tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN September 29, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
story, this is a people are dying story. that from the mayor of puerto rico, moments ago, showing the chasm between what is being said and what is being felt is far bigger than 1,000 miles that separate the island from the mainland. >> this is the mayor when she heard when she heard the story was being, quote, a good news story. >> the amount of progress that has been made -- i really would appreciate any support that we get. i know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to
reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane. >> go ahead, mayor. >> well, maybe from where she's standing that's a good news story. when you are drinking from a creek it's not a good news story. when you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story. when you have to pull people down from their buildings -- i'm sorry but that really upsets me and frustrates me. i would ask her to come down here and visit the towns and then make a statement like that, which frankly it's an irresponsible statement and it contrasts with the statements of support that i have been getting since yesterday when i got that call from the white house. this is not a good news story. this is a people are dying story. >> cargo still backed up at sports and power out and water
in short supply. people, american citizens still suffering. that's the real news story. no other adjectives necessary. and two or more inches of rain is expected to fall each day through the weekend and we have complete coverage across the region. let's get with raffaele romo who joins us now. >> reporter: hi, poppy. among the other things that the mayor cruz told us, it's a logistics nightmare. when you look at the containers behind me at the port of san juan you can understand why. according to the top executive with the shipping company there are 10,000 containers with food, water and other necessities that have not been distributed throughout the island. we have conflicting information coming from different places.
one governor says it's not 10,000 but only 3,000, and then the president of the puerto rico association of shipping authorities says that none of these containers are involved with fema distributions. you are getting mixed information here from all over the place. the reality is when we go to the communities inside the island they say we have not received the aid we need and we are not getting help or water. we also visited yesterday a nursing home where they tell us they have not had power for the last eight days and they were affected by the prior hurricane, hurricane irma, so it's a dire situation. just to give you an idea there's only 86 branches of local banks here operating with some restrictions, so cash is also beginning to be a problem. the story here is that, yes, aid is getting here to puerto rico.
distribution is an entirely different matter, poppy. >> yeah, that's one of the big issues right now, just getting around the island. we did learn half the island has water now, and we also know the number of gas stations open -- boris sanchez at a gas station where cars have been lined up all night. boris, what are you seeing? >> reporter: hey, there, john. it's an impressive sight. this gas station has been open for about two hours now but folks here have been lined up since very late last night. i talked to the first guy in line early this morning. he told me he got here at about 9:00 p.m. last night, and they ran out of gas so he just parked his car, turned it off and went to sleep to wake up early this morning in hopes they would open up again. you are seeing this line of cars. it looks like street parking, but it's not, it's 100 or so cars stretching as far as the
eye can see waiting in lines to get a basic necessity. people here continuously asked us, where is fema and the aid, and where can they contact to reach out to somebody to get them the things they need. it's not just lines at gas stations. i spoke to a woman that said she waited hours outside of a grocery store yesterday to get inside and discover they had no water and the shelves were barely stocked. worsening the problem, the forecast. set to be rain in puerto rico in the next few days. we were in a neighborhood yesterday that has a channel running through it, and even on a regular day because there's so much paollution, it floods. they are expecting more rain there. we saw dozens of roofs come off buildings there, second stories
collapse on to first stories. people are wondering where is the help. >> they are indeed, as we heard the mayor emphasize. thank you for your reporting, you and your team. while puerto rico struggled to recover to have water and food in the aftermath of maria, more rain is expected. flash flood watches go into effect at 11:00 a.m. this morning. two to four inches of rain expected today alone. let's go to our meteorologist, chad meyers, who has more. this is the last thing they need. >> you think it might be a blessing because people could use the rain water for something, but it's not. two to four inches across the island will cause flooding because the gray spots there, 20 inches of rain or more, and some spots picked up almost 40 in the rain gauge itself. i would love to show you the radar, but this is what the radar looks like in san juan.
