tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN September 12, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
when heartburn hits fight back fast with tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside. chewy inside. tum tum tum tum tums chewy bites. top of the hour. 9:00 a.m. eastern. good morning, everybody. i am poppy harlow in new york. >> i am john berman in miami. as bad as it looks around me, even with all of these trees down everywhere i look, it could be worse. how do we know that? because it's worse, much worse in the florida keys. fema just told us initial estimates are 25% of homes there were destroyed. 25%. 65% were damaged. no power. no communications. little to no drinking water. search and rescue teams are now getting in. the navy is on the scene flying
in supplies. in the northern keys some business owners are slowly being allowed back in. >> this record shattering former category 4 hurricane is now starting to reveal some of her worse damage, the depth and the breath of it especially across the keys, as john said, you have seven million customers without power, and this includes parts of georgia and alabama and the carolinas because of irma. six deaths are being blamed on hurricane irma since it struck the keys on sunday. we have our crews spread out from one end of florida through the other. we will take you through the flooding in charleston, south carolina. let's go to chris cuomo first in big pine, florida. there's no water or energy or no
access to help for them. >> reporter: i think that's the reality. here's what we learned being here. what is over our shoulder right now, this is the best case scenario on this key. massive property loss, but the home is still standing and the tobacco family is intact. that's the best case scenario. the numbers john just put out there, i doubt them. here's why. because they can't know. we are with the first wave of first responders, and they are the eyes and ears for the coordinated authorities. they worked throughout the night. they were not supposed to work until daylight this morning because it's too dangerous, and they didn't care. really they cared too much. they went outdoor to door and hour after hour finding people and checking in and giving them phone communications so they could get to their families. everywhere they went there's utter devastation. homes are there but nothing was
left untouched. there's the big issue, time. no power. no gas. how do you rebuild? no water. no sewage. how do you survive and sustain normal life? how long can you make it like this? that's what informed the senator's proposition, it's not about whether you come back but about whether you still need to get out. the keys spirit here, the tobacco family, he says he will not go anywhere and will sustain for how long he needs to. that's a bold assumption. we will send in pictures throughout the day of what they are dealing with throughout the day, poppy. >> so glad you are there, chris. thank you for that. john, it's incredible to see, and since the sun came up it's the reality of the breath and the depth of the reality in the keys. >> reporter: no doubt about it,
poppy. obviously people are getting a greater sense of the scope of the damage done, and the recovery crews are just getting on the scene to fix what they need to fix. even in this neighborhood in coconut grove, we look at all the trees around here. we think of power lines being held up by polls and most of the power lines are underground and when the trees toppled over it uprooted the lines and knocked out power. we have seen the crews poking around here over the last few hours and they are going to be able to start to get to work soon, which will be a big relief for the people here. imagine a city the size of miami, pitch black at night. no traffic lights working. 60% of traffic lights are out. i have not seen one working. i will put it that way. it's difficult to get around. the people here are waking up and moving around and trying to get their lives back in order but still so many things are standing in their way. >> do you think, john, because
of where you are, it was ultimately hit by what is being classified as a category 1, and is there perhaps a misunderstanding for a lot of americans for how bad this is for some folks, especially as we are learning in the keys? >> i think the pictures in the keys that chris is starting to broadcast are important to see for the american people, to know just how damaging this storm was. in fact, we now have bill weir up with us, and he rode out the storm in key largo in the upper keys, and bill is now moving south on a boat. what are you seeing? >> reporter: john, i see the kind of day most fishermen dream of. this is glassy calm seas as we go through, and we had to pick our way out of key largo, so many sunken boats and twisted
lines and so many vessels had broken loose and shoved into the mangrove, so we are so indebted to the captain here on the sea spirit. i met his girlfriend, tiffany, if you were watching and she was checking out the devastation, and i said we would love to get a boat if we could get down to the lower keys, and she said, my boyfriend has a boat. here he is. how are you? >> great. >> middle linebacker in key largo high school, and we will call him captain bam bam throughout this journey. this is your lively here, and if we hit something it could be devastating, right? >> yeah, and fishing for a living is a risk. we do what we have to do to survive. we are just going to go down there and check out and see what we find. >> you want to send a message to
folks around the country, you love this stretch, right? >> yes, we do. you know, we're resilient down here in the florida keys. we are going to rebuild. we're going to be right back in business. you know, our doors are going to be open shortly. come down and see us and come fishing. >> reporter: what you have -- we got something in the lines, just a float. that's okay. what you have heard through the coconut telegraph how other captains made out and how it's going to be when we get further south and west? >> a lot of people got lucky in key largo. further down south i heard the destruction is pretty bad. you know, there's a lot of sunken boats down there, and in key largo there were some boats that were lost, but it's about preparation. you prepare and you hope for the best, you know?
