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Children Reunited Again with Their Father; Search and Rescue Missions are Still Ongoing; Unity in the Midst of Calamities. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 30, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: They're just one, they're just two of the people across the flood zone in desperate need of help tonight.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Two of those people in need, children in Port Arthur separated from their father in the storm. Here are the names. Fourteen-old Jacoby Stewart, a student at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and his sister 10-year-old Destiny. Destiny attends Lucian Elementary School.
Now according from CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital, the children showed up at the hospital seeking shelter after they were separated from their father, their father is Stacey Stewart. If anyone have seen Stacey Stewart and you know anything about this family and you can help, please call this number. That number is 409-899-7171. Again that number 409-899-7171.
Destiny Stewart and Jacoby Stewart. They cannot find their father and we're trying to reunite them and find out where they're father is.
We're going to have someone from the hospital to join us, hopefully. We've been reaching out to anyone who can help these kids. So please, please, if you have any information contact them or you can contact us through social media and we will certainly try to get you in contact with the right people.
Right now I want to get to the ground as quick as we can. Anderson Cooper is live for us. Anderson, you see those, you're in Houston right now. The rain has stopped falling but the need certainly continues now. The governor says the worst is not over.
But I mean, story after story of survival as you heard those two kids separated from their father, it's just one tragedy after another.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: Yes, I mean, I think a lot of people when they saw that, you know, it wasn't raining in Houston today, kind of thought well, maybe the worst is over. But there are still a lot of rescues that are taking place. There are still parts of Houston that are under water.
There are still some areas of Houston where the water is dissipating and other parts of neighborhoods where the waters actually have been rising. They are closer to some reservoirs where they've actually released water.
Even in this area that I'm in right now we're waiting for an elderly couple who called for help, called their nephew for help about an hour and a half ago. He ran over here. He came over in a vehicle and asked some of the rescuers who were here behind me to go out and get the couple.
So they left about an hour or so ago, it's quite a distance in this water. The conditions are kind of difficult in some of this deeper areas where the water is very deep far away from the main strip. So we're waiting for them to come out.
But the needs are still very great here and we're really only kind of in the beginning of this. Yes, you know, some of the waters dissipating and we're seeing fewer rescue operations going on in Houston itself.
But the real toll of this, Don, as you well know will not be known for quite a while. The real cost of it. I'm not talking about the monetary cost, that's obviously going to be determined later on as the recovery efforts fall into place but the human cost of this storm is still not known.
You know, I was talking to the sheriff, the chief or the head sheriff in Harris County today, we were out in a boat together. And he was saying, look, until all the -- until the floodwater is gone you can't go back into some of these homes, you can't make secondary checks on homes.
So the actual death toll is just not known and it won't be until quite some time until the water is gone and there's full accounting. I think the two kids' stories you told tonight, it just gives you a sense of the confusion that exist on the ground. There are people who are missing, there are people who can't find their loved ones. There's not really a central organized system for that. People weren't registering about where they were going to go.
So the people, I asked the sheriff today, what do you do if you're missing someone. They said you just have to basically contact each shelter and try to see if the person is in that shelter. It's a difficult process and there's a long, long road ahead.
LEMON: Anderson can you talk to us because we say there's tragedy after tragedy. But you know, I think one of the good thing about this and we have seen at least is that the spirit of the people that you're encountering there. Many of these rescuers are civilian rescuers.
COOPER: Absolutely. I mean, that's one of the incredible things I think we have all been witnessing over the last couple of days and I saw it today. I'm in the water today. You know, people in the boats here right now their folks from the state maritime division, but there's also civilian volunteers.
I talked to a young man who bought a boat two days ago. He's not even from here, he saw what's happening on television, bought a boat, and brought it here and he's been out in the water trying to help people i ways large and small. And so you see that time and time again.
And you know, there's folks driving around in monster trucks because they're able to go into deep water and where, you know, bring out large numbers of people at a time. So, there's so many stories of people bonding together, neighbors helping neighbors, but also, you know, strangers helping people that they don't even know. And there is this sense of community that you feel on the ground. It is one of the extraordinary things I think we've seen in Houston and elsewhere.
[22:05:06] LEMON: Anderson Cooper has been covering this for us. Anderson, thank you so much. Again, I want to put up those pictures again. These are the two children that we were telling you about because it's important. I mean, these are the youngest of the hurricane victims.