in puerto rico. this is what it should look like. there should be a ball and a dish inside here that spins around and reflect back what the reflectivity is, where the rain is. this is what it looks like. this is what it should look like. it was completely destroyed. there's honestly nothing left of that and it will take months to rebuild that, because you just don't have the parts and you can't get them in there. this is something that puerto rico will deal with for a long time. so we have satellite. we know there are storms coming in on satellite. two to four inches around where we had the reporters for the landfall. s st. croix will also see rain. there's no place for the water
to go. let's talk about the power right now. at last check just 4% of the islands homes and businesses have power. joining us now the ceo of the puerto rico power electric authority. thank you for being with us. 4% was the last update. has that changed? can you give us the latest update on how many people on the island have power? >> good morning, and thank you for the opportunity. there's a small change. we are at 4.5%. we have been working on the priorities. the priorities have been water systems, and that's why there's about 50% of the population with water now. and the hospitals. you know, we have about ten to 12 hospitals already online on the san juan area, which is part of the old metropolitan area. we have three hospitals on the west coast, and we are operating
on small islands where some of the systems are working with the transmission lines so we can start to energize the points. >> a few days after hurricane irma hit, there were workers trying to get florida back online. how many workers do you have right now across puerto rico? >> right now we have about 4,000 workers working on the electric system. this weekend we are supposed to get about 1,000 more from the u.s., from the private
companies, and then after that we are getting distribution crews from sister utilities in the united states. >> is 4,000 enough? it was 20,000 the day after irma struck florida. one might wonder why there are not more people working on the lines, sir? >> we certainly need more. we just finished the whole damage scope and restoration scope and we will be working in san juan, of course, and standing up the poles, but we need help. the help we are getting this weekend is for the transmission system in order to reach the different towns around the island, and they are sort of a private company, and they move as the construction progresses, and they will have a
well-defined plan, from point one to point two, and as soon as we get the help from the the systems, we will reach about 7,000 total. compared to florida, and florida is much bigger, and our terrain here is a lot more challenging. the mountain range and the forest. it's very hard work, but certainly our workers already need relief. they have been working since irma nonstop, and it's much welcomed help. we are getting additional help the new york authority, and cuomo has been great, and i just hung up with the governor of florida who will also send us help for the utilities. >> before you go, it sounds like you have a message to any governor in any state, right,
send us more help, send us more workers, is that right? >> yes, yes. of course we need to consider the field situation we are having, and so we are working on the logistics also to establish our own fuel logistics. if we get all the crews here, we are exacerbating or increasing the fuel challenge, so there's tankers coming in and we will establish our own logistics for fuel when those crews arrive. >> good luck and thank you. >> thank you very much. ahead for us, the president this morning saying big decisions will have to be made about rebuilding puerto rico. what does he mean? we will ask a fema official next. also, the price is not right. the health and human secretary spending big on flights that go beyond the u.s. on the taxpayer
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with fuel, food and water. >> there's only one question per media outlet. >> can i answer that question from the haiti aspect. i think it's important to understand the whole community aspect of this as well. puerto rico national guard has got a large and capable police department. it has a fire department and an ems organization and a puerto rico management agency. all of those things are absolutely critical to the response. so when we start comparing disasters, we don't like to do that because every disaster is unique in its own way. puerto rico has very capable and dedicated people helping fellow citizens and that may not have happened in haiti, but in puerto rico you have a whole community of folks working together to save lives, protect lives and sustain lives. >> "washington post."
>> reporter: this is a question for the general and it's a two-part question. we are now one week and two days since maria walloped the island. why do you think, general, now is when you are coming in with all of these resources? secondly, what was fema doing exactly after the storm when there were "washington post" reporters getting into towns when people had not seen anybody from the government? can you take us through what steps you took us after the storm to address the situation that was taking place? >> sure. i will start and hand it to you. i am john the acting administrator in fema region ii. thank you for your question. i appreciate the word wallop, and i used catastrophic but might use the word wallop as
well. prior to maria we put all of our folks here into our distribution center to make sure they were prepared to withstand the storm. we had 300 folks or so here in puerto rico sheltering in place for the storm. once the storm passed we checked to make sure everybody was safe and sound and we engaged our partners to start identifying how we were going to handle this massive response. >> we are monitoring this press conference from fema and the three-star general in charge of the response in puerto rico. we will bring you more as we have it. we are joined by the deputy administrator for fema who is joining us. thank you for being here as we continue to monitor that. i want to get your response, first, to the efrustration hear on this network this morning from the mayor of san juan
responding to the acting director of homeland security calling the story a good news story. >> this is a life or death story. this is there's a truck load of stuff that cannot be taken to people story. >> she says this is anything but a good news story. what do you say to her? >> i will say that as emergency managers, we are never satisfied with the response until every disaster survivor has been cared for. if i understand correctly what the secretary was saying, i believe she was saying that she is satisfied with the effort put forward by the responders on the ground whether they be federal, state or local. we are working together as hard as we can to help the people of
