tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN September 20, 2017 7:00am-8:00am PDT
from a close u.s. ally called the lines that trump said about america first, quote, just terrible. but we are hearing praise, too. japan, south korea, afghanistan have come out praising parts of it. and clearly, the israeli prime minister relished it while it was going on. back to you guys. >> michelle kosinski, outside the united nations, a very busy day there. michelle, thanks so much. and good morning, everyone. john berman here. >> i'm poppy harlow. this hour and for hours to come, hurricane maria right now pummeling puerto rico, doing its worst damage. and by worst, i mean 145-mile-an-hour winds, a foot or more of rain, and a storm surge of 6 feet or higher. >> cnn's leyla santiago and derek van dam are in san juan for us right now. leyla, first to you. you got outside a few minutes ago. you had a chance to assess some of the damage.
tell our viewers exactly what you're seeing. >> well, at this point, we still have heavy winds and rain, still coming down as hurricane maria continues her path through puerto rico. but i'll let you take a look behind me. because if you just look at the debris on the ground, if you just look at the trees that continue to sway, i know we're wiping off the camera right now, given that there are heavy rains coming down, but take a look at these apartment complexes, that no longer have some of the boards that were put up. some of the metal sheeting that went up. they are just completely exposed in areas. and then let me bring you back down a little bit, so that you can see the impact to businesses here. the trees are still swaying quite a bit. a little left on them. and then look at that hard rock, cafe, that has a tree completely
come down. the hard rock cafe sign is on the ground. starbucks coffee, next to it, only has the word "coffee" up because the rest of the sign came down. and its neighbor there, another business next door, the door completely came down. i just stepped into this hotel, the alarm is going off at this hour. and actually, when i was inside, i was able to talk to somebody who has family in the southern side of puerto rico. and she is telling me that her family is seeing quite a bit of destruction right now on the southern side of the island. there are a lot of people in shelters right now. thousands. at last check, more than 11,000 people in shelters, still trying to ride out this storm, this category 4 hurricane. the last time puerto rico saw something like this was in 1932.
so for many people on this island, of this generation, they have never lived through something like this. and i tell you, this is going to be very hard to rebuild, because this is an island that is financially very unstable right now. very much in debt. i can actually still hear, right now, it seems like there is some roofing being impacted right now. i can hear it -- some debris moving around somewhere. it's hard to tell exactly where that is. but my point is, this isn't over yet. winds are still coming in strong. poppy, john? >> leyla santiago, thank you very much for the reporting and braving it all for us so people can see the first of the damage in a storm that is far from over. stand by. let's go to our derek van dam. he is also in san juan. i'm not sure how far you are from leyla, but give us the perspective and what you're seeing from your vantage point. >> reporter: well, she's at the
front of the hotel that we're at and we are on the backside facing the ocean. and maria, obviously, moved through the region. it's now about 30 miles just to our west. so we are on the backside of the storm. and we've had the general manager of the hotel asking me really specific questions about, is the worst of the storm over? and the answer to that is, yes, but it doesn't mean the storm is over. because every so often, every five minutes, maybe even less, 60 seconds, we'll get this strong gust of wind, because it's also that eastern/northeastern quadrant of the eye that brings some of the worse weather out of these storms. it just happens to be that this storm has moved far enough to our west, where we're really out of the eye wall. so, that's good news for san juan, but boy, it was incredible to see how this wind picked up overnight. everyone had to be moved in from this hotel into the interior part of the hotel. we hunkered down inside of the staircase there and rode out the storm together.
