Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Will Be Going to Texas On Tuesday; Seven Suspected Storm Related Deaths in Texas; Stranded Pets Rescued from Flooding. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 28, 2017 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We are back with breaking news talking about the floodwaters of Texas that continue to rise in the Houston area. Police are urging volunteers with a boat to help. Help the stranded folks who live there, hundreds of highways and roadways in Houston are closed to make the professional search and rescue efforts really tough. CNN's Tom Foreman is with me on more of this. And I know listening to Chad, there's so much more rain on the way. Is there any water receding in these areas?

[15:35:00] TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is all about volume. It's about rain and numbers of people. Think about this, if we talk about the general area down here, 13 million people are under some kind of flood threat related to this storm system. That is about 4 percent of the U.S. population. They are feeling pressure from the rainfall and in some cases as much rain as we normally get in the entire year.

And this is the problem, if you look at Houston, a big metroplex here, more than half the people here are in this area in general. Like any sort of metroplex with lots of roads coming in and out, many roads around here, but take a look right in this area. This part of the city, right now it has around 350 places where roads are under water. And you can see this, Brooke, there's not one major artery coming in or cutting through here that does not have an area where this significant standing water is on the road.

That's why when we talk about all the things that have been going on here, it's not just a matter of the water falling down and people being in their houses and needing to be rescued. But this is the result. We have been watching the pictures all the time. Essentially what happens is the roads this circumstance, because Houston is very flat, turn into bayous. This is where the water drains and it gets impossible to get out there to help those who need the help. The volume of water and the volume of people, and as long as the rain keeps falling, those people remain trapped. The job just keeps moving forward and forward and they have to get more and more boats and try to deal with it.

BALDWIN: On the note of volume, I understand there could be some manmade flooding affecting some folks as well. Explain that for us.

FOREMAN: This is what Chad was talking about a minute ago. If you talk about the reservoirs here that Chad was mentioning on this end, the purpose of the reservoir was to keep water from flowing all the way down to town and do a lot of damage here. They thought, we'll catch water here and control it. But as the city has spread out and as there are more and more people, it's very flat. So, when you have this much rain, essentially the water just has nowhere to go.

So, they caught it here for a while to try to prevent flooding down here, but then as it began to wash back up to here and to actually get into other neighborhoods, they have to let some go. So, when we talk about manmade flooding, that's what we're saying. When you let that go, whether you hold it or not, it's got to go somewhere and potentially that means more areas down here getting water, even as they wait for it to recede. Until this rain stops, that's the main problem. There's just nowhere for it to go. And with the roads all closed, there's nowhere for all the people to go either.

BALDWIN: Tom, thank you. I have another guest standing by who did not hesitate to evacuate her home in Dickinson, Texas, just before Harvey made landfall. In large part, because heartbreakingly, she's been through this before. She lost her home during hurricane Katrina back in 2005 and chose to locate to Houston after that storm. Today she's driving away from the rising floodwaters, six months pregnant and with her 18-month son in tow. Kate is with me now on the phone. Kate, my goodness, thank you so much for jumping on the phone with me to share your story during a stressful time. Are you en route? Where are you headed, to New Orleans?

KATE QUARELLA BEARD, KATRINA SURVIVOR, EVACUATED DURING HARVEY: I am. We actually just walked in to my parents' home in New Orleans about five minutes ago.

BALDWIN: What a warm, dry, welcome for you with your parents.


BALDWIN: Do you know anything about your home back in Dickinson?

BEARD: Well, we heard yesterday, everything was -- all the cars on the street were totally destroyed. We hadn't received any water in the homes as of yesterday afternoon. But just 20 minutes ago we heard we were under a mandatory evacuation as of 2:00 p.m. today.

BALDWIN: So, thus you're with your parents.

BEARD: In Dickinson, Texas, we're under a mandatory evacuation. So, I'm not sure what is going on. We just found out and are trying to put everything together and process it as it all comes in.

[15:40:00] BALDWIN: You talk about processing it, I read a quote from earlier today saying, I can't cry anymore. How are you feeling?

BEARD: Today is better. When we got up at 2:00 a.m. yesterday morning, we watched the news for 14 hours. And it was literally like watching everything that I had already been through one time happen right again in front of my eyes. So, it was really hard.

BALDWIN: Yes. I can't imagine. So where were you, you were in Louisiana 12 years ago tomorrow when Katrina hit.?

BEARD: Yes, that's correct.

BALDWIN: The same movie playing out, at least, though, you're OK.

BEARD: Yes. That's all that is important. I can say one thing, things are replaceable, family members and being safe is top priority, which is why I did not hesitate to leave when I did.

BALDWIN: What do you need? How can people help folks like you, Kate?

