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Patients Airlifted and Scattered to Hospitals; Generosity from People Out of Harvey's Devastation. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 31, 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] CHRIS CUOMO, HOST, CNN: So thank you for watching us. Remember, we are all in this thing together. CNN Tonight is next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news, the death toll rising right now. One confirmed, one more confirmed death in this horrible, horrible storm. Rescues by air, boat, any vehicle available. They're trying to get people out of there.
This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
For many in the flood zone, the misery is just beginning. I want to bring in a woman who was rescued this morning and is desperately trying to care for her sick family member. Her name is Edna McZeal. And she joins me by phone. Edna, your story is -- we're trying to get to you with -- as soon as we can so we can talk about what's happening with you.
I'm so glad you made it to safety but I hear you had a harrowing rescue and your family was separated, but tell me about your niece, Miranda, specifically, how's she doing? She had grand mal seizures, right, was taken to the hospital by helicopter?
EDNA MCZEAL, HURRICANE HARVEY SURVIVOR: That is exactly -- I'm so grateful to all the help that I received, but, yes, we were separated at the time right now, but I'm hoping that we can get back together tomorrow. She's in Lake Charles right now in the hospital, so I'm hoping, perhaps, maybe we can get her to Houston where we can all, you know, come together.
LEMON: So, what is the hospital telling your family about your niece? Is she able to stay or will she have to be moved again?
MCZEAL: What I'm hearing is that they have stabilized her seizures but because so many people are coming from different directions, they're going to have to move her again to another shelter, which she cannot do at all. She is unable to move. She has a tract, a G-tube. She cannot do this. She can't be around -- we're very grateful for the shelters around the world, around Texas that have been helping people but Miranda cannot be in a shelter like that.
She has these grand mal seizures constantly 24 hours. So, we, they're saying they have to move her because they're taken care of her. You know, she's as critical like that. But she will go back if she goes back to a shelter. She'll have to go back into the hospital.
LEMON: So, Edna, can you tell me how did this, how did the rescue go down? Tell me about the rescue.
MCZEAL: It was a wonderful -- it was a wonderful job. I just -- I want to make sure that I mention that everyone, social media, everything was very, very helpful. All my friends, that the first family, my Chronicle family in Houston, Texas, the Houston Chronicle that everyone that we reached on Facebook connected, and we had helicopters surrounding the house who were able to rescue Miranda and take her to safety with my sister who's also a nurse, Piper Stark, rode with her.
LEMON: I mean, every day, I watch the coverage and I can't take my eyes off it and you think it's going to get better because you see the sunshine or it stops raining but then it just appears that it is getting worse at least with the survival stories.
Explain, can you explain to our viewers what it's like? I mean, there's no water. Some people, you know, ended up in shelters.
MCZEAL: Exactly. It happened so fast. I open the front door and five minutes later the water was coming into the house and it was just rising up to our kneecaps. It was -- it was quick and it was fast. It was very, very scary. Miranda's dad who's my brother, John McZeal, he was all frantic. We were just crazy because we need to get her out of there.
And so the first thing we did was go to social media and to start putting it out there. It was so scary because Miranda started having seizures at home. But again, a boat came and took my mother and myself out of the house first. And it came so quick. We had to jump in there and run just like no clothes no nothing.
My main concern right now is to get Miranda to Houston with me and I hope to go with the help of my first family, helping me get to Houston tomorrow in a hotel so I'm hoping that Miranda can follow me there.
LEMON: How did you leave your house, Edna?
MCZEAL: I left my house in a boat.
LEMON: You left in a boat.
LEMON: Now, after you were rescued, you helped your niece save her horse, Hercules. Tell me about that.
MCZEAL: Yes. She, my niece is graduating from -- she just graduated from college and she wanted a horse and my brother, Brian McZeal, is her father, and got her a horse. It was very scary, they actually went out there -- now they have the horse in the garage but they had to rescue the horse from the stables. [22:05:01] So, there's water everywhere. That's what you're showing
right now is my family right in on the boat. That's Hercules. Some of the horses. That's not Hercules. That's Hercules right there.
LEMON: Yes. I can only imagine. You sound like you're just overcome with...
MCZEAL: That's my house right in. Yes, it's just really crazy. It's scary. I want to say thank you to your -- Ray Cosby (Ph) for him in Beaumont. Just a lot of thank God to everyone but it's really, really -- you know, but everyone has problems, issues, but it was really scary.
LEMON: What's your biggest concern tonight?
MCZEAL: I want to get with Miranda. I want my family -- I want like everyone, everyone, everyone wants the same thing. They want their family back together again. We know it takes time. Again, I give thanks to God and to all the families that are opening their homes to people and taking care of us. I appreciate everything everyone is doing for us.