harrowing stories from people who actually evacuated from st. johns, from hurricane irma, and they're greeted with hurricane maria two weeks later. there's no escape from these massive hurricanes that sweeped through the island nations here. it's just incredible. this was the strongest hurricane to make landfall since 1928. we know the winds were powerful, upwards of 155 miles per hour. but the topography of puerto rico has done a number on hurricane maria. it's actually squeezed out the available moisture to it. we lost that moisture source from the ocean, now that the eye has moved over land, and we're starting to see that the center of the storm kind of collapse in on it. that's good news, because that means the storm is eventually going to start to weaken before, eventually, exiting off into the ocean. that doesn't mean the storm is over. turks and caicos, you're next, but the storm will be in a weakened state, without a doubt. storm surge, as you look out towards the distance behind me, hasn't been too much of a concern here, but again, we are
on the backside of this system. so we don't want to say this threat from storm surge is just over yet. john, poppy? >> all right, derek van dam, thank you so much, our cnn meteorologist there on the backside, reporting from where leyla santiago is, as well. stand by. let's go to our weather center. chad myers is here. just to reiterate, he's in a hotel that's standing. and all of these are standing because they are concrete and they were built to code, right. but for the rest of puerto rico, what's your outlook? >> it's city and country. i mean, i don't know how to describe the outlying areas of puerto rico any better than that. they're in a microcosm of concrete jungle. and the rest of puerto rico is not a concrete jungle. it is the countryside. it is what you would expect to push an ef-2 tornado that might last 20 or 30 minutes, into the country. and so these wooden structures don't have the stability nor the strength of what we're seeing in puerto rico. when our nick paton walsh, which
is right there, that is the area that will really be hit hard, because that's where the eye went over. and that's where the buildings aren't as strong. now, el conquistador, the big hotel on the northeast corner of the island, that i'm sure will be fine. maybe some windows and such, but a poured concrete block structure. so even for the next few hours, as the storm moves away, this storm is right now on the coast, 20 miles west of san juan. it's on the coast about to exit into the atlantic ocean and then try to rebuild itself. because just as derek was saying, it spent about -- let me look at the clock, it spent about four hours over the island itself. now it will get back into the water and it will have its energy back. it will have its energy source back. the warm water of the atlantic ocean. and it will try to regain strength, regain power, and make the pressure go down again, like it was. now, this storm, when it hit st. croix, was a much different
beast. and when it hit was a much different beast than when it actually made landfall. overnight, i was watching it, honestly, in disbelief. this was a 175-mile-per-hour storm with the pressure still going down. it blew itself up a little bit overnight. so what became an unsurvivable storm at about four hours offshore, kind of calmed down a little bit. so from 175 to 155. and i know that may not seem like a lot, 20 miles per hour, but it's huge when it comes to just hunkering down and trying to let the debris fly over your head. there is the latest, greatest model, u.s., and also the european model. still saying this stays offshore. but not too far offshore, which i'm going to have to keep watching this, because i don't think this game is over yet. we'll have to watch it for the re
rest. so you can't hold me to this line. i want to show you where it is. >> on the phone now, we have lieutenant commander ryan kelly with the u.s. coast guard with us. he's joining us from miami, but in constant communication with the folks in puerto rico. what is your assessment at these early hours when frankly hurricane irma has not passed over the island completely. >> yeah, no, thank you for having me on. and yes, we're on regular communications checks with our folks there in puerto rico. also to assess their well-being, but to get the reports from them as the storm passes. and it is certainly very similar to the conditions that your reporters are reporting, very high winds, lots of rain, and certainly some flooding in some areas and so they're updating us on those situations while we assess and continue to assess our ability to respond in the aftermath of the storm, once it's safe for our first responders to do so. >> and commander kelly, what do
you expect those first responders to be doing? what will be the first order of business? >> first order of business will be life-saving search and rescue operations, just as soon as we can do and launch our assets to do that. we have coast guard cutters who will be -- who have evaded the storm, and they will be coming in with air assets, as well as if we're able to launch air assets, internally, from puerto rico, we will do so, to do life-saving operations, which is first and foremost, our first priority in the aftermath of the storm. and obviously, the second priority, and focus of the coast guards, second only to these life-save operations is getting those ports reopened, so that critical resources can begin toll flow into those sea ports, which will certainly be a need in the aftermath of maria. >> what are the unique challenges that puerto rico is facing right now? i mean, the spokesman for the governor was on with us a little bit earlier.