BEARD: For me, I'm OK right now. I have tons of support in New Orleans with my family and friends.

BALDWIN: But there are numerous people in Dickinson and in the Houston area who are going to need help, how can people help folks like you, Kate?

BEARD: For me, I'm OK right now. I have tons of support in New Orleans with my family and friends. But there are numerous people in Dickinson and in the Houston area who are going to need way more help than I'll ever need. They have tons of shelters listed on Facebook, even the Cajun Navy who came out there to rescue, has listed numerous places and phone numbers that you can call. You know, we had so much help down here. And I know it will just turn around and get it back 100 percent again.

BALDWIN: Did you ever think you would be returning to New Orleans after Katrina because you would be fleeing a storm in Houston?

Beard: Never.

BALDWIN: Kate, for people who don't live in areas of the country that so totally are susceptible to flooding, I think people have trouble understanding why folks choose not to evacuate or how they become stranded in their homes. Can you just talk a little bit about that and just how -- talk about how quickly the water rushes in?

BEARD: It is so -- it happens so fast. And you're literally in moments of panic. When somebody says, mandatory evacuation, it's not a joke. It shouldn't be taken lightly. And you should leave right away. Take the most important documents you have and the most memorable things that you need that you want to keep forever, and leave. And leave everything else that can be replaced behind. I don't think many people, even in my little city in Dickinson, I was made fun of for leaving because, I quote, in my area, it's never flooded before.

No rain comes in the house ever. And then we had people being rescued off their roof. So, like I said, after Katrina, it made me a realist. I no e anything can happen at any given time, so I take zero chances. And I think that anyone who stays, you know, should realize the mistakes they made and learn from this.

BALDWIN: Last question, Kate, what is your message to people who like you 12 years ago will lose everything? BEARD: We went through it once and came back stronger than ever. And

I know that being in the Houston area will have many people who will reach out to us and help again and rebuild and come back even stronger. I also said in another interview I did that race, religion, none of it matters. Everyone works together to help everyone. And the community literally will be bigger and stronger and prevail over this.

BALDWIN: Stay safe in New Orleans. It's a special city. We'll let your parents take care of you and spoil you. And good luck with baby number two, Kate.

BEARD: I'm planning on it. Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much. Kate Quarella Beard on the phone for me in New Orleans because her home is not a good situation in Dickinson, Texas, just southeast of Houston. In less than an hour, President Trump is expected to answer some questions on Harvey's aftermath during a joint news conference at the White House. We are live there with a preview of what he might say. And also, a look ahead to his big trip in Texas tomorrow with the first lady, Melania Trump.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. Special coverage here in the wake of hurricane Harvey. And all of this devastating flooding and rainfall that many cities along the coastline are facing. Just a couple minutes from now, President Trump will be speaking publicly for the first time on this disaster during a joint news conference with the leader of Finland. Here are the two world leaders greeting one another moments ago just outside the White House. The president had been voicing his thoughts on Harvey so far through Twitter. At least 20 messages on the storm. Several of them just thanking rescuers and emergency officials.

He also tweeted this Sunday, quote, I will be going to Texas as soon as that trip can be made without causing disruption. The focus must be life and safety. And so now we know the president and the first lady are headed to the flooded areas of Texas tomorrow. We'll go to the White House to my colleague, Sara Murray. Sara, we'll have to interrupt both of us in a second as we get the video of the president sitting through with the president of Finland talking about Harvey. Tell me what's on tap for tomorrow for them.

SARA MURRAY: Well, that's right. The president and first lady Melania Trump will be visiting Corpus Christi. They are trying to visit areas where the search and recovery missions are no longer underway. They don't want to interfere with that and draw resources away from that. Look, this is a big moment for this president. This is the first time he's facing a natural disaster. We haven't heard much from him aside from on Twitter. And that video you're going to get, those are the first remarks we see from the president on camera addressing this situation, talking about the historic flooding. In a little preview of the video we're about to get, he also mentioned he's not only going to go to Texas on Tuesday, but that he's hoping to make a trip to Texas as well as potentially to Louisiana over the weekend, maybe on Saturday.

BALDWIN: Here we go, Sarah.

[15:50:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be going to Texas tomorrow. I look very much forward to it. Things are being handled really well. The spirit is incredible of the people. The coordination between all of the different services, as you know, has been going very well. Great respect for the governor, he's done an incredible job. And I look forward to the trip so I will be going there tomorrow so we are leaving at about 8:30 in the morning, we don't know exactly what sections. We'll be notifying you soon, but we'll be traveling through certain parts and we may actually go back on Saturday. Depending on where the storm goes, we may also go to Louisiana on Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you surprised at the magnitude?