But my biggest concern is to get Miranda from Lake Charles to Houston and so I can continue to care for her along with her dad and her grandmother and my sister, Piper.
LEMON: Well, Edna, thank you so much. We're praying for you and we wish you and Miranda and your entire family the very best. We appreciate you joining us this evening. Thank you.
MCZEAL: Thank you, have a good evening.
LEMON: Thank you. Let's go to the ground now because Anderson has been witnessing these rescues. He's in Houston for us. You were embedded, as a matter of fact, with the U.S. Coast Guard, Anderson, as they were making multiple rescues today. Let's take a look at it.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: Basket is now clear of the roof. They're bringing it up slowly. It is -- they're slowly bringing it up. Again, Eric the flight mechanic who's in the doorway, he has a visual on this and he's giving the information to Dan Miller and Matt Meyer (Ph), the pilot. They're hovering directly above this. And obviously, we can't see what's going on. That's Eric (Inaudible), the flight mechanic.
LEMON: Anderson, what these men and women are doing is unbelievable. They are true heroes. Talk to me about these rescues.
COOPER: Yes, you know, with the crew I was with, today they didn't expect really to see much, they didn't expect to be making a lot of rescues. The weather was good, they kind of thought, you know, look, time has passed. But when we got over the Beaumont area, that entire region, and saw the extent of flooding, you know, they went down low, they hovered about 150 feet. And they get some 911 calls, they get reports of where to go, they get
GPS coordinates or addresses of homes. But a lot of what they're doing is just visual inspection of the ground, they try to go to places where boats maybe can't get to, they're far away from roads where people maybe are isolated, their cell phones or their landlines are certainly down.
And that's really how they're finding people today. And all the one crew I was with for about six hours, you know, ultimately picked up about 15 people, as well as I think about six or five or six pets as well. I think it was five dogs and one cat.
Because obviously, people are bringing their beloved pets with them as well. And that was just one chopper for six hours. They're just going, you know, all throughout the daylight whenever they can, even sometimes at night if necessary if there's a medical emergency.
It is dangerous work for them. Even though the weather is good, there's so many choppers in the air, so many different air assets out there, even people flying drones sometimes that the pilots have to constantly be on the lookout for other aircraft or drones or anything, for power lines, for antennas, that they might actually collide with.
So, it's dangerous work for what they're doing. They're saving people's lives and this is continuing. I think a lot of people kind of see, look, the weather has gotten better the last two days in Houston.
COOPER: You know, the worst has passed. But as you just heard from the woman you talked to and from the folks we saw today, you know, for them, this was the worst day.
LEMON: Anderson, are they using divers as well?
COOPER: They have a rescue swimmer, so there's one rescue swimmer. There's a flight mechanic who actually helps lower the rescue swimmer down to the rooftop where a person may be. It's the rescue swimmer who tries to figure -- who basically assesses the situation. You know, they're flagged down by somebody on a rooftop waving a, you know, waving a towel.
[22:10:02] The flight mechanic will stick his hand out by he's leaning out of the chopper, he'll do a thumbs up or thumbs down for the person to give them an indication of whether they're just waving at the helicopter or they really need assistance.
Then it's the rescue swimmer who goes down and assesses what the medical needs are, tries to get whoever is there up on the roof and one by one brings them in a basket up into the chopper and then it's two pilots, they take them, the chopper then goes to usually a nearby hospital if they have medical needs or a shelter if they just need to get dry, get clothes and have a place to sleep and kind of reassess and regroup.
LEMON: Great work down there, Anderson. We'll see you again live at the top of the hour. Thank you so much.
I want to bring in now Miguel Marquez, he is in Beaumont, Texas. Miguel, you're at a hospital in Beaumont. For us, you know, that's -- the patients have been evacuated. We've been seeing them all day, you know, moving people around. The city lost access to running water. What's the latest there?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. Look, this hospital, Baptist Hospital in Beaumont, is in the midst of this evacuation still. Now the good part is that this isn't evacuation that is happening in haste. The water went up. The main pump for the city that supplies about 70 percent of the water went out because of flooding on the river where it draws from the Neches River.
And then the - another pump that supplies 30 percent of the water to the city farther north, that also went out. So 135,000 people are now without water and they have a double sort of emergency here. There's too much water from the sky, and none coming out of their faucets. The hospital has still 85 patients here.
The worst, most critically injured, have been moved out. The patients in ICU, there were nine children born prematurely that were moved to Galveston. There was one patient that was moved to Missouri, even. Others went to Dallas and to Jasper and all the dialysis patients are out.
