders. hold on a second. we're trying to get chris' signal back. as he has told us all morning, the communications there -- he is so remote and he's not even using -- there's no cell service. he's using, i think, an old style satellite phone. we will get back to him as soon as we possibly can. because of the extent of the damage in the keys is so bad that the defense department says they believe 10,000 people rode out the storm there and may need to be evacuated. so, obviously, it's impossible to really know if that number is accurate. 10,000 people. but if so, they don't have water. they don't have electricity. their houses may be, obviously, destroyed. we'll be watching right now for a fema hearing. that's where we will get all of the latest details on numbers. i mean, the amount of people who are, today, along the east coast without power, it's more than 6
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million households. so, fema will be telling us all of the latest in terms of what the human toll has been as well as far as they've been able to make it out. bill weir is also in the keys. he is in key largo. bill weir joins us to tell us what he has been seeing around him. bill? >> yeah, alisyn. we're about to set sail here on a sort of figurative and literal journey into the heart of darkness. we're going to try to leapfrog chris and go farther south to cudjoe key where the most devastating winds hit with hurricane irma. let me show you around our home for the next couple of days. this is a 50-foot fishing boat. these are common down here. this is sport fishing heaven. this is our captain, captain bam bam is going to take care of us. a dingy where we'll be able to go ashore and investigate exactly how these communities
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fared. we're going to head through this channel. we're on the bay side, heading past marathon. captain bam bam told me he took the kingy out yesterddingy out a little reconnaissance to see how the water is. he said you won't believe what's floating out here. of course, we see what's on the land devastation. these are tiny little islands so so much houses and boats are blown off of the keys into florida bay, are stuck in the mangroves. we'll be bringing that to you throughout the day as we journey south. so the good news for people in the upper keys today is that monroe county says they are going to open up key largo, tavinier and isle of mar dachlt if you have a yellow sticker, if you're a resident or have a business. still no electricity, no running water.
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primal living where a bucket of ice will bring tears of joy if someone offers it to you. the spirit of the people here, some who haven't eaten, people who are sleeping, no air conditioning. mosquitos are back after the storm, as you can see one go by. they're living literally moment to moment. there's so much concern about, as you mentioned, alisyn, all the unknowns. how many people are down south? you did mention a lack of water and electricity down there. the good news in key west, at least in theory -- we haven't gotten confirmation that they're working. they do have a plan, a power generator down there that can handle about 60% of capacity on key west, which is where most of the people in the keys live, maybe 30,000 population down there. hopefully, those things are keeping those folks alive down there until the "u.s.s. lincoln," the aircraft carrier can go down. what navy man doesn't want to do
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a stint in key west, right? the affection for this place, when they're in trouble they send an aircraft carrier. i've been hearing from so many people, alisyn, around the country. it seems like the keys is one of those places, sort of like new orleans in katrina, where people have a soft spot in their heart. they've vacationed here, have relatives who retired down here and everybody is desperate to say, hey, could you check on my relatives in plantation key? could you facebook pages of missing people and they don't know if they perished or, like the rest of us, they can't get a cell signal. you saw that with chris, relying on these b-gans. we're on our way. fingers crossed that what we mostly see is physical devastation and human survival is like what chris found, people are there but they just need help. >> we pray that is what first responders and you, on your
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recon mission, find. bill, explain to us, what's the process of the upper keys opening? now people will be allowed to come back. what's this going to look like? i mean, is this just going to be a deluge of people? and what happens when they get to their home and realize that they're uninhabitable? >> it's baby steps. the people who have stayed here -- yesterday, i was walking around. i actually went to check on our friend, ana navarro's home. she has a place on key largo. we had to park the car and walk through her neighborhood because of the downed power lines and trees and met half a dozen people who said are you okay? are you all right? they wanted to show pictures of the storm and said do you know where i can get a hacksaw? do you have any kerosene? once the business owners come down and they can start opening up, those people can get
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resupplied. and it's just little by little. you clear a road today and hopefully, you know, the florida power company can come down and move the downed lines. and so, yes, it will be crazy. it will be like, you know, opening the doors of a concert or something. cars that have been frustrated, sitting there, waiting for the go ahead. but, finally, at least the upper keys are open. think about it. i've been coming down here on vacation for 20 years. the idea that the florida keys is closed, you know, is just -- it's hard to fathom. at least the upper keys, hopefully, will be open today. >> right. that's what i was imagining, bill, frankly, the stampede of the opening doors of a concert. that is what i was imagining. we'll see what happens in these next hours. thank you, bill. we'll check back with you, obviously. joining us now is a man named william rose, who packed up his truck, his boat and evacuated from key west. but his mom, his stepdad, his grandmother and his aunt did not leave. and he now cannot get ahold of
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them for all intents and purposes, they are missing. william, thank you so much for joining us. can you just tell us, what was happening with the storm on thursday, when you decided to pack up and leave and why your relatives didn't? >> good morning. yes, thursday morning i woke up about 6:30 in the morning to finish packing up my boat and all the other totes i had put in my boat. i had 10, 12 cases of water. i had gone to the local winn-dixie. they had stocked up on, i think they said, 25,000 cases of water. they had water stacked all the way to the back. my girlfriend used to work there. she was very familiar with the locals. anyway, long story short, they had plenty of water. it had flown off the shelves faster than i had ever seen before. we had a lot of people in town. the roads were crowded.