>> reporter: right. we are in for a long journey into the heart of darkness, captain bam pwap. i appreciate it and the viewers breach it. you see the sea grass blowing around. it's so crazy to consider this is the same body of water that caused such destruction, because today could not be more peaceful. watching the flying fish. the residents in some of the keys up to mile marker 73 or so will be allowed back. it has to be so frustrating for those that live below there. it's a black hole of communication. chris cuomo is on big pine. we will try and get down to kud
row key. >> bill, thanks so much. joining me now from key west, monroe county administrator, mr. administrator, thank you so much for being with us. let me get to the news from senator marco rubio today suggesting maybe you ought to consider a massive evacuation of the florida keys at this point, as many as 10,000 people. do you think that's necessary, sir? >> absolutely not. i don't know where that's coming from. that's ridiculous. we are making due. everybody is helping out, bringing down supplies. the folks in the keys are very resilient. we were ready for this. this is aus have yobviously a l damage but we will get it done. i have no idea and i would love to talk to the person or persons that is discussing that because it's absolutely ridiculous. >> so what is the area of greatest need in the keys, sir?
>> just water and supplies. they are coming down. they are coming down by the plane load and truck load. this is a hurricane, guys. this happens. we live in the tropics and we expect these things to happen. we don't want it to happen and this is the price of living in paradise. we are prepared. we are getting things done. we are on a call right now and getting everybody coordinated where everybody gives an update on what is going on, and we will rebuild. there's hurricanes every year throughout the world, so we will get it done. electricity will get back up and the power, and the sewer will start flowing and the water will start flowing and we will be up and running in no time. >> nobody doubts your determination and spirit, but we are trying to get a sense on the nearly 100-mile stretch of islands. we don't have reports back from
the rescue and search teams. are you hearing stories of injuries or loss of life? >> well, let's do this quickly, this happened two days ago and yesterday was the first full day of folks going out and assessing the initial damage and injuries, and you have not heard much because there are not much because people left. i don't know where the 10,000 people were, but i was up and down the keys for days telling people to leave and most people left. i don't know the number. i can't tell you if it's 1,000 or 10,000, but it was not many. the folks -- >> obviously it was super important for you to go up and send that message beforehand and you may have saved a lot of lives by delivering that message. so many bridges to get down to key west where you are. what is the condition of the more than 40 bridges? >> on the call that i just mentioned is the secretary --
>> all right, we have lost the administrator of monroe county. monroe county is the county that encompasses all the florida keys, and the message we just got from that administrator is he thinks things are going well down there, and he thinks it's part of living in paradise, the price of living in paradise, and he doesn't want to see a massive evacuation, and he says they can get through it and supplies started to arrive. the rest of florida dealing with a whole bunch of situations right now. we say 7 million customers without power. that's customers. that's households. there are more than 10 million human beings without the power in the southeast. we will discuss the challenge
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cudjoe. this is one of the largest natural disasters florida has faced. 15 million people without power right now. 15 million people without florida and in the southeast. we are hearing a wonderful sound behind us, which is a bulldozer getting the trees out of the streets. that's happening right now. let's push in so you can see that right there. that's what needs to happen across the state of florida. get the trees out so the power companies can get in and get the lines operating again. this is just in miami. this is a problem up and down florida, not to mention florida, georgia and the carolinas. our correspondent is following the situation for us in sarasota, florida. alex? >> reporter: john, the good news is they are making progress in terms of restoring the power.
