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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Devastation in the Philippines
Aired November 11, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, thank you very much indeed. Obviously, you're in Manila. That is about 500 north of Tacloban. And what are you hearing about the scale of devastation down there and indeed, the other islands you touched on which they may not even have got to, yet?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, we are actually -- we're flying in to Tacloban about two hours ago. I have to turn around because of bad weather. That's just the latest concern.
Another tropical storm coming in, pretty more water on the ground, saturate the ground to it. There are so many people looking for shelters, so many people looking for food and for water and trying to deal with injuries as well. The hospital on Tacloban has been overwhelmed that they stopped admitting new patients. They were just getting basic first aid for a lot of patients.
Relief efforts are on their way but at this point the needs of the people, there are so great. You know, the Tacloban is the city of some 220,000 people. We don't yet, Piers, really have an accurate count of how many people have lost their lives, of how many people are wounded and in need of immediate assistance.
The accurate number is simply -- we just don't have them. And that gives you a sense, you know, we're now into the fourth day since the storm hit. That give you sense of how tough communications have been for the Philippine government.
US marines are in Tacloban helping out at the airports, they're hoping to get the airport upper running on a 24-hour basis in order to get relief flights. That's been one of the problem, Piers. There weren't lights at the airports so it was very difficult to fly in there and become large scale type relief operations that are needed.
Hopefully, that's going to start moving began with this weather system moving in over the six or seven hours. That's definitely going to cause a crammed in some of the plans. We'll continue to follow at their work in the next several days, Piers.
MORGAN: And so we know the American military had been sending in lots of aid. The Chinese have sent a huge plane full of aid apparently as well. Lots of countries helping now. But how restrictive is it for the moment to get that aid where it's needed given the current horrendous conditions continuing? COOPER: Yeah, that's -- it's really good point. I mean, there's so much debris on the ground. It was really the storm surge, you know, which -- when you sit on the ground, you've seen, you're looking at the images, it reminds me of the tsunami that we saw both in South Asia and also in Japan just a couple of years ago.
You know, that water really picks up all the debris and deposits it on the roads, often it's 20, 30 feet high, these piles of debris. You can have a car buried under a house. Who knows how many people are buried underneath in this rubble?
So even getting a truck load of aid down the road can take a long, long time and there's also -- there are concerns about security, about incoming vehicle of stuffs, about people who are in desperate situations trying to get some of that aid.
So it's a very tricky situation on the ground and it's going to take some time in order to get the aid, get the relief, and really even get an accurate picture of what the government officials here have to deal with because there are lot of communities, as we've been saying over the last several days, a lot of communities that have not been reached yet where they really do not have a sense of what the needs in those communities are.
MORGAN: Yeah, utterly devastated. And tonight, I know you're going to trying get down to Tacloban so we'll leave you to try and get on with the planning for that. I'll probably speak to you later on. Thank you very much, indeed.
And now, we go to CNN's, Paula Hancocks. She is in Tacloban right now. Paula, obviously, it looks to us just utterly devastating. What is it like on the ground? Put it into some perspective for me.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Piers, it's quite simply a horrific situation. These people have been to hell and back. One lady told me it was worse than hell to survive such a horrific storm surge, such a horrific typhoon. It's amazing but now these people are going through a second humanitarian disaster because they're now struggling to survive. They're struggling to get enough food and water and of course, shelter.
You can probably see behind me. It's torrential rain here. The storm's still coming through. Luckily, there's no heavy wind because that could cause even more damage and injuries with the debris that's around at this point but it is a very desperate situation. More aid is needed, more organization is needed to get it to those people who need it. And there's a very grim task at the moment on going.
A mass grave is being built such as down the road. We understand from the med that about 244 bodies have been found just in this area alone, the city of 250,000 people. They got another 600 bodies they know about, but haven't yet got to. And while we were walking down the road, just on Monday, there were many bodies lying by the side of the road and they're clearly been there for a number of days.
Residents were saying to us, victims were saying, "Please, tell them to take the bodies away." The smell was overpowering. The look of horror on their faces. That was just too much for the survivors to bear, Piers.
MORGAN: The Philippines is the 73rd largest country in the world, 7,107 islands in total of which about 2,000 are inhabited. Do they have any idea yet on the 6th times that this hit the islands, how many of those islands have been affected?
