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Water Still Rising As Harvey Threatens Second Landfall; Harvey Takes Aim At Texas And Louisiana For Next Landfall; Countless People Stranded By Flooding From Harvey; Houston Officer Drowns Trying To Get To Work; Man Turns His Furniture Stores Into Storm Shelters; Trump Meets With Local Officials On Relief Efforts; Trump Surveys Disaster Relief Efforts In Texas; Trump Pledges Storm Recovery "Better Than Ever Before"; Joel Olsteen Responds To Backlash Over Flood Response. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired August 30, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell in Richmond, Texas.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm John Vause in Los Angeles and we are following the very latest on the Tropical Storm Harvey, which is expected to make a second landfall on the Southern U.S. in the coming hours. At least nine people have been killed since Harvey struck Texas as a category four hurricane on Friday night. Catastrophic flooding has led parts of Houston and surrounding cities underwater. And now, those same areas will be hit with even more rain.
More than 1000 people are in shelters around Houston, more than 450,000 are expected to need disaster assistance. There have been more than 9,000 rescues in the Houston area alone, including this mother and her baby pulled from a rooftop by the U.S. Coast Guard. Countless others, though, are still in need. Back now to George who is just outside Houston, and looking at where you are right now, George, at least, it seems, for now, there's a break in the weather -- it stopped raining.
HOWELL: John, that's the good news, right? So, during the day for the first time, quite frankly, Houstonians, people here in the Metro area, they looked up and they saw the sun -- and that was good news. But look, the situation is not over because in neighborhoods like this one, this neighborhood you see behind me here in Richmond, the water from this river -- this is the Brazos River -- it is creeping up ever so quickly. It will continue to rise.
Since I've been here, I've seen it come up pretty substantially. That's what we've seen around so many neighborhoods here in Richmond, here -- throughout the Houston Metro area. We have seen the water rise, we've seen people rescued -- an amazing story of survival.
Bren Stewart is one person that we'd like to bring in to share her story. Bren was rescued from her rooftop. Bren, first of all, it's good to have you with us; good that you are on solid and safe ground with us this hour. Tell our viewers exactly what you we went through, what happened?
BREN STEWART, RESIDENT OF HOUSTON, TEXAS: I can only describe the entire ordeal as intense. This is the third flood in two years that I've been through at my place. So, it was -- it was surreal to watch the water coming into the house for the third time. It was a range of emotions from disbelief to sadness, to -- a weird type of excitement, nervousness. I could continue, but I get the indescribable feeling to just have something like that so unexpected happen.
HOWELL: Talk to us about the rescue itself. So, how did officials get to you? How did you get to safety?
STEWART: So, after, you know, just waiting around with no electricity, we heard a couple of boats go by and had the idea, hey, we've got to let them know that we're here, and not only us, the other people in our community. So, we wrote with permanent markers and paint on some towels: help and SOS, and put it on the roof and we just waited. And we spoke to people walking by in waist-high water to find out where they were going, if they needed some place to go, we're going to offer them at least our room.
The National Guard came by and helicopter next, kind of where we started to get a glimmer of hope that, you know, at least, they know we're here. You know, we kind of -- were able to rest easy, if you can believe, in a situation like that because our lives weren't in danger. But you know, we just had that good feeling that, OK, they know we're here. We're going to get rescued, eventually, we just need to hold tight. And kind of fell asleep at the window after the helicopter left, and was awoken by a man and a boy that I've never met before yelling at the door, and they said they had a kayak.
One of my friends, my good friends and neighbors had -- saw them from the roof, they were taken to safety and she sent them back for us. And they said you know, where do you want to go? I don't have a place to go, so, he said, hey hop in this kayak your, your friend and your dog, and we'll take you out to his house. We had an ordeal trying to get my dog off the roof, that was intense but we got everybody to safety.
My friend pushed the kayak for, I don't, two to three blocks until we were able to get on the sidewalk. And we walked another five blocks to where his wife was waiting with towels, blankets, his kids were playing with the dog and we've met up with my friend who was there with her, 18-month old son. Those kinds of reunion, of sort, and that's when we knew that it was going to be OK, and we sent him back for the rest of the neighbors that were waiting in the community.
[01:05:00] HOWELL: It's amazing to hear your story. When you think about how many people -- I mean, thousands of people, who all of a sudden, they don't have a home, what do they do next? Do you know of people who, you know, what is there next? You know, do you know of people that are in a different situation?
