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More Rain, Flooding as Harvey Returns; President Trump Visits Texas; U.N. Ratchets Up Pressure on North Korea. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 30, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:31:43] RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Right now in Texas, residents are preparing for one more hit from Harvey. The storm set to make landfall again before finally turning north.

We're live in Texas with more on how residents are helping each other ride out this storm.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Rene Marsh.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 31 minutes past the hour, 3:32 now in Texas. We welcome all of our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world.

Harvey set to make landfall one more time bringing death and destruction in its wake. More bands of rain coming in a few hours to add to the already record breaking totals, the highest rainfall total from Harvey so far, almost 52 inches in Cedar Bayou, that's southwest of Houston. That's already a record in the continental U.S. for any tropical system.

MARSH: And right now, Houston is under curfew until 5:00 a.m. Central Time, 6:00 Eastern, part of an effort to stem looting of businesses and homes. The Harris County D.A. says 14 people have been arrested for looting in the past 48 hours. He says anyone caught looting in the disaster area faces extra punishment.

BRIGGS: Northwest of Houston, officials say water keeps rising in the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, even as it flows over the dam's spillways. Thousands of homes in the area have now between three and five feet of floodwater in them. Water not expected to stop flowing from the Addicks Dam until mid-September.

MARSH: This morning, there are nine confirmed deaths from Harvey, including a Houston police officer, 60-year-old Sergeant Steve Perez. He drowned trying to get to work during the flood.


CHIEF ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: We couldn't find him and once our dive team got there, it was too treacherous to go under and look for him. As much as we wanted to recover him last night, we could not put another -- more officers at risk. For what we knew in our hearts was going to be a recovery mission. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARSH: And "Reuters" is reporting a death toll of 17, including a family of six, four kids and their grandparents.

BRIGGS: Countless others still awaiting rescue. Officials say at least 9,000 to 10,000 people have been rescued in the Houston area alone between police, fire and the coast guard. That includes this rescue, a mother and her baby, traumatic video there. Of course, that's all on top of the huge number of private rescues we've been reporting on.

MARSH: And those working to save lives need rest and recharge. Here are exhausted Texas National Guard troops sacking out on brand new mattresses in a sleep store showroom between rescues. Much deserved.

Well, that was in Richmond, Texas, which is where we find CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

Derek, have people heeded the warnings? Are people in those homes behind you?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, absolutely not. They have gone and thankfully so, because the water still set to rise here. You have got to see this, Rene and Dave. Check this out. We got here about six hours ago.

By the way, I'm standing at the edges of what is now the Brazos River, but it's moved in a little bit of course.

[04:35:06] That fence behind me six hours ago was completely exposed. It's now about halfway up the fence. That just gives you an idea of this slow rise in the water that keeps taking place.

Now, I'm not wearing a raincoat like I was 24 hours ago. Rain is not pelting me in my face. It's come to an end here in Houston, but the threat still remains.

The sun came out briefly this evening. It was a glimmer of hope for the residents here, but the threat still continues because the water is rushing into these larger rivers like the Brazos river behind, and it's eventually going to crest.

Now, we have seen some incredible things, a lot of community members and volunteers coming together and we're going to show you one example which I have a personal connection with. My cousin calls me this afternoon and says, I saw you on CNN, Derek, and I just want you to know that we had to evacuate from our home in the Buffalo Bayou region. That's in between the two reservoirs that are just west of Houston, the Barker and Addicks Reservoirs. And he got his family to safety and then he decided his time was better spent going back and volunteering his time and saving others.

And you can see some of the video on your screen, just how the waters he had to walk about with the various rescue boats. He said there were between 30 to 40 boats that are out navigating the waters of the streets there and there is just several stories, horrendous stories of people having to deal with these flooded homes, but also some heroism as well with people successfully being plucked from their homes and getting to dry land.