HANCOCKS: At this point no. People still don't know because this storm and this typhoon just had such a wide girth and there are no communications in most of these places. It's just the worst combination of factors no electricity, no communication, such an enormous storm, a record breaking storm.
And so it's really difficult on the ground for people to know what's happening. You really know what's happening in a very tiny area and this is what officials are telling us that they're struggling to get the information. And they said the reason that it's taking so long to try and get the aid to those who need it are the first responders who would usually cope in this kind of typhoon would usually be first on the scene, they're the victims. And the warehouses around here that were filled with supplies that had been used for so many other typhoons maybe and completely destroyed so the supplies are gone so they basically having to start from scratch.
MORGAN: And, Paula, finally if people are watching this and many will want to know how they can help. What is the best way to help right now?
HANCOCKS: It has to be through the international aid agencies. I mean clearly on the ground, the organization has to be at a higher level. It's probably no good just coming here trying to help because you just add to the problem. But if you can support the international aid agencies, they can support the governments who are trying to set things in motion, you know, the US military's here, the marines are on the ground, they're bringing in the C-130s, the helicopters, the forklifts, the basic pallets (ph) to take these -- that these goods at (ph).
So I think it has to be done in an organized fashion.
MORGAN: Well, that goes for now, thank you very much indeed. James Reynolds is the cameraman who's devoted his life to chasing monster storms around the world. He barely escaped Super Typhoon Haiyan with his life. This is exclusive, never seen before footage and he joins me now.
Welcome to you. This footage we're watching now, no one have seen this before, it gives a very graphic idea really on what had gone down. What was your thought as you were taking it?
JAMES REYNOLDS, CAMERAMAN: Hi, Piers. Well, as the scene was unfolding it was really one of those critical situations. You know, I was primarily there to document the storm and in the height of the storm, as the storm surge was rushing in and flooding our hotel, we could hear the piercing screams of a woman in desperate situation, smashing the window of her hotel room to try and escape with her family from the rising surge.
So it was really a case. I was with two colleagues of mine, Matt Thomas (ph), Josh Morgamen (ph) and a CNN crew as well. It was really a case of just kind of putting the down the cameras and getting in there and helping these people because, you know, it was one of those situations which was terrifying to be involved with, Piers.
MORGAN: I mean, it seems that nobody can really have any kind of handle on a death toll, the number who'd been seriously injured or anything like that. What is the impression that you're getting on the ground?
REYNOLDS: Absolutely correct, Piers. In the immediate aftermath, it was just no communications, rumors were flying around, people were still terrified, there was no concrete information at all, no official presence, no police, no form of government, a very little aid getting in. So it really is just every person for them self survival mode.
You know, rumors were running around that there was another tsunami coming. People were really just in a desperate, desperate state. And any idea of what the final death toll now is just completely impossible. You know, the storm before it hit Tacloban, hit a town to the east which had over 10,000 people in it and there'd been aerial surveys which shows it's been completely destroyed but no communications out of there that I've heard of, Piers.
MORGAN: I mean in terms of the terminology used here, is there much substantial difference between a massive storm surge like this and a tsunami?
REYNOLDS: Really, just small technicalities. The destruction, the death, the carnage is essentially the same. The water rose with alarming speed and as I mentioned caught these people off just in our hotel alone completely off guard, water up to their waist, they couldn't open the door or the windows. And, you know, a few minutes later or a foot or two higher and those people would've drowned.
Unfortunately, some other people who were living right by the coast who didn't evacuated obviously had no chance against this force of the water. Rising water, 15 feet high, winds over 150 miles an hour just a horrendous situation, Piers.
MORGAN: It certainly is. James Reynolds, thank you very much indeed for coming in and for sharing this extraordinary footage which is very, very devastating (inaudible). Thank you very much indeed.
A lot to get to tonight, coming up, a political disaster in the making ObamaCare. A little dismal enrollment seek the President's plan, wait until you hear the number of people who so far enrolled. It really is quite staggeringly small. Also ahead, this is what it would look like if a storm like Super Typhoon Haiyan hit this country. I'm worried about that, should we all be? I hate to debate with an extreme weather. And later, Amy Robach reveals her breast cancer diagnosis on GMA. I talk to Angelina Jolie's surgeon and the CNN's own Zoraida Sambolin herself a survivor of course. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MORGAN: The Philippines City of Tacloban is devastated tonight. Christina Romualdez is a city council member who's married to the Mayor. She and her two little girls were trapped in their home as the flood waters rose. They survived by hanging on to the roof for hours until helped finally came. She joins me now along with her uncle, Congressman Martin Romualdez, who's district includes Tacloban.
