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Typhoon Flattened Entire Towns; Steering Detroit Toward Better Days Ahead

Aired November 10, 2013 - 07:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of thousands of people have been driven out of their homes.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Andrew Stevens and his crew, as we said, rode out that ferocious storm at a hotel on the beach in Tacloban.

BLACKWELL: And storm chaser James Reynolds, he was there, too. He has this dramatic report on the really scary moments when that storm hit.


JAMES REYNOLDS, STORM CHASER: During the height of this storm, you know, the scream of the wind was just deafening, we could hear just thunderous, crashes of debris flying through the air. You know, at some point, you could feel the whole hotel, which is made of solid concrete, shaking as some unknown object was just repeatedly crashing into the side of the hotel.

Well, we have storm surge starting to flood the ground floor of the hotel. Residents are evacuating up to the second floor.

We had residents staying at the hotel on the ground floor, as you can see in the video, who were trapped. They were smashing windows in sheer desperation to try to get out of those hotel rooms, you know, in total fear of their lives.


I was riding out the storm with the CNN crew, Andrew Stevens and Tim Schwartz, and it was really, put the cameras down, we've got to get out there and help these people. Otherwise, possibly, they could drown.

One more? We're good! Everyone?

It was a life-threatening situation for those people, and it was an incredibly dangerous situation. People are running the streets just dazed and confused. I just hope this gets -- it's hard to describe in words, but I hope this can give the viewers an understanding of what the situation is like there. It's desperate.


PAUL: We're covering the typhoon and its aftermath from all angles. I want to start with Andrew Stevens in that hard-hit city of Tacloban.

BLACKWELL: Andrew, we know it's just about 8:00 p.m. there in Tacloban City. The daytime, I'm sure, is devastating, but it must be so much worse at night without food and water and shelter and electricity.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, where we're standing, Victor, if you look behind me, we've lit up with the car lights, just a bit of debris, just sort of 10, 20 yards down the road. But that goes right back for another half mile to the commercial center, which has been the scene of most of the looting, understandably, over shops there, a lot of looting going on, particularly yesterday. There's not so much to take anymore. Most of the stuff has now been gone.

I've been hearing reports that houses have been entered by gangs, looking for food, for whatever. I haven't been able to confirm that. And certainly yesterday when we were there, we were walking around and saw a lot of looting. We were speaking to a lot of people. There was never a sense of tension, never a sense of people turning on each other.

But as you say, nightfall has no power here whatsoever. And this you've got a generator. You look behind me, see a couple of car lights down there and that's about it. Even if you got a generator, you probably won't have any gas for it. That gives you an idea of the situation here.

There is food -- there is some food here. I saw someone today, a family, in fact, they had a great big bag of peanuts and sitting on the side of the road just eating peanuts. That will probably sustain them for the next couple of days.

So, the next two days is critical to get the supplies in, to get enough supplies to feed this city. This is a city of 200,000, 250,000, everyone's been affected in some way or the other. There is very little food about, very little water about. That's critical as well.

There are village pumps that are pumping out some, but getting the stuff here, next two days, it's going to be absolutely critical to start feeding these people. If it doesn't happen, then it can turn really, really nasty.

PAUL: Yes, we know that province, devastated, 4.3 million, we know from UNICEF, affected across the 36 providences.

Andrew, thank you.

Let's turn now to CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson, live from the capital city of Manila. PAUL: We know that the road to the airport, I think, to Tacloban has now been opened. Is that changing things? Because as we understand it, there were a lot of groups in Manila trying to get to Tacloban. Have they been able to do so now?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were able to fly there, Christi. We basically, today, by jet, a small plane, followed the trail of the typhoon, starting with Tacloban. And from the air, it really is a shattered city. I saw a freighter ship washed up on to the shore of the city. It looked like a giant hand had come down and smooshed that town.

And I was traveling with the head of the Civil Aviation Authority, the equivalent of the FAA, who's trying to reopen airports. He said three of their workers were killed at Tacloban airport. That's airport, of course, pretty much destroyed by the storm surge that went through there.

Now, we traveled west from Tacloban, from the scenes of devastation that Andrew was describing, and stopped, at least two other airports, where there was damage, where the airports had been shut. There was no power. Cell phones not working.

