tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC August 31, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PDT
assisted living home in orange, texas, which flooded yesterday when the storm moved east. you can see the rescuers helping out the most vulnerable including her. gerald herbert for the associated press. hit me up on social media, facebook, instagram, snapchat, would love to turn it over to ali velshi and stephanie ruhle, you're both there in new york. >> hallie, thanks very much. >> i'm stephanie ruhle, it is thursday, august 31st, glad to be back with my partner. much to cover. let's get started. >> they reveal the sheer magnitude of destruction. >> alarming situation is playing out right now in crosby, texas. >> reports of two explosions and black smoke coming from a chemical plant near houston. >> no way to prevent the explosions due to flooding and lack of power. >> the largest fuel transporter is shutting down its main pipeline to the northeast. >> houston's fire department is beginning a block by block search for thousands of homes
today. >> in beaumont where they got 26 inches of rain on tuesday, they've lost the primary and secondary water supply. >> the u.s. military is now sending warships and more aircraft to assist with those rescue efforts. >> worst fears were confirmed yesterday for six family members trying to outrun the flood waters. >> the u.s. navy and air force are staging a massive rescue operation, flying around the clock search missions and plucking men and women and children. >> it was like waving in the middle of the street. we were like so happy, like god handed us our prayers. >> we're blessed and thankful. >> working with a state partner could potentially provide mueller with additional leverage to get manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into trump's campaign. >> coordinating with another guy with subpoena power, another guy who is fearless and not afraid of donald trump and guy who can bring charges that the president can't pardon for. >> financial times reports that mueller interviewed the lobbyist
and former soviet officer who accompanied the russian lawyer to the june 2016 meeting with manafort and top trump campaign officials. >> as though you were stopped by a police officer and give me a ticket, whatever you do, don't look in the trunk. >> the u.s. flying bombers and fighter jets over south korea in a show of force. >> it was a warning with aircraft that the united states can attack north korea if it wants, when it wants and decisively. >> the president says talking is not the answer but the defense secretary says the opposite. >> all right, we're going to start with the gulf coast now, it's a desperate situation with the impact of harvey affecting millions more today. here's the latest. evacuation zone remains in effect outside a chemical plant near houston where a large chemical container ruptured and fire broke out this morning. the owner says they fully expect more fires at the plant.
>> also this morning, residents in beaumont are scrambling to find water after the flooding knocked out its entire water system. this morning the city is so flooded it's being described as an island and harvey is being blamed for a total of 28 deaths. firefighters in houston are going door to door throughout the city today looking for anyone still trapped inside. fema says four mega shelters are currently housing people who have fled their homes, hospitals and even nursing homes. heavy rainfall now spreading to mississippi and tennessee valleys and more than 11 million people are under a flash flood warning today. >> that's the thing to remember. it's thursday morning and this is not in some places getting better. it may still get worse through the course of the day. meantime, vice president mike pence is expected to land in texas soon. he's going to meet with governor greg abbott later this hour. let's begin with the latest on the chemical plant incident. the company said a short time ago that they fully expect at
least eight containers on the site to quote, pop and burn or possibly explode. >> these are scarry times. the grounds of the plant had been already evacuated in anticipation of the disaster. it was swamped by more than 40 inches of rain and the electricity has been out since sunday. joining us now by phone, assistant chief of emergency operations bob royal of the harris county fire marshall's office. good morning, i'm so, so sorry for what you're going through. help us understand the status know, in a news conference a short while ago you describe what happened at the plant, a container rupture. the company is calling it an explosion. we're so far away and scare d by these images. walk us through what's going on. >> great, i'd be happy to. thank you for allowing us to come on this morning. we are here in crosby, texas and we have a chemical plant here east of crosby called arkema,
and they manufacture organic -- both refridge rated version, different rates and kinds and nonrefridge ated peroxides. it lost power on sunday. we first were informed of it at the county eoc where we were in full disaster operations. at about early in the morning, somewhere around 2:00 a.m. on tuesday when we received a request for a water rescue at the plant. we launched a rescue effort through the crosby fire department here locally and in the next morning, that morning later in the morning we -- the county officials got on a conference call with arkema to find out what was going on. so since then things have been in kind of a monitor mode.
we had established a 1.5 mile radius of safety zone around the plant. and it had about 4 to 6 feet of water in the plant and evacuated and plant had been shut down. then we learned that the re f j refridge rated peroxides had been stored on the site. and three of them had lost refrigeration because of inundation of water in the fuel tanks. we've been monitoring since that time. and this morning, somewhere around 1:00 a.m., we got a report from the police officers that were holding the perimeter for the exclusion or evacuation area that there was some smoke coming out which got us into another response mode that we didn't already have our hands full enough.