Welcome to both of you. Christina if I can start with you. Obviously this is the ultimate nightmare. The Philippines gets between 10 and 20 typhoons a year but very, very rarely on anything like this scale. When did you realize this was a really massive storm?
CHRISTINA GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ, TACLOBAN CITY COUNCILOR: Well we were already getting ready for the massive storm because we knew it was a very strong super typhoon. We got all the information. So we were -- three days before we were, you know, meeting with all the local government department heads and even the DepEd and even already evacuating people even three days before and letting them stay at the evacuation center.
So, we were just getting ready, you know, like being -- hoping for the best but preparing for the worst so to speak. And hoping that, you know, it would divert still but -- we were actually there and we heard the strong wind around before 8 in the morning and hearing and feeling how strong it was, shaking our roofs, you know, and that's when I realized, yes, this is it.
MORGAN: And Cristina, you with your two little girls, it must have been a very terrifying experience. Describe to me the power of this typhoon.
GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: Yes. My 14 and 10-year old girls.
MORGAN: And what was the feeling?
GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: Oh, the wind was -- I can describe this to on like -- it was very scary. The sound was like, sort of like, you know, like mad -- like it was mad and it was so loud and when you look outside, you couldn't see a thing. It was just nothing. And you could, you know, barely see the trees and the you knew that the trees are just like being pushed by -- everything was being pushed, you know, it was so scary.
So, but that was before the water came in. It was the wind. So, the ceilings were shaking. I didn't know that the roof had already flown off. So, we got scared, you know, I took my kids out of the room, out of the house because, you know, worried that some debris or something inside the roof that was falling might fall on our heads.
So I was trying to protect my kids. So, I went into -- I saw a car outside the house and I went into -- I brought my kids into the car initially. It didn't -- not knowing that the water was going to be coming in. So, I brought my kids into car and, you know, maybe to get some more protection to protect our heads from any debris that might hit us. So, after a few minute, I see this water gushing in, gushing in really fast. Not thinking that the water was going to be rising. I was thinking maybe just that, you know, a flood or a storm surge or -- it was rising. And then it was getting into almost half of the car that we were in. So, I realized, it's not safe to be here. Let's get out.
So I took my kids out we just, you know, my kids are swimmers. We live by the beach, so, they all know how to swim. And we were swimming together with my staff that was with us, and the driver, and all other people that were with us. We're just all helping each other and the water was just rising and rising with waves, waves like, you know, the water would push you out. All of a sudden, the cars that were there, we had like maybe five or six cars in there, floating, floating and the car is being pushed and we were -- the cars were like pushing almost like getting into us, into my kids and pushing us and -- so the boys that were there were trying to push the cars away because it might hit the cement and it might topple down but, you know, the house. And my crew and all of us. So they were trying to push until the water went so high. It reached the ceiling. So we were just there hanging on and trying to fight the waves that were pushing us out.
MORGAN: Absolutely terrifying. Martin, for people who want to help and I've asked this question earlier but you're in a great position to answer because you're actually there and your family have been exposed to this. What do you think is the most desperate need right now?
MARTIN ROMUALDEZ: Well, actually, the desperate need of course is food, water, shelter right now because all the homes are destroyed. No one has been spared. Our homes are destroyed. We know that these are on the way, not on the ground, but I believe the problem right now is the proper distribution. There's a serious problem in the distribution because a lot of material and equipment have already landed in Tacloban and it's being a big challenge just to get it out to the far-flung municipalities because this -- although hit Tacloban, the most populated city in the region, but we have municipalities in the far-flung areas that are similarly devastated and yet there is no access to clean water, food, medication, or shelter.
So, we really need to help out in the distribution, in clearing the roads, with the toppled power lines, the trees, debris, houses lethally strewn across, the pavements of the highways. So, we just have to get that going, but short of that, I believe an airdrop in these various municipalities in need what's in order because we can't wait. People have gone out with almost three days without anything, water, food, and medications. People are getting desperate. There's an exodus out of the storm ravaged areas and people are just trying to make their way out and it's causing a big, big jam on the main arteries that are used to actually get to these people.