Now, there's more water to come. That's the big concern here as the storm continues to churn over the Gulf of Mexico, and the forecast going forward is astounding. More rain east of Galveston and Houston.

And, Dave, Rene, I've got one last statistic that I just came across. This is amazing. Cox Automotive did an analysis comparing Superstorm Sandy to the current Tropical Storm Harvey, and they found over 500,000 vehicles will be completely destroyed by the time the storm is all said and done. Unbelievable.

BRIGGS: That's why you're seeing these economic impacts, estimated as low as $20 billion, but as high as $75 billion approaching that of Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago yesterday.

Derek Van Dam, live for us in Richmond, Texas, thank you.

As Harvey makes landfall again, said to pick up some speed finally and hopefully get out of this area.

Let's bring in meteorologist Karen Maginnis live this morning in the CNN Weather Center.

Good morning, Karen. How long will the rain bands continue in Houston once they pick up later this morning?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the rain for all intents and purposes except for a few isolated showers has shifted more towards the East and towards the Northeast. We're actually waiting for the landfall, but essentially, the bulk of the moisture is well to the north and to the east of the center of the system.

What is going to happen now is we're going to see a storm surge and very heavy rainfall because today, we just saw round after round after round of very heavy rainfall between Beaumont and Port Arthur and Orange and headed up through sections of Alexandria, but Beaumont set a record daily rainfall total of nearly 18 inches. And by tomorrow afternoon, 40 to 50 inches total can be expected and assessed for Beaumont, Port Arthur.

Here you can see the latest radar imagery. Orange in the path of some of those heavier bands, you are really getting pummeled. It is expected to make landfall again. That is Tropical Storm Harvey, has winds of 45 miles an hour, moving to the Northeast at about seven miles an hour. You can see the shift of the heavier rain toward Shreveport, eventually into the Tennessee Valley -- Rene, Dave.

BRIGGS: Wow, you are talking about 6 million people who have seen 30- plus inches of rain, 33 states don't have that many resident.

Karen, thanks so much. It's incredible.

MARSH: And now we have on the phone, John Cannon. He is the spokesman for the city of Houston Office of Emergency Management.

Thank you so much for joining us, Mr. Cannon.

The first question I want to ask you is, how fast and furious are these calls for rescues and help still coming in even at this hour? I mean, how many are you getting per hour?

JOHN CANNON, SPOKESMAN, CITY OF HOUSTON OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (via telephone): Well, we don't really necessarily -- you can imagine just the data and the influx of numbers that we have throughout the entire operation. So, we don't have specific calls per hour.

I can tell you that at least from our point of view the rescues have gone down compared to a day or two ago. That doesn't mean they're still not being conducted because they are, but numbers are going down, which is a good sign.

[04:40:00] But I can tell you, you know, the thing about it is, it's a good ray of sunshine that we saw here late yesterday and it's making people down here feel a little bit better. But I heard some of your weather forecasts and such talking about the Brazos River and some of the other waterways and, you know, we said it best yesterday when we said we have 1 trillion gallons of rain that still has to go somewhere. So, we anticipate that our rescues are probably not going to stop. So, they will be continuing around the clock.

BRIGGS: Isn't that number amazing? One trillion gallons of water. That would power Niagara falls for 15 days. Hard to fathom that.

Another ray of sunshine though is another opening of a major shelter. If you could talk about what's opened last night at the NRG center and how many people that will hold.

CANNON: Yes, that is -- that's going to be on the Harris County Office of Emergency side. We're working with them to see what the capacity is there. The largest shelter that we have at the moment is at the George R. Brown Convention Center, and that's in downtown Houston. We've got about 9,000 folks who are over there and obviously, we've got a number of Red Cross shelters open.

NRG, I don't have a timetable as far as what they're going to be doing today, but obviously, it's going to be a big relief and even the Toyota Center, which is downtown Houston may be taking a couple other thousand people. But at the moment, the largest shelter we have open is at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

MARSH: And I want to ask you a little bit about just the sick and people at hospitals, how is that process working? Are people in hospitals able to get out to where they need to get and still get the care that they need and then the sick that are being rescued, are they able to get the care that they need?