>> yeah. >> we responded out to the plant. with the fire department and sheriff's department or law enforcement officials and ended up seeing small gray smoke turn into black smoke and one of the box fan craters catch on fire. there was container ruptures or pops if you wants to call it that. i know there's -- everybody is real interested in why i don't call it an explosion. well, there are different forms of explosions and you can go look it up in the dictionary, i don't want to scare our citizens into thinking we're going to have a massive explosion. >> i appreciate in times like this being careful with language. let's be as accurate as we can. let me ask you this, we understand that you said the sheriff's deputies who responded to the scene along with your teams. we do understand some have been hospitalized or sent to the hospital because of the fumes. can you talk about the potential danger of the fumes either from the fire itself or the fumes
from the chemical that may have been released? >> from my research and working with subject matter experts and chemists along to try to figure out what the toxic products would be, these materials, he did not -- that's what's happening what we anticipated, that there would be heavy black smoke that has carbon in it, just like hydrocarbons burning, whether it be gasoline or oil or whatever. so we did have some sheriff's deputies holding that perimeter that end up being caught in the smoke. they were taken to the -- one was taken to the local hospital and others drove themselves to the hospital. they've all been checked out and subsequently released from the hospital. we also had five ems workers that went to the hospital as well. as a precautionary measure. it is black smoke whenever --
burning with intensity, puts off this heavy carbon black smoke. you don't want to breathe smoke. that's where we're at on that. >> we can see black smoke on the screen right now. thanks for the update. stay safe and we wish you our best. >> these are heroes all over helping people out and being sent to the hospital. it's been a real picture of heroes. can i tell you about this chemical that's there. we want to understand, there's a lot of oil down in the gulf but along with oil comes the refining of a lot of chemicals and this plant in particular, produces liquid organic peroxides that are used in some plastics. now, you can find these things in every day products like countertops, industrial paints, car parts, styrofoam cups and plates and pvc piping. when you get them, organic peroxides are particularly hazardous. they must be kept very, very cool because they can explode or
catch fire if they heat just to a normal temperature. osha uses two different warning signs on labels, one has a flame and the other an exploding bomb. arkema has nine containers of this organic approximaperoxide. the threat of more explosions is almost certain if it is out of commission. the flooding took the refrigeration out. it's a hot day there, 93 degrees. as these heat up, they are most likely to explode again. they've evacuated areas around the plant, voluntary evacuations to get people out of the way. as the assistant chief said, that's black smoke, dangerous stuff. >> it's not a situation of if, but when. joining us now, luke metzger, the director of environment texas and advocacy group for clean air and water. walk us through what is the biggest risk and dangers to humans when you look at the black smoke and know there's a
chemical plant at risk? i mean, that's scary. >> yes, it is, especially given that we know there are more explosions or pops, whatever term you use, to come likely. the biggest risk is the explosions so if there were people in the impact area that were exposed to that would be the biggest risk. certainly the black smoke and inhalation could also be a risk as we've seen for officers who have been sent to the hospital. the other kinds of impacts in terms of direct exposure of these organic peroxides can cause damage to the eyes and skin even liver damage. the plant has been evacuated so we don't expect that direct exposure right now. >> the company has said that the smoke is only irritating and no more dangerous than a campfire. do you agree with that. >> well, i'll defer to the emergency officials on the
ground and -- we certainly know that breathing black smoke and these chemicals can cause respiratory damage. that's why people have been sent to the hospital. we also know that this facility has been listed by the houston chon kel as one of the most dangerous in the houston region, according to the own risk management plan, in a worst case scenario, an accident could impact up to 23 miles around or about a million people. it appears that we're not experiencing that worst case scenario now but it is a very hazardous facility and there are real risks associated with it. >> thank you so much for joining us this morning. we appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> all right, let's go to beaumont. there continues to be a lot of flooding and rescues under way. >> it's been described at this point as looking like an island, completely surrounded by water. our own kerry sanders couldn't even get there.