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you had to wait 15, 20 minutes to even turn left or right on u.s. 1. as you guys know, your reporters should know, it's a two-lane road. there's not very much room. especially with now all the debris in the way it's going to make it very difficult for moving around, maneuvers and the people who are -- >> william, sorry to interrupt you. i do want to get to that. in terms of the people trapped i want to find out how we can help you find your family. the last time, correct me if i'm wrong, that you spoke to your mom, was midnight on sunday. that morning, you had gotten, i think, a text from her saying something to the effect of, this is terrible. i'll never do this again. i'm so glad you got out. so -- >> yes. >> then what happened? >> well, when i got that message, the whole situation finally hit my heart that this could be a storm of a lifetime.
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the home that they're in is safe. it's a two-story home. it's about 12 1/2, 13 feet to the bottom of the floor from the ground level and then the canal water level is two foot below that. in my head i know the water had to come up 15 feet to get in the house. i was not certain whether the water was going to go into the house but the worry was in my mind. i knew if they stayed together, there was a bathroom in the center of the house where they could all huddle together if the roof were to get ripped off. i personally had given my stepfather materials that he needed to bolt his roof down before the storm came, which i had given him on wednesday. my stepfather had prepared his house. and he felt confident that his house was strong enough to withstand the storm of a lifetime. >> so, william, the best case scenario that, of course, you're hoping for is that they stayed
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in the bathroom, they weathered the storm and you just can't get ahold of them because the cell service is down. >> correct. >> but you have no idea? >> i have no idea. but i'm staying -- trying to stay positive, trying to keep a positive attitude. trying to keep high spirits. as long as i keep a positive attitude and keep looking up, every day will be a good day. and just trying to stay positive. not put the thought in my mind that this could potentially be worse than it is. just trying to stay positive that it's just the satellite towers that are out and there's no communication. >> when you last talked to your mom, what was that conversation like? >> the conversation was about the house. i wanted to know the offseason when i'm not lobster fishing it's also bill's home. i wanted to know the condition
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of the home at current state, winds gusting up wards of 90 miles an hour. she said the doors and windows were shaking. i asked her if the walls were breathing, if the walls move four to six inches on the gusts. she said the walls were staying solid and had not moved. i asked her if pictures were falling off the walls, if the house was shaking that bad. she said no, that was a negative. she said the roof wasn't flapping. i knew that was good. really needed to stay together, stay strong and kind of stay awake during the storm. if anything were to happen that they could be awake and alert and handle the situation correctly. >> good advice. how about your friends? i know you have a whole bunch, obviously, of friends in the keys also. have you been able to get in touch with anyone? >> no. we use -- we all downloaded this app called zelo. i'm sure some of you are familiar with it. some of you may not be. it uses very little
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communications, satellite reception to communicate. we lost touch -- i lost touch with one of my very, very good friends, kristen tagara and tanner trivett. kristen is on the gulf side of the road. my buddy, trivett is on the ocean side of the road. last time i talked with both of them, they were okay, safe. they had plenty of water, plenty of supplies. the shelter they were in, which was their home, was doing fine. everything was okay. >> so, william, sorry to interrupt. what's your plan? i know if you don't hear from your family and friends in the next little while, what are you going to do? >> well, my boat is ready. i have over 30 gallons of gas and five gallon gas cans in the back of my truck as you've seen in the pictures and my boat has 25 gallons of gas in the gas tank. i have plenty of fuel to make it
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to cudjoe key, florida, and key west and make it back to miami. if i need to, i'll make that trip in tomorrow. >> william rose, thank you for taking the time. obviously, our thoughts are with you. we're praying that you do connect with your family and friends somehow in the very near future. please keep us posted as to their with abouts and safety. okay? >> i will. thank you very much. >> we'll speak again. >> meanwhile, the remnants of irma are inundating several states in the southeast. downtown charleston, south carolina, irma's heavy rain and storm surge showed up, causing widespread flooding. nick valencia is live in charleston. what is the situation there, nick? >> hey there, good morning, alis alisyn. large parts of the low country are under water this morning. before you say this happens in charleston every time during a heavy rain event it does this time it's a little bit different because of debris like this.
