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Unrelenting Storm Leaves Entire Cities Under Water; Countless People Remain Stranded Days Into Storm; Dangerous Flooding From Harvey Not Over Yet; At Least 37 Dead In Texas As Harvey Makes Second Landfall; Harvey May Prove Even Worse Than Katrina; Harvey Will Be One Of The Costliest Storms Ever In U.S.; 690 U.S. Marines Deployed For Harvey Relief; Total Losses From Harvey Could Reach $75 Billion; Deadly Flooding in Mumbai, India. Aired 1-2A ET

Aired August 31, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause in Los Angeles where it's just gone 10:00 here on the West Coast.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell live here in Houston, Texas. Midnight here at this convention center, where thousands of people -- some 8,000 people, in fact, are trying to get a good night's sleep in this shelter after surviving a storm, quite frankly, that destroyed so much. But first, the very latest on that storm Harvey; it's weakened now to a tropical depression but the damage that it's left behind, that will be felt here in this area for a quite a long time to come. The storm battered Port Arthur, Texas as it moved on, and the mayor of that city says, the entire town now is underwater. 37 people have died since Harvey this state as a hurricane last Friday. A military spokesperson says it is still unclear how many people here in Houston alone will still need to be rescued.

The flooding is extensive; Harvey has set a new U.S. record, in fact, for the most rainfall from a single storm. It dropped almost 52 inches of rain, that's 130 centimeters of rain as it soaked parts of this state. When you take into account how widespread the damage is from this storm, it makes the stories of survival all the more incredible. Gailan Phillips and his family were rescued from their home. They join now live on the phone from Port Arthur, Texas. Gailan, it's good to have you with us. So, just to give our viewers a sense of what your family went through that very night, help us understand.

GAILAN PHILLIPS, RESIDENT OF PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS: Yes. It was actually this morning. We just basically experienced a large amount of water in the yard and in the street, pretty much everywhere including the house. The water started penetrating our home, and we started making plans to go up above the attic. So, I climbed on the roof and I started waving a white t-shirt to get the helicopter's attention or not. And the helicopter was hovering over the house, and a Coast Guard came down on the roof and basically let us know that he is looking for an elder man who had called in and he had -- I want to say a brain disease and they were looking for him. So, he was basically trying to get out the storm. And then, my uncle came and rescued us and then we start to rescue other people.

HOWELL: I want to ask you a question. It's kind of a personal question. So, I hope you won't mind. I'm a father, myself. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be in your situation. Would you mind just helping us to explain -- helping to explain. I mean, we can learn from what you went through. What was going through your mind at that moment that, quite frankly, is life or death?

PHILLIPS: Honestly, first, it was just like is getting out, but it's honestly, I was just -- it was just second nature. I feel like there's just something I've always -- I've always been adventurous, so stuff like that doesn't really bother me, it's more so about being safe. And pretty got really worse, but I'm grateful that -- I mean, it's really not -- it's a big deal but stuff like that, I know it takes people like me to get out there and be positive and try to make a difference in a positive way. So, I got to keep my cool and just do what's best for my family and my community.

HOWELL: Gailan, one thing that I've noticed, you know, we keep telling these stories of survival. We tell the story of loss, of all the damage that's quite plain to see, but it's mixed with another story -- that is a story of hope, that is a story of survival. What do you think about that? Have you seen a lot of that, yourself?

PHILLIPS: Yes, sir, most definitely, my whole life. I think as we all show signs of great survival tactics and just having faith, and keeping hope, and just being positive, and I think being positive comes with positive outcomes. So, we should always do a good thing to just stay positive and keep a good spirit.

HOWELL: Gailan, we really appreciate your taking the time to share your story with us. Viewers here in the U.S. and around the world have a great deal to learn and appreciate from what you went through. Thank you for your time today.

[01:05:09] PHILLIPS: Thank you so much for having me, sir.

HOWELL: We're glad that you're could be with us to talk about it. There are a lot of people who decided to help, who just, you know, dropped what they were doing and decided this is where they wanted to be -- Laolu Yemitan is one. And Laolu, thank you so much for taking time as well. We were talking a minute ago, so you sustained a little damage on your home, as well, correct?