STEWART: I know people that, you know, they're still stuck. They may not have been in a dire situation as our, but they are stuck with no way to get out of their homes, and they're alone. They're not in any danger, but they are inconvenienced in that way. I know people who don't have a destination yet. They're kind of just hunkered down at friend's or a neighbor's house waiting for the next step. I mean, we're at my friend's relatives house.
We don't necessarily have a place to go to yet. I've called a few hotels; they're all booked, but we have, you know, the support of all of our friends. You know, hey, whatever you need, you can come here. So now is just a matter of coordinating, because both of our cars were totaled. So, everyone's been very supportive and helpful. So now, at least, for us it's just about where do we go. You know, making that decision, what's going to be the most effective and efficient.
HOWELL: Bren Stewart, first of all, we're just thankful that you're here to talk to us. We're thankful that you were rescued. Thank you for sharing your story with us today.
STEWART: Absolutely. Thank you.
HOWELL: We were talking just a moment ago -- thank you. We were just taking a moment ago about this river, the Brazos River here. And our Meteorologist, Derek Van Dam, who's been here, quite frankly, from the start. Derrick, you saw that first, you know, landfall of this hurricane. You've seen these rivers rise, talk to us about this river in particular because this really tells a story.
DERRICK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It's incredible to witness this particular river, the Brazos River in Richmond, over the past 24 hours. Since Saturday morning, it has risen 40 feet, and it has still got several feet to go. Just because we've had this glimmer of sunshine -- the sky has opened up today. I think it's a bit deceiving for the people at home, because we think, hey, the storm is coming to an end. But actually, a grave threat still exists in this area -- We're talking about Houston, particularly. And that the water is going to eventually flow into these larger rivers, and we're going to get the crest within the next 48 hours -- a record-breaking territory. So, it will continue to come up in places just like this.
HOWELL: So, Derrick, again, you've here -- you've seen so many things, you've seen all of these rescues, what was this day like? Because again, we're watching these waters rise in neighborhoods. You're looking at every day citizens take their boats, we're looking officials get out there and trying to save people. What have you seen?
VAN DAM: It was incredible. We actually had an opportunity to join one of the swift water rescue teams from the precinct in Harris County. And they allowed us to join them on their boat, but the conditions that they had to endure was just -- simply amazing. Very courageous men and women doing this work, and not only the volunteers but also the constables as well. They literally have to navigate around flooded and submerged vehicles, trees, tree limbs, road signs, structures along the sides of the buildings.
And this is all just so they can go door to door to check that if anyone is inside these homes as people were trapped as floodwaters continue to rise. It's incredible. We actually have interviews one of the constables. As we were on one of these search and rescue boats, the swift water rescue boats, and this is what he had to say about his experiences as he was moving along the greater Houston area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had situations of rescuing people out of attics, people with the medical condition, elderly people, all different types of situations with animals, kids, babies, 3-month old. I mean, this situation is a very --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN DAM: That says it all.
VAN DAM: People stuck in attics. Probably one of the worst places you can be in the rising floodwater situation.
HOWELL: You know, and the thing is there are still many people who are in really bad situations.
VAN DAM: Yes. These flood rescues are going to be going on for days.
HOWELL: Derrick Van Dam, thank you so much for all your coverage in the past several days.
VAN DAM: Trying to get the word out.
HOWELL: Now, let's bring in your colleague, Karen Maginnis. Karen, so again, two stories we're talking about here. So, we're talking about the flood situation here with these rivers. We're watching these rivers, but at the same time, right there along the Texas- Louisiana border, we're looking a lot of rainfall right now.
KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. And deservedly so, Houston has gotten the bulk of the attention, but let's shift a little bit further towards the east, right along the border between Louisiana and Texas where some staggering rainfall totals. Maybe not the 40, and 50-inch rainfall totals that we have seen right around the Houston area and Galveston. But certainly, right around a yard of precipitation. 36 inches of rainfall in places like Beaumont, Port Arthur, near McFadden.
[01:10:07] Well, technically, the center of Tropical Storm Harvey is offshore, but it is also creating some swells, that storm surge in some of these coastal areas, all the way from around Galveston Bay over towards New Orleans. But this is going to make a second landfall. Tropical Storm Harvey, probably, between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m. local time is expected to cross the coastline in the vicinity of deep southwestern Louisiana, maybe is a pass area, possibly. And then, produce that rain shield going up towards the Arklatex region and into the Mississippi Valley. So, another place, yet, to watch again. Back to you, George. HOWELL: All right, Karen, thank you. So, back to John. But again,
John, two different stories really going on here in the neighborhoods of Houston Metro area. We're watching flooding, these rising rivers, and as Karen pointed out, you know, we're waiting for this storm to again hit the United States a second time, John.