Port Arthur, two kids separated from their father in the storm. And that's according to the CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital in Port Arthur. They showed up at the hospital seeking shelter.
Both Port Arthur and Beaumont are experiencing catastrophic flooding. Their father is Stacey Stewart. If anyone has any information on Stacey Stewart, if you know these kids a member of the family if you can help up with them call the number you see on the screen 409-899- 7171.
And just so, you know, we like to -- you know, we like to stay away from numbers but just so you know the toll of this, 28 people confirmed dead so far. And then there are undetermined deaths that they still have not counted yet.
So, and as Anderson said, they can't go back into some of these homes because of the flooding and they fear the death toll will rise, let's hope it doesn't. But in these cases we often find that it does.
I want to bring in now Brian Todd, he's out in the rescue boat in the floodwaters. Brian is in Houston as well. So, Brian, you're out, you were with a search and rescue boat tonight. Tell us what you're seeing.
BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Don, Anderson a moment ago mentioned these neighborhoods where the water is still rising even after the brunt of the storm has passed. This has been one of those neighborhoods for much of the day. This is the neighborhoods just west of Houston, there are other adjacent neighborhoods who are in here that had this happen to them.
And this was the result of the controlled release of water from that Addicks reservoir which is not far from here. That flooded the Buffalo Bayou but then it spilled over into this neighborhood called (Inaudible) Lakeside Forest and Walnut Bend adjacent neighborhoods.
We were in these neighborhoods all day today on an airboat and on a high-water vehicle going around. And basically, these are private rescue teams as we were with the last couple of days. These were pulling people out of homes, knocking on doors to see if people wanted to be rescued. Some did elect to stay. But others, I mean, I can tell you the water behind me is relatively shallow now, but back in these neighborhoods the water was chest deep, and sometimes deeper. It was very treacherous.
There were these labyrinths of apartment buildings over here a long way away from any dry ground and the water was about chest deep. The only way you were going to get out of one of those apartment complexes is if in an airboat or somebody in a private boat come by and happen to knock on your door.
You could not walk out, you obviously could drive out so you were stranded there if you elected to stay. And some did but many were plucked out. And we in the boat that I was in, my estimate we probably rescued about 20 people today including children, animals, just families taken out of here on these private air boats.
Also Don, a bit of a law enforcement situation was developing here. We were with one of the volunteers, who is actually a DEA agents and he ventured into a like, a street where we were heavily flooded but he noticed about four teenagers going door to door knocking on doors and telling elderly and other people hey, there's a mandatory evacuation where we know there's never been a mandatory evacuation.
And these DEA agents said he warned those kids because he thought they were trying to kid people to leave their homes so that they could go in and ransack them and so he warned them off. So that's something that law enforcement, Don, has got be looking out for tonight as well in some of these really tough hit neighborhoods.
LEMON: Absolutely. You were in a flooded neighborhood today, Brian, where the waters -- the water was rising even after the rain stop so people thought they were able -- they were clear and that they could return.
TODD: Don, they thought they had dodged a bullet. In a lot of these neighborhoods, you know, after the brunt of the storm passed they weren't too badly flooded but it was that controlled release of water from that Addicks reservoir plus the, you know, the added flooding in the Buffalo Bayou it just overwhelmed this place. And most of these people were taken by complete surprise.
They were telling us that the water started to rise in their homes at about 1 o'clock this morning. And then they had to make this quick decisions about what to do, it was pitch black. I mean, just being here now it's a little eerie. I mean, you got a street light behind me that's on but much of this neighborhood is just pitch black with a lot of water still left here, Don.
LEMON: Brian Todd in Houston. Brian, I want you to standby, we'll get back to you.
I want to get to CNN's Martin Savidge. He was flying with the navy today witness air rescues across the flood zone. Good evening to you, Martin. You were up in the U.S. Navy in the helicopter all day today watching these incredible rescues, tell me what you saw.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, most of the aviation assets that were being flown today were down in the Port Arthur and the Beaumont area, that's where the real crisis was for air rescue. So, yes, it's been about four hours flying in a U.S. Navy Seahawk, it's essentially a black hawk. And we had a crew of four navy people and one, U.S. air force pararescue.