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this is the kind of debris that is just sort of strewn everywhere, all across this downtown, historic area. the local newspaper saying the last time flooding was this bad and this widespread in this part of charleston was during hurricane hugo, almost 30 years ago. the paper may have forgotten that thousand-year flood that was very widespread throughout the entire state. we spoke to county officials in charleston to tell us. split between two shelters. good sign this morning, you may see guys in the yellow vests, cleaning, pumping out this water in the hour or so that we've been here. this water has almost all together receded. alisyn? >> thank you for walking us around there. we can see the debris and all the challenges there. more search and rescue teams are headed to fthe florida keys in a matter of hours, and one group will provide medical treatment. elizabeth cohen is with them. she's live for us. what's the plan, elizabeth?
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>> dozens of medical assistants personnel will be flying from here in orlando to key west. they're called dmac teams, disaster medical assistance teams. the team from hawaii has already gathered and more folks are due to come in. they're going to go to key west, assess the situation and then they do searches and provide medical assistance. doctors, nurses, pharmacists, all sorts of medical assistance teams. they'll be coming in on c-7 military planes. these are gigantic planes that can carry not just people but lots of equipment. the vehicles behind me, hopefully you can see behind me. those vehicles can get on the plane. boats can get on this plane. it can carry huge amounts of vehicles, equipment and people to help the folks down in the keys. alisyn? >> that is so great, elizabeth. that's what they need, exactly that kind of equipment and all sorts of manpower. thank you for being there and, obviously, we'll track your
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progress as well. we are, as we said, awaiting a fema briefing. this will be the first time this morning we're getting actual information in real numbers of who they think are still trapped in the keys, of what the plan is to get them water and needed supplies and life-saving details. so, the severe flooding in jacksonville is also forcing rescue crews to spring into action there. we'll speak to the mayor of jacksonville with an update next. you know who likes to be in control? this guy. check it out! self-appendectomy! oh, that's really attached. that's why i rent from national. where i get the control to choose any car in the aisle i want, not some car they choose for me. which makes me one smooth operator. ah! still a little tender. (vo) go national. go like a pro. and life's beautiful moments.ns get between you flonase outperforms the #1 non-drowsy allergy pill.
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designed for your data. secure to the core. the ibm cloud is the cloud for enterprise. yours. we're very pleased that the weather is allowing this effort on search and rescue. our bases of operation are more limited than our response to hurricane harvey. yet we are working to get as many aircraft in the air as possible. i urge everyone impacted by the storm to continue to pay attention to your state and local officials. they will let you know when it's
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safe to return home. be patient. the federal government effort is working closely with our state and local partners in our response and recovery efforts. i would like to thank president trump and vice president pence for their attention to this storm and their concern for communities that are affected. the white house and the entire cabinet have been very supportive of the first responders and the survivors of hurricane irma. a storm of this magnitude needs a team effort. and we've seen tremendous response from our federal partners. nearly 22,000 federal personnel are ready on the front lines and more continue to deploy. we face a long and challenging road ahead with the department of homeland security, our federal, state, tribal and local partners will continue to stand with the people affected by the storm. whether you are in florida,
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georgia, south carolina, puerto rico or the u.s. virgin islands, we are here for you and we are here for the long haul. we are ramping up operations in florida, for those of you in texas and louisiana, affected by harvey, we are still with you. i actually spoke to governor abbott yesterday and will continue to support the state rebuilding efforts. i would like assistant secretary for infrastructure at dhs, running our programs. he will talk to you about power, water and communications in florida. thank you. >> thank you, madam secretary. >> very briefly on the ground in florida, we are looking at a little over 5 to 6 million customers without power. that translates to about 15 million people without power. department of homeland security is working very closely with the department of energy and the local utilities to get the crews back in there, do damage
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assessments, clean up debris and hang new lines. i do ask that everyone have patience. this is going to take some time to restore. and in some circumstances it will be a situation about rebuilding. hurricane force winds can significantly damage infrastructure. those crews are still down there right now, getting a sense of what is going on the ground. with power out, that pretty much drives everything. there may be impacts on local waste water treatment facilities. most of those facilities should have generator and fuel supplies for a number of days. however, it is a priority. once it's safe to re-enter, it is a priority to get those electricity crews back in on the ground. communications is also an issue, particularly down in the virgin islands. but in florida, there is some cell service disruption and maybe wire line disruption as well. same thing applies. as soon as it's safe to re-enter, crews should be back in there, doing damage assessments late yesterday and into today. last thing i would add is that hurricanes harvey and irma are