VAUSE: It is an anxious wait for so many in the coming hours. And of course, everyone just has to hunker down and let Harvey do it's worse yet again. Thanks, George. Among the lives lost in this disaster is a Houston Police Officer. Sergeant Steve Perez, a 34-year veteran of the force, drowned after driving his car into floodwaters early Sunday morning. The city's police chief was overcome with emotion trying to explain, there was no way to rescue Perez in time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ART ACEVEDO, POLICE CHIEF OF HOUSTON, TEXAS: Once our dive team got there it was too treacherous to go under and look for him. So, we made a decision to leave officers there waiting until the morning --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The body of Sergeant Perez was recovered by divers on Tuesday. Houston police tweeted this photo saying their hearts are heavy, but they will get through this loss. There is no end, it seems, to neighbor helping neighbor, and strangers helping strangers. And when we come back, the Houston business man who's turned his furniture stores into temporary shelters.
KATE RILEY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORTS headline. Roger Federer, the number three Seed at the U.S. Open had a testing first round challenge in New York on Tuesday. The 36-year- old, up against the young American, up and comer, Francis Tiafoe. And this one won the distance. The Swiss lost the first ever came back as a second and third. The American, though, showed he wasn't done quite yet against the tournament favorite. But after two hours and 37 minutes, the five-setter was won after Tiafoe dumped beforehand into the net, and the match went to Federer -- 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
Elsewhere in the Top Seed, Rafa Nadal is highly fancy to do well, and he got off to a flier on Tuesday afternoon. The Spaniard was up against Soviet, Dusan Lajovich, and after a slow start, he charged into a straight set win. Nadal has had a phenomenal season, which we've seen him return to number one world ranking. He's missing to win here for a third time in his career.
Finally, you won't find anywhere in the world more passionate about Rugby than New Zealand, and their national teams on globally dominant. Both the men and women team are now the world champions team. And the women's side, also known as the Black Ferns have arrived home victorious to a big welcome party after beating the defending champion, England, in the finals on Saturday. Great scenes. And that's a look at all your sports headlines. I'm Kate Riley. [01:15:48] HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell, live
just outside of Houston, Texas, following the aftermath of this deadly storm in this area.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause in Los Angeles. Time here: 10:15 on a Tuesday night. Amid all the devastation and heartbreaking in Houston, there are uplifting and hopeful stories as well, like Jim McIngvale, also known as "Mattress Mac." He's opened his furniture stores for anyone needing a place to stay. And for more on that, we head back now to George in Richmond.
HOWELL: John, thank you. Let's now bring in Jim McIngvale, "Mattress Mac," better-known here in this area, joining us now on the phone live. As a fellow Texan, I just have to say what an honor to speak to you. What you're doing for people, opening your stores for people to stay there -- people who don't have a home? Tell our viewers about it.
JIM MCINGVALE, BUSINESSMAN, HOUSTON, TEXAS (through telephone): Well, you know, it's the least we can do, George, after the hurricane turned really bad on Sunday afternoon. I called some of the T.V. stations and put out a post on Facebook that people could come that were displaced, but high-water to our furniture store in the middle of Houston, and the west of part Richmond, Texas, and stay for free. And we had to send a truck out a big 4x4 truck to carry furniture that is adept at getting to high-water, would fit up to 200 people who are stranded on bridges, overpasses flooded departments, and we brought up to the store. Another 200 showed up, and another 300 at the other location, so we've been housing about 500 people in the past three nights. And it's been a blessing to see the human spirit drive as these people's lives being crushed. But they're still hopeful and optimistic -- it's really uplifting experience for all of us.
HOWELL: You've invited so many people into your life, quite frankly, into your stores. Is there any story that stands out to you, because there are so many stories around here, any story of rescue or survival just that you've heard from your experience?
MCINGVALE: Yes. Just -- the first story was Monday morning at about 2:00 a.m. This little girl comes in, she's about 7-years-old, she's crying. Her parents obviously don't speak English, and she speaks Spanish and English and she says to me: can, can, can we stay here tonight. And it is heart breaking to see this wonderful child got traumatized by this water. So, that's one of the stories. Just tonight, we went to some apartments and had (INAUDIBLE) to get the people out. They just showed up here about half an hour ago, so another 20 people came in tonight. All of sorts of stories of fun, it's horrendous, it's biblical proportion. And you know, I've in Houston for 36 years, faced a lot flood, generally their localized. This is about all over a hundred-mile area.