it took something that would have taken two hours took ten and a half. >> wl. pat jr. is a at large city councilman joining us now. what's the situation you know of now? >> well, ali and stephanie, i want to tell you appreciate you all telling the story because videos do so much and i know yesterday you talked to the mayor, becky ames who done a terrific job. i will tell you, we have the bestny my opinion as retired army colonel, operation centerers are as good as we've seen. our city manager, all of our ward representatives, mike getz, virginia jordan, robin liu tant, out there to make sure everybody is taken care of and as an at large member going around the
city. the city itself is relatively dry because of the infrastructure things we've done several years ago after hurricane ike. and the drainage we took thousands of homes out of the flood plains and i mean literally thousands. so the water is receded out of beaumont but because it's higher, when you think beaumont, you think beautiful mountain but it's named after one of our founder's wives' maiden name, i don't want you to think you might see a mountain. might see a -- things inside the city are drier than our surrounding communities and our hearts go out to our friends in orange and port arthur and lumb lumberton and areas around us. >> the triangle is particularly
heavy hit. i appreciate the incredible hard work that city officials and rescue workers and coast guard and national guard and everybody who is involved in there -- >> every day citizens. >> people are really helping each other. i guess i have to ask you this though because you know i had the conversation with the mayor. we had these pictures up and saw the rescues and yet i had the mayor told me things were okay and everybody was being rescued who needed to be rescued. then i spent the rest of the day watching miguel almaguer picking people up in baskets. do you feel you have a good handle on how serious the situation is more than the mayor did yesterday at this hour? >> oh, no, i'm going to tell you, when the mayor was referring to the individuals being rescued, the -- most of those people are on really the outside communities, they are not downtown beaumont or the north end of beaumont. these are areas that are
outside -- that are bedroom communities, lovely places but unfortunately under water. >> is that where beaumont baptist hospital is? the entire hospital is being evacuated at this moment. >> there's a reason. i know -- about the situation and that's one of the things that obviously hospitals need water and we got two great hospitals here, baptist and saint elizabeth. and they both do exceptional jobs for our community. but without water, this is what the flood can do. we've got nearly 50 inches of water, which is worse than ike, worse than rita, probably combined. and so we're really dealing with things that are on the chart -- when you think about a 500-year flood, we're not going to be here 500 years from now.
and had no idea that we would be dealing with something quite like this. that's one of the issues that we have but it was not something that we could plan for because it had never ever happened and it was inconceivable that it would. when you talk about the rescues that you see going on, what is so great about this, ali and stephanie is that the people that are out there doing that, they are doing it because they want to do it. that's one of the things that i'm so proud of the people of texas and particularly in beaumont. you saw guys being rescued holding on to a limb for several hours. the two guyed that regs cued him, one is the vice president of one of the largest beer distributors in the state. he didn't have to be out there. will jen kins and clark winslow also a business guy. they are out there to help. that's one of the great things about heroics, sometimes people
take for granted. as an army officer we don't throw around hero often. but when you've got people like that that are doing that, to help out and then you have guys like my neighbor jay bruce who a place for the cleveland indians, says i'm going to give $100,000 and then get with cleveland and match anything else that we can do and chris stroud, who grew up and is donating so much money of what he does this weekend plus $10,000 on top of that. >> it's times of crisis when great americans certainly emerge. >> absolutely. >> i love the images of the cajun navy. >> w.l., thank you so much for speaking with us. we wish you and your community and family, please be safe. >> our hearts and thoughts -- >> keep us on a prayer list. it makes a difference. >> top of the list. we're going to turn to kerrie
sa -- kerry sanders. we were just speaking to a couns councilman about beaumont hospital evacuating. what can you tell us? >> the reason they are doing the evacuation is not a case of being flooded and not a case of power. it's a case of water. it seems strange but they don't have fresh water because the pumps in this area are down. you can't run a hospital without fresh water. there are about 200 patients maybe more, we're told by the hospital that are currently being evacuated they are going to be taken out because they need to get them to a place where they can have fresh water and clean environments. the city itself, beaumont looks like the water is receding in some places but the eoc says there are areas where the water is still rising. not at the hospital area but the water is still rising in certain areas. there's still a need for some evacuations and some people to be rescued and some people to basically try to get to high