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linked. with harvey we had a significant amount of the nation's refining capacity offline as well as distribution through some of the pipelines through the southeast. as a result, there may be some fuel supply shortages throughout the southeast. that's why last week the secretary issued the jones act waiver to allow easier distribution of fuel throughout some of those ports throughout. so, i do ask everyone to have patience. we're getting on this quickly and we'll be here to answer questions. >> all right. good morning, everyone. so it's very clear to all of us that the president's goal is to take care of people. and, you know, this is a unique event compared to what harvey was. harvey's damage areas were combined in -- confined, excuse me, to within 50 counties in texas and a few in louisiana. this one is complex because of the multiple states involved. we also have the seminole tribe that comes directly to fema for
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support and also our partners in the u.s. virgin islands as well as puerto rico. during the complex event like this it's important to double down on communications and what we're doing is to make sure that we have clear lines of communication, not only with our governors but with the state divisions of emergency management as well, including our tribal partners in the seminole tribe. we will continue to do that. as the secretary and chris krebs have both said this is going to be a frustrating event t will take time to allow people back in their homes, particularly in the florida keys. you look what happened in florida, obviously monroe county took the brunt of the hit. majority of homes there have been impacted in several ways with several of them destroyed and many more with major damage. we're having to go down and make sure it's a safe place for people to return so that we don't have loss of life after irma passes through. so, the bottom line is that later today, i will be headed to puerto rico and the u.s. virgin
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islands, meeting with both governors to make sure we're on the correct pathway to recovery there. obviously, power restoration is one of the biggest goals, along with -- you know, power restoration is the largest goal in puerto rico. there were over 1 million people without power. we've made a lot of progress. and that's down to around 300,000. that will continue to improve. for the u.s. virgin islands, we're directly working with the governor to understand his issues as well. obviously we want to make sure that safety and security is upheld and we're continuing to work with him to roll in military police through our national guard partners to those islands to ensure safety and security. we're also pushing a lot of commodities forward. we established air bridges through our partners with the dod and the navy with the ships that are offshore there and we continue to understand the life sustainment missions to support our partners in the virgin islands. moving to the continental united
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states, the president, as you all know, moved quickly to put forward presidential disaster declaration. it's very important, specifically in florida right now. the county is under individual assistance declarations. there's quite a few. i want to read those off. broward county, palm beach, clay, duvall, flagler, putnam, st. john's, charlotte, collier, hillsboro, lee, miami-dade, sarasota, pinellas. if you're a citizen in those counties go to disasterassistance.gov to begin registering for assistance if you received damage and are experiencing hardship. first line of defense is file your insurance when you're allowed to get back home. not only your personal insurance but also through the nfip program, national flood insurance program if you're a policy holder. once you return home, please
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call your private insurer to activate that policy if you have had damage. we can begin to process -- begin the process to have money flowing to help you in that regard. the other thing here is that, you know, we're also watching the continuing situation in jacksonville overnight. jacksonville and the areas around the st. john's river were heavily impacted. we're still conducting life safety missions in and around that area because of the flooding. we were very aware of it last night and continuing to support our state and local partners there. again, this issue is passing through. there's large-scale power outages and almost 1 million people in georgia without power today as well. but we have been working with our partners at the department of energy to prestage power crews not only in florida but all over the southeastern united states. let me reiterate it takes a long time for this infrastructure to
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come back up. it may take week days if not w. one final graphic is our force lay down to show how dynamic this force s as i have said and as the secretary reiterated it's all about communication, clearly identifying how to support our state and local partners. that's exactly what's taking place as we start to turn the corner and provide a road to recovery. so, with that, we'll open it up to any questions. >> listening to brock long, the fema administrator. we've just gotten the first update on what their plan is, to tackle the crisis throughout florida as well as other states. couple of headlines to share with you. good news is, he says -- this was elaine duke, acting secretary of homeland security, said the weather is cooperating but they're constrained by geography. they need aircraft in the air to get the eyes on the situation, the scope of this crisis. brock long said something very
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interesting, that irma is such a unique event and very different from harvey for a bunch of reasons. primarily it affects so many more state than harvey did. with 50 counties, this is several states and it's complicated with all the different governors and emergency managers, including settlement knoll tribe. they are tackling all of that. their biggest goal right now, of course, are life preservation and power restoration. new number there. 15 million people they estimate, are without power. 15 million. on the right side of your screen right now you're looking at aerials coming to us from one of our affiliates. this is a checkpoint, the last point on the peninsula of florida before you have to go over the bridge to the keys and this is where residents are being asked to show the yellow sticker to prove that they are residents of the keys and that they can return home.