HOWELL: Just very quickly here, what was your motivation to do this? I mean, you're in the business of business, right? I mean, it seems like you allowed you're -- opened your heart here for people that need so much right now. MCINGVALE: You know, one of my business venture (INAUDIBLE). He said
we all have responsibility for the well-being of our community. And we like to take that to heart. That is part of the culture of the business. So, there was never a second guess by any of us in the staff and employees that we would do this. It was just an act of who we are. We did the same thing from Katrina. We housed 200 evacuees New Orleans here for two nights during Hurricane Katrina. And that proved to be a really good experience, we got five great employees out of it. And no doubt, we'll get some great employees out of this -- providing shelter for these people. We did it because it's the right thing to do. To hell with profits. It's more important to do the right thing.
HOWELL: To hell with profit, it's the right thing to do. You know, quite frankly, you see all the devastation, but just to the spirit of Texas, it's a beautiful thing. Mattress Mac, thank you so much for being with us. John, back to you in Los Angeles.
VAUSE: Well, U.S. President Trump was in Texas on Tuesday for a firsthand look at the relief efforts. Mr. Trump met with officials in Austin and Corpus Christi cities on the edge of a disaster's home. At each stop, he noted how unprecedented the storm was and he hoped the response would be a model for future disasters. And he greeted the crowd outside a firehouse in Corpus Christi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:20:28] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We love you. You are special. We're here to take care and going well. And I want to thank you for coming out. We're going to get you back on operating immediately. Thank you, everybody, for the crowd who went to turn out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, for more of the politics here, joining us now: Wendy Greuel, former City Council Woman here in Los Angeles; and CNN Political Commentator and Trump support, John Phillips. OK. Wendy, we saw the president in the flood zone. It was a little bit controversial in the first place that he went there. But they said they would minimize the disruption. The president, he acknowledged the size of the crowd who turn out to greet him. He acknowledged the incredible job that member of his cabinet was doing, sort of, implication that he was doing as well. But there was no mention of anyone who died. There was no mention of anyone who was hurt. There was no mention of anyone who still needed to be rescued. No mention of all the staggering loss.
WENDY GREUEL, FORMER CITY COUNCILWOMAN, LOS ANGELES: Well, I worked in the Clinton administration at the time that we had the earthquake here in Los Angeles, and being in Texas in the floods out of Dallas -- working for (INAUDIBLE). And the important part of what a president needs to do is show empathy, and particularly to look at those victims and be able to say here's what we're going to do for you -- some specifics. Because as tragic as it is right now, what we're seeing, this is going to be months and years where there's going to have to be an administration who will step up to the plate, and be able to provide the kind of funding.
I think what was disappointing is that he was talking so much about himself in crowds and all of that, versus let's talk about the victims who are there living through this. And I think that he will be judged on how he was able to respond to this. And did he have the right kind of empathy during that time period?
VAUSE: And John, we did note, you know, some people were cheering for the president though, they were happy to see him, and they obviously -- this Trump country in many parts. So, it was a morale booster. But there was that, you know, an allegation that this was more political than anything else, and by not playing the role of, you know, the empathizer in chief. It looked a lot more political.
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND TRUMP SUPPORTER: It is important for him to show up. It is important to fly the flag. His critics have been going after him all day for not showing, I guess, the right amount of empathy. I guess, he could've gone down there in earth tones and more specific colored wristband when he was down there. But we don't need slacktivism. We need them -- we need the federal government to give the local authorities all of the tools they need to go rescue these people to take away the water that's now flooding many of the structures, many of the communities in southern Texas and Louisiana. And so far, he's done that. And I would point out too that when you populate your administration with generals, organizationally, you have people in very important, very critical places who know how to deal organizationally with these sorts of issue.
VAUSE: I mean, you mentioned the president wardrobe. Because there is this allegation out there that the president has crossed another ethical boundary. The watch dog group, Citizen for Ethics, tweeted out: "As Donald Trump leads to Texas, he makes sure he's carrying the hats he's been advertising with just $40.00 on his campaign Web site." And it is, in fact, on the campaign Web site for $40.00. This the U.S. cap that he was seen wearing over the weekend. Wendy, right now the grand scheme of things though, is that a big deal? Is that something which you should just let slide?