HOWELL: But even though you have damage, you're here. Talk to us about it.

YEMITAN: I am. You know, once Monday morning came and the waters receded, I remember the vulnerability of living -- waking up Sunday morning with water in our garage, about to penetrate our home, a leaking roof, and waking up Monday once the waters receded. Thinking the about the vulnerability, and thinking what our neighbors were going through. You know, I'm an immigrant to this country and Houston is a city that has given so much to me and my family. And so, instinctively wake up Monday was what can I do, and in my own little way, contribute to helping rebuild and restore our city and the wonderful people that call this place home.

HOWELL: When you get out there, and when you talk to people, what are you hearing?

YEMITAN: There's a lot of optimism about how we're going to come back and we've been such resilient community. We survived Hurricane Ike; Allison, 16 years ago. We made it through the economic depression. So, there are a lot of people who really feel that Houston will rebuild, but there is a lot of concern also about what does this mean? We've had three historic flooding occurrences in the last three years. This was just the most severe of it.

And so, there is some concern about what long-term solutions that the city or federal government will be able to bring about to make, you know, a city that is essentially the Bayou City for a reason, but how did we overcome that and really just deal with some of our infrastructural issues. So, those are some of the things that we're hoping that from a federal perspective, something will be done by really addressing this. Obviously, climate change is something we should be concerned about, but the immediate concerns really are helping our neighbors and doing what we can to help lift each other up.

HOWELL: One thing I noticed here at this convention center, Laolu, is the fact that, you know, there were so my volunteers who came, and in fact, they're turning some volunteers away now because there were so many.

YEMITAN: Yes. And I think it's just a testament to Houston. It's the Houston that I know and love. And so, many of us, friends, family, we all know and love were in open city. Nobody cares where you're from or who your daddy is, it's what we say. We're interested in which you have to contribute; it's truly Ameritocracy of us. You know, this was a that affect all of us -- near, far, high, and low, regardless of socio-economic status, and because of that, you know, it was more of a reason for people to show up and have an outpouring of support. And this isn't something -- we did this to earn, you know, Hurricane Katrina, we've done it.

So, many other instances, that I'm not surprised by the people that are showing up. I mean, I can't tell you the number of texts and Facebook posts, who are asking how do I get involved, how do I volunteer? And we're trying to point people in the right direction. And I think we're really doing here inside at the George R. Brown Convention Center as we go into tomorrow shift work. So, that people can arrive for the shift to serve time, so shift just arrived not too long ago for 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. shift.

HOWELL: These are people who just gave up their time? YEMITAN: These are people who just gave up their time. A former

county sheriff was somebody I just said hello about five minutes ago who was walking by with his wife. And I joked about the fact that he's here with all these young people, and could he last through the night.

HOWELL: Laolu, thank you so much.

YEMITAN: Thanks so much, George.

HOWELL: For taking your time and all you're doing.

YEMITAN: Sure thing.

HOWELL: Thank you. So, this storm has been a powerful storm. It's left a great deal of devastation. Let get the very latest on where it is right now. Our Meteorologist, Karen Maginnis is live at the International Weather Center, tracking the remnants. Karen, what can you tell us?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: George, thanks for those great interviews, I really enjoyed watching those. A lot of people doing very heroic things. Right now, Harvey is a tropical depression located in the vicinity of Alexandria, Virginia. But let's just go back last Friday evening when it made landfall in the vicinity of Corpus Christi -- Rockport, specifically. And then, it meandered along the east upper coast and central coast of Texas and produced the staggering rainfall totals that we have seen. Just about 52 inches of rain, about a trillion gallons across Houston, and then we shifted it yesterday towards Beaumont, Port Arthur, and they saw 26 inches of rainfall in 24 hours. The mayor says the city is covered with flood waters.