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so it's just starting now, as you can see. so many people are desperate to see what condition their homes and all of their belongings are in. of course, we find chris in big pine key. that's much more remote and further west. chris, great to have you back. what r you sare you seeing at t hour? >> yes. first to the audience, we apologize. this is not the most sophisticated transmission equipment we usually use. there is no satellite service, no power here, no water. what you're seeing in key largo, it's terrible there. that's still the best case scenario. only thing working here in real time is the rooster. this is the good news. we picked this scene because this family -- couple of boys are outside. they lived. their house here. they're dealing with devastation and being back to raw basics of that are life. this is ground zero, a few miles away of where irma touched down in cudjoe key. the devastation is unlike anything else we've seen.
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this is the best case scenario. these homes built on pillars that survived. closer to the water line, the water went right through the first story of a home just like that. plus those pillars up on to it, still flooded out. that was at least 15 feet of water. what we just heard in that broefing, the coordination is there. it's amazing what we've seen on the way down. we came down with the first set of first responders, task force two from florida. they're here. penetration is the issue. they just got here last night. national guard came with the men and women. if you want you can show the footage of them going door to door all night. none of them slept. they came down here after a really tough trip and went right to it because people were still here. the homes they saw looked like they were sucked out from the inside. there were boats in yards that didn't belong. they had to walk down an incredible heat and humidity. even this morning.
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the heat, the humidity, that's their reality. and the light is just coming up. we'll be going around this key and others to show you how people will try to get by. it will make so clear why people can't come back here yet, alisyn. let's deal with another hit area. if you're still seeing the mayor of jacksonville. they're worried about jacksonville for two reasons. one, they weren't expected to get hit. what's the situation there right now, mr. mayor? >> good morning. yesterday was all day rescue boats. we evacuated the most vulnerable in at-risk areas, mandatory evacuations. unfortunately there were some people that were still in those areas after the tropical storm left. what we learned yesterday morning was that we had category 3 storm surge in a tropical storm. we quickly moved with our first responders, secured state assets in the morning with governor
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scott, the president, the administration were able to send in help. and spent the day rescuing people. right now we have no reports of fatalities. men and women, first responders, people of jacksonville did their job. >> we're with a group of first responders down here. it's slow work. the next question, what are you looking at in terms of timing before you know the situation, the condition, the status of all of the residents and the timing on when you'll be able to get back basic services? >> well, we're working with our power company, our utility and we've got commitments from senator rubio and the president, the federal government and governor scott has been amazing in securing those resources. but we have the resources that we need, financial resources that we need to move now. and we can work to get our
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reimbursement on the back end. most important thing for us is, first, start saving lives. that's the mode we were in yesterday and we begin the rebuilding process today. the flooding in jacksonville is not going to subside overnight. you know, this could take days or even up to a week before people start to see the flooding subside from the neighborhood. >> what's your biggest concern at this point, mr. mayor? >> well, yesterday, the big concern was people's lives. we really, literally, our first responders and people of jacksonville jumped into rescue mode. it was amazing to me. i went out in the vulnerable neighborhoods and saw these men and women pull these big public safety trucks in the neighborhood they couldn't drive in, go in and save people's lives. while we move in to recovery today i want to make sure if there's anybody that stayed in the neighborhood, second floor of a home, thinking these
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floodwaters would subside, that they're not going to subside soon. call us. no reported fatalities at this point. we're not in crisis mode that the moment. we handled that yesterday. we want to be sure to keep people safe as we move into recovery. >> thank god that the most important measure of this storm, thus far, is very low in the united states, which is lives lost. let me ask you something. it's great to have you on the show. but with all the power outage, what's your level of confidence that people who need to be hearing you are able to get any of the information? >> yeah. well, we are messaging with every outlet we have, tv. we encouraged people on the front end to have batteries so they could get radio communications. we're going to be announcing places today where we can