But they predict that the airports will reopen by Monday. There were lines of people already at those airports. Many of them tourists, eager to get out of the storm-affected area.

But thankfully, though there was damage in these other towns that we visited, Kalibo and Busuanga, it was nowhere near the scenes of real catastrophe there in the first population center that was hit by this super typhoon on Friday, that provincial capital of Tacloban.

Back to you.

PAUL: All righty. Ivan Watson, thank you so much, for letting us see your perspective there. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: We're going to take a quick break. But right after the break, we're going to talk with the representative of the Philippines Red Cross to give an idea of all the help that's on the way and the struggle to get it to the people who need it.

Stay with us on NEW DAY SUNDAY.


PAUL: The pictures are mind boggling, aren't they? And help cannot come fast enough for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. But emergency crews are facing enormous challenges, trying to retool these folks.

Richard Gordon is the head of the Philippine Red Cross joining us now by phone from Manila.

Thank you so much, Richard, for being with us. We understand that an assessment team is in Tacloban, a Red Cross assessment team, but aid workers and equipment had not been able to get there as of what we had heard. Is there any update on access to these areas, Richard?

RICHARD GORDON, PHILIPPINE RED CROSS: Yes. Tonight, moving out from here will be our rescue truck, that they can provide 25,000 liters per load. We're coming out also with food, coming out in ambulances, there's three ambulances, 5,000 liters of fuel. Power lines, generators, tents, 6x6 trucks, rescue boats, buffalo tanks, anything.

We're going to take the route and we'll be there by midnight tomorrow. If we leave here at midnight, hopefully we'll be there by midnight tomorrow. We're finally able to open the road leading to Tacloban, so we'll be able to get there along with our food items.

On the other side of the island coming from Mindanao, the ICRC and the Philippine Red Cross brought in a lot of food and a lot of non-food items. Unfortunately, they almost got hijacked, I still haven't got the report on that. But, I hope that they weren't hijacked, and if they weren't, I would be very, very happy, and that we would be able to take that also not just in Tacloban, but also in the other areas that have been badly hit.


GORDON: Yes, go ahead.

PAUL: OK, So, Richard, if I understand correctly, you're saying that you fear that maybe one of your trucks was hijacked? How concerned are you about that kind of thing happening? We are hearing of looters already.

GORDON: Well, there will always be mobsters in every area. And the important thing for the police and the law enforcement is to capture the ring leaders right away before they start. As it was, the truck stopped and there was a long convoy and people started milling around it, back open of the truck, pushing our people, but we were able the to turn around and get them out, from what I hear.

In the meantime, there is a lot of other people who are trying to aid (ph) this situation. And that is why I called on the police and the military to immediately arrest the ring leader of all these people.

PAUL: Are you able to work well with the military and the government there as they try to get through? I'm wondering, when we hear about looters, what kind of authority is in place. And also, what is the greatest need there?

GORDON: The country has no -- history of our (INAUDIBLE) being looters. Maybe some of our politicians are, but not all our people are looters.

And I will say this. Perhaps -- it's no justification. The fact that they had been isolated, and the fact that there's no more food in the area is causing people to really do that. That's why the government and Red Cross and all other government agencies to coordinate their efforts, bring food as much as possible to the area and be sure that people line up and are able to be served.

We're bringing in water, for example, for the people, not just tankers, but water filtration devices, and I'm sure the government is doing that. And all we need is a little patience, a little bit more resolute handling of the rationing of all these things. And, of course, to make people feel that help, indeed, is right there already and all they have to do is line up and don't have to be pushed around.

PAUL: All right. Well, Richard Gordon, head of the Philippines Red Cross, thank you so much for all of your efforts. Thank you for updating us on what's happening there. Best of luck to you.

We'll continue to, you know, hopefully talk with you and get updates as things progress there. But thank you. Stay safe to all there.

And for you, I know, you're sitting at home wondering, gosh, is there anything I could do? Well, if you'd like to help victims of this typhoon in the Philippines, visit our Web site,

CNN has found multiple ways you can make a donation. And we're keeping track of all the charities assisting with this rescue effort. And thank you for checking that out.