[22:10:04] Some of the most remarkable military action I had ever watched and all of it was to save lives. This aircraft and a lot of other ones that were flying in the air, they're flying at very low altitude working at a very tight conditions there, right there at tree top level.
And going into these neighborhoods and rescuing people who had been trapped for days and still are in fear as the waters continue to rise down there, I have to say that the way that they can handle these helicopters, and then you had the pararescue swimmer and the paramedic both go down there three eye and then they get hoisting these families up, in most cases it was very young children and it was also parents and adults.
So, and you looked at them as they got back into the helicopter and the relief on their faces was just something I'll never forget. Really remarkable.
LEMON: Martin Savidge covering the storm down for us in College Station, Texas. Martin, thank you so much. I appreciate that.
Now you just heard rescues are still underway in the flood zone. Thousands of people have been save from their flooded homes, their cars and their businesses. And joining me now, a man that was rescued from a rooftop, from the roof of his home in Port Arthur, Texas. And then he stayed to help his neighbor. Gaelon Phillips, he joins me by phone. Gaelon, how are you doing?
GAELON PHILLIPS, RESCUED FROM FLOOD: I'm doing well, sir.
LEMON: Yes. Talk to me about what you went through today.
PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, everybody who'e seen my Facebook, I was just, you know, going through everything the same thing that everybody in Port Arthur was going through today. A disaster really going through flooded -- our homes being flooded in -- about 6 or 7 inches, and it's the whole yard, everybody's yard in the street, being covered and flooded in water. I say to about probably 40 inches, maybe if not more at times. Just really wanted to get out the home before, you know, things get worse, so.
LEMON: Yes, so you and your family and your dog went up to the attic, as I understand. And then what happened?
PHILLIPS: We went up to the attic and I got on the roof. Well, actually I got on the roof before we went to the attic.
LEMON: And by the way, we're looking at the video this is part of your rescue, this is one of the -- did this helicopter save you? PHILLIPS: No, actually that helicopter did not save me. The
helicopter came down over my host and let down a coast guard. And the coast guard (AUDIO GAP) I got my mom on the roof before he got (Inaudible). I think I was going to go first. He came down and he talked to my mom told her that they had got a call about a man with a -- some sort of brain disease and I think he also had low blood pressure or something like that.
And so at that time they were doing, you know, of course, priority, in which that was -- he needed help way faster than we did. We were -- you know we weren't flooded out but we needed to get out the house but this was an elderly man and he was also sick.
So, excuse me, the helicopter, he told us that he left and he went on and he took care of that man and then after that I think he also probably took care of another elderly person, because behind my house in that area it's a lot of elderly people, so they actually picked up about probably like three or four people before hovering back over my house. And by that time my uncle had pulled up in a boat in the front yard so I came off the roof and I got in a boat with him.
LEMON: So all these people are they up on the roof, are they in their attics?
PHILLIPS: Yes, excuse me. My mother was in the attic, my stepfather was still downstairs getting stuff ready to leave. I was upstairs, I mean, I was on the roof of course.
LEMON: And now you're rescuing people?
PHILLIPS: Yes, sir. That was my, really that was my plan before I needed rescue. When I've seen people looking in Twitter and Instagram that needed help, I want to save them. But I called my uncle -- well, I've seen my sister make a post saying my uncle had a boat but I had already see.
You know, of course, I live -- I actually live in Houston but I was out of town, fortunately this weekend. I do music so I was in California this weekend, so I didn't experience Harvey in Houston. But I just so happen to come home to my hometown Port Arthur in case (Inaudible) out here.
[22:14:55] So, yes I came home into Harvey of course, and just when my uncle came I already had it in my mind that I was going to rescue people before that but it just so happened I had the opportunity to rescue people instead of being just rescued in the helicopter which where if I would have rescued in the helicopters -- excuse me, the kids in the background I'm at my family's house. Of course, I can't stay in my home, but I was able to rescue people instead of just being rescued. And really like I said that was my plan from the jump.
LEMON: Gaelon Phillips one of the good guys. Gaelon, thank you so much. And continue to do the good work down there and best of luck to your family and all of neighbors, OK?