said this is historic proportions, as leyla reported, they have not seen a storm like this, perhaps in the history or at least since the early 1930s. what are they going to face after this passes? >> well, you know, i can't speak on behalf of the civic leaders or what they're going to see internally there. what i can tell you is for the coast guard, you know, we -- our men and women train for this. we have gone through harvey and then just recently, irma. our men and women are ready to respond and our assets and people both on the ground in puerto rico and those that will be flying in and coming in via coast guard cutter and boat, they're ready to respond and assist the people of puerto rico, just as soon as we can safely do so. >> commander, i'm not sure whether the u.s. virgin islands and st. croix are part of the seventh district. i'm hoping they are, because our viewers have been writing us all during the show, wanting any
information they can get from st. croix. which, of course, did get hit by hurricane maria, before it went after puerto rico. any news from that island? >> yes, i can tell you that -- thank you for bringing that up, as well. the u.s. virgin islands is also a top priority for us to respond to, as well. that is within our seventh district and both puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands were in the path, as you know, of hurricane maria. so not just life-saving operations and port assessment and reopening in puerto rico, but in st. croix and st. thomas. and communications are challenging. we have evacuated the majority, almost all of our people and assets from -- relocated, i'm sorry, all of our people and assets from those areas, just temporarily, and we will bringing them back just as soon as it's safe to do so. and the u.s. virgin islands is obviously one of those areas that we're going to be addressing, just as soon as we can. >> okay. so there you have that. again, john rightly bringing up, we can't get communication with
our guests that we were supposed to speak with there, reporters. as soon as we do, we will bring you more. we are focusing on puerto rico because our reporters can tell us what's going on there. we just cannot reach anyone that we were supposed to talk to in st. croix or the u.s. virgin islands. lieutenant commander, thank you very much. >> all right. fascinating, the coast guard waiting to get out and see the damage as soon as they can. we'll check back in and get a situation assessment as soon as possible. in the meantime, there is more breaking news. the earthquake in mexico city, 7.1 magnitude. we are live on the scene as crews are searching for survivors. i have age-related maculare degeneration, amd, he told me to look at this grid every day. and we came up with a plan to help reduce my risk of progression, including preservision areds 2. my doctor said preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula
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there. crews frantically searching for survivors if death toll is mounting. we now know it stands at 225, with many of those still missing. you're seeing some video, obviously, of them searching for any swiurvivors. people lining the streets with buckets to clear debris, moments after the quake struck. >> also just in to cnn, this emotional moment first responders see a traditional mexican song as they sifted through debris last night. liste listen. ♪ >> so many people out to help. cnn's rosa flores near mexico city. rosa, tell us what you're seeing where you are. >> you know, john, i was just allowed to go beyond the caution tape to get a closer look of what is happening, closer to this building that you see behind me that's collapsed. and just to be your eyes and ears, a place to where we can't
go with our television cameras. i can tell you, there was a very coordinated effort to not only sift through the debris, like you're seeing from this vantage point, but on the ground, there is a bucket-by-bucket effort to remove this debris to search for life. now, we've been here for hours. and we can tell you that the efforts here have been relentless. we have seen crews come in, more resources come in. because as you mentioned, there are dozens of buildings that have collapsed here in mexico city. and just to give you an idea of the capacity and the -- just how dangerous this earthquake is, we are 75 miles from the epicenter. we're not even that close to the epicenter, but this is considered a shallow earthquake. the shallower the earthquake, the more dangerous the earthquake is. right now, it's already turned deadly. we know that there are dozens of buildings that have been collapsed, that have collapsed,
rather, here in mexico city. there are people trapped. the people that you see behind me have been here for hours, waiting to hear about their loved one. they are hoping at some point, their loved one will emerge from the rubble that you see behind me, alive. and so, there's also a list behind me, and names have been added as people are getting rescued. we've had people come here by our location asking about their loved ones, asking if there is any news about more people getting rescued. from talking to some of the first responders, they do tell me at least four people have been rescued this morning, and there are signs that perhaps more rescues could happen. and what i mean by that is, there are ambulances that are constantly arriving. and that's what one of the first responders told me earlier this morning. he said, rosa, every single time that you see an ambulance depart from this building, that means that someone has been rescued, that individual being taken to a
hospital, to a location where they can be treated. and at that point, they communicate with the family members. a lot of them, john and poppy, they just have an agonizing wait behind me. they're just hoping and praying that they'll be able to see their loved one once more. >> of course they are. rosa flores, thank you so much for that reporting. we will get back to you shortly. but we do want to take you now to our reporter, gustavo valdez, because rescue teams are desperately searching for dozens of children that are trapped inside of a collapsed school in mexico city as a result of this earthquake. what are you seeing? i know that they had, you know, at least 30 children missing. >> well, a little bit of change in activity right now. let me show you. they have pulled out the big, heavy backhoe that was bdigginga few minutes ago. they have changed to the smaller, bobcat-type machinery that is removing the debris.