ground. it's a little hard to figure this out because you've got a beautiful sunny sky so people stand on the street like this and see the water levels going down. this is ankle deep at most. but then the water will rise because it flows and sometimes it flows slowly. but the most important thing right now is more -- about 200 or more patients are in an orderly fashion being evacuated from baptist hospital because of the lack of water. the city says they don't have a timetable when they think the water plant will be back on. that's why the hospital is making its decision to do this now. >> they've just sent us a statement. due to the failure of the city's water pump it's in the best interest of our current patients to transfer to other acute care facilities due to the citywide lack of services. we have no other alternative but to discontinue all services which will include emergency services. this is being done immediately. the reason this is important for us to cover here for those of you watching who have people who
you know in and around beaumont, texas, they may not have power or tv. it is important to let people know that baptist hospital of southeast beaumont is close, it is closing and removing everybody to other facilities. kerry, we'll check in with you through the course of the day. >> take a look at your screen. these are live pictures from green bayou texas, to the east of houston. look at that. complete water cover. we're talking about it looking like an island earlier. it certainly does. you're watching "velshi & ruhle" on msnbc. we'll be back with more in two. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program,
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breaking news now, lack of water in a place filled with water. that is the life threatening predicament that 120,000 beaumont residents find themselves in. harvey's second landfall yesterday -- third landfall yesterday actually hit the area with a more catastrophic flooding, accelerating rising waters that knocked out primary and secondary pump stations to the city's water system. >> just 20 miles south, the city of port arthur also faces a dire situation. rescue efforts are still ongoing with all 12,000 members of the texas national guard scouring the coast. >> blake mccoy is live in port arthur, texas with our first look at damage on the ground. blake, are you near this bowling
alley i spent time talking to somebody in yesterday, they had about 300 people in it? >> reporter: yeah, we're a few blocks away from that. port arthur is a tiny town. there's a whole lot of water on the ground even though the sun is out and we're a day past the rain. rescues are still going on. we hear the buzz of a coastguard helicopter over us and also just saw two coast guard boats go in. they don't know how much more people still need to be rescued. they did a lot of rescues yesterday but anyone withstanding water in their home and waiting in an attic for help is being told to hang a white sheet out the water to find them. another concern here, if you look past the water, you'll see a giant oil refinery. that is the motiva oil refinery, largest in north america by output. when we hear about gas prices going up, it's because it could be shut down for weeks as a result of this storm. that's the reason we heard the energy secretary today release the strategic reserve to help
keep gas prices down. that's the refinery we're talking about. that's the big one that is shut down and port arthur is home to that refinery. a lot of rescues still going on and authorities don't know the situation in a lot of these neighborhoods, that's why the coast guard is back out today to take a look and see if anyone still needs help. >> thanks very much. blake mccoy for us in port arthur. let's turn now to lieutenant commander matt shaver from the u.s. coast guard who joins us by skype. you're in the midst of rescues right now? >> that's correct, right now i'm still currently in houston operating out of the air station here. but we've been flying rescue missions since the storm hit landfall. >> based on the tallies from yesterday, the coast guard has made more than 4500 water rescues in the entire region. tell us about the situation in beaumont right now? >> i know we definitely do have crews out in beaumont responding
air and surface and other assets. right now i'm specipersonally f rescue missions and will continue to provide coverage for areas that need our help. >> can we expect more reinforcements to get people out in beaumont and port arthur. they are having a complete hospital evacuation right now, need a lot of support. >> absolutely. this is the kind of event we train for, pretty much our entire careers. so i can assure you everyone in the coast guard is ready to go and we're getting as many people on scene as we can. >> we yesterday just saw constant movement, at some point it was helicopter and port arthur and beaumont, weren't seeing boats out yet. it seems constant that boats are coming in. sometimes it's private residents bringing them in and going out. give me a sense of the frequency of the rescue missions today? >> just like the entire week, we
have crews running 24/7, ensuring that we have constant coverage and can respond to anything that does come up. >> are there still rescue operations near the chemical plant? that fire has been taking place in crosby. but black smoke, that is dangerous for anyone in the area. >> to be honest, i imagine we do have assets in the area but i'm not sure exactly what we do have out there. >> coast guard loout commander matt shaf fehr, thank you. you have the gratitude of the nation for the work you're doing. thanks for joining us. >> next we have to talk trump. the russia investigation, a different kind of storm. we'll get you up to date on plot twists, including the responsibility that presidential pardons could stop robert mueller's probe. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,... ...isn't it time to let the real you shine through? maybe it's time for otezla (apremilast).