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distribute food and water and we'll be going into neighborhoods, frankly, checking on people and working hard. most of the state is without power. so this is a major -- this is going to be a major statewide crisis. we did secure assets on the front end. we had people staged to begin the restoration process. we're going to work aggressively and do everything that we can to take care of our people, get them back up and running. and what you -- you know, what you've learned in these events, something we should know, pay attention to every day -- unfortunately sometimes it takes events like this -- the most important thing we have is each other. >> we are all in it together. that is the message that resonates out of everybody's mouths and hearts in this situation so far. mr. mayor, let me let you get back to it. thank you for being with us. good luck to you in jacksonville. >> thank you. be safe down there.
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>> it sound s trite, but it's true. the worst in mother nature requires the best in human nature. we have been seeing it. even jacksonville is way ahead of the game of where they are down here. you can hear the pitter patter of a helicopter coming through. it's the coast guard. they're doing their initial surveillance here. the people who made it, like griffin and darwin, this family across the street. it's really not known whether local authorities are even able to ascertain whether they survived. as we see these missions start to fly over -- i don't think that's coast guard. that's national guard. as they are starting to fly by, this is the first wave of assessment. they are coming overhead and taking a look. that's a nef chop avy chopper, who is there. that's the situation. people who will receive that information are people like task force two, who we are with. we watched them work all through the night. making their way through debris like this, up to a doorway,
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knocking on it. sometimes hearing a response, having to figure out how to get to those people. many of them have resources. many of them don't. the reality is no power for weeks or longer. that is a very hard life in this kind of heat and humidity. that's why they're telling people to stay out and they have to figure out how to get people like this to leave, which isn't going to be easy, or how do you get them -- >> it's good to see the helicopters up. it's 7:30, trying to get assessments. from what we're able to see, they're moving trying to get people help. joining us now, cnn security analysis, served as homeland security adviser under president obama. great to have you here with all of your expertise. >> great to be here. >> when you look at what irma is going to require in terms of the federal response, where do you even start? what do you see here?
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>> really what we're seeing and what we saw from brock long, the fema administrator, is just an incredible scale that's going to be required for the federal response. fema, of course, is the hub of that response and is the coordinator for it. and the different elements of the federal government can come to support and be the spokes of that response. we're going to see the need as you saw it, the power crews, working with other states and affected states. we're going to see the need for housing recovery and housing assistance. >> for a long time, right? >> absolutely. >> this is the part that always blows my mind. the houseing, they might not be able to rebuild their houses for months. they will have to be in shelters. >> that's exactly right. this could have a real impact, clearly, on efforts to rebuild, efforts to find assistance and support for those who have been displaced, hundreds of thousands that we're seeing have been displaced. the health implications and the
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environmental implications here, toxins that are potentially in those floodwaters. so there is really a response that's going to be required and a recovery effort that's going to draw on all elements of the federal government. >> you had to deal with hurricanes when you were national security adviser. i mean, obviously, this is just -- you know, everybody always warns us, the worst may still be to come. >> right. >> there's all sorts of life-threatening issues after the storm passes. is it possible that 10,000 people -- this is the number we keep hearing in the florida keys -- may have to be evacuated. can't have access to water and power. what would an evacuation look like? >> that's a massive logistical feat. there will be effort, of course, to get supplies in there, whether it's generators, whether it's supplies, water, the like. you'll see all elements of the federal government coming
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together to do this. dod, department of defense, national guard will be called upon to deliver some of those logistics. this is really a response and recovery effort on a massive scale that is going to be required not yust days, we just weeks or months but could be for years to come. >> brock long told us -- we heard upwards of 6 million households. but that's not people. the new number is 15 million people at this hour without power. how does the federal government help them? >> what comes into play here is the mutual assistance compacts that all the states have with each other. that is something that can be drawn upon for any type of disaster, whether it's a severe storm, severe snow, et cetera. you see states having these mutual system compacts that can can help send power crews from other states.