[01:10:16] Now what happens? We've got Tropical Depression Harvey. Harvey is not giving up yet. It is going to move all the way across Northern Mississippi, Southeastern Arkansas, and into Western Tennessee. And the computer models who're suggesting -- you could see four, five, six inches of rainfall, certainly doable, but some areas may pick up as much as 10 inches of rain. So, there could be localized flooding associated with this. So, we bring the depression through Louisiana overnight, then into Northern Mississippi going into tomorrow evening. And then, right across Western sections of Tennessee and into Southern Kentucky, and there's still plenty of tropical moisture associated with this.

So much so that this low-lying area right along the Mississippi River, right through the Tennessee river valley could see the potential for flooding. As I mentioned, some areas are suggesting possibly 10 inches of rainfall. All right. Let's shift toward Houston. The rain has ended. Temperatures are going to soar into the low 90s. It is going to be miserable. It's miserable there now. But at least with the sunshine, they can assess everything, everything that has happened in Harris County, everything that has happened around the dams, the reservoirs, the levees, the counties around Houston, extending over towards Beaumont, Port Arthur. As I mentioned, right now, the rainfall still continues in Beaumont,

Port Arthur, not to the degree that we were looking at yesterday with one and two-inch rainfall totals. But we also saw some rainfall totals over here along the coastal sections of Louisiana. I counted 37 cities in Texas alone, that saw 30 to 52 inches of rainfall. George, that -- we never see anything like that. But the fact that we're still talking about Tropical Depression Harvey is still staggering. The National Hurricane Center has issued its last advisory on Harvey. Back to you.

GEORGE: A storm that just left a great deal of devastation in its path. Karen Maginnis, thank you so much. I just want to show you what's happening here at this convention center for a moment, you get a sense of how many people are here, volunteers, people doing so much to help those who have lost a great deal. We'll have more on volunteers who are pulling together to help make sure that people are safe in this state.

Plus, the man who led the U.S. recovery effort after Hurricane Katrina, offers his sights into this disaster here in the Houston area and how it compares with what he encountered in New Orleans just 12 years ago. Stay with us.


[01:16:53] HOWELL: Welcome back. I'm George Howell live here in Houston, Texas. There are a lot of organizations at play in this city helping those in need throughout the region. And joining now to talk about aid efforts, Omar Garcia. Omar is the pastor at a Kingsland, a Baptist church in Katy, Texas. Omar, it's good to have you to talk about what you're doing, because look, there are so many people who need help and, you know, everyone who steps up it seems it's really making a difference here.

OMAR GARCIA, PASTOR, KINGSLAND BAPTIST CHURCH: It's making a tremendous difference in Katy, George. We have been just overwhelmed by the kindness, the support, the love of so many volunteers not just from our own community from around the state, around the nation who have come to our aid at this really difficult time. Worst storm I've ever seen in the 12 years I've been in this area.

HOWELL: So, talk to us about who you're helping, what stories have you heard there?

GARCIA: Well, we -- those of us who've served in Katy, all of us pastors of various churches, I'm actually the missions pastor at Kingsland, we have joined together along with non-profits in the community and various helping agencies to come to the aid of those who have suffered a lot of devastation. We've had over 5,200 homes sustained flood damage as a result of the rains. And we thought they we never going to stop. I've never seen it rain like this before.

So, lots of people that just got, you know -- water came up pretty fast. They were trapped in their homes. As we were doing boat rescues the other day, we were going down streets that I normally bike down. And there were people calling to us from the second stories of their homes asking us not to forget them, to come back for them. And it's just a time-consuming process to, you know, make your way in the water and get people out, but we had so many people here with boats and all kinds of vehicles to help us do the rescues.

HOWELL: So, talk to us about what people do once they're rescued, once they have shelter, once they find food, and find a place to continue to getting food. Because quite frankly, even that's a challenge in this major city. What's the situation like that for people and how is your group helping?

GARCIA: Well, you know, the cool thing is, I'll just give you an example. We rescued a family from their home, picked them up in a boat. We got them back to a point where we walked about a quarter of a mile in knee-deep water to an elementary school. And at the elementary school, we had cars lined up, families in the community who are on higher ground that was opening up their homes to complete strangers, willing to take them in, welcome them into their homes, give them a place to stay. Others went to shelters at the schools. But there was a place for everybody to go.