overnight almost 2 million customers have gotten their power back on. we need to make a different repbtion between people and customers. florida power and light, there's some 5.5 million customers in florida that still don't have power. to give you a sense of how hard they are working back there, those are sleeping trailers that can sleep 1,800 people. there are people working around the clock to get this power back on. over here, this is an empty parking lot. moments ago, it was full of trucks and crews and they are now out trying to get the power restored. here's an official and here's what he had to say. >> we have assembled a workforce of 20,000 strong, the largest in u.s. history, and they are working hard to get the lights back on for customers as soon as
possible. >> reporter: the white house is also saying they have deployed the biggest army of power workers from all over the country, even from canada. the lucky ones will get power back in hours or days, and others will take weeks. john? >> we have the camera still looking at this front end loader, moving the trees off the streets, alex, which, again, is the sight people want to see. we have folks on the streets watching this because this is what they want and need to get their power back up online. poppy. >> thank you. alex made an important different
comparison. it's people versus customers. you guys have 1.8 million customers across florida. as of yesterday 1.2 million of those folks had no power. where does it stand today? >> good morning. i want to start off by saying we are very porscor -- fortunate t all our employees are safe. i want to thank governor stock a scott and state agencies helping. this was a widespread storm. we have 7 million people in the southeast without power. all 35 of our counties in florida that duke energy serves were impacted, that 1.2 customers out of 1.8 are out. we assembled an army of over 1,000 crews that will not stop
until everybody has their power on and we are making progress. >> and florida power and light said this will be the most challenging restoration in the history of the united states when it comes as power restoration. is that how you see it, harry? >> yeah, we have certain areas that have been severely impacted and some a little more fortunate, but we have seen impacts in all 35 of the counties. it's going to be a hard process to get everybody back on. >> what makes it so hard? for customers, sitting with the frustration across florida, they are thinking of themselves this morning -- i don't get why it's going to take weeks. explain that to them. >> yeah, we saw impacts, broken poles, transmission impacts, that's the backbone of our system that everything is fed off and we have to balance everything as we bring customers back we are not impacting the rest of the system. we have floodwaters in places
and we saw category 3 wind gusts in tampa and the orlando area, and as well as polk county and highlands county, and so that is severe destruction there and it's going to take time to rebuild the system there. >> one of the things i was reading that duke has that is interesting, is 28% of your customers now have something that allows you to reroute the power to their lines remotely, which i would assume they get the power back much more quickly. is that the case, and if so -- i mean, for the next, you know, natural disaster, is that going to be more widespread? >> yes. we are looking at expanding that in the future with some investments to make our grid smarter and to be able to handle that. like you said, we are 30% now where we are utilizing that technology to get our customers on faster and that has been
paying dividends. >> we know you are busy and your teams are busy and we thank them for what they are doing, and we echo your thanks to all of the officials across the state of florida for all they are doing. thank you. there's another kraoecrisis across florida, not just the power but the gas crisis. many areas totally out of gas. complicating this, not just irma, but hurricane harvey closed some of the biggest refineries in the country and that affects the supply. christine ro christine romans is with us. >> you can see it's across that part of the state. we know the port of tampa bay opens at 2:00 p.m. today. they tell us they are going to open at 2:00 p.m., and among the first shipments to get into that port will be gasoline. so that could be something there. i can tell you we just now, the first commercial flight to land at ft. lauderdale airport.