and we're also seeing a lot of people filling up buckets with cob cre concrete and dust, a sign that they might be moving into a more delicate part of the search. a few minutes ago, i talked to one of the volunteers that are working on this rescue and they say they believe there's an l-shaped part of the collapsed building where they think they might find people, but we haven't heard any official reports of any contact with either children or teachers that might be trapped. they have -- they have a very efficient-looking, at least where where we're standing, it looks like they have a very well-coordinated effort with the mexican marine, with the local police, the red cross, professional search and rescue teams, and there are doctors and ambulances on stand by in case they do find somebody alive under this collapsed building. what we have been seeing are parents waiting. we understand they have been taken to another area to avoid
any emotional outbursts. and this place is full of volunteers who are coming with food, with water for the workers and also for many residents in this area who had to abandon their homes last night, because their buildings are all so damaged. so we will continue to monitor the situation here, and hopefully we'll have good news to report rather here soon. >> we can only help. gustavo valdes down for us in mexico. the wait for those parents must be excruciating. we will check back with gustavo as soon as he has noon. hopefully it is good news. in the meantime, we're waiting for more news from puerto rico, as well. hurricane maria devastating that island, an island of 3.5 million americans. we'll get an update just after the break. americans,
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xfinity, the future of awesome. puerto rico right now, an island of 3.5 million people getting pummeled by hurricane maria. it has been happening for hours and hours. >> that's right. more than 3 million american citizens in the midst of this right now. the governor and his spokesman calling this a storm of historic proportion. let's go to our chad myers, who's standing by in our weather center with more. it's not over yet for puerto rico. >> no. that's right. even though the eye is now lifting north of the beach on the west and northwest corner of puerto rico, there is still much more to go. winds are going to gust to 100 in many spots, especially the higher elevations and it's still raining, just to the north of ponce. and that's where i expect the
flash flooding to ocur later on today. we're already seeing a couple of pictures of flash flooding. this is a 5 1/2-hour satellite loop. the shore came onshore about 6:00 this morning. it moved right to the south of palomas delmar, to the south of san juan, and now it's moving offshore. if you were on the north side of this eye, this is called the dirty side, because you not only had the 145-mile-per-hour wind, but you had the forward motion that you have to add to it. this is the cleaner side, you still have the wind, but you also have the other way, because where wind is blowing this way and the storm is going that way. so it's additive and subtractive. and the big problem, i think, is when we get out into the countryside and truly see what happened over here, anywhere, you know, 50 miles north southeast and west of the rain forest, this is the area where we'll truly see where the damage occurred. we'll see a lot in san juan, don't get me wrong.