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russian-american lobbyists, the guy in the 2016 meeting in trump tower with don jr. and jared kushner and then campaign chair manafort. >> why aren't you saying his name? >> secret grand jury and secret meetings at trump tower and build a trump tower in moscow. guess what robert mueller is here to do? unveil them. >> politico reports that he's actually working with new york state attorney general who is sharing evidence of discussing their separate investigations involving manafort who has denied any wrong doing important to say. but the important thing here, it comes just a day after msnbc's chief legal analyst ari melber first reported that one state attorney general's office was looking at jurisdiction for russia related crimes. this is major because state investigations can circumvent president trump's power to
pardon his aides for federal crimes. >> can you imagine president trump when he realized his pardoning power doesn't apply to state? bet he didn't like that. >> the beat's ari melber joins us live now. eric sneiderman is generally involved in these type of things, he sues a lot of people and he's an activist on that front. but the idea that he could take over some of this investigation or share some of the prosecution, does change the dynamic entirely with respect to pardon power. >> it changes the dynamic and something president trump may not have realized and it's bad news because it puts a brick wall up against the idea he might be able to circumvent. a state attorney general was already looking at russia jurisdiction and there's a hoet of places, up to 39 states that would have an argument for jurisdiction because of election related hacking.
the politico story advances it further showing multiple sources suggesting schneiderman is not only doing that but also in direct communication with mueller about it. >> here's what sticks out to me, election related hacking, that's not eric schneiderman's bag. we're talking money laundering and look into trump businesses beforehand. president trump had said if the russia investigation starts to look into his own family business -- >> that's his red line. >> you're putting your finger on something important. prosecutors have two big reasons they pursue cases, one the obvious, you want to prosecute a crime, period. two, you want leverage to prosecute a different and more important crime. so the question here is not only what is the exposure as you say, much more an international issue, but does bob mueller have in the back of his mind -- i'm not saying he does, but our reporting shows the law supports the idea if you're worried about
pardons or you want extra leverage, you want to gather every possible way to put the pressure on and for say paul manafort. what that means, our investigative unit of nbc news, looking at the special counsel probe federal reviewed by state attorney general and local prosecutors. >> he has not been accused of anything at this point. he did have his house raided -- >> this is where he's at. he's not been charged. that's good news. but he has been the only person who had the fbi do a pre-dawn raid of his home because a federal judge found either there was evidence of a crime in his home or evidence he wouldn't cooperate. >> i haven't had too many pre-dawn raids in my house. >> you haven't lived. >> the watergate investigation, it went years and brought down a president, no one's home was ever raided like a common drug dealer. >> ever watch "the beat". >> of course. >> you understand the double
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>> welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." we continue to monitor dangerous situations right now in the text aftermath of harvey. >> smoke is still rising in a chemical plant where a large chemical container ruptured and caught fire. more fires are expected to break out because of the chemical reactions at that very plant. >> right now we're seeing people on the roofs of their homes in beaumont, texas, waiting to be served and baptist hospital, one of the two hospitals in beaumont is being evacuated because the city's water system has kmeetly failed. these pictures just came in a short time ago a medical chopper landing outside the hospital to help get those patients out. the hospital says it has no choice but to stop its services
because of the lack of water. new video just in of houston residents returning to their devastated homes. you can see piles and piles of damage and destroyed furniture and belongings. firefighters are also out in the city today. knocking on doors and looking for anyone still trapped inside. harvey is now being blamed for a total of 28 deaths. helicopter crews are searching for survivors again this morning in the beaumont area and our camerawis were on board one chopper as they plucked terrify residents from the floodwaters. we showed you some live, i was watching from home as tound and the man on the gouround there, miguel. >> the emotional reactions when they finally got on dry, solid ground. >> this is the massive rescue operation underway. harrowing moments as children like 11-year-old joshua, his parents and neighbors are