So the hospital says this will continue and they are doing it with sort of military-like precision. Sunrise to sundown. It looks like a military operation. At some point, nine helicopters sitting out on the parking lot here at the hospital and then one by one, they're able to move those critically injured individuals out, put them on the helicopters.
It will get a little easier as the individuals who are left aren't as badly injured, but Beaumont, the reason they had to do it by air, is on a bit of a rise. Everything around it, the freeways included, it's limited passage because of the water.
I flew over the Trinity River valley, for instance, on the way from Houston to here. It is inundated. Small towns, isolated areas, completely under water. It is going to be months and months before this place is anything close to normal. Don?
LEMON: So, what issues are you looking at, are we looking at with the patients that are there now, as far as moving them maybe tomorrow. What kind of issues are they going to have?
MARQUEZ: Well, it's just a matter of getting them out, getting the helicopters here. It's catch as catch can because the helicopters aren't always available. You have everything from black hawks that are flying in here to helicopters from other hospitals that happen to have them free for enough time that they can come in and land here.
So they'd like to move them out by land. They might be able to do some of that if the water recedes enough, but keep in mind, the Neches River hasn't hit crest yet, it hasn't peaked yet. That's expected to happen the next day or two. Then they can get to the pumps that were disabled by the flood. Then they can fix them.
So we're talking four, five, six, perhaps seven days before there is running water here again. They're going to establish a water distribution point here in town, but, you know, the patients is one thing, but this city -- keep in mind, this city is still dealing with water rescues.
Anderson had them today. They did 300 water rescues in the city of Beaumont today. They did probably a couple thousand in the county. They've done 6,000 total in the county and they've done 1,000 total in the city here so the flood part of this is still very active for the people here. Now they have no water on top of it. Don?
LEMON: Miguel Marquez. Miguel, thank you for your reporting in Beaumont, Texas. I want to bring in now in Beaumont, a resident, her name is Cynthia Williams. She's on the phone. She's stuck at home and she needs dialysis. Cynthia, thank you so much for joining us. Where are you right now and how are you?
SYNTHIA WILLIAMS, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: I'm fine, how are you, Don? I'm at home.
LEMON: Yes. Now here's what I understand, you -- I'm not sure if it was you, but someone reached out to my sister saying that they needed help.
WILLIAMS: Yes, I did.
LEMON: You grew up with us?
WILLIAMS: Well, I went to school with your baby sister, with Lisa.
LEMON: Got it. That's my older sister.
WILLIAMS: I was older than Lisa.
WILLIAMS: But I'm not sure which is -- which is one was older, Lisa I went to school with Lisa.
WILLIAMS: And your aunt lives right down the street from me, Ms. Rae Ellen (Ph).
LEMON: Rae Ellen (Ph).
WILLIAMS: Well, I was raised up in (Inaudible) so I know you people.
LEMON: OK. Well, I'm glad you reached out. And we want to try to get you help because you usually get dialysis three times a week.
[22:14:58] LEMON: But haven't been able to go to the hospital since last Thursday. So how you how you feeling? What are you going to do?
WILLIAMS: Well, I'm beginning to get a little bloated, I feel a little bloated right now, and I haven't had dialysis since last Thursday. So that's, like, six days. I feel as long as I'm resting, I feel, you know, feel pretty good and I'm not swelling or anything, but I'm just -- you know, I can tell it's time. I need to get somewhere.
WILLIAMS: And I call places and they give me numbers, go here, go there, and everybody you know. So I did find another number they gave me, I think it's Washington, D.C. I called and they put me on the list and they said they'll get to me but I haven't heard anything and I'm pretty sure they're not coming tonight because, you know, it's night here.
So I'm hoping they can get me out tomorrow because we can't get to Baton Rouge. We can't get to Houston. I can't get to Jasper. You know, I'm just surrounded. North, south, east and west. I have nowhere to run to.
LEMON: It's all flooded out and the roads -- the situation is bad so you can't go anywhere, right?
LEMON: How have you been taking care of yourself?
WILLIAMS: Well, I just been monitoring my diet and my water intake, you know, and just resting. That's it. You know, trying to...
LEMON: Cynthia, you're awfully calm. I'm not sure many people would be as calm as you are in this situation. How are you able to stay so cool?
WILLIAMS: I work dialysis, so I pretty much know what to do, so, you know, but, and my kids are nervous enough for me so I can't -- I got -- I can't let them see I'm, you know, so I'm just trying to hang in there and do what I know to do.
LEMON: But you know you have a limited time in the circumstances that you're in now, right?
