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Typhoon Haiyan Pounds Philippines; Moment of Silence for Slain TSA Officer

Aired November 8, 2013 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Haiyan first roared into Sumar in the central Philippines with winds clocked at 195 miles per hour. Worse yet, it was the dead of night.

The waves from just what may be the strongest storm ever left some of these poor ocean side communities under 10 feet of water. Because of its speed, the initial impact was over quickly. But the morning light shed light on just how destructive this storm was and what people inland still have to fear.

GOV. ROGER MERCADO, SOUTHERN LEVTE (voice-over): All the power, we have now total brown out. All roads are impassable due to the fallen frees.

MALVEAUX: This video is from Cebu, which is more than 100 miles away from where the typhoon made landfall, proving its packing a punch and leaving misery behind. Tens of thousands of Filipinos spent this day in evacuation centers.

And as Haiyan rolls on, authorities are warning people across the country to prepare for flash floods and even landslides. Haiyan is expected to leave the Philippines in the next few hours, only to head out to the South China Sea toward Vietnam.


MALVEAUX: There are literally millions of people who are feeling the impact right now. One of the strongest storms ever, ever to make landfall. Just watch this.

And we are just getting started here. Super Typhoon Haiyan, it is hitting the Philippines with a force that is comparable to a strong, very strong category five hurricane. That is winds gusting up to 235 miles per hour. So far three people have been killed, seven injuries. It is going to be hours before we really know the full extent of the damage and the impact of this. As you know, it is really the middle of the night, early morning hours when the sun comes up, that is when we are going to see what this impact, what this has brought here.

We spoke to one man who says there is so much damage and this comes just three weeks after an earthquake that hit there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): There are lots of houses that have been destroyed. Their roofs are gone. And here this Bohol, it has been a quake-hit area. For the past three weeks, people are still experiencing aftershocks.


MALVEAUX: Joining us on the phone from Manila, this is now 1:00 in the morning there, Paula Hancocks, who can give us a sense of what is taking place.

And we know, Paula, already, just preliminary results here, the information coming in, that this thing is 300 miles across. It's so powerful that a million folks already had to be evacuated ahead of this storm. And already getting reports of extensive damage. You're on the phone. Tell us what you're seeing, what you're hearing. What's taking place on the ground right now?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, Suzanne, here in Manila, in the capital, it's actually quite well protected. It hasn't been hit hard by this typhoon. But further south, it's definitely not the same situation.

Now we're hearing from officials that they do believe there is clearly going to be flooding. They know there's going to be extensive damage. But they don't know just how widespread this damage is.

Now, this super typhoon was huge, so clearly spread across a very significant amount of area, but they don't know what the damage on the ground is. The communications are down. This is one of the first things that went when the super typhoon hit.

Also, there have been blackouts across the country. Many areas have seen the electricity lines fall. They've (INAUDIBLE) roads being blocked because the serious winds have buffeted these trees and they've blocked the roads. So at first light, that's one of the first jobs that some of the military are going to have to do. They're going to have to try and clear the roads so they can even get to these areas where people may have been quite badly affected.

Now, we understand that at first light, as well, the military be going up into the air so they can try and get an aerial view of exactly what the damage is. And then at that point, they can figure out which parts are worst hit and which parts need the immediate help of food, water and medicine.


MALVEAUX: And help us understand this, because the Philippines, it's made up of, what, 7,000 islands here. People need to be evacuated from the hardest hit areas. Those that are most in danger. How do they do that and where do they go?

HANCOCKS: Well, we understand from officials this afternoon who are talking on local television, they said there were about 700,000 people who were evacuated. And, of course, many of them would have gone into shelters. There's about 600 shelters across 29 provinces. Schools were opened up as shelters. Any -- basically any buildings that looked like they could withstand these kind of winds.

But, of course, this is for people who are in bigger cities or bigger towns. Those in smaller villages would find it very difficult to find an area or an infrastructure that would be able to withstand this.

MALVEAUX: All right, Paula, thank you so much.

HANCOCKS: (INAUDIBLE) many in the laying - the lower lying areas and close to the coastline where this storm surge would have happened were told to evacuate. And the hope is they actually heeded those warnings.

MALVEAUX: We certainly wish for the very best. It is going to be a rough road for a lot of people there. Thank you so much, Paula.

I want to bring in Chad to talk about this.

The power, Chad, of this storm, absolutely unbelievable. I heard a report earlier today. When you take a look at the wind gusts of this typhoon, it is greater than Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy, combined.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, and it's the storm surge that Paula just got to that we haven't really talked about because we focused on this wind. But this is going to have a surge three to four times bigger than Sandy. When Sandy got in New York Harbor, the winds were pushing 70, 60 miles per hour, up there.

But that surge was 12 feet. The surge here will be 40 to 50 feet. Everything around those islands, 50 feet and below, will be washed away. All the trees in the path will be gone. If they're still there, the bark will be gone and all the leaves will be gone. There's not going to be one building standing. There's not going to be one building standing in America if we get winds to 235 miles per hour, let alone how these buildings are put together. The only way literally to survive this storm would be to evacuate. And we hope that everybody did get out of there.