So, it's grid lock in some areas. So, we really need to get the food, the equipment, the medication, the shelters out to these people.
MORGAN: We'll send and do what we can to help promote that it's obviously an ongoing devastating situation over there. We got details on screen now of how they can get hold to the Philippine Red Cross or e-mail them and please do help if you can. It's obviously very urgent situation. And Cristina Romualdez and Martin Romualdez, thank you both very much indeed. And Christina we're so glad that you and your children are OK after all that.
This is what looked like if a storm like Haiyan stuck America's east coast, absolutely massive. How worried should we be here? Joining me now, head to head debate with Roy Spencer, a former NASA Climate Studies Senior Scientist and Mark Hertsgaard, he's a journalist, author and environmental correspondent for The Nation.
Let me start with you Dr. Roy Spencer. They say that this is the biggest recorded tropical cyclone that's ever been recorded in history. What is that tell us coming on the back of Hurricane Sandy and other monster storms that we've seen. Is it really getting worse or is this a predictable weather pattern that recurs from generation to generation?
ROY SPENCER, FORMER NASA CLIMATE STUDIES SENIOR SCIENTIST: Well, first of all, this wasn't the biggest. Probably Typhoon Tip from 1979 was the biggest in terms of shear size and the lowest pressure in the center of the storm.
This one was probably up near the top for the highest peak wind speeds. They really don't know because we've suspended the flights of aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft into typhoons many years ago. So, their estimates of the wind speed in these systems is just based on the appearance of cloud-top temperatures, which are reasonably accurate for this kind of storm. But I think there's going to be a debate over exactly how strong the storm was. But it was one of the strongest.
Now on the subject of can we expect worse storms, you know, the consensus of opinion in the meteorological community and in the climate research community still on that one, as far as the effect on hurricanes and typhoons because so far we really haven't seen a long term trend. We thought we did in 2005 which was a very active year. And then, since then, global cyclone activity has dropped off considerably, and we're near record lowest globally. I mean the news hasn't been recording on the fact that we only had a couple of hurricanes this year in the Atlantic.
MORGAN: But Mark Hertsgaard there's an ongoing debate. It's a very vocal debate on both sides just to where the climate change is playing a part on this monster storms. Many scientists believe, many believe though that is not and that actually what you're seeing is no different to previous centuries. What is your view?
MARK HERTSGAARD, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Well, my view is that of a journalist to introduce a lot of scientist. And I would beg to differ when you say that many scientist believe it is not. The fact to the matter is that there's an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is manmade, it's real, it's happening now and it is going to produce far more powerful storms as we go forward. Now, is it too soon, we don't know yet exactly how we will -- the scientist will finally come out on this particular typhoon. How much it was cost by global warning. But at this point in 2013 because global warming is so advanced, every weather event on the earth has some relationship to that. And certainly all of the climate scientists and the consensus opinion that just came out again from the United Nations under governmental panel on climate change will lead us to expect exactly what we're seeing.
Last year with Hurricane Sandy, now the Typhoon Haiyan and on and on and on. We have overheated the atmosphere and we're going to be seeing far stronger storms. How much of the storm was because of global warning. Is it 10 percent? Is it 90 percent. That's something we need more scientific research input to find out.
But to deny that there some kind of connection is, at this point, I think every irresponsible that it's not too justice ...
MORGAN: OK. I want to...
HERTSGAARD: ... to the terrible suffering we're seeing on the air right now on your program.
MORGAN: Well, indeed. And let's play a clip here from George Clooney, the actor, who was talking about this today.
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: Do you have 99 percent of doctors who tell you, you are sick, and one percent that says "You're fine." You probably want to hang out with an --check it up for the 99, you know what I mean? The idea that we ignore -- that we're -- at some way involved in climate change is ridiculous. That's the worst thing that happens, you know, we clean up the earth a little bit.
MORGAN: Dr. Roy Spencer final word to you. I mean, isn't that a good point -- you can overcompensate, but what's the problem of that? Isn't under compensating, under reacting denying climate change in the end more dangerous?
SPENCER: Well, even though I'm a skeptic, I don't know of anyone that denies climate change. The climate has always changed. George Clooney's analogy to medical issues I think is misplaced because we have millions of examples of diseases that we've studied, that we know when they occur, what causes them, how to cure some of them, how not to cure some of them. In the case of global warning, we have one patient, the earth.