you finally have flights coming back in to ft. lauderdale. very slowly business trying to get back to usual. it's interesting how long it will take because of the power outages and gas shortages to get out there and assess the damage and get the recovery part of this started. gas prices, by the way, rising across the country because of both disruptions because of the refineries with harvey, and then irma, it's $2.71, and $2.27 is what it was just last week. >> and the cost estimate for the damage is nowhere near the $200 billion? do we know that for sure? >> you saw really high damage estimates, and then the storm wobbles. something called the bermuda
hyde, if it had gone slightly to the west of marco island that terrible part of the eyewall would have caused more damage to the western part of the state, so you saw the estimates go closer to $50 million. that's one of the reason why the stock market rallied yesterday because the insurable losses did not look like the worst case scenario. >> we are watching. the market opens in five minutes. thank you. federal response teams are gearing up and heading deeper into the florida keys. we are getting exclusive access to show you the unbelievable devastation there. stay with us. our live coverage continues.
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differential. differential. john berman back in miami. just like that the street behind me cleared off. the utility crews can get in there and do the work they need to do. of course, trees over here still down and clearly more work to do. meanwhile the first federal disaster responses teams are about to take off from orlando in the center of the state bound for the florida keys. doctors, nurses, rescue crews. loading up right now. and elizabeth cohen has exclusive access and is there. what are you seeing? >> i watched as they loaded up the planes you see behind me, these are coast guard planes. they loaded them up with
equipment and personnel and we are talking about doctors and nurses and pharmacist, and they are taking medical equipment and drugs and other medical equipment and law enforcement will be with them, and also search and rescue teams. they had a little gathering before they got on the plane, and their leader said we are here and florida needs us and the florida keys need us. john? >> we were just talking to the county administrator from monroe county said he does not want people to evacuate, and he thinks and knows help is coming in the form of the people right behind you there. when they get on the ground, what will their priority be? >> the first thing they are going to do is surveillance. actually, they were really asking us, and we were asking each other, what are we going to find when we get down there, and people don't know. they need to be smart and look around and see what is needed and what kind of rescue efforts are needed?
have people suffered trauma from debris or falling trees? they need to figure out what is necessary, and then they set in to do their work. i have seen these teams at work in other disasters, they know what they are doing and they are very fast and efficient. >> they sure do know what they are doing, and they have to be self sustaining because when they get there they don't have many services to keep their lives sustained. thank you for bringing us that report. poppy. >> this morning we are hearing more about the decimated islands, and we know at least 36 people are now dead after irma tore through much of the islands as a category 5 storm. the dutch red cross said that irma destroyed one-third of the homes on st. martin and that's why at least 1,200 americans were evacuated from st. martin and puerto rico. we are joined live from san juan, puerto rico.
these numbers that are just starting to come in now are pretty stunning. >> reporter: yeah, poppy, they are. they absolutely are. this part of the caribbean will not forget this for a long time. when i was growing up it was hurricane hao hurricane hugo. you mention it 15 years later, as i have done since we have been reporting in the caribbean for this hurricane, and it still raises eye brows. this is something they will not forget. in puerto rico, three people died here and i should point out it was indirectly related to the storms, and those numbers are from the authorities here in puerto rico. the numbers won't forget the disruption. it just forces you to ask yourself the question, the very basic questions that a lot of people and perhaps a lot of our
viewers have not asked themselves in a long time, and i am not referring to viewers in texas and florida, but they are affected, but the question is, is my home safe and secure? as we go through the islands, it depends on what your home is made of. some are made out of concrete, but when you are talking about houses made of wood, which actually, they are very similar to the houses where i live in atlanta, georgia, and cnn headquarters, they are made of wood. those houses on this island would not have survived. you have homes where it's impossible to live now. barbuda, 95% of the peoples' homes are uninhabitable. think of st. martin, the french side, it's divided between the french and the dutch, and on the