You had to get out of this path. If you were anywhere between 10 miles from one side to the other of that path where it went through, you're in big, big trouble. You had to go north or you had to go south and many of these people that were on the islands couldn't move at all and they were just stuck there. By the time they knew that they had to go, there was no place to go because they couldn't get in their boat to go anywhere. The seas were just too tough. The waves were 50 feet high.

MALVEAUX: All right, Chad, we're going to bring -- get some more details and, of course, get back to you throughout the hour.

We've got someone on the phone here. This is Chris Ducker. He is in Cebu City. This is about 400 miles south of Manila. And Chris is amazingly sending us some pictures here of the heavy rainfall, the damage. I want to bring Chris into the conversation here.

It's about 1:00 in the morning where you are. First of all, are you safe? Are you and your family safe? Tell us how you're doing.

CHRIS DUCKER (via telephone): Yes, we are safe, Suzanne, thanks for asking.

It's been a - it's been quite a harrowing day to say the least. But everything is, you know, pretty much back to normal weather-wise now. Obviously we're in the middle of the night here. The family is very much tucked up in bed. And hopefully tomorrow morning will give us a little bit more of a clearer understanding in regards to what sort of damage has been done city-wide. It's going to be an interesting first couple of hours once that sun pops up for sure.

MALVEAUX: And, Chris, tell us - just walk us through, if you will, what it was that you saw and the pictures that you captured when this thing first landed.

DUCKER: Yes, I mean I woke up to it, quite frankly. And so, you know, the first thing I noticed straightaway as soon as my eyes opened was the howling of the winds around the house. I have almost a 360 degree view of my house. I'm slightly up in the mountains in a private residential community. And, you know, luckily, we don't have any electrical lines or anything like that above ground. All the internet, the cable, everything is all underground, so we didn't have to worry too much about that sort of stuff.

But all I could hear was winds. I mean I've never experienced winds like this in my entire existence. I've lived in this country for 13 years and I've been through a few earthquakes, I've been through plenty of these storms. We get hit quite regularly with storms, as you probably already know. But, yes, this was something else. The rain, when I looked out of the window, the rain wasn't falling. The rain was being pushed almost at, you know, 100 degree angle right in front of our house. It was pretty incredible.

MALVEAUX: And, you know, you talk about the fact that it was so powerful, you heard, you know, you heard the sound of what it was like, the wind and the rain coming through. You know, Cebu, it's got more than, what, 2 million people in the city in which you live. What are the houses like? Can they stand up to anything like this?

DUCKER: A lot of them, absolutely not. No. I mean, like I said, I'm in a slightly more, you know, slightly more built up community and everything. We had no major damage to my house except for a little bit of an issue with part of our roof which got ripped off a little bit and we've had a little bit of a leak. But, I mean, no, the very large majority of the residential, you know, the average working class residential type of residence here would certainly take an incredible pummeling after today for sure.

MALVEAUX: All right, Chris, I'm so glad that you and your family are safe. Please keep in contact with us. Let us know what you see when you emerge from your house. we know it's about five hours or so before daybreak and we imagine that there's going to be a lot more to sort through and potentially incredible amount of damage there on the ground in your neighborhood. Thanks, Chris, for checking in with us. We appreciate it.

And if you were impacted by this storm, we want you to know that we welcome any kind of pictures and videos that you can bring to us to tell this story. Of course we want to make sure that you are safe, that your family is safe, that you do not put yourself in any danger capturing these pictures. But if you can send them to us, we will tell this story from all angles, including your own perspective on the ground. Visit CNN iReport for more.

We still don't know the damage of the extent in the Philippines, but we're going to continue to track this storm, bring the very latest to you, because coming up, how the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world and how it is coping with a devastating typhoon on top of recovering from a recent earthquake. This is our special coverage on AROUND THE WORLD.


MALVEAUX: We are closely watching what might be the strongest storm ever, ever to hit land, pummeling the Philippines right now. I want you to take a listen and just watch.


MALVEAUX: All right, more than a million people have had to escape. This is ferocious winds. We've already spoken to a couple of people who are describing what they are seeing literally out of their windows as you have this super typhoon named Haiyan really just ripping through at this point devastating a country that gets more of its share of disasters.

In fact, hundreds of thousands of people in the path of the storm, they're still recovering from a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake that just hit last month. Two hundred people were killed in that quake. Homes, roads, bridges, you name it all damaged or destroyed.

And September, this was the scene after another category five typhoon slammed the Philippines. At this point, still hard to know the full extent of the damage from this typhoon. We're trying to sort it all out. It's going to be daybreak in about five hours or so.

Joining us by phone from the Philippine island of Bohol is Joseph Curry. Joseph is with the -- I understand the Catholic Relief Services.

And the president of the Philippines has described the situation as catastrophic, that that is what his country and these 10,000 islands are going to go through, the people that are in the path of this superstorm.

What are you seeing?

JOSEPH CURRY, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICE (via telephone): It is. It is catastrophic, the strength of this typhoon, and the way it's crossed the country, it's made landfall numerous times on different islands.