The earth is a little warmer right now. We're not exactly sure whether it's 100 percent due to mankind or 50 percent due to mankind, 50 percent due to nature and by chance. Today we have at least ...
HERTSGAARD: Mr. Spencer ...
SPENCER: ...( inaudible) out here.
HERTSGAARD: .... that is not true, sir. That is not true. You are misstating with facts. This is a science issue ... SPENCER: Which part is not true, Mark?
HERTSGAARD: You should not do that, sir -- to say that we don't know. Listen to what the IPC just said. IPCC just said in its report that humankind's activities are now responsible for most of this. I frankly don't know why, Dr. Spencer, I believe that you don't even agree that climate change is manmade last time I checked. And if you would revise your position I'd love to hear about it ...
SPENCER: Now, you're wrong about that.
HERTSGAARD: ... and to listen to you talk about climate change...
SPENCER: I believe that we don't know ...
HERTSGAARD: ... that manmade climate change ...
SPENCER: I don't believe that we know how much is manmade...
HERTSGAARD: ... you reject this 99...
SPENCER: ... versus natural.
HERTSGAARD: So you stand against the 97 percent of scientists who say this. And, Piers, I have to tell you as a journalist, you know, we don't talk to the back of ...
SPENCER: No, I'm part, Mark.
HERTSGAARD: ... scientist anymore. I mean...
SPENCER: I'm part of the 97 percent.
HERTSGAARD: I don't think that we should be talking to climate deniers about climate stories that is journalistically irresponsible.
SPENCER: Mark, did you know I'm one of the 97 percent you're talking about because that 97 percent statistics ...
HERTSGAARD: Well, correct me ...
SPENCER: ... included people who believe that some portion of climate is manmade. And I do believe some portion of it is.
HERTSGAARD: Do you think it's a very small portion, sir? Do you deny that you stand an opposition to the overwhelming scientific consensus on this? If so, you need to read more scientific papers, sir.
SPENCER: I got a feeling I have read more than you have, Mark.
HERTSGAARD: Well, I suspect you have but I think I have interviewed a lot more scientist than you have, sir, and it is -- I think ...
SPENCER: And I think based on your job which kind of scientist you interview because your job depends on the interviewing ...
SPENCER: ... it's only on one side of the story.
HERTSGAARD: See? This is the conspiracy thinking that you must retreat to in order to say in the year 2013 that climate change is not manmade happening now and causing great suffering in the Philippines, great suffering. And we have not done with this for 20 years ...
SPENCER: Let me explain to you that ....
HERTSGAARD: ... it's not even explained here...
SPENCER: ... most of the people...
HERTSGAARD: ... because of this kind of nonsense...
SPENCER: ... have died in tropical storms.
HERTSGAARD: ... talking about how there's no human finger prints on this. That is not what 97 percent of the scientist on this planet ...
HERTSGAARD: ... say.
SPENCER: No, that's not true.
HERTSGAARD: And, Piers, I repeat, journalistically this is malpractice to have on somebody pretending that this is 50 percent and 50 percent when nobody in the scientific community takes the view that climate change is not the lead to ...
MORGAN: OK. Well, Mark, listen.
HERTSGAARD: ... storm that's gone.
MORGAN. It's an interesting debate. I think it's actually journalistically malpractice to not have a fair debate actually, with all respect to you, Mark Hertsgaard. Well, thank you very much for the lecture on journalism. And Dr. Roy Spencer and Mark Hertsgaard. Thank you both very much.
When we come back, a storm burying Washington over ObamaCare. And later, ABC News Amy Robach's shocking diagnosis after having a mammogram live on television. I'll talk to another breast cancer survivor, CNN's own Zoraida Sambolin.
MORGAN: In terms some of our other big stories tonight, the nation honoring it's veterans as President Obama let a wreath of a (inaudible) in Arlington today. The Commander-In-Chief promising to provide support to veterans (inaudible) physical super storm is brewing the Wall Street Journal reports today that fewer than 50,000 people have successfully enrolled in ObamaCare on the federally-run exchange.
The Administration won't to confirm that number in (inaudible) ObamaCare is pretty awful. But just how bad is it for the White House well joining me now is Chief National Correspondent John Kings. So John the rumor is as going to the Wall Street Journal that just 50,000 people in America had so far enrolled into ObamaCare, if that is true, that is pretty appalling isn't it?
JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a dismal number Piers, the Administration, you know, won't confirm this numbers but they're not disputing them and they are supposed to put out their own numbers later this week and it sounds like they're just going to take that better pill once this week officially on the record if you will when they do that. But if you take those numbers, 50,000 on the Wall Street Journals says have signed up for the federal exchange and it's about twice that maybe 60,000 have signed up for the state exchanges in the dozen plus states that we know the numbers for those states on.
We got somewhere the ball park where 100,000 people and the Administration had hoped to have well and access to 500,000 people signed up by now. We know they wanted to have - they need 7 million by March as the big goal. And that the other somewhere at less than 10 percent of that or maybe just approaching 10 percent of that right now, the numbers don't lie Piers, that's a dismal start for a program. And it's not just designed of how dismal of start there I've been counting the numbers. The numbers of people signing up are the underpinning of the program, that's the financing of the program. It's also the credibility of the program, so they're in a ditch.
MORGAN: If these figures carry on that level, would you be buying any stock in Kathleen Sebelius?
KINGS: Look, there's no question the President is going to stay with her through this storm. He's not going to give the Republicans a body right now in part because she is in the middle of this problem and even though if she is responsible ultimately as a secretary, you know, the President has defended her saying she doesn't write the code for the website, she is not the person responsible for the second by second problems that they've had. But she is the President's person now. She sort of led the department into this ditch and it's her job to lead it out.
How long does she last, that's a question a conversation between the President and Secretary Sebelius part of the calculation there, Piers is if he let her go now, or she walked away now, he would have to re-nominate somebody -- nominate somebody new and have them confirm by the United States Senate. The way you have Republicans loaded for bare and a lot of nervous democrats. Good luck with that.
MORGAN: What will happen in terms of this deadline job because clearly if the numbers are this low, they're going to have to extend it out? They can't just expect the vast majorities of Americans to start paying fines because the system has been so deeply flawed.
KINGS: The last point you make on the fine is the most likely the easiest thing politically for the Administration to do to extend the deadline another year, another six months whatever it is. Why would you wouldn't pay a fine yet if you haven't signed up? The Administration right now Piers, is resisting all calls for that saying, "Give us more time. Give us another month to see how we do at the website."
They do insist and they've been putting out some metrics to show that yes it was pretty horrible at the beginning and it's still not right but it's getting better. Their hope is that as exponentially as they improve the website, as they improve other communication that the numbers will get better very progressively and they keep insisting, March is the real deadline, you know, not this dog days of October and now in to November when you have this dismal beginning of the process.
However, that's the policy side of it and the process side of it and the process side of it. Multiply dead set against this program. The President's problem now is that you have a dozen democrats in the Senate and look for that number to increase or demanding at least some kind of change or some kind of investigation. And the Republicans are playing this pretty smartly maybe cynically, Piers but smartly.
Where are they spending their money? They're going to run ads in all of those states with the Democratic Senators up next year. Try to drive the ObamaCare support numbers down, increase the concern, the panic whatever you want to call it among those Senators, knowing that the Democrats, never mind the Republicans, the members of the President's own party will be demanding either extensions or delays or other changes to the law.
MORGAN: Yeah, I would imagine that Senator Ted Cruz for one will be licking his lips at those numbers tonight. John King thank you very much indeed.
Another news tonight a shocking breast cancer diagnosis for ABC's Amy Robach. The day she told viewers on Good Morning America that a mammogram she had on the show revealed she has breast cancer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY ROBACH, AMERICAN TELEVISION JOURNALIST AND CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: I've decided to take one for the team, this was for me about public service. Because, you know, I didn't really want to have that mammogram. And just a few short weeks later, words I never expected to hear. I was told that I have breast cancer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Amy Robach will undergo a double mastectomy on Thursday, something my next guest knows all about. Zoraida Sambolin, is a co- anchor on CNN's Early Start. She's had a double mastectomy just a few months ago. This must have brought it all back straight to you Zoraida, what did you think when you heard what happened? ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CO HOST, EARLY START, CNN: Well, you know, I actually got a text from a girlfriend of mine who told me, he said, "Have you heard?" And so I instantly went online to get some more information and when I saw Amy's face as she was talking about this process and telling her loved ones that's what brought it all back. I really felt for her at that moment because that was such a complicated time to tell the people that you love that you have breast cancer.