but there will be power lines where people have no idea where they came from, don't even know what house they were attached to. they're just laying in the street. we'll have a hard time getting there, because transportation will be hard because there's so much debris on the roadway and the power lines, most will not be working for what they say months. and even water. water maybe a very difficult thing. how do you bring fresh water to 2 or 3 million people and have it distributed if there's just no running water? and that's a likelihood for at least some time. an awful lot of rain is still coming down right here into puerto rico and also into the south side of the island. that's where the flooding is most likely, although we've been seeing flooding, i've been watching some of these twitter pictures coming in and it looks pretty dangerous. it looks like water running down what would be a venice canal. you can't even tell where the street would be. and where does the storm go? by monday afternoon sunday night, midnight, we're somewhere just offshore of north carolina. probably a couple hundred miles. but we have to watch where the
storm goes. it's still very close to the u.s. and although none of the models bring it onshore just yet, they are too close for comfort. this is a big storm. it's still going to regain strength, even though it may have lost some over puerto rico, it's going to be back over water very, very soon. >> chad myers, thanks very much. we're getting a lot of messages on twitter. people concerned they're not seeing as much coverage of st. croix with the storm having passed over there. we can't get in touch with our people on the ground there. as soon as we do, we'll bring that to you. >> back to puerto rico, joining us by phone, a u.s. tennis coach who is staying at a holiday inn in san juan. he took a photo we want to show you. it's of floodwaters on the streets outside his total. there are about 150 people without power right now. if you can hear me, give me a sense of the situation and give me a sense of what you have been through. >> well, we lost power for a while now. the power is back.
but we had heavy floods here. but now the water is receding. but i think it's coming back. i think the eye went by and now the weather is starting to go back the other way. we had to move to the hall because some windows are broken in some rooms. and we came to the lobby and it was getting flooded and they moved us up to the halls. >> well, what are you hearing from the other people that are there with you, hunkered down right now? obviously, almost everyone with you, if not everyone, is a tourist. what's the reaction been to what the governor is calling historic, potentially the worst storm ever to strike puerto rico? >> well, they're all very scared. i'm here. there's a group with fema here staying with us. they've been pretty prepared, they know what to do. but everyone's been calm. they've been taking good care of
us at the hotel. the hotel is pretty bunkered down. it started blowing really, really hard, it stopped for a wile, but now it's starting to blow again really, really hard. i don't know if you can hear it. i'm sheltered. i'm in the workout room right now, but i'm looking outside and i'm -- we're right next to the lagoon. and people are pretty calm here. and they knew what to expect, pretty much. >> the winds blowing as hard as they have, to date. so we're getting a live update from geffard. i understand that some windows have been broken in the hotel. any other signs of wind damage to the structure that you're sheltering in? >> no, not to our shelter that i can see. i'm inside, but outside, there's a lot of shutters that have come down from buildings, from across the street, palm trees have gone down. there were cars that were under water. there's a lot of debris on the
street and it's just, it's just horrible outside right now. it's just very, very scary. >> geffard, please hang in there, stay safe, and keep everyone around you calm. i can hear the strength in your voice. the people with you will need it for several more hours, if not days. thank you so much for being with us. >> ewe have just got communication back up with nick paton walsh on the eastern part of puerto rico. nick -- this is what happens in the middle of a hurricane. his shot just froze. as soon as we can get up communication with him, we will. we have a lot of ahead we're covering here at home, as well. this morning, a health care hail mary. the president pushing republicans to not let this obamacare repeal fail. we will talk to one of the senators supporting it, next.