french side 65% of the homes uninhabitable. what do you do when you find yourself in that situation? it can be months before it's rebuilt or leaving the island and not coming back. >> thank you for your reporting and your personal perspective as somebody's family who comes from the region and knows what it is like to deal with generation-defining storms like this. you heard him just say, no power, no water, no homes. after irma hit marco island, there were winds clocking over 100 miles per hour. this is what is left. let's go to ed lavandera. what are you seeing? >> reporter: there are a small group of people that rode out the storm on the shoreline where hurricane irma came onshore, and
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evacuate. others chose to ride out the storm. over on the west coast of florida, ed lavandera has been covering the situation there and have been talking to people that stayed in goodland. ed, what you have found? >> good morning, john. the place where hurricane irma made the second landfall in the united states was in the marco islands, it was where there was 140-mile-per-hour gusts. there's a small fishing village there named goodland, and some people call this home. 40 people decided to ride out the storm there, and the tales they shared were amazing. there were no major injuries, nobody killed in that house. we spoke with a man by the name of gary stringer who said his
house was shaking and you can hear the tree breaking apart and collapsing and the wind pushed it away from his house, and he said if the wind pushed it the other way he doesn't think he would have survived that destruction. and they all described the sensation as they were inside their homes, that they were just waiting for their homes to come splitting apart, john. the intensity of that moment was something they will never forget and many telling us they will never ride it out again after going through such an experience and ordeal like that in goodland, florida. john? >> we do hear that from people that chose to stay in this storm and past storms, and once you choose to stay and one hits you, you don't do it again. ed, thank you so much. joining me is the republican member of congress, the representative for florida in miami beach. it's so nice to hear your voice, representative. you talked to us before the storm and you are here without
electricity and air-conditioning and without water, and those are the least of your concerns right now. i am sure you were more worried about your constituents. what is your greatest area of concern? >> you are so right about that. thank you so much for having me on. we have no water or electricity but we have a lot of hope. i am so glad to have heard your reporter saying that the trucks are lined up with gasoline. we also have no gas. we did at the beginning. we did all the precautions and eventually you run out when you are heuter and yonder. i am glad to hear that the gasoline trucks are coming through, because people are pretty desperate. it's going to take a long time to get our power and the normal life back, but at least in my congressional district, the hit was bad, especially around key biscayne, for example, that key
got slammed. it was the area i used to represent for ten years, boy, they are in pretty bad shape. our cousins are having breakfast with us here, the one restaurant that is open and they are headed back to the keys, they have a home there, but they are in the middle keys. they will do all right. it's the lower keys that is really in pretty bad shape. i don't know what will end up happening there. i think people need to evacuate even post storm from that area because it's a recipe for disaster. >> well, there's a difference of opinion right now because i have heard from senator rubio asking the question whether it will be necessary to evacuate the thousands of people that are there from the florida keys, and we spoke to the county administrator from monroe county that says that's ridiculous, and he got angry at the notion of a mass evacuation right now. what -- >> i understand that. key residents don't like to move. i understand that.
nobody likes to leave their home no matter where it is. i hope that as hard-hit as my district was, let's make sure we don't have any loss of life down there, and i hope they fix up the lower keys pretty quickly. >> congresswoman, you will get your power back and your water back soon, so we appreciate you being with us. let's go back to poppy in new york. >> her spirit is everything, right, john? she has no water, no power, no gas, but her spirit is everything. hats off to her. right now crews are working to clear flood water that swamped sports of charleston. the paper said these were some of the worst tidal surges in years, and it meant folks having to evacuate their homes. you are with a resident, i believe, that has just gone home
after irma for the first time. >> this is three years in the running for charleston. you had hurricane matthew last year and before that the thousand-year flood in 2015. check it out just how high the water went up. that's the water line from yesterday. what residents are telling us, it happened here fast. this is an area in charleston that floods all the time, and people at home thinking it's the typical thing. but it's not for this area, and that's what nance is dealing with. we would love to talk with you about what you went through. she was rescued. tell us about the experience you went through. >> i live in columbia, which is two hours away. >> reporter: but you were here? >> i was here. barbara had shoulder surgery, and we were not asked to evacuate, and we -- >> this happened in 30 minutes. >> yeah, you can see the water level.