GREUEL: Well, look, I think we need to care about who the victims are and be able to provide the services. Is it inappropriate? I think so. But I don't think that's the biggest thing we have to deal with today. And I think it's important that he's going to get Congress. I mean, the thing he needs to be focusing in on is getting Congress to adopt legislation that is going to give funds to be able to deal with this at Texas.
VAUSE: John, you know, again, it seems the president gets, you know, criticized for pretty everything these days; he can't get anything right for some people. But you know, you actually said that they have a plan, but there were no details of the plan when he was there.
THOMAS: Well, look -- I mean, people were criticizing the hat, they were criticizing Melania's shoes; suddenly, everyone's a fashion critic, everyone turns into Steven Cojocaru. And it's just people that didn't like him before that are looking for knit picking ways to go after him again here. We've learned a lot since Hurricane Katrina. When Hurricane Katrina happened, people thought that FEMA and the federal government would come in and save the day.
What you saw out there in Houston, and what you saw in other communities in Texas, was an amazing thing. And people learned lots of lessons from Katrina. You saw people out there -- it almost reminded me of the movie Dunkirk where you had civilians in boats just taking their own property, their own boats that they've used for fishing or for recreation and saving people from homes. I thought it was a wonderful thing.
[01:25:08] VAUSE: No one's telling that for a moment. I guess the big question in all of this and the organization and what worked and what didn't work will be many, many days to come. But we'll have to leave it there. Wendy and John, thanks for coming in.
GREUEL: Thank you.
THOMAS: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, Celebrity Televangelist, Joel Olsteen, is welcoming anyone who needs shelter to come to his mega church in Houston. He's also pushing back against critics who say he didn't act sooner to help the victims of the flood. On Tuesday, more than three days after the storm hit, he tweeted this: "Victoria and I, care deeply about our fellow Houstonians, Lakewood's doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter." Olsteen's brother in law told CNN the churches doors were never closed but the building was flooded. And it wasn't to house people there until the water is seeded. As storm victim showed up the church to get help, the pastor talked about the importance of faith.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEL OLSTEEN, SENIOR PASTOR, LAKEWOOD CHURCH: It brings back memories seeing all of this. But the way the whole city is hit this time is just unbelievably, and just, you know, our heart's break like everybody else's. But you know, what, we're strong, Houstonians are strong. God is still in -- strong, he's in control of this. We're dealing with what we don't understand, and we have to trust and turn to our faith, not get bitter, and I believe that's what helps us pull through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:26:23] VAUSE: We will hear a lot more from Joel Olsteen on CNN's "NEW DAY" on Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. Eastern, that's 1:00 p.m. in London. Up next, we will head back to Texas and talk to a local hero, driving his flatbed truck around Houston, rescuing anyone who's stranded.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: A flag recovered by a police in the eye hurricane Harvey is now flying at the Rockport Public Safety Center. The county sheriff's office raised it on Tuesday. And George, they are just some of the moments which mean so very much to the people their right now.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed, John. You know, you see this throughout the Houston area, these rescues that are happening. And again, this neighborhood that we're in right now, you see this water that's rising just a moment ago.
To be quite frankly, we heard something jump in the water. Don't know what's in there. Not getting in there, but that's the concern here because at night, you just not sure of how quickly it's rising, what's in there.
That's the big concern. And in the day when the waters are rising, you know, you still see these rescues, people trying to help those who need it. One of the people who's been out there, Carl "Bowtie" Bugsy. All right.
I want to bring him in to talk about his story. Carl, it's good to have you with us today. Let's talk about your situation because you use your flatbed truck to get around and help people, and a lot of people, if that.
CARL BUGSY, CITIZEN RESCUER: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. You know, first and foremost, it's a blessing to be here. We thank you guys -- we thank you guys for being concerned. And yes, I used my flatbed truck, you know, just like a lot of the citizens of Houston, you know, we came together.
You know (INAUDIBLE) in a flatbed, just (INAUDIBLE) on the city. And so, we just wanted to come together and it was just my instincts kicked in to be able to do what I could to help out those that were in need.
HOWELL: Carl, tell us about the people that you saw today, because after you helped them, what's next? What do people do next? Is it shelters? Do they have friends? Do they have anything?