puerto rico. >> i don't think anybody questions anybody on the ground but the question is are there enough people on the ground and when they got there and when were they coordinated. there's a three-star general in charge of the recovery effort. tom bossert said yesterday -- he was asked why did it take eight days, and he said it was not needed eight days ago. it's needed right now. i imagine one of the frustrating things for you in emergency management and response is the disconnect between the effort you are being put in and what is on the island. how do you explain to the people there why they are not seeing the response that the administration says is there? >> thank you. let me clarify that that three-star general, general buchanan is in charge of military operations. however the military is in
support -- the military is not in charge, as they have been, they are in support of civilian authorities. now to your second question about logistics. it has been a tremendous challenge. it has been a tremendous challenge because this is not a disaster on the u.s. mainland where we can send in tractor trailer trucks and helicopters right away. we are having to ship that across the ocean to puerto rico and the virgin islands and we are flying supplies in as fast as we possibly can. the initial aftermath -- we are still dealing with several logistical challenges at the airport because the air traffic control system has been down and it's causing a limited number of flights to get in. i am pleased to report that we are and have now opened two additional airports for relief operations. roosevelt roads and aqua diaw. again, to the efforts to opening
the air strips and allowing additional commodities to get in. >> that is great news about these two additional airports and we are all grateful for the responders on the ground. there, though, are more and more comparisons as you know to the response the u.s. response in haiti, another country, after the earthquake there. here's what happened in that scenario. day one a three-star general was appointed after the earthquake. day two, 10,000 u.s. troops deployed, and day nine, 13,000 troops in and around haiti, and why has that response not been matched in number on american soil in puerto rico? >> well, i can't do a comparison on numbers with you right now, but what i can say is there are millions of meals and liters of water on the island right now in
the process of being districted. we have seen video images of cargo containers sitting in the port, and i can assure you those are not fema containers and they are retail goods probably sitting there for days or weeks. fema containers and commodities are going and have been received at regional distribution centers. they then distribute that to the pha municipalities. that is slow, not as fast as any of us would like. we would like significant improvement in operations with additional manpower being on the ground for the military and civilian side, and we look forward to distributing those commodities to those in need at a much greater pace in the days ahead. >> thank you for being with us. thanks for your work and good luck in the days ahead. >> we will get reaction from
bill weir in san juan. i don't know what you can hear down there because the communications are sparse, but we have been listening to fema officials telling us they are trying and getting the resources down there, but the big question that you have been asking and we have been asking that despite the administration says the operations are going well, why aren't the people on the ground especially outside san juan seeing or feeling this? >> reporter: yeah. that is the question. that's the question we get asked when we roll into the towns, either in the mountains or in the towns, and they will come up and say are you fema? any sort of contact is the moment of hope and then their faces fall when we tell them they are not, and we give them whatever granola bars we can spare. these guys were in irma and in
harvey and some teens are in the mexico quake, and they don't have the numbers, as we have been talking about as in haiti. the dichotomy between the federal response and the local response, and on day nine local volunteers are finally chainsawing up the trees that have fallen down in the best and richest part of san juan. this little bubble that normalcy here. i saw this kind of activity hours after irma hit the florida keys. 40% live below the poverty line, and infrastructure is shot and $70 billion in debt before the storm hit. in terms of the urgency of this response, it seems like everything is reactionairy. the other thing about the haiti comparison, you can't predict an earthquake. we saw this storm coming for days.
so we can blame and point fingers after people are safe, but up in the mountains, husbands are bearing their lives, and in the islands people are catching rain water to give their children and rationing crackers, and it would be nice to see a response to match the level of desperation we have been seeing all week. >> for american citizens. bill weir, thank you for being there and bringing the stories to us. obviously we are all over this, and we will stay on this. tom price says he will pay back some of the costs are flying on the private planes, and the backlash though, is it going to be enough to save his job. feel the power of theraflu expressmax.
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private planes has the secretary in hot water with president trump as well as some of his former republican colleagues in congress. this morning news that there were more flights in question, overseas flights, and he is making amends by paying back some of the costs. >> and president trump is not ready to fire price, even though some aides are advising him to do that. when asked if he was concerned about his job, this is how the secretary responded? >> i work at the pleasure of the president. i am incredibly privileged to serve in his cabinet and i look forward to regaining the trust that the american people -- some of the american people may have lost in the activities that i took, and to not only regain the trust of the american people but gain the trust of the administration and the
president. >> joining us now, senior political writer of 538. perry, he's going to pay back for his seat. it's like i am going to pay you back $2 of the $10 i owe you. it's bad math, but is it bad pr? >> i think it probably is bad pr in the sense, you could tell the comments he just showed, he used the phrase regaining the trust of the public and regaining the trust of the president. he already knows he's in trouble. i don't know what his finances are. paying the whole amount might be better than paying part of it, and i don't know if he can do that, but i do know the way the republicans on the hilal reacte, and tom price's job is not guaranteed at this point. >> selena, i should note he made
investments that made headlines, and i don't know his net worth, but selena, he says, look, my actions were not sensitive enough for my concern of the taxpayer. it's not just bad pr, this is the drain the swamp team, the dua drain the swamp president and cabinet and it's right in the middle of the swamp, right? >> absolutely. what he did was wrong. there's no defending it. it doesn't matter if it's legal, it was wrong. i do believe he has tried to make amen's and has handled the situation properly, and they will look and see who owes what for the flights that he took that were inappropriate.