WILLIAMS: Yes. Yes. I know -- limited time, very limited now because it's -- like I said, it's coming six days that I haven't had dialysis. So...
LEMON: So you've reached out to people and you said they keep giving you numbers. And you need someone to get to you. Where exactly are you in Beaumont, if you don't mind telling us?
WILLIAMS: Where am I in Beaumont? LEMON: Yes.
WILLIAMS: I'm on the south side of Beaumont on Franklin.
LEMON: On Franklin. OK. We're going to try to get some people to you. So I will get the producers to get more specific information about where you are and see if we can get someone to come and help you specifically because dialysis, that's a very serious thing.
WILLIAMS: Yes, it is.
LEMON: Other people -- other people rescued in your neighborhood, Cynthia?
WILLIAMS: No. I haven't seen anybody else because really around the house I don't have any water around the house. The underpasses are open, like I say. But it's just the main highways. You just can't, you know, you can't get out. The main roads are -- they're all closed so you can't get out anywhere. And the water here being shut down, you don't have water here.
So, and then somebody started a rumor that they was going to be cutting the lights off and that blew up and so, you know, so it's just time for me to go, you know? Just time for me to go.
And my son, he was going to take me, try to get to Baton Rouge because he works at the fed, at the federal prison, but he had to get back so if he had went into Louisiana, he wouldn't have been able to get back over. So they finally closed i-10 completely down.
WILLIAMS: So I'm just stuck.
LEMON: Yes. We're going to try to help you, Cynthia, and I appreciate you reaching out to my sister. And I'm glad that we can get you as much help as we can get you at this moment.
LEMON: We're going to try to get you out of there. Thank you so much. Let us know, OK? If you need anything.
WILLIAMS: Yes. OK, Don, thank you very much.
LEMON: All right. It's good to talk to you. Good luck. Thank you.
When we come back, a man helping his neighbors return to his house to find it flooded. What does he do next? Well, he keeps helping. He's going to join me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Submerged. Cars submerged. That's a hard, hard thing. You OK, Mr. Green? Are you ready, you want to go?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So, nearly a week after hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast, many, many desperate residents remain stranded. Others are returning to see their flooded homes for the very first time.
CNN's Alex Marquardt was with some of them today. So, Alex, man, I could only imagine. I mean, the damage -- Alex, Harvey damaged about -- destroyed about 100,000 homes. And so tell me about these families you were with who were evacuated and then seeing their homes for the first time.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, when you're going home with these people for the first time and they are seeing the full extent of the damage it is absolutely heartbreaking.
We were with several people throughout the course of the day including a man named Bill Wolf. And we had actually seen him and his family being rescued on Monday which was in the middle of the horrible storm that followed Harvey. He was pulled to safety with his wife, his two young boys, their dog and cat.
And they were still relatively optimistic and upbeat at the time. They're only few inches of water in their home. They thought they might be able to go back after a couple days. Fast forward to today, we walked into the home, waded into the home through several feet of water with Mr. Wolf. Him by himself. And he was crying as he walked through the home. Seeing his furniture float by.
He was picking up things like photo albums, baby books, a 150-year-old bible that had been in his family 450 years. All of it ruined. Take a listen to what he had to say.
BILL WOLF, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: I'm not an emotional guy, I'm pretty calm, and this has been too much for me. To be honest, I don't know if I want to be here very long.
MARQUARDT: Is this the worst part, the personal stuff?
WOLF: Yes. I mean, this is the stuff you can't replace, right? I mean, this is -- these are my son's birth announcements. Right? I mean.
MARQUARDT: Well, the rain here has stopped as we've noted. The water level has gone down here. They're not expecting any more rain. They think that this water is going to disappear in about five to six weeks but remains very much to be seen whether these homes are still livable.
Mr. Wolf who I spoke with thought that he might have to not come back before six months, if at all. And, you know, Don, we often talk about the resilience of people in the wake of these devastating tragedies. And I have to tell you that I have been just blown away by the composure of the people that I have met here after they lost so much.
[22:25:03] People have been remaining so upbeat, so positive, they have been smiling, even joking. And I've asked several people how it is they stayed so upbeat. And they said you can't just, you can't dwell on this, you have to deal with one thing at a time.
They have to get to a shelter, you have to get your family food, you have to make sure they're safe. And at the end of the day, a lot of this stuff is just that, it's stuff. Don?
LEMON: Absolute. Well said. Thank you, Alex. In the midst of the devastation in Texas, the story of hurricane Harvey and its aftermath is one of neighbor helping neighbor.
Take, for example, Port Arthur city councilman, Thomas Kinlaw. For six days he's been out helping his neighbors deal with this storm and yet, his own house was damaged by three feet of water. He shot this video of his home from his boat. We're going to put it up now.