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gear as lawmakers struggle to get more republicans onboard for the graham/cassidy bill. the republican throwing a jab at republican senator rand paul for opposing the attempt. he called the senator a negative force. senator paul fired back, saying that graham/cassidy is amnesty for obamacare. >> let's discuss this. republican senator john barrasso of wyoming, who is also a doctor, joins us. senator, it's nice to have you here. >> thank you for having me. >> and thank you for waiting. we know you waited a while as we were getting through that breaking news on the hurricane coverage. so we appreciate your time and you being here. the cbo, which you know is a non-partisan organization which marks up these bills and tells us how much it's going to cost and how many folks will and won't have insurance, they estimate as a result. here's what they're saying, we will not be able to provide point estimates for the effect object deficit, health insurance, or premiums for at least several weeks. you guys have until the 30th of
september to do with a sumimple majority. is it appropriate to vote on something like this that would completely overhaul the u.s. health care system without knowing how many people might lose their insurance as a result? >> we hall, they have already s, wherever you eliminate the mandate, the mandate that says that people have to buy a government-approved program, that many people will choose not to buy obamacare insurance, because they don't think it's a good deal for them. because they said millions and millions of people will no longer have that insurance. but that's what people are doing as the free choice they have as americans -- >> but that's not it. >> you know, senator, because you're intricately involved in writing these bills that most of the people who would not have insurance as a result of the legislation that's been discussed has nothing to do with the mandate. it has everything to do with medicaid and medicaid expansion. that's the score that could be the most variable here. and again, you're prepared to have a vote on a bill without a cbo score, telling the american people how many people might lose their insurance? >> well, they have said the last
time, that up to 15 million will lose. and a lot of it has to do with the mandate. the individual mandate, the employer mandate. what we will have and cbo has said we would have that, is the matter of whether this does work with the reconciliation laws of this country. we're not going to move forward until we are consistent with the law and we'll have that number next week. but what we're trying to do is lower the cost of care for the american people. we know and certainly in my home state of wyoming, there's down to one selling insurance. and over 40% of the counties are in them. this is no longer a marketplace, it's a monopoly -- >> i understand that, senator. >> we're trying to get prices down zplp we understand that. but you also understand there's a bipartisan effort right now between a republican and a democratic senator to fix these issues with the insurance market for the affordable care act. let's just take one state. that's the state of ohio, where the republican governor, john kasich, says this is a bad idea.
why? because over 700,000 people there are benefiting, he says, from medicaid expansion in his state. a third of them, he says, are mentally ill or drug addicted. a quarter of them are chronically ill. this would take away the medicaid expansion for them, and it is unknown how much money the states would get, and if it would provide funding for those people. >> well, governor kasich has embraced the obama health care law that so many of people around the country has rejected. right now, 40% of all of the money under obamacare goes to just four states. california, new york, massachusetts, and maryland. but that's just 20% of the population. so, states across the country will actually get more money to deal with things the way that works best for that state. i know governor kasich's opposition. we have many governors who are embracing and supporting what we're trying to do, because they would have more authority. when i was in the state legislature in wyoming, we always felt, if we could get the
money without having all the mandates in washington that drove up the costs, we could help many more people take care of many more medical problems for the same number of dollars. that's what we're trying to do. get the authority out of washington, with its one-size-fits-all. get it back to the states where people can make those decisions for themselves. >> pre-existing conditions. as part of graham/cassidy, you say that people with pre-existing conditions will have to be covered. and i know were wife is a breast cancer survivor, so this is very important to you. but there's no guarantee that they won't raise the rates on people with pre-existing conditions and maybe make it even unaffordable. does that concern you? >> it does concern me. and it concerns me that all around the country, rates are going up under the current law. >> but you know that the community rating guarantees that people with pre-existing conditions, their rates stay in line with other people's rates. if you unhitch that, then people
with pre-existing conditions, their rates could go up much, much higher than other folks. >> you know, when they unhitched it in maine and had this high-risk pool that was paid for, which is what we're proposing for other states, they were able to keep the rates down for people -- >> that's because they taxed everyone in maine -- senator, that's because they taxed everyone in maine. they taxed everyone in maine to pay for that. are you comfortable with doing that to the american people, then, to pay for it? >> well, all of the tax money right now coming in for the obama health care law -- when you look at what we have proposed, we have kept the taxes on the high-income earners in this. we have not eliminated those taxes. so that money is there, available to do this sort of thing, for people with pre-existing conditions. it worked in maine. you're right, people were taxed for it. we keep those taxes in this proposal. and what we saw in maine was, it worked. it can work across the country, if it's allowed to do so. but you need the freedom and flexibility and choice at the local level, i believe, rather
than this one-size-fits-all, which we know, prices are going up across the country again, under the current law. again, to unaffordable levels. if people aren't getting a government subsidy, it is unaffordable, and even for people with the subsidies, their deductibles and co-pays are so high, it's hard for them to get the care that they need. >> understood. one thing we will not know by the time you vote on this is if the graham/cassidy will increase premiums on people with health care, because the cbo won't have scored that yet. but senator barrasso, thank you so much for your time again and we appreciate you waiting through the breaking news and the hurricanes. >> thanks, john, thanks, poppy. >> thanks. let's get back to -- we have our nick paton walsh up with us. nick, it's been so bad, your signal to us has been down for this entire show. what are you seeing? >> reporter: well, at this stage, we do feel the storm is lessening where we are. now, let's recap a little bit. since 3:00 this morning, impossible to sleep, frankly.