plucked from fast rising floodwaters. desperation turning to relief. >> we were like so happy, like god handed us our prayers. >> reporter: it happened all day long. we boarded a team of navy seahawk helicopters headed to hard hit beaumont, texas. the weather has been deteriorating all day long. it's now time for these crews to go. >> reporter: within minutes tamika singleton was spotted desperately waving a white towel. >> i thought you were going to pass us because another one came and passed us up. when we seen you all looking at us, we got so emotional. >> reporter: the navy and air force working together lifting singleton to safety and this moment as her son joins her. finally her husband, the family safely reunited. >> when you were in the helicopter, what were you thinking? >> thank you for saving us.
>> i'm like so relieved now. you don't know. we're on dry land, ain't walking in water. >> reporter: but singleton's mother like so many others is still stranded, desperate for help. >> my mom is still stuck in her house, please, somebody go get my momma out of there. she's old and can't move around like that. >> reporter: even for the lucky, safety almost seemed out of reach, whipping winds tossed rescue baskets. jaketa clung to 6-year-old bella, they thought the worst had already passed. >> we were watching houston go through it and to go through it yourself, life can change in a minute. >> reporter: flooding has completely cut off the roads to beaumont, the city of 120,000 is now an island. colette and her infant were swept in a canal. she lost her life saving her baby's. >> i've been through katrina and rita and ike and this is by far
the worse. >> reporter: the convention center is being turned into essentially a military base. these helicopters have been landing off and taking off all day long. because this is the only way out. within hours, hundreds of people poured into this shelter just outside beaumont. the frightened, the shaken, the elderly being carried in. newborns in the arms of rescuers. >> i got my life and my baby and my family. >> i lived there 34 years and suddenly your life is destroyed overnight. until it happens to you, you can't explain it. >> reporter: these families leaving behind everything but holding on tightly to what matters most. >> extraordinary. that was nbc's miguel almaguer reporting. you think about people have lost everything, think about those people, thought they could lose their lives. joining is by phone, lieutenant
colonel travis walters for the texas national guard rescuing people all week and continuing right now. thank you so much for your efforts. tell us about today's rescues. >> well, today we continue to have an evolving situation of course, our main focus right now are search and rescue operations in beaumont, which we are conducting. yesterday late we were able to move 500 trucks and 1200 military personnel into the area, high profile vehicles to conduct those rescues via ground. we're conducting those rescues via air as well. let me say that is a total force, that's active duty military across all branches as well as national guard personnel. >> colonel, while we're talking to you, we're now looking at live pictures of helicopter rescues underway in port arthur, texas. this is where we spent a lot of time yesterday morning with families that were trapped in
this housing complex or housing complex similar to it, i can't identify exactly by looking at it. but these are people who were not able to get out to their cars or wade out. colonel, what are the biggest problems that the guard is running into, it just how many there are to do and being able to get to everybody? >> absolutely. this is a large affected area. we have just gotten through the point where weather has -- has become less of a factor in terms of cloud cover. so we are working as quickly as we can and resources are pouring into the area. and so as we do that, we're floating those resources in in a scaled fashion, coordinated way, putting assets where we need to conduct these vital operations. >> can you speak about those assets? on the screen right now we're looking at an extraordinary helicopter rescue. we're looking at i believe i national guardsman going down on a rope and picking up
individuals but we also saw some people being retrieved in baskets. what are the most effective methods being used right now. >> you see one of them right now, hoist operations on the helicopters. depending on the situation ands it is as dire and as hard to get a ground vehicle there, you're seeing one of the most effective methods we're using. if the water allows for us to get our high profile vehicles in there, of course, we have done rescues by the thousands in that manner as well. let me tell you, the national guardsmen, the active duty soldiers, airmen, other folks that you see involved in these operations, we are getting back from our ground commanders that they are motivated and they are inspired by the work they're doing and it is giving them tireless energy to continue to save lives, and help their fellow texans and, of course, those in louisiana as well. >> colonel, i want to ask you to stand with us. we're looking at, i believe
these are your national guardsmen on that helicopter, looks like a blackhawk or a seahawk above port arthur. you have 12,000 national guardsmen activated. i understand the number went up to 14,000 yesterday. there are some deployed overseas or who were looking after their families who have now become available. tell me what we're seeing here. we're seeing one of your guardsmen lifting someone who has just been put on to the helicopter? >> unfortunately i can't see what you're looking at, but we have seen that image a lot and it is one of hope and hopefully life saving efforts. we have guardsmen that are engaged in this effort that are experienced at doing these operations and not only national guardsmen, but you have seen the coast guard that you had on earlier talking about the efforts, this is really a total force effort as we bring on the resource at the request of the state and local officials to get