TRUMP: It's the biggest ever. It's historic. It's really like Texas, if you think about it. But it is a historic amount of water in particular. There's never been anything like it. So, the people are handling it amazingly well, and the people of Texas, as you know, have really persevered. And when you watch the spirit and the enthusiasm and helping each other, the teamwork, it's really been something for people to say -- even in Finland they would say it's been pretty incredible what they've been able to do.

SAULI NIINISTO, PRESIDENT, FINLAND: We've noticed that, yes. It's wonderful.

TRUMP: We'll be leaving tomorrow at about 8:30 in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you done anything special with congress or the cabinet?

TRUMP: We've done quite a few cabinet meetings to make sure everything is coordinated. We're dealing with congress. As you know, it's going to be a very expensive situation because we want to take care of the people of Texas and Louisiana when that happens. We'll see what happens with the flow. The flow seems to be heading toward Louisiana right now as we speak. But we'll be there for the people of Louisiana also very much so. We'll see you tomorrow, and I guess you'll see both of us in a couple of minutes in the east room. Thank you all very much.

BALDWIN: We're going to tape that joint news conference on "The Lead" here in a couple minutes where you'll hear him address Harvey a little more off the top. Just to put a button on our conversation, the president leaves tomorrow morning for Texas, and he alluded to a second possible visit next weekend.

MURRAY: Reporter: that's right, it's going to be a test to see not only how the president interacts not only with victims of the ground. He is a commander in chief along with a comforter in chief. Does he go to congress and ask for additional relief? People are worried that the FEMA funds will run out. This is obviously a huge flood, hugely expensive as the president pointed out there, so there will be a number of challenges for him as he goes through the various chapters of dealing with a catastrophe. As you heard from local leaders on the ground there, a catastrophe they expect will take a very, very long time to deal with.

BALDWIN: Sara Murray, thank you from the White House. Quick break. We'll be back in a minute.


BALDWIN: As we continue the follow-up along the Texas coastline, we have sign lot of pets be rescued from the deadly floodwaters. A lot of them alongside their owners, dogs and cats weathering the storm, cold, hungry, scared and alone.


AARON JAYJACK, FOUND DISPLACED DOG: Hey, guys, I'm on the way back from Austin to Victoria, Texas. I picked up a passenger here. I stopped for gas and this guy was following me down the road. When I stopped, he jumped in the jeep. I really need help trying to find this guy's owner. We'll call him Harvey, but I need help trying to find his owner, so if you can share, tweet, whatever you got to do to help. I found him in Runge, Texas. R-u-n-g-e. Thanks.


BALDWIN: Hundreds of animals are now getting help at local shelters. Officer Shannon Sims is the assistant director of the shelter and he is with me now. Shannon, thanks so much for taking a couple minutes. We were talking so much about people, but pets matter. As a dog owner, I would be just debilitated if, you know, you lose your little cat, dog, whatever. Tell me some of your stories.

SHANNON SIMS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, SAN ANTONIO ANIMAL CARE SERVICES: We're seeing lots of animals come in. We've taken in approximately 200 animals so far and expecting a lot more coming down the pike, obviously, as the circumstances worsen in Houston and folks start to kind of migrate from there. We're starting to see a lot of folks that really -- obviously they're very attached to their animals. From an animal care services perspective in the city of San Antonio, we're trying to do our very best that that's one less thing that residents in this place have to worry about.

We've actually had folks who have had absolutely no relationship with other people they're bringing in, so they're bringing in these individuals that they found on Facebook that need help, along with their pets and everything, and kind of helping these folks get back on their feet. So, it's good to see kind of the spirit of Texas and staying together and working together as a team really shine through.

BALDWIN: How, then, Shannon, will you get the message out? People's priorities are their lives, getting out of their homes, getting rescued, but how do you get the message out for people to then find their pets again?

SIMS: Well, the animals that are coming here, we're documenting them very, very meticulously, making sure each animal has an id, each person has an id. There's wristbands we're putting on the pets to make sure the right pet gets back to the right owner, and again, really just making sure they don't have to worry about that and making sure they get their life back together from being displaced.

BALDWIN: What are your biggest, most immediate needs?

SIMS: Realistically, the city of San Antonio and the first responders have done a fantastic job. As far as from a perspective of helping this stay under control, really reach out and help an individual whether you know them or not. This is the time to reach out to a neighbor, be good citizens. We'll definitely take care of those evacuees and their animals. The folks that can't get to us are the ones that need the most help from their neighbors.

BALDWIN: Officer Shannon Sims, assistant director there at San Antonio Animal Care Services, thank you for all you're doing. I appreciate it and I'm sure those pet owners do as well. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me here. Special coverage continues in Washington. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts right now.