It's just so powerful. Information is hard to come by now, but we expect that it will be very bad.

MALVEAUX: Describe for us where you are you specifically. What are you seeing and hearing?

CURRY: I'm on the island of Bohol where we had the earthquake three weeks ago. Today, we had torrential rains and heavy winds. There are reports of storm surges around the island here. Fortunately, we didn't get the brunt of the storm. It was a bit outside the path, on the southern side.

But at the same time, there are 350,000 people in temporary shelters and tents in Bohol because of the earthquake. So there's a lot of concern what to do with them and how to move them to safe housing

MALVEAUX: And it's your job as Catholic Relief Services to get those folks to safety.

How have you been doing? What are have you encountered so far?

CURRY: We've been distributing relief items, water and sanitation, hygiene kits. We've been distributing emergency shelter items. We still have a lot of relief moving out in the next couple of weeks, but at the same time, we're mobilizing to respond to this next typhoon.

MALVEAUX: Are you seeing -- are you mostly dealing with families here, with young children? Or who are the people that you've actually come into contact with on the island?

CURRY: These are predominantly rural areas, rural meaning lots of farmers, fisher folk, all sorts of different kinds of people you meet, school teachers, government workers. These are areas that are working class poor. It's an area of the world where housing is fragile.

People live on very small incomes, sometimes just a few dollars a day. So recovering from a disaster of this scale, it's going to be a big challenge. It's going to take quite a lot of time.

MALVEAUX: Joe, I can't really imagine the spirit of the people who are there that you're dealing with because an earthquake, right, hit just weeks ago, and a lot of people died in that tragic situation. And now they are having to run for their lives literally as this typhoon barrels its way across. What is the sense of the spirit of the community there?

CURRY: It is resilient. People do rely on their churches, their neighbors and friends, and especially their families, so people do come together during times of crisis. And that's what we've seen during the last few weeks. Of course, it's a time of great stress, too.

MALVEAUX: Joe, we appreciate the efforts and everything that you and your organization does on the ground, extraordinary work. I know it's going to be difficult in these next 24, 48 hours as the sun comes up and you get a sense of the damage and the community there, so, Joe, please keep in touch with us.

And, again, if you'd like to be one of those people that would like to help, if you're impacted to help those people who are impacted by this storm, I want you to do this. I want you to check out our website and see how you can help, because there is a way that you can make a difference here,, and that'll give you a good sense of where to go, reaching those who desperately need help in the Philippines.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we are very concerned right now and what we worried right now are those aid workers, World Mission aid workers and people in Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas, because we don't have any contact with them as of the moment.


MALVEAUX: Surviving Super Typhoon Haiyan, we're going to bring you an update on how people are doing on the ground and where is this storm headed next.


MALVEAUX: You're looking at live pictures here. This is a moment of silence that's being observed right now. This is at airports across the country.

Let's pause and just listen for a moment. This is live pictures out of Los Angeles International Airport. This moment of silence is in honor of TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez. He was killed in that shooting rampage, you might recall, at LAX.

This was just a week ago at this very moment. And across the country at airports around the country, there is a tribute being paid to him. The shooting rampage marks the first time that a Transportation Security Administration officer was killed in the line of duty. Authorities say that TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez was shot at point blank range as he stood near his checkpoint near Terminal 3 at LAX.

Now, Hernandez, he was 39-years-old, had a wife and two children. His wife says that he took pride in serving the American people. Two other TSA officers, James Speer and Tony Grigsby, were wounded in the shooting. They are recovering at home. That's what we understand. And a traveler, Brian Ludmer, was shot in the leg, and he is still in the hospital.

Police, they say they still don't have a motive for the shooting, but they do have a suspect. He is identified as Paul Ciancia. He's 23- years-old and he's charged with murdering a federal officer. Ciancia is in critical condition after being shot by police officers. And the FBI says that he set out to kill TSA employees.

His father, back in New Jersey, had asked police to check in on his son after the family got disturbing text messages, including one indicating that something bad might happen. But police officers showed up at Ciancia's apartment about 45 minutes after he left for the airport.

And we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to have more on the typhoon, potentially the biggest storm on the planet, now in the Philippines.


MALVEAUX: You're watching AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. We want to welcome our international viewers.

We are covering this. Millions of people are now feeling the impact right now, one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall. Just watch. You can hear the winds, as well. This is Super Typhoon Haiyan, hitting the Philippines with a force that is comparable to a strong Category-5 hurricane. That is winds gusting up to 235-miles-per-hour.

So far, three people have been killed, seven injured. It is expected that that will go up. As the hours unfold, we will know the full extent of the damage, but it is still early. It is dark there now.

Paula Hancocks joining us from Manila. It is now 1:30 in the morning, I understand, Paula. A million folks have already evacuated ahead of the storm.

What are you seeing?

HANCOCKS (via telephone): Well, at this point, yes, as you say, Suzanne, it is 1:30 in the morning, and we understand the sun comes up here at about 5:00 a.m. So until that time, officials really don't know what they have to deal with.

Now the second the light comes up, we're told by the military, they will be getting helicopters in the air to try and find out exactly where the worst hit areas are.