PHILLIPS: OK. Thank you. LEMON: All right. Thank you. Listen, we told you about these two
children at the top of the broadcast, they there are, Destiny Stewart and Jacoby Stewart. We're getting reports and I need to confirm this that maybe they have been reunited with their father, or at least their father had been they've gotten in contact the hospital at least got in contact with their father. I'm not sure if they've been reunited but we're going to check on that for you and we're going to bring it to you.
We're going to take a quick break, though, and then we'll update you on the situation. We're calling the hospital right now to find out exactly what's going on. They were supposed to join us at the top of the hour but something happened so maybe the good news is that they have gotten the father. Let's hope so. So we'll update you on this situation.
But still, if you know anything, I'm going to put that number up because you don't know in these situations when it's unfolding on the ground 409-899-7171. We'll update you on that.
When we come back the latest on where the storm is going to next. Plus, groups coming in from all over the country to help rescue people trapped in the flood zones. We'll bring one teen's amazing story. That's next.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: OK. We're back now with our breaking news. And I want you to sit down and watch this update. This is an update on a story everybody pay attention. That we first told you about just a few minutes ago. Two children in Port Arthur who were separated from their father in the storm, there they're pictures are. Ten-year-old Destiny, 14-year- old Jacoby Stewart. They went to CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital seeking shelter and looking for their father Stacey Stewart.
We have an update for you, it's good news.
Joining me now is Danielle Perdue. She's a spokeswoman, spokesperson for the hospital. Danielle, you heard from the father. Have they been -- give us the good news, what's happening?
DANIELLE PERDUE, SPOKESPERSON, CHRISTUS ST. MARY HOSPITAL: Yes, thank you so much for having us tonight, we really appreciate it. I actually just as of about 20 minutes ago left the family who has been reunited this evening.
LEMON: That is great. What, tell us what happened. Because they were, they showed up at the hospital and how long had they been without their dad?
PERDUE: Sure, actually they were rescued by the coast guard earlier this morning. The children were rescued first and then the father was unfortunately not able to be rescued at the time but was about three hours later rescued by boat. The children were brought to CHRISTUS southeast Texas St. Mary where they have been most of the day. And we understood that the father was looking for them at various
shelters throughout the day. And we've been working on our end to try to find him throughout the day. So we posted their pictures on our Facebook page, we shared it with our local, regional and national media partners and the community has really just come together to help us reunite this family tonight.
LEMON: That is amazing news. You were with the family when they reunited, Danielle.
LEMON: Take us there.
PERDUE: When I found, when we found where the father was I actually went myself and picked him up and brought him to the hospital where the kids were waiting to be reunited.
LEMON: And what was their reaction?
PERDUE: They were -- Destiny was -- she ran up to her daddy and jumped into his arms and yelled "Daddy, you're here." Jacoby is a little more soft-spoken but they were both very excited to see him. And he of course was extremely relieved.
LEMON: Boy. There's so much, so many horrible, horrible stories that have come out of this storm and this is just one glimmer of hope and so happy that this happened. I'm sure you could not be happier. Is it just the three of them, do they have other family members around? Were there other folks there?
PERDUE: It's just the three of them, they do have some aunts and some other friends that they are staying with tonight, but yes, they're -- we're just very proud of the way this community came together and we got so many shares and comments on our Facebook page and calls into the hospital. And the local news was really, really beneficial in helping us locate where the father was so that we could get them back together.
LEMON: Danielle Perdue, thank you for providing that good news. And if that doesn't warm your heart or bring a tear to your eye then I don't know what will. But again those two children had been reunited with their father and you heard Danielle Purdue from the hospital saying when she saw her dad, Destiny ran up to him and said, "daddy, daddy, you're here" and jumped into his arms. Amazing story.
I want to bring in now the mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner. He joins us by phone. What do you think of that, mayor?
SYLVESTER TURNER, MAYOR OF HOUSTON: Hey, that was a -- that was a fantastic incredible story. That just kind of warms your heart and lets you know that there are some incredible thing that are happening in the midst of so much as waiting people down. So, I'm blowing away by the story.
LEMON: I'm trying to keep from crying here on the air. TURNER: I saw you. Don, don't even stop.
LEMON: I know.
TURNER: They're tears of joy.
LEMON: I know.
TURNER: I've had the opportunity to see and hear a lot of those type of stories for the last, you know, four or five days right here in the city of Houston, people doing some incredible things. People putting themselves at risk to save and benefit other people. So that's what makes us who we are, that's what makes us strong. Those are the rewards and benefits that flow from travesty, devastation and storms.