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what the federal government can do and the white house, and what i did as homeland security adviser, is to help coordinate that response. draw on the sectors like the energy department oversees with the energy sector, et cetera. bring those stakeholders together to try to get them to contribute from all across the country. >> lisa, great to have your expertise and walk us through what will be happening over the next hours and days. thanks so much for being here in studio with us. chris, we want to go back to you now in the keys. tell us what's happening in your are area. >> all right. we have all this discussion, alisyn, about logistics and resources. on the ground it's about realities and life is very hard on the ground in the keys. living without power in an environment like this is very difficult, let alone as a lifestyle.
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one or two days is one thing. weeks is something else. let's bring in robert gould from florida power and light. we're here with the task force in florida doing that initial assessment for you. many of the cement mansions remain here in big pine key and marathon. even most of the wooden ones. the lines are down but the bricks and mortar, that level of infrastructure seems to be relatively intact, mr. gould. >> yeah. that's a huge, huge fact. i heard you earlier talking about that. i saw your shot a second ago and that cement pole standing. that, to us, is a gorgeous thing to see. we've invested about $3 billion in our network over the past ten years in that very type of thing, replacing wood poles, putting in concrete poles, shortening spans of wire between concrete poles so that if a tree or palm frond hits it, it slides off rather than bring the entire
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section down. that is huge, to have the backbone in place and what we're seeing is encouraging. this is really the first major, major storm in a decade that is going to test all those investments. now, please don't misunderstand. we're, by no means, changing our view at point. because we need to complete the assessment. but when we see transmission structures standing, cement and steel reinforced structures standing and not on the ground, that is huge in terms of the ability to restore power quicker for our customers. >> listen, robert, we understand that the situation here in the keys is somewhat unique. you have very few paths for power and water, et cetera. but that's going to be one of the immediate pressing issues for you. most of the people got out. there are those who are still
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here who want to stay and those who want to come back and resume life. what level of confidence can you give them, given how hard a life they're facing here, not just for days but probably for weeks, right? >> there will be some places that we are going to be able to rebuild our infrastructure. yet the homes and businesses will not be able to accept that power. it just won't be practical for the situation. now we're expecting upwards of 5 million outages that will occur as a result of this storm. we've already restored upwards of about 2 million outages now. an outage can be something that is repetitive. we still have about 2.8 customers, 2.8 million, rather, customers that are still without service. and we're just going to have to work at it.
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a lot of our families and employees and customers are without power. we get it. we have every, every intent to be out there, 24/7, restoring power. but this was a massive storm. and the problem with this type of storm is the psychological element of the sky is clear. it's beautiful weather out. it's hot but at least it's clear. and then people start to say, wait a minute. why can't i get my power back right away? we're just going to have to be patient. and we ask for that patience because at the end of the day, it's still a manual process to restore wire on poles and the like. >> the all right. mr. gould, i'll let you get back to the work. i know you have a lot in front of you. if you can give us any information, reach out to the producers you're in contact with and we'll get you any information we can. it's not easy for us to get information out. we're barely able to stay on air because of the breakdown in infrastructure. good luck to you, sir.
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>> thank you. and, above all else for yourself and others, please be safe. >> all right. thank you, sir. alisyn, do you know what? it's the right caution. i mean, it is a bizarre situation. you have beautiful sky. we saw beautiful sunset last night. but it is such an ugly reality on the ground. and i'm not just saying visually. there's so many trees down. life is going to be hard here. it's going to be hard in parts of miami and in the developed parts of the state all the way up to jacksonville, south to north. you get here into the keys and this is very different. this is like, you know, an episode of survivor that will be here for people. >> yeah. >> that's a big determination to make for authorities, who do they let back, when? what do they do with the people who are still here? there's no gas. that knows power. >> all those calculations are obviously happening at this hour, as you showed us, with those choppers flying overhead so they can assess how bad it is, where you are and all the
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keys that extend even further west. so, chris, we'll be back with you in a second. we want to how he's helping people on the island as he himself tries to get home. you know who likes to be in control? this guy. check it out! self-appendectomy! oh, that's really attached. that's why i rent from national. where i get the control to choose any car in the aisle i want, not some car they choose for me. which makes me one smooth operator. ah! still a little tender. (vo) go national. go like a pro. ♪ we are not here to sit idly by.