CANNON: Well, we really haven't had any reports of issues in and around the medical center, which has been a good thing. We've only had really reports as far as since this entire weather event occurred of three deaths that are here in the city, and we're still waiting back on the medical examiner to determine whether or not those three deaths are definitely going to be weather related.

As far as the medical center, we haven't had -- other than one or a couple of hospitals that have had to close down, more toward the east side of town and Northeast, we haven't had any widespread reports of people saying that they can't get in or out.

BRIGGS: On the casualties note, John, CNN affiliate reporting four volunteer rescuers are missing, three others were electrocuted. Any advice for all these civilian rescuers that are out and about trying to stay safe?

CANNON: Well, that's just it. I mean, that's human nature, right? I mean, if it were you or I and that's in our neighborhood and our motto that we've been trying to say is neighbors helping neighbors and it's human nature to want to do that and it's tough to talk to people and giving them tips as far as don't go in there. If you do go in there, know what the risks are.

I can tell you it's amazing what we've seen and not only just the Houston police officers and Houston firefighters, but look at all the images that you've seen with people who have boats and they're bringing people to safety. Look at all the images you see of people up to their waists in water helping their -- the elderly or people in their neighborhoods. It's a miracle that we haven't really had more injuries or casualties when you see the images and what people are having to get themselves through. Not only for themselves, but especially if they want to help someone.

BRIGGS: Indeed. That is the best of the stories we're hearing, the rescues and the bottom of your screen, some of the worst. Curfews because looting is happening across the Houston area. That curfew goes on until 5:00 local, 6:00 Eastern Time.

How do you expect that to help contain this looting issue and what about the popping up of all these scams, these fraudulent charities, how do you handle that?

CANNON: Well, I would say the looting -- I don't want to really say that looting is widespread. Looting is like it was in past storms in any city around the country. It's going to be isolated pockets of people who are going to take advantage of those in need, especially at some businesses and the chief -- Police Chief Art Acevedo said yesterday, he put a warning out there that the police department is now back to serving and protecting and that's going to be actually protecting some of the businesses, and as you guys said moments ago, the district attorney in Harris County in Houston said they're going to go after these people with the fullest extent of the law.

So, we're out there, but I wouldn't say looting is widespread at all. There are isolated pockets of people, fortunately, and not the majority but they will be caught and we have made some arrests and, unfortunately, crime still occurs.

[04:45:04] I mean, we were in a vehicle pursuit with a suspect that we took into custody probably within the last couple of hours. So, there are still people who are going to take advantage, but the

vast majority of people I can tell you since the curfew went into effect midnight here in Houston have abided by the curfew. And, you know, we even saw a tweet from a local weather forecaster with KTRK who said that he was pulled over on his way home from work about three hours ago and he actually put on social media that he was happy about that because that meant the Houston police are enforcing the curfew.

BRIGGS: You bet. You know, you're talking about 14 arrests in an area of more than 6 million, some is expected. That is a small number.

John Cannon, thanks for doing what you're doing, the public information officer, City of Houston Office of Emergency Management.

MARSH: And the president surveys the damage from Harvey for himself.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to get you back and operating immediately. It happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything.


MARSH: Kind words, but did the president show enough empathy for the victims? That's coming up.



[04:50:24] TRUMP: This was of epic proportion. Nobody's ever seen anything like this. Governor, again, thank you very much and we won't say congratulations. We don't want to do that. We don't want to congratulate. We'll congratulate each other when it's all finished.


MARSH: Well, President Trump said during his visit to Texas, recovery from Harvey will take long. Now, suggesting as long as five to ten years. In Austin and Corpus Christi, he voiced confidence that they'll find the money to help rebuild. He met with officials but did not make prominent mention of the victims.