MORGAN: From what you went through, what is the hardest thing to deal with and how do you deal with it?
SAMBOLIN: Gosh, there are so many different things. I guess it depends on at what point we're talking here. Early on it's just the diagnosis, because so many things go through your mind and she has children, I have children and that's the first thing you think about is your kids and you think about living and you think about dying a lot.
And so, you've got to go and work through all of those emotions. I'd say that was the toughest time, was thinking how am I going to tell them and then, you know, how am I going to survive this? What's my game plan to survive this?
MORGAN: Incredibly, you've carried on being a great mom, working ridiculously hard as I'm sure Amy will too. Is that part of the process getting back, fighting it? You know, continuing, trying to live a normal life, how easy is that to do?
SAMBOLIN: I think that, you know, I called cancer a bit of a blessing, because it puts your life in perspective. You think about things that you never really thought about before. So, from that standpoint, I think it's a good thing, it made me hyper focused on what was really important and valuable. But I have to tell you, the person that I really did focus on was getting better and stronger.
And so, making that decision that she did to have the double mastectomy and then to have the reconstruction, it was a long process and it is a long healing process as well. So, that's really kind of where you are focused and then you think about work later and luckily she's going to have probably the same experience that I did here and that was work, telling take your time. Focus on you, get stronger and better.
MORGAN: It is for many women an ultimate nightmare in many ways to have a double mastectomy. What's the reality like?
SAMBOLIN: You know, I would imagine it's different for different women. For me, it was a decision that came pretty easily. You know, at first, I wanted the double mastectomy immediately because I wanted the cancer gone and all I could think about was I need to sleep at night. And so I only had a cancer diagnose actually in one breast in my left breast and I chose to have a double mastectomy because there were some areas of concern in the other breast.
And it ended up being a really good decision for me because I ended up with cancer in both breast. But, the reconstruction is something that I thought I wanted right away and I did have it right away. It's been a process and something that you have to get used to and that I never really expected. I never expected that that would be a challenge as well.
MORGAN: Final question, how are you feeling?
SAMBOLING: I feel great, my prognosis is excellent and I chanted a bit when they said, "Will you come and join Piers tonight?" Because I think that Amy's story really kind of crystallizes for women that you have to get a mammogram. When you turn 40 years of age, that is the best gift you can give yourself and you can give your family.
Because look at what happened in her situation right, they find a cancer and hopefully they have found an early cancer and she'll live a long beautiful life.
MORGAN: Zoraida stay with me, and when we come back I want to talk somebody else who knows about dealing with cancer with (inaudible). Dr. Kristi Funk, she's the surgeon who operated on Angelina Jolie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST AC360: I'm Anderson Cooper. This is CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY ROBACH, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: I had cancer the whole time we were seating in that office. And I was saying I don't have a connection to the disease. Should I be the one to do this?
And wow, boy...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Amy Robach with Good Morning America today, women across the country was shocked to hear a cancer diagnosis.
Right now CNNs Ms. Zoraida Sambolin had a double mastectomy herself a few months ago, also Dr. Kristi Funk, Angelina Jolie's cancer surgeon and the Founder of the Pink Lotus Breast Center.
Welcome to you Dr. Funk. Obviously you've got two very high profile TV News people exactly that had same thing with you within the space of the few months here.
How important is early to detection and immediate action?
KRISTI FUNK, DOCTOR, FOUNDER OF THE PINK LOTUS BREAST CENTER: You know, prevention does not yet exist. So, early detection is our best defense against this disease and our only chance at a cure. So, it's incredibly important. And by early detection we need mammography beginning every year at age 40. Self breast exams every single month and clinical breast exams every year with your doctor.
MORGAN: Angelina Jolie of course she had a double mastectomy after positive BRCA test, not an actual positive diagnosis, so that was very preemptive if you'd like.
Would you recommend that for all people? It's obviously is such a huge move for any women to do this. But do you think it's essential in cases like that?
FUNK: Absolutely not. I recommend things on an individualized basis. For Angelina her breast cancer risk was up to an 87 percent lifetime risk which was just too high for her to take one day at a time, it's not necessarily the recommendations to all women particularly when you individualize that you find out what her breast might mean to her in terms of sexuality and breastfeeding, has she had her children yet, is she in stable relationship. A lot of factors come into play before women choose mastectomy if ever. Surveillance is also highly useful, it's not prevention though.
