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Devastation in Philippines; Typhoon Haiyan Loses Steam; Typhoon Haiyan Survivors Struggle; Families Search for Missing Loved Ones; IAEA and Iran Announce "Framework for Cooperation"; America Honors Veterans Day

Aired November 11, 2013 - 12:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company. And we'd like to welcome our viewers both here in the United States and around the world, as well.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: It is so disturbing. Decomposing bodies, they're literally everywhere. Destruction stretching across towns and villages on the island after island. This is all in the Philippines. Desperation and despair, as you can imagine, is now setting in those communities.

HOLMES: Indeed. People struggling to grasp the enormity of the devastation left by Super Storm Haiyan. We have video just in that actually shows the verbosity of the storm. Have a look at this.




MALVEAUX: Unbelievable pictures. Authorities now estimate as many as 10,000 people were killed in Friday's powerful typhoon, although the official death toll stands at 942. Today, the Philippine president declared a state of national calamity.

HOLMES: And as you heard at the beginning of the program, "worse than hell" is how one storm survivor describes the situations in the Philippines. The damage, just quite simply, is catastrophic.

MALVEAUX: Our Andrew Stevens, he was directly in the path of this storm. He's done incredible reporting here. This is from the city of Tacloban. Now, he rode this out. He was in a hotel and he actually helped rescue a family. You're going to see that as well. Here's his dramatic account.


ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what the inside of a super typhoon looks like, 250 kilometer an hour plus winds slamming into a city. A white haze of screaming noise smashing windows, tearing metal, water and flying debris. Just minutes after we finished our live shots telling headquarters that we were moving to safer ground, cameraman Brad Olson (ph) shot this in the place we just left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, guys, I think we can wrap it up.

STEVENS: As the destruction there continued, a floor below, terrified residents huddled together, finding protection against the flying spray and mind numbing noise. Some praying for their safety.

STEVENS (on camera): We're sheltering in the corridor. It's a relatively secure area I think where we are. It's a very substantial hotel, this. And we are away from windows. But all around us, you hear the sounds of windows breaking, you hear the sounds of large objects falling and crashing to the floor. And under foot, it is now just a deluge. And if you look behind me, I don't know if you can see it, the staircase behind me is now basically a waterfall.

STEVENS (voice-over): And then a torrent of black water began pouring into the hotel. The storm surge had begun.


STEVENS: Within a few minutes, it was at ground floor window level. A panicked family, now trapped in their room, smashed the window and screamed for help. We managed to get the mother across to safety using a foam mattress and it immediately became clear the cause of her panic, their daughter was severely disabled. Storm chaser Josh Morgamen (ph) and I went back across to get the terrified girl to safety. And CNN producer Tim Schwartz helped rescue the rest of the family. The waters only rose a little higher. The height of the storm, in fact, had passed.

Two hours later, the winds had lost their lethal strength. Our live position was a ruined shell. But as we walks outside, it was immediately clear that so much of this city had suffered so much more than we had.


STEVENS: And even four days after that storm struck, we still don't have a clear understanding, any real understanding at all, Michael and Suzanne, just how widespread this damage is, how many towns, how many villages have been hit like Tacloban. And the fact that we haven't heard from them means that they're not getting any sort of support at all. These are going to be the critical issues in the coming days.

Michael. Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And we also know there is no electricity, there's no food, there's no water for tens of thousands of those storm survivors. You can add to this homes that are simply obliterated, just washed away.

HOLMES: Look at that.

MALVEAUX: Hospitals are now overrun with patients. And we want to go live here to the Philippine capital of Manila.

HOLMES: Yes, our Kristie Lou Stout is there. She has been reporting throughout, as well.

Kristie, you know, something we were discussing on International earlier, one of the difficulties here is the Philippines is dozens and dozens of islands. There's a lot of remote islands that rescuers have not even seen yet. They've got no idea how bad this is at the moment, is that right?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: That's absolutely true. Now, my colleague, Ivan Watson, he had an opportunity to fly with the civil aviation authority here in the Philippines to have a look at just the entire area of devastation, the entire storm zone.

Now, I guess, if there could be some little bit of good news, it would be this, there was a lot of concern about the western region of the eastern Vasias (ph) part of the Philippines. That was an area very remote. Concerned that there would be many people in need there. It turns out that that area not as hard hit as many people had feared. So the focus of the relief operation is definitely on Samar province and you keep hearing the name over and over again, Tacloban City.