one of the things i always said about trump supporters is that one of the things that would detach them from him is not what he tweets or says but if he becomes part of the swamp and that's what makes it the most difficult for price right now because he did the most swampy thing you could possibly do. >> and that swamp includes the secretary of the interior, and mnuchin, he took flights as well. and i want to shift to the puerto rico response, in the chasm between what the white house is saying and what puerto ricans are feeling right now, is the white house striking the right tone here? do they sound impathetic? >> i think the people on the ground and the people
coordinating everything are striking the right tone. from the fema director to the people that you guys have interviewed and have done press conferences, they have done great. the president is the president and his economy of words is always interesting at best. he wants to project things are going well. we all get that. there should be the nuance in saying, look, people are struggling and people need help and we need everybody to come together and sort of, you know, show that american spirit that we showed with harvey and -- in texas, and with irma in florida. he needs to add that second line to the things he is saying about what is happening in puerto rico. >> there's a message on twitter this morning, and he said the fact is puerto rico has been destroyed by two hurricanes. big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of rebuilding.
you rebuild america. when america gets destroyed by a natural disaster, you rebuild america. how do you read this? >> two problems with the comment. throughout this week, trump and this comment itself, and trump wouldn't say we have to decide to rebuild texas or florida, and they seem to not understand puerto rico is part of america and they need to treat it that way. and the second thing, i do think the dhs secretary's quote, this is a good news story, and the full statement is complicating, and that full phrase something katrina-style-comments. that's the kind of comment that can come news for days and define the administration's response. they have been too slow to response and overly sensitive and good news story phrase should not have been used at all. >> and i was going to say, that's a heck of a job brownie
comment of the storm. >> she will have a chance to correct that, but she may be feeling pressure from the white house as well because there seems to be one response from washington as we are doing a great job, so who knows where the pressure is coming from. nobody is taking care of us. one sick woman's plea. sanjay gupta is next. there are limits to the amount of fossil fuels that we can burn. since 1925, we have depended on diesel generators, burning approximately a million gallons of diesel fuel a year. our mission is to make off-shore wind one of the principle new sources of energy. not every bank is willing to get involved in a "first of its kind" project. citi saw the promise of clean energy and they worked really closely with us,
criminal investigation to find out exactly what happened. >> we just learned from puerto rico's governor that 36 of the hospitals throughout the island are now open and do have power. this is nine days after hurricane maria battered puerto rico. many of the sick and injured still struggling to get care and struggling to get admitted to the hospitals. >> yeah, people with chronic illnesses don't have the medicines they need to survive. sanjay gupta found out doctors are up against a frustrating bureaucracy. >> reporter: this is 62-year-old fiona's reality. look at what happened to us. nobody is taking care of us. outside an hour of san juan, but may as well be on a different island altogether, and like thousands of others she has become really sick. >> we have no hospital to get
her to because all the emergencies are closed because they have no electricity. we have no place to get her. she's -- she's getting more complicated. >> the doctor, a volunteer at the shelter tried anything to get her to a shelter. >> reporter: the ambulance just left. >> yeah, they have no authorization to get her to the hospital. >> reporter: that seems ridiculous. >> tell me about it. >> reporter: we are in the middle of a crisis and you are waiting for paperwork. you need to get her to a hospital. >> probably a few hours of antibiotics and then she could go home. >> reporter: what would happen if she don't get this? >> maybe an infection to the flood and sepsis and maybe even
death. the problem is how to get her there. >> i'm a doctor, we can take the patient. time is of essence. >> they already accepted the patient. >> reporter: we can do that. i can't believe what is happening. there's no power or water and is she's a diabetic and she has no insulin and no ambulance will take her to the hospital. that's what is happening here. it's okay. >> she wants to sit from this side. >> reporter: yeah, she has an ulceration here. move the wheelchair up, please.