BUGSY: Well, you know, that's a good question and it's definitely a long road ahead. You know, to answer that question, "What's next?" Time, patience, affection, love, you know, and sometimes (INAUDIBLE) you know, laying down our lives for other people, you know.
So, it's going to be -- it's a period of rebuilding. We lost a lot of (INAUDIBLE) I mean a lot of people lost homes and families and, you know, a lot of people lost everything, you know.
So, it's kind of hard to say what's next for, you know, the unknown, and a lot of people out there that can relate to that, you know, but what we're looking forward to is the rebuilding process.
You know, if I could answer that question in one word, what's next is rebuilding faith, you know, rebuilding process, rebuilding of the homes, rebuilding of the lives, rebuilding of the dreams, you know, that were lost and shattered over these past days. You know, that's what I can see being next.
HOWELL: Carl, we appreciate you being with us. A little hard to hear your audio, but, you know, quite frankly, I think we get it.
I mean, we appreciate everything you've been doing out there as many people out here do, just keep doing good things, sir. Thank you so much for your time today. And John, I toss it back to you.
VAUSE: George, thank you. I mean the heartbreak to come from this disaster, the story of the Saldivar family is perhaps one of the saddest.
CNN's Erin Burnett spoke with Ric Saldivar, he lost six members of his family during the storm. This all happen when his brother tried to get them out of harm's way.
RIC SALDIVAR, HURRICANE HARVEY VICTIM: So, Sammy went across the bridge and he made it. He made across the bridge, but on the other side of the bridge, there was a dip in the road and when the van went down, it just started floating and he had no control after that.
And he said, "Dad, keep telling them to go, go, you know, hit it." And Sammy said, "It's not doing anything, it's just spinning and making it worse."
And then the nose of the van went into the bayou and Sammy said him and mom and dad were all underwater. And he panicked, he got out of the -- got out of his seatbelt without even unbuckling it, and got out of a half-opened window of the driver side.
And he clinged on to what he called a twig, which, you know, just a little branch or tree. I don't even know what. But he said that the branch -- the tree -- I mean, the van was just bobbing into water, that's how deep the water was. And he could hear the kids screaming and crying, you know --
SALDIVAR: -- trying to get out of the van and he kept telling them, "Go to the back of the van and, you know, open the back doors, open the back doors."
But from what he's describing, I'm sure the kids couldn't even grab a grip onto the van just to even reach the back door, much less open it. And he said it just went under the water.
And after that, I got -- I talked to the sheriff's department since then and they told me that he was hanging onto the branch for, like, 45 minutes screaming for help.
I don't know who heard him, but the sheriff's department went over there in a boat and they literally threw him a lifeline. And he grabbed onto it, the first shot.
The sheriff told me the first shot, he grabbed it and they pulled him to the boat and he was very upset, very distraught. And he just kept saying, "The van's down there. The van's down there."
That's all he kept saying, "The van's down there." But by that time, the van had been underwater for 45 minutes. So, there was no way, you know, they survived.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: What do you remember, Ric, about them? I mean they had their whole lives ahead of them, all four of them.
SALDIVAR: Yes. Yes, I know. I mean, that's the tragedy of it. I mean, you don't expect, you know, one kid to go, much less four, you know.
So, we're trying to help with the funeral arrangements because my brother and his wife, they didn't -- they weren't prepared for this. I mean, who would be? You know, so, we're just trying to help each other, you know, get through this.
VAUSE: Well, OK, we will take a short break. When we come back, an increasingly belligerent North Korea warning more missiles launches are on the way. We'll have more than tepid response from the US president and the UN Security Council.
VAUSE: UN Security Council has voted unanimously to condemn North Korea's latest missile test and is demanding Pyongyang stop all future launches and take-steps to reduce tensions.
China's foreign ministry is calling for talks between the US and North Korea warning the situation is at a tipping point right now approaching a crisis.
North Korea's state run newspaper has published new pictures of Tuesday's launch which flew directly over Japan. The government says it will conduct more ballistic rocket launch drills in the coming weeks.
CNN's Paula Hancocks, live this hour in Seoul for us. And Paula, that unanimous statement put out by UN, the UN Security Council, no mention of new sanctions, not even a mention of a threat of new sanctions, not exactly ramping up the pressure on Pyongyang.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, at this point, it is very soon after that missile launch, so they can't even begin to and to stop talking about fresh sanctions.
So, they talked about outrageous actions that North Korea had carried out. I remember, it's only been a few weeks since the UN Security Council actually adopted another resolution.