Now, it is 1:00 a.m. in the morning here in the Philippines and there are no aid flights going into Tacloban City because there is no power to light up the runways. So pilots cannot safely land and bring the badly needed relief there. But that might change very soon. U.S. Marines, they're on the ground. They arrived on Monday. They have brought C-130 aircraft with them. Aid, as well as a plan to make the airport there operational on a 24-hour basis so even at this time of the day, or should I say night, 1:00 a.m. in the morning, the aid can keep coming in.

Also earlier on Monday, the Philippines sent in the special forces. Special forces are there providing aid and also to provide law and order because there is a lot of concerns about security and lawlessness there. When you talk to survivors, and this is an account that I'm hearing from our Paula Hancocks and Andrew Stevens on the ground there in Tacloban City, they are increasingly frustrated. They are angry. They're saying what they are experiencing is worse than hell. Doctors are saying they can't go on because they don't have the medicine, the supplies that they need.

And let's keep in mind this. This storm made landfall on Friday. It is now almost four days since this storm made landfall. So this community, entire population, they have been sealed off, closed off from the rest of the world for four days now. They need food, they need water, they need medicine, they need shelter and they can't wait any longer.

Back to you.

MALVEAUX: And, Kristie, I imagine, as well, I mean it's estimated 10,000 people might have the perished because of this. The official count, much, much lower. But as you had mentioned, as they find more of those families and those people who have been isolated for four days, that that number could get much, much bigger.

STOUT: That's right. There are concerns that that number can get much bigger. And just look at the lay of the land alone. The population of Tacloban City is about 220,000. CNN spoke to an interior minister recently. He said about 1 million people were living in low-lying areas of the storm zone. So the potential for devastation among the population there is very, very high. But at the moment, what we're hearing is this. The Philippine government is saying over 600,000 people displaced. According to the Philippine armed forces, they're saying the death toll, as it stands right now, is over 900. But the Red Cross of the Philippines say that the death toll they fear, 10,000 across the entire storm zone.

Back to you.

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

And, you know, just to get a sense of how desperate people are, in need of help here, you see this - this man here painting a message on a basketball court in the hard hit city that we have been hearing about all morning, Tacloban. It reads, "Help. S.O.S. We need food."

HOLMES: Yes, dazed survivors wandering the streets there, having to scavenge for food, water or medicine. Relief workers, obviously, still struggling to reach a lot of these people. Look at that ship just tossed up there by the storm surge, which was huge. And a lot of people didn't expect the storm surge to be that big and it did a lot of the damage. You're talking about 600,000 people at least displaced by the storm. I saw a figure earlier that some 4 million children have been impacted in some way by this. And, of course, one of the - one of the risks with a storm like this and you've got -- you get water sources that are compromised and disease is a big fear for a lot of the rescue workers there.

MALVEAUX: That's why they expect the death toll is going to increase, as much as it is. And just to give you a sense, an idea of how powerful this thing was, this typhoon, Haiyan, watch this.

Many experts believe that the Typhoon Haiyan could be the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall in recorded history. It was 3.5 times more forceful than Hurricane Katrina, which was a category three hurricane, Superstorm Sandy's tropical force winds stretched a further distance but were only half as powerful.

HOLMES: Yes, and, in fact, the winds from Typhoon Haiyan were stronger from those from Hurricane Sandy and Katrina combined, just to give you a sense of how big this was.

Now, after slamming into the Philippines, Haiyan was downgraded to a tropical storm, but then headed to Vietnam. It is now weakening over southern China.

MALVEAUX: Let's bring in Chad Myers from the Weather Center to take a look at where the storm is now.

Chad, where is it heading, where did it land and what do we expect next?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, it went over Hanoi and into south China and now it's dying. It's just about done. But there's more moisture and still more warm water where this storm came from and another storm is trying to develop right on this storm's heels.

Back you up. November 6th, all of a sudden this storm becomes a monster, 195 gusting to 235, rolls right through the islands there. And then it kind of turns to the right. We thought it would make landfall in Vietnam, somewhere around Hanoi -- actually missed Vietnam all together. And then came around here between Hanoi and Hong Kong. And there it is right now. That's where the rain showers and the -- a little bit of flooding taking place right now.

There's still some convection here, but not like it was. This is now five days from where it actually made landfall. (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: Yes, I think - I think six dead in Vietnam despite is not actually hitting direct on, as you said. So this, a hugely, deadly storm. But tell us about what's following up now. It's obviously not as big, but there's rain in it.