And Thomas Kinlaw and his wife Valerie LaPoint-Kinlaw -- LaPoint Kinlaw, they join me now by phone. I'm so grateful that you can join us this evening, councilman. Thank you so much. The storm is much worse than people in Port Arthur were bracing for. What has it been like for you guys?
THOMAS KINLAW, CITY COUNCILMAN, PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS: Well, Don, it's been nonstop. We have been actually getting calls, I mean, averaging 30 calls a day. We're going out. I'm going out with volunteers. We got volunteers that's coming all over the state and even Louisiana coming in and helping out.
We have so many families are stuck in their houses because this particular storm caught us all by surprise. It came in so fast and it just kept on growing. And now we have families out there that needs help. So my wife and I, she's a nurse, and, you know, what could we do?
I mean, as a servant, as a public official, it's our job to help people. And that's what we need. We need help down here. We have families that can't get out. We're surrounded by water. And no one can get to them other than a boat.
KINLAW: So it's been very difficult, man. You know, I hope that -- I hope people realize never to play with waters like this or hurricanes. I mean, because I'm a testimony, I went to my own house and it's totaled. My cars, I have no cars and I'm living just like everyone else. It's not about titles. It's not about who you are. It's about helping people overcoming this particular event that we have.
LEMON: Yes. Councilman, I want to show our viewers, this is video you took outside your house. We're going to talk on the other side. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINLAW: We can pull up to my truck, I'm going to see. That's my house. Submerged. Cars submerged. That's a hard, hard thing. You OK, Mr. Green? You ready, you want to go? Let's see. Yes, we got people all over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Councilman, I'm sure you never thought you'd be pulling up to your house or your driveway in a boat. It's like a river in front of your house.
KINLAW: Yes, it is. I mean, it's just hard, and just to hear that again lets you know that, you know, you can start over, but it's still hard for people that, you know, for years and years have things in their homes and one day it's all gone. It's all destroyed.
So, even in the midst of those things I'm willing and I'm going to continue fighting and helping people. Tomorrow I plan on going back on the boat and going out helping families get out of the water. Get out of those homes. So, hey, it's something that -- and my motto has always been it could be worse. It could be worse.
LEMON: I want to talk to Valerie now.
LEMON: Valerie, are you there?
VALERIE LAPOINT-KINLAW, THOMAS KINLAW'S WIFE: I'm here.
LEMON: Valerie, you and your husband went from helping to set up a shelter at the civic center to watching that shelter succumb to water, to floodwater. Tell me about that.
LAPOINT-KINLAW: That was the most scary experience I've ever had in my life. We got there and, you know, we were comfortable, we were safe and then about 20 or 30 minutes after being there in the civic center, it started taking on water, and over time, it just -- the water kept getting higher and higher and we continued to move up in the bleachers just trying to stay dry, but, you know, you couldn't sleep, we couldn't, you know, rest because we didn't know if that water was going to exceed us inside that building so it was really scary.
LEMON: Where did all these people in the civic center end up going after it flooded? Did they just keep moving higher?
LAPOINT-KINLAW: Once the -- once daylight hit, we were able to see that the water outside of the building was at the same height as the water inside of the building. So it wasn't rising any further than that. But when we stood up, it was past our knees.
LEMON: Councilman, you were in the army. What does it mean to you to see the navy, the Coast Guard, the National Guard, everyone out there working together? KINLAW: You know, that's what it's about. You joke about other
branches and I've done this my whole life, but when you have times like this, you can see how we all come together and pull together for one common goal and that's just to help people.
[22:30:05] And I'm going to continue doing that until I die. But we really need help and I feel that the Marine Corps, the navy, the coast guard, all those types of until I die. But we really need help and I feel that the Marine Corps, the navy, the coast guard, all those types of units, all those types of equipment is here in Port Arthur.
We have, at one time I've seen over 20 helicopters in the air. We see the type of armored units out here, Marine Corps, they've been activated. We have National Guard out here. I mean, it's just amazing how they all come together as one unit and that's to save people. And it makes me feel good, it makes me feel proud to be a veteran.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Councilman Kinlaw, Valerie, thank you both. Best of luck to you, OK?
VALERIE LAPOINT-KINLAW, THOMAS KINLAW'S WIFE: Thank you.
KINLAW: Thank you, I appreciate it.
LEMON: Thank you. Absolutely.
When we come back, dramatic rescues of those still trapped in the rising waters of the flood zone. We're going to bring in some of those heroes.
LEMON: Look at that, helicopter teams making some of the most dramatic rescues of flood victims in Texas.