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chris cuomo and team now in the florida keys. we are in big pine key and we are able to see the reality of the worst of what hurricane irma brought on the country. this is ground zero where the eye of the storm came ashore and there were 120-mile-per-hour sustained winds. what you saw me and ed dealing with in naples, because of the gust of 120, and that's one puff compared to sustained. we are here with first responders that were the first set of eyes here on the ground. let's bring in ed lavandera. you are in naples. i know you have been traveling around and went to marcos island to get a sense of the harder hit areas.
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what did you find out, my friend? >> the second time that hurricane irma hit the united states is south of where we are, marco island. it was a small town of goodland, florida. it was some of the main destruction here in florida that we have seen everywhere. where the everglades meets the gulf of mexico, there's a goodland. the eye of irma chainsawed its way through here. and this man sat in this room as the 130-mile-per-hour winds roared outside. >> did you feel like the house was going to get picked up off the ground? >> yeah. yeah, i picked up the dogs and i thought, here we go. it's going to go. >> like dorothy and the "wizard of oz." >> yeah. >> he opened the door to see the tree had fallen on to the
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neighbor's house. he was spared. >> you start telling yourself, maybe i should have left? >> yeah, i was telling myself hours before that. >> emergency officials say some 40 people decided to ride out the storm here in goodland, but there were no serious injuries reported. the hurricane ripped apart the town that is home to several hundred people, boats tossed around and trees toppled and several homes destroyed. >> it blew out my oil cap here, the pressure from the water. >> the storm surge pushed seven feet of water under dustin shepherd's home, but it brought in fish that are not supposed to be here. shepherd works as a chartered fisherman. >> my windows broke on the backside here, and for a couple hours, you know, i thought the house might come down. you know, and it got -- it got scary. it was -- it was something i will never forget.
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i will tell you that much. >> friends showed up to hug gary stringer, grateful he survived. he might have an incredible story to tell, but he just feels lucky he can walk away. >> took a direct hit. >> won't do it again. if noah comes i will book a flight a week early and be on the other side of the world at a tiki bar or something. >> you learned your lesson? >> yeah. >> i'm glad you are all right. water services and electricity out throughout most of marco island, so that's where emergency officials are urging people if they can to stay away until the services are re-established. there's no exact timetable on when all of that will happen, and they are urging people to be patient and to come back and so you can have water and
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electricity, that's what they are urging. >> this will take a lot of patience. it's the unknown, you know? it's the part of makes it so challenging. we have no idea, so ed, thank you for all that. the death toll in cuba is at ten after the island took a direct hit from hurricane irma as a category 5. >> reporter: power is coming back in a few neighbors at a time, but it would seem the majority of cuba's capital city is without electricity, and i know at my house it complicates life. slowly there's rebuilding going on and debris being taken out, and we are getting more internet around the city. the airport is due to be open today, so those are the positive
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sides. the troubling issues are when you have old buildings like havana is full of, and they get soaked with rain or there's flooding and when they dry out that's where the danger is because they can buckle or collapse, and most of those that died were as a result of the building collapses. a very worrying situation and we will have to wait and see what will happen here. >> patrick, thank you for the update, and we hope you and everybody there gets power as soon as possible. meanwhile, last tuesday, one restaurant owner decided to fly back to the island from the mainland to board up the restaurant he and his wife owned. that was a week ago, and clint, the man has been stranded there every since leaving his pregnant wife, kristin, and young son home alone, of course, worried about his safety. joining us now on the phone is kristin. thank you so much for being with us. what is the latest?
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how are you doing and what is the latest on your husband, clint? >> good morning. i am doing all right. thanks for having me on today. my husband, clint, like you said, he's kind of stuck in st. john right now just dealing with all the chaos that ensues after a hurricane, and just trying to keep the community set at this point. >> that's nice. so he is trying to help others while he's stranded there, but kristin, how did you feel about clint deciding to fly back to board up your restaurant as irma was approaching? >> absolutely. you know, it's a little nerve-racking when you are sending your husband into a category 5 storm not knowing what that's like, and nobody has ever experienced that, and for us that's our livelihood. that is how we make our money. that's our restaurant. he had to go down there and make sure it was okay and the staff was okay and everybody

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