this job done. keep in mind that all emergencies are local and so we are really tied in to our local and state officials, listening to what they need and responding, filling in the gaps where they may exist. >> do you have enough resources? does beaumont need more? when you think about how long harvey has been with texas, it is almost shocking that there is more people that still need to be rescued. >> yes and when we look at the situation, though, we don't want to overwhelm the -- that seems odd, but what i mean by that is we can put too many resources maybe in the wrong place or in the place that clogs up the efforts of other first responders and what is occurring. so we -- this is a large scale operation, a very complex one. we have a plan, a coordinated effort, our dual status commander, a texas guardsmen, is apprised of the entire sight
picture, working with our federal, state and local partners to make sure that the proper resources go to the right place and at the right time, so we can help those local and state officials save lives and take care of people. >> colonel, can you tell me what you have available to you? i don't know if you have -- you know the helicopter we're looking at, looks like a blackhawk what have you got in terms of helicopters and other vessels? >> so right now we have a number of helicopters engaged in this effort chinooks, blackhawks, lakotas, different types of army helicopters. we have a large number of c-130s and they're flying operations like we saw recently flying into galveston island, loading up evacuees, taking them back to dallas to be sheltered there. we have humvees, high profile vehicles of course involved in this effort as well. we have military grade boats that are performing boat
rescues. we have shelter teams that are providing comfort items and as we get people evacuated and get them settled into shelters, and most importantly what we have is uniformed military personnel who love their country, who love their state, and are out there to help their fellow citizens through a very difficult time. and i couldn't be more proud of my texas guardsmen, and i couldn't be more proud of our active duty counterparts and our guard counterparts from other states that are pouring in by the thousands to conduct this vital work. >> we sincerely appreciate all of you and your guardsmen and the work that you're doing this week and always. we appreciate your time this morning. lieutenant colonel travis walter of the texas national guard. >> that was incredible. you see the pictures, these are american heroes, the guardsmen, the national guard, the coast guard, the military people have gone in, and the citizens, not just of texas, but from around the country, you know, stephanie, they have been
sending these urban search and rescue teams from every city in america, they go in with their own food and water ready to go for days at end. yesterday, i saw an amazing image posted on twitter of people lined up in houston, not -- >> i love that image. >> they were there to volunteer. lineups of people ready to volunteer. this is the best of it. >> we spent a lot of time arguing the last eight months about putting country first. these people put country, put humanity first, no politics in texas today. let's bring back nbc's kerry sanders, at beaumont hospital, witnessing the evacuation. kerry, give us an update. >> reporter: i can tell you things are running very orderly here. let's review why they're evacuating the hospital. it is not because they don't have electricity. it is actually a water issue. not the kind of water that is surrounding and flooding but the lack of city water because the pumps are down. you can take a look at the video we took a few minutes ago this is one of the helicopters departing here with one of the patients. we're going to find out how many patients, i've been told more
than 200, but we'll find out because mary poole is here, the spokesperson for the hospital. why don't you update us? we see things are relatively orderly, we have seen a few ambulances come and go and the helicopter take off. how many patients and how long will this take? >> good morning. thank you for being in southeast texas. at midnight, we had 193 patients in house. that number has declined as physicians made their way in this morning. a beautiful day here after the storm we had. the doctors are discharging some patients. at midnight, when we went to bed, we had 193 patients and expected to wake up the next morning with business as usual. we did get a call at 1:00 a.m. this morning from the city, saying that their water system had failed. that's a game changer for us. >> explain that, some people would say you have generators, you can't produce your own water, you have to rely on the city. >> we do rely on the city. we have a well, but it is only for running our hvac system, not flushing toilets and we have to do toilets if we have patient care. we're contained with electricity, we never lost power and we have generators. we had no significant damage.