this building we're in, pretty sturdy concrete structure, buffeted by high winds, peaking around about 6:00 or so. and then some winds of a ferocity i frankly cannot describe. it's been tearing bits of the rooms nearby off, tearing trees out of their root iing. a phenomenal sense of force and power. what we have not seen so far and what many have feared was the storm surge and flash flooding that they could, they warned, meteorologists, get up to about 9 feet. we've been seeing quite ferocious winds in the last hour or so, but it feels that things might slowly, we might be starting to see tends or the tail of this. but this beachside resort evacuated but two staff and us, absolutely devastate d trees blocking the road, much of it torn out. the buildings themselves retaining much of their
well-being, but the service elements quite extensive. and it gives you an idea of what it must have been like for people who weren't in solid concrete structures like this for the last six hours or so. but we do appear to be seeing a slowing of the winds. not quite as bad as it was at its peak, which was extraordinary. poppy? >> nick, any sense of how your building held up? you said you have looked outside and seen some structures damaged. the roof on your building, any flooding? >> reporter: other buildings appear to have torn off. ours is multi-story, but remark apply, in the balcony behind me, it's kind of filling up like a fish tank. the glass doors there holding water on the balcony, and that's about 6 to 8 inches deep now. extraordinary scenes for us and the rooms we're in, we're walking around in 2 to 3 inches of water, that's the second floor, because the rain keeps basically coming in from all angles and training down the
stairways into different rooms. this is a relatively well-kept, well-proportioned building that can withstand the damage like that. imagine being in a wooden house or a lesser structure with the absolute ferocity we saw, with speeds around 155 miles per hour, you're sanding with an enormous amount of saltwater in your eyes and mouth. that's how you feel, because it's literally throwing the ocean towards you. but still, at this point, we seem to be seeing a slower pace of wind now. >> nick paton walsh. we've been waiting to hear from nick the entire show. he's seen some of the worst of the storm. we appreciate you being with us. thank you so much. >> i want to show you live pictures right now coming into us from mexico city and the surrounding areas. these are live pictures of all of the people trying to rescue those trapped in the debris and rubble from that 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck mexico city yesterday, as our rosa flores reported. it was a shallow quake, which is more devastating.
again, this coming, the most powerful earthquake they've seen there since, of course, thousands of lives were lost after that 1985 earthquake. >> one of the things we have heard from the mexican president is he wants citizens to stay home if they can today. why? because he wants the rescue crews -- look at that entire team working to dig through that building right now. he wants this crew to be able to get onsight and address the situation as unencumbered as possible. not to mention that these structures at this point, most definitely unsound. not safe to be in or near them and these crews working so delicately to sift through that rubble. you can see the buckets being passed out overhead, to dump out the rubble that they're picking up, so they can get to people who may be stuck underneath. >> we know at this hour, there are 225 people who have died. that is the early death toll. will that rise? we don't know, yet.
there's an elementary school not far from here that has collapsed. at least 30 children at last count were stuck inside. but, again, in 1985, that earthquake killed 9,500 people. the number right now, 225. it is devastating, it is early hours, we will have a live report for you ahead. stay with us. beyond is a natural pet food that goes beyond assuming ingredients are safe... to knowing they are. going beyond expectations... because our pets deserve it. beyond. natural pet food.