Back with me tonight, members of the New York Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing. Joining me now is Major Justin Wolfe and Major Glynn Weir. Thank you first of all for your service, gentlemen. Let's talk about what you've been doing there. Major Wolfe, you first. This is some of the video that your unit shot...
JUSTIN WOLFE, MEMBER, New York AIR NATIONAL GUARD 106TH RESCUE WING: Yes, sir.
LEMON: ... while conducting rescue operations. What was it like for you?
WOLFE: Well, Don, it was pretty impactful. You know, obviously there's a lot of devastation, quite a bit of flooding in the area. One of the first days we got here, there was quite a few people that needed support and rescuing and certainly as you see in the footage, one of the major hit areas was Port Arthur where we were extremely, extremely busy and were able to help quite a few number of people that day.
[22:35:07] LEMON: So, Major Weir, you are the one dropping onto people's roofs, strapping them in to hoist them back up to the helicopter. What are they saying to you in that moment? Are they quiet? What's going on?
GLYNN WEIR, MEMBER, NEW YORKk AIR NATIONAL GUARD 106TH RESCUE WING: No, we talk about what we're going to do and we talk about getting out of the house or the homes or off the vehicle roofs and up into the helicopter. So we just go through the procedures of how we're going to get them up into the helicopter.
They're usually pretty thankful. Maybe a little bit nervous about getting into the helicopter. Then we go through how we're going to do it and then Major Wolf will have his guys lower down the cable to us. We hook them up and go back up into the helicopter.
LEMON: So when you guys...
WOLFE: One of the things we're obviously cognizant of this as we pick individuals -- sorry, Don -- as we pick people up, it's really important for us to make sure that we coordinate together and cooperate so we can effectively help these people and then obviously as they get into the aircraft, it's really important to work together to make sure that they're calm.
Obviously, this is sometimes the first time that they're seeing all the devastation potentially in their neighborhood, their neighbors. You know, we've sort of been flying around for the last several days. We've seen quite a bit of devastation and destruction.
And a lot of times people are thankful to get out of it and this is their first scene where they're seeing their homes and neighbors' homes completely under water. So it's really important for us to be able to be, you know, be there for them and help them through this.
And then obviously as we transport them to safety, these guys do an outstanding job in the back of the aircraft making sure that they continually make sure that these families are all right.
LEMON: Yes. So I imagine when you're talking to them, you're sort of explaining it, keeps them calm, they kind of keeps their mind that they're actually suspended in air and they're being pulled up to a helicopter because it keeps them focused, right?
WEIR: We do try to prepare them to keep them calm and, yes, some of them get a little scared especially the kids, so, you know, you have to pay attention to which, you know, you send up the mother first then usually we take the kid and then the father and, so, yes, you have to play it in a way that keeps everybody calm and not scared. Some of them get a little l nervous. I think you played that video. You can see it.
LEMON: Yes. So, Major Justin Wolfe, and Major Glynn Weir, you guys are the best. Thank you for what you're doing. Continue to do good work down there. OK? WEIR: All right. We like to thank the people of Texas. It's been
outstanding. They've been very helpful and supportive. We're glad to do our part.
WOLFE: Thank you.
LEMON: Thanks again. Thanks for your service.
When we come back, damage from the record-breaking rain isn't the only concern. Experts now warning of disease that could be lurking in the murky floodwaters. I want to get a look at just how much rain has fallen and what can hide within.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tropical storm Harvey has dumped more than 25 trillion gallons on Texas and Louisiana. These before and after photos give you a glimpse of the devastation from the floodwaters.
CNN's Tom Foreman has more for us. Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Hey, Don. Forty-five million gallons a minute. That's how much water pours over all the falls up at Niagara, and, yet, you could let that water run for 381 days before you equal the amount of water that had been dumped on Texas and Louisiana by this hurricane.
Some experts are putting the estimate now at 25 trillion gallons, some say it's less, but could it be that much? Yes. Look at the amount of area and see why. If you took this area and threw it off to the west coast, it could stretch from Los Angeles up to San Francisco.
Do it to the east coast over here, it's going to go from Washington, D.C., to up above New York. And by comparison, the worst storms they've ever seen, in California, it was Kathleen back in 1976. That produced just under 15 inches of rain. Out in, New York, for example, it was Irene in 2011, just over 13 inches of rain.
But look at Harvey here. Massive amounts. Fifty-one inches of rain. More in some areas a little bit. Little less in other areas. But you spread it out over all that ground, that's why it's shattering all the records.
Here's another way to look at it. Think about hurricane Katrina, very different. Broken levees but still a lot of water in, 80 percent of New Orleans. Places that were 10 feet under water, 20 feet under water.