there's nothing about this that makes sense. look what we are doing here. we are transporting a patient. this is not an ambulance but it the only thing we have right now to get her the care that she needs. probably thousands of patients who are in similar shelters, no power or water or medications and no way out, and there are thousands more still in their homes and they have not been able to get to a shelter. she's just one example of what is happening here. we are trying to get her into the triage area. watch out. dr. sanjay gupta, cnn, san juan, puerto rico. >> if that isn't bring it home for all of us, i don't know what will? >> what would have happened? >> if sanjay's team didn't put her in the car to get her to the
hospital. >> and that was not right vehicle, either. and then all non and central diplomats out of cuba. this is significant. >> we have had 21 diplomats suffered these mysterious concussion-like symptoms. 50 attacks on the 21 diplomats and the state department said it cannot protect its diplomats anymore, and he's ordering the departure of all families and the nonessential, and the embassy and the u.s. suspended visa services immediately. the state department says it doesn't know what is going on. it doesn't know who is involved. they feel that the cubans must know a little more than they are
saying. the cuban government cooperating and says they are not involved and certainly the attacks that tillerson feels for safety issues he needs to take out the employees and families. a u.s. marine corps osprey crashed in syria. one u.s. service member was injured but the injuries are not life threatening. an official says the cause of the accident was not due to enemy activity and describing it as a hard landing and it's a reminder u.s. military personnel are in harm's way in syria. >> absolutely. the russian government, a fake social media campaign, how twitter and facebook were used to exploit racial tension and dupe american voters. a new report ahead.
this morning, new evidence that social media platforms were used by groups linked to russia during the 2016 election. a fake campaign called blacktivist. >> this as twitter representatives told investigators on the hill they took action on 200 accounts after determined they were linked to russia and sought to interfere in american politics. a source ac nomgds the matter some of the twitter accounts promoted anti-hillary clinton stories. our senior media reporter dylan byers has the details. first of all, talk about this blackvist -- do i have it right? >> yes. >> is that what it's called? >> that's right. >> what was the purpose there? >> well, the purpose was
effectively to exploit the racial tensions in the united states. it was an account that effectively looked like it was supportingt supporting the black lives matter movement, basically trying to incite outrage over the police shootings of african-american men, police treatment of african-american men, but it was not legitimate. it was backed by russians and effectively advancing the cause, which we now understand to be the general intention of russian meddling through social media, which was to amplify political discord, pit americans against one another and did that by promoting videos, photographs of men with, you know, being pinned to the ground with handcuffs on their back, messages that told people that they needed to take action against police brutality. it looked like a legitimate account, but it was geared toward pitting americans against
one another. and it was doing that in key markets like baltimore, ferguson, missouri, it was organizing events and actually had a following over 360,000 likes on its facebook page, that is more than the verified black lives matter account. >> wow. >> the goal was dissension on both sides. twitter executives, they spoke to the senate intelligence committee yesterday and the ranking member of that committee, mark warner, didn't like what he heard or more accurately, didn't like what he didn't hear, right. he was deeply disappointed, he said, and sounded angry, about it after the twitter folks were in there. what went on inside? do we have any idea what he wanted to hear but didn't hear? >> yeah. there's great deal of frustration on capitol hill at both the senate and house intelligence committee. the reason for that is they feel like the scope of what facebook and twitter have searched for, found, and are turning over, is so narrow and there's good reason for that frustration because what facebook did was
it -- it -- under pressure from congress went and looked for ads specifically tied to the internet research agency which is that shadowy russian troll farm we've talked about in the past. that's it. they just found the accounts that were, obviously, linked to that. twitter came along and just found the accounts that matched up with what facebook found. anything more sophisticated, we're talking about anything that was bought with a different currency, bought with -- through an ip address that wasn't russian, anything more sophisticated than that, didn't find. so warner, other lawmakers, feeling like facebook and twitter aren't putting forward a good faith effort to turn over what they have. >> all right. very interesting, dylan. not over yet. we're going to see these guys on capitol hill -- >> this is the tip of the tip of the iceberg. >> all right. thanks so much. great reporting. coming up for us, outrage after racial slurs are written on the doors of cadet at air
force academy preparatory school. what's interesting is the response from the general in charge of this school. >> that kind of behavior has no place at the prep school, it has no place at usafa and no place in the united states air force. if you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. feel the power of theraflu expressmax. new power... ...to fight back theraflu's powerful new formula to defeat 7 cold and flu symptoms... fast. so you can play on. theraflu expressmax. new power.
and getting tired of places like this. phones changed everything - shouldn't the way pay for them change too? introducing xfinity mobile. where you can pay for data by the gig, and share it across all of your lines. no one else lets you do that. see how much you can save when you pay by the gig. xfinity mobile. it's a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit, or go to xfinitymobile.com. all right. good morning, everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. >> nine horrible days after hurricane maria ravaged puerto rico the government's response is increasing but not enough if you ask anyone on the island of puerto rico. the need is colossal, almost inscribeble. yesterday the acting head of homeland security told a reporter she is, quote, very satisfied with relief operations