[22:24:57] LEMON: So tell us, talk to us about, you know, unfortunately there are stories though that are not as happy as this family's story. What's happening tonight in Houston in your city?
TURNER: Well, you know, in Houston, Houston has been tested, you know. A lot of rain, we -- but it was not the hurricane that came out on shore, but the rain fall as a result of the hurricane, and as a result every part of the city and the county and the surrounding counties was simply saturated in rain over several days. And it didn't just come in 2 or 3 inches, it came in 10, 12 inches at a time and sometimes even more than that.
And so, a lot of flooding all throughout the city. There are a number of people in shelters and the city of Houston. They are probably right now, probably about 12 to 15,000 that in shelters right now, that's in the city of Houston. There are thousands of others. Many are in shelters outside the city.
And there are some people in the surrounding regions that have had to evacuate and are now in Austin or Dallas or some other cities with other relatives. Some people have lost their lives. You don't want to lose any one life. And so, but remarkably the count in terms of the loss of life has not been great at this point and time. Don't want to lose one, one is too many.
But considering the magnitude of this storm, the magnitude and the least of time of number is relatively low. A lot of homes flooded more than 30,000 units and that's probably on the conservative end. Schools have been impacted. And so schools in the Houston area are not scheduled to commence until Tuesday.
Operations did shut down for the first three or four days. But we are starting, even as we do some rescues in the west part of Houston and in the northeast part of Houston, we are starting to turn things around.
So, a lot, you know, a lot of people have been under a great deal of stress. But having said all of that, Don, this city has been incredible. First responders, you could not have asked for better.
LEMON: Yes. TURNER: Houstonians, neighbors, rich Americans stepped up like never before. The spirit of the people in shelters are people who have lost their homes has been terrific. And so out of calamity, out of chaos, you really find out what people are made of, and this is a tough city, man.
TURNER: And a lot of people who band together.
LEMON: And mayor, and you know, you're right. And people, I mean, they're picking people up out of water, homes no one's asking them to do this. Many of these rescues, people are helping, this is a lot of volunteer work there.
So, we appreciate the spirit of the city, the people there who are jumping in and really just the toughness of the people who are displaced tonight in those shelters. And we see that their spirit shining through. The Mayor of Houston, Texas, Sylvester Turner. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
TURNER: Thanks for having me, man.
LEMON: And I appreciate the mayor. I'm glad he got to share in this good news with us about the reuniting of these two children. I just can't say enough. These two children who were just told by the hospital, I'll put their pictures up but they were just reunited just not long ago about 20 minutes ago with their father.
And there they are, Destiny and Jacoby Stewart. She jumped into her dad's arms and said "daddy, your here, you're here." And that is one of the good things that's come out of this really horrific storm.
And you know, we're talking about the spirit of these folks here. The rescue crews from around the nation helping to pluck victims from this catastrophic flooding in Houston. I want you to take a -- I want to take a look at members of the New York Air National Guard, 106 Rescue Wing in action.
That white blanket, that's a guardsman, we're going to put it up. There it is right there. Guardsman is holding is an infant being lifted to safety. They also save the brave by frightened little boy from the raging waters. Look at that, that's just what they do.
Joining me now via face time are two members of the New York rescue staff, Sergeant Ryan Dush and senior airman John (Inaudible). Good evening to both of you, gentlemen. Thank you so much. We're showing some of that video that your unit shot while conducting rescue operations. Some truly amazing images. What was that like for you guys?
RYAN DUSH, MEMBER, NEW YORK AIR NATIONAL GUARD: I was definitely -- I'm sergeant Dush. Definitely very (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY) rescue -- of course, we were joking that right before takeoff we're the dads squad just because we're both relatively new fathers. [22:30:02] And so, it was definitely an emotional rescue going after an infant that was that small. They've been on that rescue air referring to as only as one-month old. We had another one today, another infant.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Tell us about that, John Kosequat.
JOHN KOSEQUAT, SENIOR AIRMAN, NEW YORK AIR NATIONAL GUARD 106TH RESCUE WING: Yes, hey, Don. Yes, so, today we went down and we had three little ones again today, hopped in there, got them all up nice and safely from an apartment complex. Especially when you have a lot of different people you want to save I felt it was the most important to get the vulnerable out first.