BLACKWELL: All right, Christi, I know our viewers will certainly support.

A lot of people love the Motor City, they love Detroit. But can Detroit rise again? Next on NEW DAY, a new wave of politicians and start-ups who are trying to steer the Motor City back on the right track.


BLACKWELL: Good morning, Detroit.

A live look here at the downtown area of the Motor City. High temperature today, and you know it is November in Detroit. Prepare yourself, 46 degrees.

PAUL: I'm from Ohio. When they say 47, yes, that's probably --

BLACKWELL: Chicago is like, whatever, 46 degrees.

You know, we're making light of the temperature, but there really are some difficult times to fight back in Detroit. Economically depressed, plagued with crime. The city is, we know, in bankruptcy. They filed in July.

PAUL: But the historic Motor City isn't about to give up. Our very own George Howell has more on how politicians and start-ups are helping carry Detroit into the future. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, it is a crucial time for one of America's most storied but troubled cities, from crime to abandoned neighborhoods and even the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation's history. But when you take a closer look at what's happening in Detroit, you do find some signs of hope.

When you think Detroit, what do people think about first?

ANDRE SPIVEY, DETROIT CITY COUNCIL: Of course, they think Motown. Music. You think the automobile industry. You think athletic teams.

But we need to know that we have -- the city is now changing.

HOWELL (voice-over): Most believe the change that's coming about in Detroit is for the better. It's the getting there that they say is tough. You see it in the headlines.

PROTESTERS: Justice! When do we want it?! Now!

HOWELL: On the streets of Detroit, two separate triple murders just this week alone. Folks here are fed up with the crime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just have to be crime. We have to keep thinking about and praying to God and having faith, and just hoping, hoping, even though hope is really not fair, but we still have to keep hoping.

HOWELL: Then, there's the issue of bankruptcy. The city is applying for a process that could dramatically cut the value of hard- earned pensions for thousands of retirees. Even precious pieces of Detroit's Institute of Art could be put up for sale to the highest bidder, to help make up for more than $18 billion in debt.

(on camera): As an elected official, you know, you represent this city. You grew up here. How do you cope, how do you deal with all the negative headlines that come out of Detroit?

SPIVEY: It's hard sometimes. This probably had to happen. This was 40, 50 years in the making.

We had to come to this point here. You know, what will we look like this time next year or two to three years there now, and there's great hope and optimism. We have people all over this world that are buying parcels in this city, preparing for the rebirth and renaissance of our city.

HOWELL (voice-over): Renaissance comes in the most unlikely places, where most see a skyline of abandoned buildings, businesses like Detroit Labs are seizing opportunity. This company makes all sorts of mobile apps, and had some fun with it, too.

PAUL GLOMSKI, DETROIT LABS: We're here in the Madison Block. There are dozens and dozens of start-ups, like Detroit Labs. There are lots of business reasons to be here, but it's also great that the entrepreneurial activities taking place right downtown.

HOWELL: Detroit Labs is one of many new start-ups, backed we a private equity group called Detroit Venture Partners, a firm run by native Detroiter, Dan Gilbert, the founder and c of Quicken Loans. And Gilbert is doubling down on Detroit. In addition to the ventures he's supporting, he's moved all of his Quicken Loan employees back into downtown Detroit, setting the stage for others to follow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As they're looking down here, every time they see an empty building like that, they should look at it as an opportunity to come and make the space they want, make the company they want.

HOWELL: It's the hope this city is counting on, that seeds of optimism are just starting to take root and people here are determined to turn the tide and steer the Motor City into better days ahead.

(on camera): As Detroit heads into bankruptcy, there is new optimism as new faces take the helm. A new mayor takes office in January, along with five new members of the city's nine council members. Their one and only job is to turn things around -- Christi, Victor.


BLACKWELL: All right. George Howell in Detroit for us.

It's going to take a lot, but they are working on.

PAUL: That was a great, you know, thing the guy said, in terms of switching your brain around, and said, instead of seeing that building as something that's just a complete mess, see it as what you can make it.

BLACKWELL: Be optimistic about it.