we do not evacuate patients, we have been here in hurricane rita and hurricane ike. and we were prepared to keep our patients until the city lost water. >> let's talk about with 193 and you're drawing down now, let's talk about the most critical care patients and how you take them to another location and what the process is. this takes hours. >> the process is very organized. i'm very proud of that. we practice this all the time. we have great association affiliations with other agencies. so we started at the top with our manifest of our most critical patients, dialysis patients and icu patients, those are the ones you're seeing being taken out now. we start with the highest level and work our way down. >> as you triage the patients, most critical care out and work on down the list, this is a community that relies on the hospital. you're the emergency room as the sign says. if somebody has an emergency, where are they to go? they should steer clear here? >> that's a good question. at this time, we're not prepared to take any more patients. we were taking patients from helicopters, the nursing homes
up until 1:30 a.m. this morning. we do not have the capacity without water to take them now. >> how do you inform the patient, as a patient, there is so much on your mind, there is a lot of heavy mind games going on because you're not feeling well, you're sick, an operation, everything else, and now this. how do you inform the patients of what is taking place? >> well, the patients are being informed this morning as well as family members. we're establishing an 800 number and so if your family member is transferred out, we'll keep a manifest of that. >> she points out, i can see how orderly thing are. the helicopter took off. it will come back to pick up other patients. they will go to various hospitals. >> various hospitals. >> not like they're all going to one hospital. but the operation here is under way and, again, this is all because of a lack of city water. >> kerry, thanks. >> thanks for your amazing reporting since last week. look at these pictures from the ground in port arthur, texas. >> some of the first images we have seen. we're days away from when this storm began. look how deep the water is.
imagine what those houses are like inside. remember hurricane sandy, when there was so much water in homes, water was not there sustained for days and days. the mold, imagine what is happening to these houses. they're decimated. >> structural damage, people's cars, everything they have got in their homes and this is the situation in port arthur, that's where you were, seeing those rescues, we have a cameraman changing a lens there. this is what you saw yesterday, a few minutes ago, with those coast guard rescues in port arthur, that's that. we'll stay on top of this story for you. >> we are so, so fortunate to have national guard on the ground like that, amazing. it does make me think i appreciate general mattis said hold up on the transgender ban, those are great americans protecting this country. that's going to do it for us. thank you for watching this edition of "velshi & ruhle." i'm stephanie ruhle. >> i'm ali velshi. casey hunt hosts "andrea mitchell reports." right now on "andrea mitchell reports," chemical
reaction. two blasts at a flooded chemical plant just 25 miles northeast of downtown houston sending a plume of smoke into the air and sheriff deputies to the hospital causing concern for those nearby as that fire continues to burn. yeah, so the bottom line is that we do what is called plume modeling and that's what we base a lot of the evacuations on and so by all means, yes, the plume is incredibly dangerous. >> we believe at this point that the safest thing to do is to allow the other eight containers, product in those to degrade and burn. surveying the storm. vice president mike pence touches down in texas, moments ago. he'll see the damage and meet with hurricane harvey victims as houston residents start the very long process of picking up the pieces. >> just don't think it could happen to you and it is just weird. we didn't even think to move our cars. >>