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killed inside, 4 adults. and what's happening right now, they're trying to rescue a young girl that might still be alive. we just saw a man with his arms up right there. not sure what that means. this is a very delicate operation. one of the only ways you can tell if there is a survivor in a building like this is to listen. is to listen to the shouts of people who are trapped underneath. i hope this picture does stay up. we're having obvious problems with our communications from mexico city right now. but again, look at the amount of people. the number of people on this scene, sifting through, trying to get to someone they believe might be inside. >> let's go to our gustavo valdes. he is there. gustavo, we just heard one of the men holding his arms up, seeming to cheer. we don't know what that means yet. what are you hearing? >> it is, indeed, a massive operation going on behind me. we've seen members of the mexican marine, which is a specialized unit they have in mexico city for search and rescue. these people have been all over
the world. they were born 32 years ago when mexico city was hit by another devastating earthquake. the authorities are being very tight li tight lipped. they are not giving a lot of details to the press. they don't want to spread rumors. but we are seeing increased activity. we just saw a group of men pulling a bunch of twisted metal and concrete from what is left of this building. and we can sense tit among some of the people who have been waiting for hours. this is an operation that went overnight. we haven't heard many details, but we know a lot of people have been coming in and out. they have ambulances on standby. there's medical personnel ready to assist when needed. but right now we've seen it change from the heavy machinery that they had earlier today to the smaller, bucket-by-bucket removal of the debris to make sure that they can get to whoever is underneath the
rubble. >> -- do that so you don't shift anything with the heavy machinery, that could cause more big pieces of debris to fall underneath, if there is, in fact, a survivor. again, we did see someone with their arms up. we don't know what that means. it could be just looking for silence so they can listen in to see if they can get anymore signals from the person they believed to be trapped underneath that rubble. and we are told, they think it may be a young girl. that may be behind what is this extraordinary urgency you're seeing on your screen right now. >> and again, the devastating news, one of the horrific pieces of all of this is these children at these almost relementary sch has just collapsed. we now know 25 people died inside, at least. 21 of them are children. and the shot is back up now. they are in the midst of what we hear is this attempt to rescue a young girl from this school building. one would think they heard something. they've been calling for moments of silence to listen and hear
where survivors may be. as our rosa florist repoes repo they've been using cadaver dogs, and they're trying to rescue this girl. >> and gustavo valdes, a reporter on the scene, mentioned, overnight they were using machinery to remove the big pieces they could get. now it is a hand operation. people with their hand picking out pieces of the dirt, the wood, the debris by hand and putting them in buckets to remove it. it is very, very delicate right now. and you can see, really, i'm sort of astounded by the sheer number of people on the scene there to assist. although only a very few in the building or on the building itself right now. >> and gustavo said this is a team of specially trained men and women who are digging very methodically through this rubble, trying to remove some of those -- at least one young girl, they believe, is still inside. this is a wider vantage shot that we've seen of the school. but you can see the roof, looks like two levels there absolutely
fallen on one another. >> and bear with us on this shot. going in and out. communications dicey with mexico city right now after everything they've been through. the 7.1 magnitude earthquake. one other piece of reporting we did get from gustavo, while they've been searching through this building, the parents of the students inside kept in a separate place. obviously, the emotions running so high. and by now, you could assume that most of them have received the news that 21 children are believed to be dead, although there is one girl, we are now told, they are searching for, trying to reach through that rubble. some hope still remains, which adds to the urgency of the job at hand. >> they're using buckets, bucket-by-bucket, pulling debris out of this building. for some of these folks, they lived through, many of them, the 1985 earthquake and the thousands of lives lost in that. so far, the death count from this 7.1 magnitude earthquake, 225 and expected to rise from
th that, at this school, at this elementary school, again, 21 children have been found dead, as they continue their rescue efforts right now, believed to be for a little girl. >> all right. cnn will stay with our live breaking coverage of this and hurricane maria. kate balduan picks up right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, everyone. i'm kate balduan. i think we're going to pick up right where we left off. looking at the mexico earthquake and the aftermath there. i want to take you right where we are and we want to be careful as we watch these pictures and listen very closely. this is at a site in mexico city, this is really what we have -- where all eyes are at this morning, with devastation throughout the city of mexico city, one of the busiest cities in the world, this is where all eyes are and all hearts are at this