So, fresh sanctions on North Korea, they're banning the main exports from North Korea, iron, coal, and also seafood. So, certainly, those sanctions have not really been put into place yet that China's just working towards banning those exports from North Korea.
So, to be talking about fresh sanctions, which is pretty much what Japan and South Korea are talking about, the two leaders spoke on the phone and said they want fresh sanctions. Now, you can be a little premature when they haven't fully implemented the previous sanctions that's -- that they agreed on, but certainly this is what those leaders in the region want to see.
They want to see even more economic pressure being put on North Korea, even more isolation being forced on North Korea, but it's the most heavily-sanctioned country in the world, effectively, and still be able to carry on with these missile launches. The previous sanctions will take some time to kick in. John.
VAUSE: And not only are they able to carry on with these missile launches but the North Koreans, they're talking up this latest missile launch.
And warning, this could just be the beginning of what they called military operations specifically directed towards the Island of Guam.
HANCOCKS: That's right. They're really threatening Guam in recent weeks, although this isn't new. I mean, back as early as 2013, we heard them threatening Guam because obviously it's the closest U.S. territory for them to be able to hit.
It's where the U.S. bases, some of its significant military bases within the Pacific. It's where the B-1B bombers when they do flyovers of the Korean peninsula as a show of force against North Korea, they come from Guam.
So, certainly North Korea has had Guam in its sights for some time. When it comes to the rhetoric and within the state run media, they're talking about how this was a meaningful prelude to Guam.
So, even though we didn't see them carrying out what their threat was which was to hit the waters near Guam with four missiles recently, which that very strong rhetoric from the U.N. president.
They're not letting it go, they're still going to have this rhetoric, and it's going to have Guam within it. I think we can expect this, especially of these military drills between the U.S and South Korea are still going on, they end tomorrow.
And this is what we expect at this time of year. This is what we expect from North Korea reacting to those military drills, but obviously Guam has become a favorite for them at this point. John.
VAUSE: OK, Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks live for us this hour in Seoul. We will take a short break. When we come back, we'll assess the financial impact from hurricane Harvey, the cost to rebuild Texas, and it's just one of a number of threats to the U.S. economy.
Also, Coldplay looks to help Houston with music. A special song that they say they'll only play once.
(0:15:00.1) -- KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hello, everyone, I'm CNN
Meteorologist Karen Maginnis. This is your weather watch. You're looking at an image coming out of Houston, Texas and thousands and thousands of people have been displaced from their homes due to the severe flooding.
Thanks to the effects of what used to be Category four hurricane Harvey, now at tropical storm intensity, you can see the field of rainfall has really begun to shrink quite a bit.
It's going to be picking up some speed after making a second landfall during the early morning hours right along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast region where we have flashflood warnings that were out.
Heavy rainfall, maybe an additional 200 to 300 millimeters expected across this region. Here as we go through time by -- looks like by about Wednesday, all the way from Little Rock towards Shreveport, Louisiana.
That seems to be the area that will accumulate the heaviest precipitation in this purple-shaded area estimates as much as 250. Possibly isolated areas of as much as 500 millimeters.
So, as we go through time by Friday, it is through the Tennessee River Valley region, but it's going to be a much weaker system. Not produce quite the rainfall that we've seen over the past few days, but then hardly anything could compare to that.
VAUSE: It's still too early to know the full cost of the damage caused by Harvey, too early to know the economic impact, but by comparison, the U.S. government spent $100 billion on relief and recovery alone of hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In Texas right now, 11 oil refineries are offline, cutting U.S. refinery capacity by 18 percent. So, a lot of stockpiles of oil, but gas prices are already slightly higher in some parts. Congress is working on an emergency aid package.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to be working with congress on helping out the State of Texas. It's going to be a costly proposition. Probably, there's never been anything so expensive in our country's history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, Harvey's impact on the U.S. economy is likely to be short-term. There's a growing list of potential disasters threatening to cause chaos with currencies and send global stock markets crashing.
Right now, the world's major economies are all growing for the first time since the financial crisis, but the expansion is tepid and fragile and could quickly come to an end.
(INAUDIBLE) we're joined now by Robert Reich, he's a Professor of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley. Also, a former Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration. Mr. Secretary, good to see you.
ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: Good to see you, too.
VAUSE: Let's put the daily news cycle to one side. Would you say that the two black swan events we're facing right now, a military conflict with North Korea, the other would be if congress fails to raise the debt ceiling which could be the end result of the president's budget fight --
VAUSE: -- the funding he wants for his wall with Mexico.