So, we always try to get the little ones, the elderly, people with special medical needs out first and that's the general plan of things.
LEMON: Yes. You know, and we have to remember that some of the -- these are really the helpless folks, that you get the elderly and the children. I'm not sure if you guys were able to hear just moments ago, two kids were reunited with their father. They were rescued just moments ago. The dad, they found their dad excited about that.
But when you get these families and you keep the families intact and you're able to save these children, I'm sure that's like nothing else you're ever to experience.
DUSH: It's definitely an amazing feeling just being able, especially to stay inside and come back and help people in your time to beat.
LEMON: How many people you think you rescued at this point and time?
DISH: So at Arthur alone, well over I believe 100 at this point in the last three days. (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY) The apartment complex where (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY) the rest that would be 200 plus out of an apartment complex that's been flooded.
KOSEQUAT: Yes, we've been going to (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY).
LEMON: Hang on, hang on, guys one second. I wonder if our national sound from the video is drowning them out. So continue on, what did you say, John.
KOSEQUAT: Yes, like that scene going down to the bay we went down there we expected to just pick up one or two people. I swam across that road because it's basically a river at that point going into the house. All of a sudden I see a family of nine sitting on the stairwell. I asked them several times, did you say nine, they kept on saying it.
I see the two babies, I got Ryan down there, we figured out a plan and luckily got everyone up nice and safe and the little baby carrier is actually, the same kind the ones you buy at Wal-Mart.
LEMON: Why do you guys do this? KOSEQUAT: So our motto is that others live. A lot of us sign up
because that is the most important thing. It's our dream, our goal it's what we strive for. Our training, this one is two years with an incredibly attrition rate, but for whole time we're striving to get out there and just do some for other people.
LEMON: Sergeant Dush, that was a sigh that you say there, why do you do it?
DUSH: Exactly what he said, just helping people in need there in their greatest moment of need. When you're most vulnerable it's nice to know that somebody is actually going to come out there and help you.
LEMON: Sergeant Ryan Dush and senior airman John Kosequat, thank you for your service, gentlemen. Thank you so much.
KOSEQUAT: Thank you.
DUSH: Thank you.
LEMON: OK. OK. So, we're going to update you on other families throughout this broadcast, we're going to get back to Anderson if we can. I think he has a story that needs updating as well.
But when we come back the damage from Harvey is set to make it one of the most expensive natural disasters in history. Franklin Graham will join me next. We're going to ask him what his organization is doing to help rebuild the flood zone.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So we're back with our breaking news now. Let's talk about the scale of this devastation in southeast Texas. It's really hard to fathom. But I want you to take a look at this, the area of catastrophic flooding and destruction is larger than the entire state of New Jersey.
Disaster relief efforts have already began on the ground in Texas. And joining me now by phones is Franklin Graham. He is the president and CEO of Billy Graham Evangelistic -- excuse me -- Association and Samaritan's Purse. We know Samaritan's Purse has some really good work, your charity Franklin Graham.
Thank you for joining us. I'm sure you're there and you're witnessing some of this, you guys are helping out. First, I want to get your reaction to some of the stories we've been sharing before I ask about you what Samaritan's Purse is doing some of this stories of survival and reuniting their families.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRESIDENT AND CEO, BILLY GRAHAM EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION: I just want to say thank you for you and to CNN for using your platform to help reunite these families. And especially the story of these kids tonight. I can just imagine the fear that these kids have been separated not knowing where their dad was. The fear in that dad not knowing where his children were. And for you all to be able to help reunite them I just want to say thank you, that's just a job well done. Great. Thank you for doing that.
LEMON: Thank you so much, Franklin Graham. Tell us -- now talk to us about what you're doing because you're doing some great work as well. What is Samaritan's Purse doing?
GRAHAM: Well, right now we're working in Victoria and the Rockport area. These are areas that have a lot of the initial storm damage. And what we do is we use volunteers and we have managers that go out into a community and they'll canvas a community and they'll find homeowners that are wanting help.
And then what we do is we take volunteers and we go to that homeowner and we do what they ask us to do. Lots of times it's cutting trees off of a roof. It may be helping to mud out a home. If the roof is blown off we'll help to put tarps on it to try to keep the rest of the house dry.