Hey, talk about optimism, something good coming up in Detroit.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: His second season finale, "PARTS UNKNOWN," Anthony Bourdain takes us to the Motor City to see how the failing economy has changed the landscape and the lives of the people there.

PAUL: Yes, you can get more insight into the decline of Detroit at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. And what they're doing to try to turn that around.

And there's more -- Anthony is also hosting a live one-hour show after the finale from Las Vegas. You know you don't want to that miss that.

All righty, coming up on NEW DAY: sometimes playing for a team means going above and beyond what others ask of you.

BLACKWELL: That's exactly what a 7th grade boy did for his middle school football team during their last game of the season. And you won't believe what he did to give his teammates a boost of motivation.

PAUL: Let's check in, though, with Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a look at what's coming up on SGMD at 7:30 Eastern.

Good morning, Sanjay.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Christi, the Food and Drug Administration, they are making this major recommendation, which is to get rid of trans fats. They're the ultimate junk food. It could happen. How soon? We'll tell you.

Also, you might be in for a shock when you see the potential replacement. We have it at the bottom of the hour.



PAUL: All right. Time now for the good stuff. That's part of the show where we feature stories about some of the good news out there.

And first up, free bacon.

BLACKWELL: That's good! Kansas State women's basketball team sizzled up more than 300 pounds of bacon Friday night. It was a move to lure students out to their season opener. There is something about the smell of bacon.

PAUL: I bet it's true.

Administers say it started as a joke, but it worked.


BETHANY CORDELL, WEB MARKETING AND ADVERTISING: We talked about, you know, the normal giveaways like t-shirts, bobbleheads, that kind of stuff. We talked about food, pizza being a big one, and we really jokingly threw out the idea of bacon, just to be something different, and the student advisory board just ate it up. They were so excited about it.


PAUL: It took chefs about six hours to fry up all those crispy strips.

BLACKWELL: Just before it gets burnt.

There was an incredible moment for a seventh grade boy confined to a wheelchair. His name is Tyler Bain. He's 13 years old. He's a huge football team and he loves his hometown medical school team, but he can't play because he was paralyzed in a car crash.

Bain is still important to the team, though. He's their manager. And during the last game of the season, Bain did something special for his teammates as they faced off against one of their biggest rivals. He surprised them by doing something he's been working on for ten years.

Watch this. He got out of his wheelchair and he took his first steps across the field.


TYLER BAIN: Now, if I walk on to the field, I'll tell them, hey, if I can walk, anything the possible. Y'all can beat these guys.


BLACKWELL: That's amazing. He saved that for them. Bain admits he's had his up and downs, but his main message is simple, never give up.

PAUL: What an example. I love to see the team cheering for him, too. That always gives you a little bit of oomph extra.

If you've looked a to the calendar lately, I cannot believe it's almost Thanksgiving.

BLACKWELL: I told you, they plan the New York stuff in the mall already.

PAUL: The Christmas, I know, it's crazy.

But we've got to get through the annual Thanksgiving Day parade, right? And Macy's knows that. So, they took some of their stars out for a test spin this weekend. Yes, the balloons included the likes of SpongeBob Squarepants, and, of course, you saw Snoopy, there he is. And Woodstock.

They're just making sure they still know how to fly.

BLACKWELL: Everything's still in the air, everything's working out.

PAUL: What is that?

BLACKWELL: I've watched the cartoon, but I can't remember the name. There's SpongeBob.

PAUL: There's SpongeBob -- I was trying to figure out the other one. At this point, I like to watch it to see if there's anything I recognize.

Now, before we go, we want to remind you -- logon to our "Impact Your World" site to learn how you can help victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. You've been seeing some incredible pictures this morning. They are so in need. And the site is BLACKWELL: Yes, you can do something good, too. CNN has found multiple ways that you can make a donation, and we're keeping track of all the charities assisting the rescue effort. And you know, if you've been watching this morning, the folks there certainly need it.

PAUL: They do!

And thank you so much for checking that out and anything you do for them.

We're going to see you back here at the top of the 8:00 hour Eastern for another hour of NEW DAY SUNDAY.

BLACKWELL: But first, could a simple medication save addicts from deadly drug overdoses?

"SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." starts right now.