If you took the New Orleans area and went ahead and said in 80 percent of it, it was 20 feet, it would look this deep next to me. Put all the water from Harvey in the same area and suddenly you have a column that is taller than a 12-storey building.
A tremendous amount of water out there. And even as it goes away, think about what's happening. This isn't pure water. It's water that's now full of petrochemicals and agricultural runoff and toxins from homes and businesses and raw sewage, meaning even as it drains, it will still be a very real danger. Don?
LEMON: My goodness. Tom, thank you for that. Let's talk about just how dangerous these floodwaters could be.
CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here. CNN contributor and retired lieutenant general Russel Honore joins as well. He was the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina. And Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Man, that water, looking at how much water has been dumped there is amazing to watch. Dr. Fauci, I'm going to start with you. Because you heard Tom Foreman talk about the contaminated water from Harvey. The EPA and Texas officials now warning that the water could be the biggest threat to public health. What kind of infections and diseases can people who had been exposed to this water face?
ANTHONY S. FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, there are two aspects, Don, about when you're sloshing around in water that's not only contaminated with toxins but also with bacteria, first of all, just the skin exposure.
You see people there on the CNN footage who were up to their waist in water. If you have even an incidental cut or some sort of wound on your body and you get contaminated, you can get a significant wound infection.
But also and probably as important, more important, is the fact that you can almost inadvertently ingest some of this when the water splashes in your face and you have bacterial infections and viral infections like E. coli and other infections with strange names like cryptosporidiosis.
[22:44:59] It gives you diarrhea, usually self-limited. If you have an underlying disease and you're debilitated a bit, those kinds of infections can really be very serious. So, it's a matter of not toxic issues but issues with infections.
LEMON: Elizabeth Cohen, let's bring you in bow, you spoke with a scientist at the Houston water testing lab today. What do they expect to find in the floodwaters from Harvey?
ELIZABETH COHEN, MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Right. Don, we tested that flood water today. And Dr. Fauci referred to some of what's in there. Fecal bacteria, he's quite certain that's what they're going to find. Also, chemicals, runoff from dry cleaners, runoff from industrial plants, runoff from gas stations and also heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic.
So it's kind of this toxic stew of a variety of things. As Dr. Fauci mentioned, it's people who have underlying disease who should be the most concerned. If you have a cut and the bacteria gets in there, it could be a problem for anyone, but there's especially concern for people with underlying diseases and also pregnant women.
LEMON: Yes, absolutely. So, General Honore, after hurricane Katrina experts called the floodwaters a toxic soup. There was garbage, there was human waste, oil, even decomposing bodies. Is there any way Texas can avoid that type of health crisis?
RUSSEL HONORE, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, they'll be exposed to it, it's the protective measures that the doctors here have been speaking to that we took the -- all of our troops that went into the water, we would do what we call a decon, decontamination after a day's work where we washed their vehicles off and washed them off in hot soap and water.
And we ran all our stuff through decon so we would take that off. The other issue, Don, is mosquitos. We had about a 10-day breeding cycle for mosquitos. You start counting from the day out this thing made landfall, all this fresh water from Corpus Christi all the way over to Lake Charles and back into Houston is going to be quite a contest.
In Katrina, we brought in the air force C-130s and sprayed South Louisiana literally and that takes several days. So that's a mission they will have to start thinking about.
HONORE: When they start doing that because the mosquitos will wreak havoc on the population.
LEMON: Elizabeth, there are also a lot of health dangers for when people go back to their homes and they start surveying the damage. What are you learning about that?
COHEN: Right, so there are several things people need to be careful about, Don. First of all, your home is not probably structurally sound, if it was affected truly by the water so you might step on a stair that looks solid but it's not. And people get injured like that.
Unfortunately, with some frequency. Also, stepping on, you know, metal objects. So there are tetanus risks there. Also mold and that's, you know, a long-term risk. Mold exposure can lead to all sorts of health problems.
So, moving back into your home, you know, you're thanking God you survived and didn't drown in it but there are definitely risks that are there when you move back into the house.
LEMON: Dr. Fauci, one plant in Crosby, Texas, say a chemical explosion, and fires after losing power, and they saw a chemical explosion and fires after losing power and refrigeration. It was officials evacuated a one and a half mile radius around that plant. And here's what we heard from the company president. Then we'll talk. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you say the fumes are nontoxic or you're not...
RICHARD RENNARD, PRESIDENT, ARKEMA CHEMICAL COMPANY: They're noxious, certainly. The toxicity of the fumes -- you mean the smoke?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
RENNARD: I don't know the composition of the smoke but it's certainly noxious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nontoxic or can you not say that?