MYERS: It's not as big, but, you know, it still has the potential to do a lot of damage with wind, even if it's 45 miles per hour. You look at all those sticks and stone that are everywhere. A 45-mile-per-hour wind gust can pick up that sheeting, can pick up that plywood, can pick up that corrugated sheet and throw that around, even though it's not going to be a big storm, not going to be anything like this.

The biggest storm that caused the most damage ever in the Philippines was Typhoon Thelma, 1991. It killed between 5,100 and 8,000 people. They still don't even know how many people it killed. This could be the same idea where we think we're going to get a number down to like 2001. We're just absolutely no -- there could be a range of thousands of people because there are so many people still missing in these remote villages. We haven't even talked about Hormack (ph) City. We haven't talked about all these other big towns, 20,000, 30,000 people in these towns. We just can't even get there.


MYERS: But - so that's why we're talking about Tacloban, because we can get there.


HOLMES: Yes. And the geography of the place too, dozens of islands as well that the rescuers haven't gotten to yet.

Chad, thanks so much. Chad Myers there.

MYERS: You're welcome.

MALVEAUX: Here's also what we're working for on this hour AROUND THE WORLD.

We're talking about no food, no shelter, no electricity. That is the reality for many who actually survived the typhoon. Well, now, people, they are desperately looking for aid. HOLMES: Plus, a sign of hope amid all of this devastation. Look at that. That baby was born at Tacloban Airport in a makeshift hospital. A ray of hope perhaps. We'll be right back.


MALVEAUX: Aid is just beginning to arrive in the hardest hit areas of the Philippines slammed by that typhoon, Haiyan. American C-130 military planes carrying some food, water, medicine started to touchdown. This is at the Tacloban airport today.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Yeah, desperately need. Those planes weren't able to come till three days after the storm because the runways had to be cleared. And actually as night falls, they're not able to operate because the lights aren't working on the runway.

The U.S. military is going to take over airport operations and they're going to set up radar. They'll also set up lighting so that the airport can operate 24/7, going forward.

MALVEAUX: The real problem, trying to get all the aid that you see there to the people who are absolutely desperate at this point.

The airport is nine miles from the city center, many roads still clogged, as you can imagine, with huge chunks of debris, fallen power lines from the storm. It is a very dangerous situation. More than 600,000 people have been displaced by the storm, and they are desperate at this point.

HOLMES: Just imagine hundreds of thousands of people, entire -- look at this. Just look at that devastation.

Many of the people used to live in those structures are now as you see there wandering the streets, many of them having to scavenge for food because the storm wiped out their homes, everything else they had, all the businesses there.

Listen to how one victim described the situation.


MAGINA FERNANDEZ, VICTIM: Get international help to come here now. Not tomorrow, now. This is really, really like bad, bad, worse than hell. Worse than hell.


HOLMES: And the International Red Cross says it is realistic to estimate 10,000 people may have been killed in the storm, and they're saying that about one district actually.

Right now, the official death toll is 942. That's the official toll, but as we say, rescuers haven't even reached entire towns, islands believed absolutely destroyed, leveled by the typhoon.

MALVEAUX: Joining us now to talk how victims are coping with all of this, it is hard to imagine how they are coping, Ansherina with the aid group, CARE.

And, you know, you see that woman. You hear the desperation in her voice. She is at her breaking point here, and you've got many, many people who I imagine are at that point.

How do you help them? What is the most important thing at this moment for them?

ANSHERINA GRACE TALAVERA, CARE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER: At this moment, the main needs that they are trying to -- they are expressing are emergency food, water and shelters as well as medicines. And a lot of communities have not been reached yet. We have teams in the field and they're on the ground doing needs assessment and they haven't been to their communities and it's completely devastated.

HOLMES: Still really no idea really of the extent of this, four days on.

One of the things that must be concerning aid groups, and we saw in the video there, bodies literally lying in the street, no way of burying them at the moment, a lot of them under the rubble. That raises the prospect of disease, of course, not to mention tainted water supplies, wells and the like.

What do you do about that? How urgent is that side of things?

TALAVERA: It's very urgent. People have been running out of food stocks and water. For now, they're able to -- they are able to utilize the potable water, whatever it's left in their homes and communities. And they are saying that they do not know after a couple of days, they do not know where they would get food, where they would get water and they would have to resort to fetching water from wells, from springs that are unsafe.

And you are correct. There are many bodies perhaps lying on the ground and (inaudible) buried. And there's really a need for mass casualty management because it will be a health hazard for the survivors.