And then once a house has been flooded, basically all you can do is help the homeowner clean out the contents of the home, and the house then dry. Right now we have two locations up and running, by the end of the week, as soon as the water recedes we'll be able to get up three more sites. And we should be able to use capacity of about 1,000 volunteers.
And the only way the Samaritan's Purse has been really work is by using an army of volunteers and we want to be the hands and feet of the Lord Jesus Christ in these communities. We want to show love and compassion, and yet at the same time we want to be able to help people rebuild their lives and get on with life.
[22:40:04] But in a storm like this, people sometimes ask us is God mad at us, is He punishing us. And I have to say no, that's not it. We have storms, and our Lord Jesus Christ in the bible he went through a storm, the bible tells us in Matthew chapter 8. And so storms happen.
Yet, we know that we can get through these storms. And I'm just been so impressed how everybody is working together. Just the average people out there that have taken on the responsibility of helping their neighbor. It's incredible. You all have done such a great job of showing this on television.
LEMON: Franklin Graham, Samaritan's Purse doing great work. I understand you're going to go down as soon as the waters recede to help out, send some volunteers in the organization down and we commend you as well. Thank you, sir.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
LEMON: For more information on how you can help go to Samaritan's Purse.org and for more ways to help those effected by hurricane Harvey go to CNN.com/impact.
And when we come back, there are 28 confirmed deaths from Harvey so far including this 21-year-old man. His mother will join me to remember his life. Next.
LEMON: Tragically, at least 28 people have lost their lives in hurricane Harvey and in its aftermath. One of them is Andrew Pasek. An extraordinary young man just shy of his 26th birthday, so young. His grieving mother JoDell Pasek joins me now via phone. JoDell, I'm so sorry for your loss.
JODELL PASEK, ANDREW PASEK'S MOTHER: Thank you, Don, I appreciate it.
LEMON: Thank you for joining us. Your son Andrew was an eagle scout, you say he was a remarkable young man. Tell everyone about him.
PASEK: He always wanted to help people. He died on his way trying to help his sister because her house was flooded due to the Addicks reservoir and their controlled releases. So, I think it's 2,700 or something homes that were being flooded.
And unfortunately, Army Corps engineers started the flooding of that area but didn't quite tell center point, the electrical people to turn off the electricity to that area. So, yesterday when he and his friend Shawn were on their way trying to reach Alyssa's house, which is not on the edge of the subdivision, it's in the interior.
And there were at least, you know, 4 feet of water in the street, 2 feet in people's yards, they were walking to Alyssa's house and somehow he stepped on in an area that was already had some sort of electrical charge and basically it was someone's front yard and they had a light on their mailbox, like a lamp post on their mailbox and he had had a broken ankle at one time and had, you know, pins in his ankle.
[22:45:12] He felt the charge and knew something was wrong right away and tried to shake it off and get out of there and his friend Shawn, tried to help him. And le told him no, don't touch me because if you do, you know you will go too and he said I'm dying.
LEMON: My God.
PASEK: He fell towards the lamp post and they couldn't reach him to resuscitate him or anything. So, until counterpoint came an hour and a half later and turned off the electricity to the flooded home.
LEMON: My gosh.
PASEK: It could have been anybody, Don, it didn't -- you know, he just happened to be the person that it happened to. But it could have been someone's child, it could have been someone's father, it could have been a brother or sister, aunt or uncle, grandparents.
People always want to help but they don't think about looking around their surroundings and saying is this really safe to go into. If I had gone with him I would have been electrocuted too, I know that. Because I would never have looked and said, those people, their lights are on or their electricity is on, and that's what happened.
And so, it's a very sad thing what he did, he was a remarkable young man. He did save his friend's life, his friend immediately he was walking back behind, he felt the current in the water but he got out of the water and ran across the street. And he, you know, he called 911 and unfortunately, they can't get to them because once they know that the waters are charged or whatever the word is...
LEMON: They can't go in there it's carrying an electrical charge. I mean, an eagle scout till the end because he saved his friend, he said don't come after me you're going to or it will happen.
I just, I got to ask you, it strikes me how strong you are to do this. I can't imagine even being able to get out of bed or speak after a horrific tragedy like this. How are you able to do this?