So, BRCA positive women under a high risk surveillance will still have position lymph nodes, 30 percent of the time when they are diagnosed.
MORGAN: Zoraida, interestingly you drew strength from Angelina's announcement, Amy was very open about it as she drew strength from Robin Roberts in what she'd been through. It's obviously not a club Zoraida that anybody wants to be a member of, but how important is it for public figures do you think to be as courageous as you have been and others in that position like Angelina?
SAMBOLIN: Well, it was Angelina Jolie who gave me the courage. I was coming into work that morning and her op-ed piece was, you know, front page news for us. And so, we led with it and it allowed me to have a voice because I have been struggling for weeks trying to figure out, how am I going to tell the viewers that I have chosen to have a double mastectomy and that I'm going to be out for a while, it's not casual conversation that comes up with your co-anchor in the morning. And so, she allowed me to be able to talk about this decision and, you know, I was really hesitant because it's very private, she talks about sexuality which really hit me hard because I was struggling with that. I was embarrassed to be struggling with that Piers because I thought, my breast really, they shouldn't have matter this much to me. I've had my kids, I've breastfed, they've served, you know, their function in life yet I really did struggle and those words in particular really helped me talk about this. And it was really healing to be able to talk.
MORGAN: Dr. Funk finally for you. I mean have you spoken to Angelina recently? How is she doing and how is she coping having announced to all this to the world with the reality of what her life now is?
FUNK: You know, I think she said it best in her op-ed, "She feels no less of a women." So, we all know she's in Australia directing an amazing movie right now and she's busy and back to life as usual.
MORGAN: It's good to talk to you Dr. Funk and to you Zoraida thank you very much indeed, ridiculous early. So, what time do you getting up tomorrow?
SAMBOLIN: 1:30, really soon here.
MORGAN: You know, you may stay here. Good to see you. When we come back the latest on the typhoon disaster in the Philippines, I've talked to that country's Ambassador to the U.S. when asking about reports the death toll maybe as high as 10,000 people.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've experienced a lot of typhoon but this is the worst thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people were dead, our friends are dead, some of our family members are dead. So, it's really devastating.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am the only survivor of the family and I want to know them if they are still alive.
(END VIDO CLIP)
MORGAN: Continued rescue efforts begin in -- beginning all over the Philippines now. The survivors of Typhoon Hiayan are trying to pick up the pieces.
With me now is Jose Cuisia, he's the Philippine Ambassador to the United States.
Welcome to you Mr. Ambassador.
This is a truly awful tragedy has befallen the Philippines. Can you give us any indication at the moment of the scale of this disaster?
JOSE CUISIA, PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: OK. Good evening, Piers, and thank you for having me.
The official report coming from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Commission is that 1,774 dead, there are about 660,000 people that have been displaced from their homes. Over 9 million people have been affected by the typhoon and thousands are -- have been injured both of the hospitals in the provincial areas are overflowing. There's a shortage of medicines and food as well as drinking water. But the government is -- of course, working with local government officials to address this problem.
MORGAN: And obviously there are a number of typhoons every season in the Philippines, is this the worst that you can ever remember?
CUISIA: Yes. This has been the strongest typhoon ever as far as I can remember. We have about 20 to 24 a year but we've not seen anything like this in the past.
MORGAN: And are you getting the international help that you need and is it coming fast enough?
CUISIA: Oh yes, we have 22 countries that have already pledged financial assistance, medical assistance, rescue and relief volunteers, temporary shelters like tents and so on. But of course, we also have to be able to bring these supplies, materials from Manila to Tacloban, which is one of the hardest hit cities and the airport is only partially open.
Although, most of the other airports have been reopened. So, we need to move the materials and supplies even faster.
MORGAN: Mr. Ambassador, there are 3.4 million people of Filipino descent living in the United States. Many will be desperate for information. What is the best way that they can get that information?
CUISIA: Well, we're urging them to contact the Google website that has been set up for missing persons, the embassy and the consulate also is providing numbers that they can contact in case they want to get information from us. We have also a unit that has been set up by the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is 24/7. So, they can contact that unit for information that they may need.
MORGAN: Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much for joining me and our hearts go out and our prayers to all the people in the Philippines tonight.
Thank you very much.
CUISIA: Thank you very much, Piers.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight, Anderson Cooper reports live from Philippines right now.