MALVEAUX: And we know that hundreds of thousands of people were actually able to escape this typhoon. And you've got to imagine they're probably in pretty dire straits, too, because they don't have a home to come back to. It looks like pretty much what they left behind is destroyed.

What happens to those people? Who is taking care of them?

TALAVERA: For now, some of the people are in evacuation centers, but unfortunately, even the evacuation centers designated to them have been destroyed by the typhoon.

Our colleagues on the ground are saying that people are really trying hard to start rebuilding their homes, getting from the debris whatever's left, whatever they can use, what they can get their hands on.

MALVEAUX: Ms. Talavera, thank -- TALAVERA: So people are trying to survive, yes.

MALVEAUX: Ms. Talavera, thank you so much for the hard work that you do, and all those people who are part of CARE. I mean, it is just so important.

You can only imagine, these are the times when people help people. This is when it really matters.

HOLMES: A lot of aid groups working there, an enormous number, too.

And, by the way, you can check out a lot of what's going on our website, A lot of these aid groups listed there. They have been vetted by CNN, so you know that anything you give will be going to a good cause.

Of course, in cases like this, what these groups need is cash, nothing else. They just need the money to make it happen, get the goods there.

MALVEAUX: If you can do anything, please help.

And families around the world are now searching for loved ones. The devastation is so bad that authorities don't even know how many are missing.

HOLMES: Yeah, up next, we're going to hear from one family searching online for any sign of their sister.

Social media playing a role in tracking people down, we'll have that when we come back.


MALVEAUX: Typhoon Haiyan knocked out power and communications across the Philippines making the search for loved ones very difficult and trying. Many family members living outside the area are just feeling helpless. Their calls, their texts, their e-mails are all unanswered.

HOLMES: Google is helping to make some of those connections a little easier with its Person Finder. What they did was they set up a similar online tool after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. This works in a similar way.

Meanwhile, others are turning to social media websites like Facebook, like Twitter posting pictures of missing loved ones.

Our own Stephanie Elam talks with one family hoping the Internet will help them locate their half sister.



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Since Typhoon Haiyan hit it, Nino Arena and his sister Marie have been scouring social media, looking for any sign that hair half sister, Dailene Arena (ph), is alive. ARENA: I want it to be daylight over there so at least we get more progress. We get more news.

ELAM: The family believes that 20-year-old Dailene (ph) rode out the storm with her job with Apec (ph) Customer Service just south of hard hit Tacloban City in Paulo, instead of heading back to her home in Jaro.

ARENA: She commutes every day, but for this particular day, she decided to stay there because of the bad weather.

The last text message we got from her is just her asking if her mom is OK.

ELMA: For Nino, the pictures of the aftermath of the typhoon hit home.

ARENA: I studied at that city, Tacloban, and looking at the is and the people there, I could see myself in that place. I could see my half sister in that place. It's very personal.

ELAM: Perhaps the strongest tropical cyclone in recorded history, Typhoon Haiyan slam add the Philippines with a force three-and-a-half times stronger than Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

That unnerves Nino who is constantly swapping with Dailene's (ph) brother. He's safe in Manila.

ARENA: Construction is strong, but it has only a ground floor, and it's really close to the water.

ELAM: Despite the devastatingly high number of people that may have died, Nino remains optimistic.

How is the hope level within your family?

ARENA: It's high. We believe in divine intervention and we believe that she made it.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.


HOLMES: To some other stories now making news AROUND THE WORLD.

And the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency and Iran have just announced what they're calling a framework for cooperation.

The joint statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran comes one day after the breakdown for the moment, anyway, of nuclear talks between the Iranian government and six world powers, those Geneva talks.

Britain's foreign secretary says there will be no letup in sanctions on Iran until a deal is reached on its nuclear program. Now, that's something Secretary of State John Kerry is also saying.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: No agreement has been reached about the end game here. That's the subject of the negotiation. The sanctions were put in place in order to bring about a negotiation.


HOLMES: Israel's prime minister, meanwhile, said the proposed agreement was a bad deal for peace.

Well, here in the United States, it is Veterans Day. Americans honoring the more than 21 million living veterans in this country, November 11 marking the anniversary, of course, of the end of World War I.

And for viewers in Europe, of course, you are commemorating this day as Armistice Day.

This morning President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the Arlington National Cemetery. The president and the first lady also held a breakfast at the White House to honor veterans and their families.

About four in ten veterans in the U.S. are now 65-years-old or older.

MALVEAUX: And home after home destroyed. Up next, we travel with the military to go to a remote group of islands devastated by the typhoon. And for our international viewers, world sport is next.