PASEK: I lost my other son in a tragic accident when he was 19 back in 1993. And it was a call that never no mother would ever want to get in the middle of the night. He was in an automobile accident riding with his employer. And so, he was killed instantly.
But I had Alyssa and Andrew at home at the time, and they were two and four and I knew I had to be a strong mom. I know I had to go back and you know, they had their live sot live and I have to be there for them.
So, today when I woke up this morning I had all the visions of everything I went through when my son E.J. was killed and I relived it all over again today. But I just knew I had to get this out to the public, because everybody we are in a horrible disaster area here right now. And not -- you know everyone wants to help.
We had so many people, the first responders, just regular people they are out there trying, you know, whether they have a boat or they can help with a big truck or whatever they can do, but, you know you don't necessarily think about those things, you just want to help those people. And there are some horrible things that can happen if you don't look around at your surroundings and see what's going on.
LEMON: JoDell Pasek, you are an amazing woman. We're so sorry for your loss. And I'm going to put this information up. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. There he is, it's Andrew, just shy of his 26th birthday.
There's an outpouring of support from the community. A GoFundMe page set up to help the family with funeral expenses and there it is right there. We will be right back.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Six hundred ninety marines are deploying tomorrow to the flood zone to assist in the rescue effort in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.
Joining me now to discuss this to the response, CNN contributor and retired lieutenant general Russell Honore, the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina. General, thank you. We're so happy to have you on to talk about your -- to give your expertise on this. How should the marines be used? And do you think that they should have been put into action sooner?
RUSSELL HONORE, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, I mean, call in that post still whether the National Guard or active troops says last Friday night that we need to scale up the response and the numbers as of last Friday/Saturday morning we have 3,000 National Guard mobilized out of a total force of about 12,000 inside the state.
And I thought that was light. As well as what we learned from Katrina was you're probably going to need a ship if you have a big hurricane to come in behind the storm as we ended up deploying 20 ships in the hospital ships during Katrina as well as 240 helicopters.
We just went over 100 helicopters here today. The deployment just seems to be slow. This is a slow rolling event. But I thought we could have gotten more stuff in here sooner to deal with the complexity and the dynamics.
This is a big storm, bigger than Katrina. People are doing fine. The people are holding together but we owe them better than that from the Department of Defense in all of government in all of military response as opposed to just what's in that statement. We could have got more stuff here earlier.
[22:55:05] LEMON: The Port Arthur police, general, the department there put out a call for help on Facebook. "Rescue boats welcome in Port Arthur to assist emergency personnel. Please meet at Wal-Mart on Memorial. We're dispatching boats from there. Thank you for all the help."
What can you tell us about the situation in Port Arthur? Did they get the help they needed?
HONORE: We've been getting some reports. Some of the Cajun Navy guys got over there. The problem was to get to Port Arthur often to be. If you were in that already over there or you could come in from a different direction. It was one of them all see, as we said to them you can't get there from here.
Because there's a lot of excess assets right here, right now in Houston. The problem is getting to Port Arthur and you know, the winds just died down there late this morning. I mean, it was a horrific storm that had a big impact.
We, we got a lot of assets here is how we can get some of that volunteer assets into Port Arthur to help them. But there's still a big job left to be done here, Don, as we're still rescuing people in the daylight here.
LEMON: General, so Harvey...
HONORE: I went out this morning with a crew right where we're standing and we were here for about three hours. We need a disruptive technical fix like something Google would come up with that allow the volunteers to communicate with the fire chief and with the sheriffs in managing assets that come in to volunteer. We did in the sense of Katrina.
You know in Katrina they are throwing back the Cajun Navy. Now they are part of every water response. People with boat show up in Texas, they call it Texas admiral. We got to integrate there because without them we'd be in heat of problem ahead here.
LEMON: General Russell Honore, we appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.
HONORE: Everybody, good luck Texas. Good luck, Louisiana.
LEMON: Absolutely. We'll be right back.
LEMON: That's i for us this hour. We're going to turn over to my colleague Anderson Cooper who is now Houston, Texas. And Anderson, you know the dark adds another element, a whole new dimension to this search and rescue efforts, doesn't it?
[23:00:02] ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: yes, it certainly does and there is obviously a curfew again in place tonight here in Houston. But we have been seeing search and rescue efforts even now going on. We'll tell you about that a little bit.
Good evening from Texas.