He will get another chance to do so. The president is set to return to the Gulf region very soon and our Sara Murray has more from the White House.



President Trump is back here in Washington after spending the day yesterday visiting storm ravaged Texas. He visited an emergency operations center, met with local officials and acknowledged this is going to be a long and expensive recovery effort, and he insisted he would work with Congress to make sure that a residents and local officials have resources they need from Washington.

TRUMP: Probably there's never been anything so expensive in our country's history. There's never been anything so historic in terms of damage and in terms of ferocity as what we've witnessed with Harvey.

MURRAY: Now, we don't expect this to be the president's last visit to this area. The White House says he'll be returning to Texas this weekend as well as to Louisiana.

Back to you, guys.


BRIGGS: Again, the criticism has been from those who often do criticize the president. Is he showing empathy? Should he show more empathy for the victims? Should he have mentioned Sergeant Perez who gave his life going to work to help people in this storm?

This is not the empathizer in chief.

MARSH: Right.

BRIGGS: If you elected him for that, you voted for the wrong guy. But if you measure him for how he's handling the storm, the flooding, the resources have been given to the Houston area, the FEMA director has done a terrific job, and was it odd to say he's getting famous in all this? Certainly, but that's how he measures things.

MARSH: And I think you kind of saw the White House trying to clean this up a little bit, Sarah Sanders, later on in the day, telling the press that, of course, the president is concerned about the people of Texas. So, I think a little bit of cleanup.

BRIGGS: Well, the first lady, too, the first lady seems to hit the right notes when it comes to empathy, in particular on Twitter. So, let us know what you think about that, @earlystart on Twitter.

MARSH: And coming up, North Korea's latest missile launch could spell more sanctions but what industries are left to target? That's on CNN "Money Stream" next.

(COMMERRCIAL BREAK) [04:57:33] MARSH: An ultimatum from the U.N. Security Council. Member nations say they are furious Condemning North Korea's latest missile launch, condemning it as outrageous. President Trump now warns all options are on the table.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul, South Korea, with more this morning -- Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Rene. Well, we had strong words from the United Nations. No mention though

of future sanctions. Bear in mind that the previous sanctions have just been passed for only really the beginning of this month. So, we haven't had a chance whether they will bite and whether they will isolate the country further.

But, certainly, North Korea is not taking any heed off these words. International condemnation means very little to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, just as it did to his father and his grandfather. What we're hearing from North Korea, from state-run media, is that they're saying that this Japan missile launch, the launch that flew over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean was actually the first step of a military operation in the Pacific. They are saying that it was a prelude to operations against Guam.

Now, certainly, Guam has been something they have made a number of rhetorical threats against in recent weeks. They've made threats against Guam really in recent years considering it is the closest U.S. territory and it is one where often some of these shows of force, the bombers have flown from to show a show a force against North Korea.

Now, the leaders of Japan and South Korea have spoken. They have said they have to do everything possible, up to the maximum, to try and put pressure on North Korea. Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, saying North Korea clearly does not want to talk at this moment, not what the South Korean president wants to hear. He still believes that dialogue is the way forward. But once again, North Korea showing that international condemnation means very little to them -- Rene.

MARSH: Paula Hancocks from Seoul, South Korea -- thank you so much.

BRIGGS: North Korea's latest missile launch could spell more sanctions for the country. The U.N. already hit North Korea's major exports earlier this month slapping sanctions on a billion dollars worth of coal, iron ore and seafood. So, what's left? There are still textiles, apparel, and oil, and China is the main customer for all three. So, those sanctions will truly be ineffective without its support. China says it upholds all U.N. sanctions, but some experts are skeptical, claiming Chinese leaders want to preserve Pyongyang's regime as a buffer against U.S. influence in the region.

So, crises on multiple fronts for President Trump. The other, of course, hurricane, now Tropical Storm Harvey. We'll have the latest on that as EARLY START continue right now.