RENNARD: It's noxious. I mean, toxicity is...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you're not able to say that non -- that any of this is nontoxic, correct? I just want to make sure I'm correct.
RENNARD: Organic peroxides are -- as the sheriff said, they are chemical materials that are used to initiate other chemical production for the purpose of making plastics. I mean, toxicity is...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't say it's -- you're not going to say that they're nontoxic? Correct? Are you going to say they're nontoxic or not? Yes or no. I think it's a pretty important -- it's pretty important...
RENNARD: I mean, the smoke is noxious. Its toxicity, it's a relative thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Toxicity is relative, I mean, he wouldn't say whether it was nontoxic. But what are the health risks there?
FAUCI: Well, when you have peroxide in the smoke, I mean, you saw the billowing out from the fire, it depends on the dilution of it, Don. In other words, if you get a bit of in the air, it's mostly an irritant. It can irritant your skin and irritate your mucosal membranes, in your mouth, in your lungs when you breath it in.
If you're right in the middle of it, it causes some serious irritation in the lung. And I mention where we got to some other health hazards particularly people who have underlying diseases, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, if they breathe that, the irritant itself can cause a disease like an asthma attack or some difficulty with breathing.
[22:50:00] But it really depends on the concentration. If you're far away from it and the concentration is very little in the air you'll probably just get a mild irritant. If you're right in the middle of it then you have a problem.
And that's the reason why the authorities are circling off and evacuating an area around to keep people away from it.
LEMON: Dr. Fauci, General Honore, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you all. I appreciate it.
HONORE: Good to be with you.
LEMON: Absolutely. So many people in desperate need tonight in this flood zone, and we're trying to get help for this gentleman. Take a look, right. So, and if you have a pen and a piece of paper, write this down. His name is Vernon Ray Williams and he has dementia.
And here's what officials are saying at the Houston Convention Center. That he told them his sister's name is Myra Allain Williams (Ph) and his birth date is in June, June 8 of 1965. Again, that's what he's saying. Officials are trying to locate his family. If you can help, please call Beth Alberts at the Texas Center for the Missing. That phone number is 713, 713-409-2720, 713-409-2720, Vernon Ray Williams. Please help.
We'll be right back.
LEMON: Hurricane Harvey has affected at least 100,000 homes and many of homeowners were force to flee without the pets they consider parts of the family.
I want to bring in now Rowdy Shaw, he's a senior field rescue responder with the Humane Society. He joins us via Skype. Rowdy, thank you for joining us. Can you please walk us through what it's like to rescue the pet people have to leave behind? Because a lot of folks didn't expect this extensive flooding and probably thought that they would be back maybe the next morning.
ROWDY SHAW, SENIOR FIELD RESCUE RESPONDER, HUMANE SOCIETY: Sure. Another problem like our organization pushes people to leave with their pets because, you know, it's a dangerous job and it's unpredictable and we have to enter water not knowing what's in it, you know, from toxins to obstructions.
And frankly, not knowing the owner's out by time that we are able to arrive. So, it's very unpredictable, it's very dangerous and it's tough.
LEMON: What information are you working off of, where do you begin with this process?
SHAW: Well, we get called in by local agencies working with emergency management, so a lot of ACO's gets lots of calls of people who have left their pets behind. So we're actually entering -- we're actually houses where we know animals are at because people have left them there because of their situation no matter that situation is. They were left there and so we know what we're looking when we get them. LEMON: Where do you transport these pets once they are rescued and how do their owners find them if your teams went responding to a specific request?
SHAW: Well, since most of these calls are actually people who have left their animals somewhere behind it and they are requesting our assistance to get back there because they cannot, so we're getting our information from actually people call in and say, hey, I have left my pet behind, can you please help us.
LEMON: Yes. And what about the animals that you just find and they don't have any identification, what do you do about them?
[22:55:00] SHAW: Luckily most of the calls that been get are actually people who have left and have to leave for whatever reasons, so any animals that are left behind are tagged and located for where they were found so that in a way can come to the local shelter and find their animals.
LEMON: You joined the Humane Society 10 years ago and you're worked several disaster zones, is Harvey different?
SHAW: I mean, Harvey is different in the fact that it hit quick and it's not going away fast. It's unfortunate and painful but people are displaced we've definitely want to get their animals back to them.
LEMON: Yes. Rowdy Shaw, thank you. Thanks for the great work you're doing. We appreciate you joining us.
SHAW: I appreciate it. Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: That is it for us tonight. Thank you so much for watching. I'm going to turn over now to my colleague Anderson Cooper, he is down in Houston.