REICH: Well, they're both potential disasters, but we also know that markets, both stock markets and also regular economic markets don't like that kind of -- in that degree of uncertainty and that can be a problem in and of itself.
This is a very long economic expansion right now, it's getting very long in the tooth. And quite frankly, I think that we are in for -- what is euphemistically called a correction in terms of the stock market.
I hope we're not going to see the beginnings of another recession, but that is certainly not out of the question.
VAUSE: Well, there is a theory out there that the flooding disaster in Texas right now may have improved the odds, the congress wants to avoid the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.
Horizon Investment advised clients on Tuesdays, "Most politicians, even deficit hawks will have to vote for hurricane aid, which will improve prospects for a budget deal that many lawmakers had opposed until the rain began in Houston."
That scenario would require the president and congress to put aside their bitter differences come together in common purpose. Are we living in that world right now?
REICH: Yes. Well, you know, a lot of it depends on Donald Trump who has said that he is not going to sign anything. In fact, he will risk a government shutdown if he doesn't get money from congress for his wall along the southern border of the United States.
The most irresponsible things I've ever heard direct by a president say. I mean, we've had government shutdowns before in the 1990s and then again in 2013, but they have been instituted by international warfare between Democrats and Republicans in congress.
We've never had the possibility of a shutdown because the president didn't get what he wants, and he's not going to sign constituting resolutions at the very least to keep the government going.
So, a lot depends on Donald Trump in this regard. I think that -- I've heard the same thing and I -- that is -- the hurricane, some natural disaster like this does bring people together and it causes people to put aside their differences.
But the wildcard here as has been the wildcard again and again is the president of the United States.
VAUSE: Well, with regards to the president, some have pointed to Donald Trump himself as a geopolitical risk. A $53 billion pension fund in Finland is cutting its U.S. exposure.
The CEO told Bloomberg, "The lesson from 2008 is that if we have a problem in the U.S. then we all have a problem. Adding to Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville was a breaking point if you look at how business leaders reacted.
In reference to the many CEOs have resigned from White House business panels. Donald Trump was meant to be the business-friendly CEO president, so what happened here?
REICH: Well, that's one of the great ironies. He said that he knows how to run a business. He could the White House work and we have a White House that has been in almost continuous chaos.
He also said that he could make the government work and that he would be friendly to business. Well, essentially nothing has happened.
He's not been able to do anything. It's not just because of Democrats, it's also because of -- that he has antagonized a lot of Republicans including Republican senators who are very important for getting anything done.
So, there is this big question mark hanging over the entire global economy and that is that is whether Donald Trump can be trusted as the president of the United States to be not just business-friendly, but just to be coherent and to be predictable enough so that our economies can get on with what they need to do.
VAUSE: Yes. There is so much uncertainty right now and it just seems to becoming more uncertain every day. Secretary Reich, thanks so much for being with us.
REICH: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, big donations coming in for Houston from some big name celebrities. The generosity started close to home, Leslie Alexander who owns Houston's pro basketball team, the Rockets has upped his donation to $10 million.
The city's pro football team, The Houston Texans is teaming up with in-state rivals, the Dallas Cowboys proceed, so their preseason game on Thursday night donated to relief funds, the players are chipping in as well.
The Texans' biggest star, J.J Watt has already raised more than $5 million through crowd funding. Hollywood stars including Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Kim Kardashian are writing big checks as well to eight group. And Beyonce, maybe Houston's most famous native has pledged to help as much as she can. And the rock band Coldplay wrote and performed a song just for Houston, here they were in Miami on Monday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MARTIN, LEAD SINGER, COLDPLAY: There's a harmony that hums down there in Houston. Oh, Houston, you got to keep on keeping on. Take it, Jon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: If you want to help, log on to our special Impact Your World website at cnn.com/impact. There you can find links to work charities (INAUDIBLE) all those impacted by Harvey. It's all there at cnn.com/impact. You're watching "CNN Newsroom," I am John Vause in Los Angeles. And George?
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell here in Richmond, Texas. I just want to close with something that really puts it in perspective. The CEO of Harris County, which encompasses Houston, Texas tweeted this.
"Harvey dumped enough rain on Harris County to run Niagara Falls for 15 days, more than 1 trillion gallons." That really puts it in perspective. Thank you for being with us. Stay with us for the next hour of "Newsroom" right after the break.