we had everything prepd, and we had everything in bins. things started to float and collapse, and we had to call 911. >> how did you get out of here? >> we could not open the doors because the water level was too high. >> the pressure of the water did not allow you to get out. you had to call 911. >> yeah, we panicked. we did open a window. we had to wait a little while. they had a hard time getting to us. yeah, they got us out of the windows. >> well, you are having a hard time cleaning up right now and i am making a mess of that and i will get out of here and out of your way. the cleanup effort still happening here, and it gives you a sense of how big hurricane irma was. we are up in the carolinas in charleston, and far away from where the storm made direct landfall, but even here you are feeling the affects of the monster storm. >> i spent a good amount of time in charleston, and it's not an
area that is used to water that high and fast. ahead for us, u.s. ambassador to the united states nikki haley calling the sanctions against north korea the strongest ever, but they are weaker than the u.s. initially wanted. we will explain how china and russia had a hand in softening them. and tomorrow night here on cnn, hillary clinton sits down with anderson cooper about what happened in the 2016 presidential race. you will see that 8:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. back in a moment. home, than this summer. why? because right now we're seeing our average customer save $20,000. but with the fed already talking about raising rates, this window will not last for long. lendingtree is the only place to compare up to 5 real refinance offers against your current mortgage - for free. are you sure you have the best rate? take 3 minutes and find out right now.
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united nations nikki haley says the u.n. has unanimously passed, in her words, quote, the strongest measures ever impose ed on north korea. she's talking about the new sanctions package that was just passed unanimously by the security council yesterday. it does a few things, namely caps the country's oil imports that should hurt the country's executiveness and bans -- effectiveness and bans textile exports with about $760 million a year in sales, but it's important to note that u.n. could have taken tougher action and done more but russia and china, well they were skeptical of that and they seemed to have played a role in softening what the u.s. initially wanted. to will ripley in pyongyang. you know, will, nikki haley promised when she spoke a week or so ago at the u.n. that, you know, this road isn't forever, and tough sanctions will move north korea's hand, but it seems like from all our reporting,
these sanctions were going to be a lot tougher before china and russia, which have veto power, had a say. >> and from my vantage point in pyongyang, you have messages of anger and defiance from the north koreans threatening, you know, unimaginable consequences on the united states, typical fiery rhetoric we hear from north korea when the united states pushes for more sanctions. these are watered down. they don't have the bite the united states wanted. russia and china's fingerprints are all over this. not an oil embargo. there will be oil floating into the country. kim jong-un's name is not on the sanctions, he has been blacklisted, that's something the united states wanted and north korea's airline continues to fly back and forth from russia and china to pyongyang which allows business people and diplomats to still go into these countries and engage and have discussion.
not the isolation and not the full economic impact the u.s. was hoping for but will hurt when cutting $800 million in textile export revenue and inspecting ships for coal shipments and other types of materials that north korea has been smuggling to get money in. >> frustrating to say the least to nikki haley, must be this front page "washington post" reporting this morning that russian smugglers are helping prop up north korea, namely, by shipping a lot of oil in. i mean it notes these reports, these documents that have seen a rise in tanker traffic between north korea's ports and the far eastern russian ports. what does that tell you? >> well, you know, i was in just a few weeks ago, i was in a coastal city on the east coast of north korea and i saw a ferry that used to go back and forth from japan but now, it goes back and forth from russia. it carries north korean workers, it carries supplies, it carries materials and those kind of
ships that have been accused of carrying contraband and illegal shipments back and forth. there has been a lot of talk in that "washington post" report outlines how it is believed that russia is starting to fill the gap where china is increasingly willing to impose tough economic penalties but oil and the other assistance is starting to come from russia clearly putin last week indicated they don't necessarily think north korea is in the wrong here. they think the united states is also escalating the situation. >> will ripley, thank you for your reporting inside of pyongyang, north korea, as always we appreciate it. so back to our top story, this morning, obviously, the devastation that is widespread from irma. coming into clearer focus as the sun came up this morning. two out of every three homes in some of the florida keys are damaged. you've got about a quarter of them wiped out according to fema. millions across the southeast without power. we're on the ground. stay with us.
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