Some went with family members. It was just a remarkable thing to see. We had one family that contacted me and just couldn't say enough about what a wonderful experience it was to have a family they've never known in their home, they were brought together by this flooding, and they said we're now best of friends and we're just looking forward to spending more time together in the community, especially as they rebuild their lives. And some wonderful stories that have come out of it.

[01:20:50] HOWELL: Well, sir, look, we really appreciate you taking time to tell our viewers what you're doing and, you know, obviously, it is indicative of what a lot of other groups are doing to help those here in need. Thank you so much for your time.

GARCIA: You're very welcome.

HOWELL: So you know, it is a sense of pride, quite frankly, that people feel the pride of helping their neighbors, John, in times of need. And we're talking about neighbors helping neighbors, family members helping family members, strangers helping strangers. It is quite a sight.

VAUSE: And that hope and optimism will be sorely tested and needed as it goes on, because of this emergency --

HOWELL: Absolutely.

VAUSE: Will be draining on for weeks, and months, some even years. George, thank you. The rolling scope of the flooding in Houston is only rivaled in recent memory by images from New Orleans -- left almost entirely under water when Hurricane Katrina made landfall exactly 12 years ago. Today, Katrina ranks among the costliest natural disasters ever in U.S. history, and there are fears that Harvey could be even worse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: When you look at comparisons, the population, size, and square mile size of the area impacted both by the hurricane's swath and the flooding, the scar larger than Katrina.


VAUSE: Few people know more about the impact of Hurricane Katrina than Retired General Russel Honore. He commanded the military response to that disaster arriving in New Orleans on this day, 12 years ago. And General Honore joins me from Houston, Texas. General, it's good to see you. Can you tell me what are the differences here between Katrina and Harvey, and what does that actually mean for the challenges ahead?

GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, RETIRE COMMANDING GENERA, U.S. ARMY: Well, let me talk to commonalities first. In both cases, the storm overmatched our infrastructure and it caused a lot of destruction, and that's the case of mother nature -- that's why we call them disasters. The biggest difference is that this is much bigger and have lasted much longer, and it's the destructive nature of Harvey as opposed to Katrina. So, the size and scope, as well as the overwhelming day after day, even today, we're dealing with the aftermaths of a storm that had landfall last Friday. And it still going to cause pain suffering tomorrow as it moved north with winds and rain into the Tennessee Valley.

VAUSE: Well, the Texas governor has now activated 14,000 National Guard troops. And on Wednesday, the U.S. Army sent more than 100 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to the state. But here are the numbers for Katrina: there were 10,000 National Guardsmen already on the ground before Katrina made landfall. Within a few days, that number had grown to 72,000 with 346 helicopters in operation, alongside 68 fixed-wing aircraft. If Harvey is so much bigger than Katrina, why does the response, at least at this point, seems so much less?

HONORE: Well, I've been frustrated about this, you go back on the record. As of last Friday night, and Saturday, I was doing my duty as a citizen, speaking out on social media. I sent notes to people that I know that are still in the chain of command that they didn't have the scale of the operation right. The hard work is going to come next week when we get in past search and rescue, and we go in to do the secondary searches.

VAUSE: Well, as far as search and rescue are concerned, we're seeing a lot of rescues carried out from the air by helicopters, like this one reported by CNN's Martin Savidge. Listen to this.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are hovering over the city, rising and falling, and here we see people being pulled out now. And they are being brought in, and they're safe. As the hoist rises again, two more people are brought in. It's a remarkable scene. You can understand the fear that they're in.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [19:25:27] VAUSE: You know, in many cases, rescue from the air is the

only option. There's still no idea how many more people are stranded which get to that point of why those air efforts are so important.

HONORE: Absolutely. Every National Guard helicopter should have a lift kit on it. We give them -- the National Guard has those assault battalions. Many of them cross train some more than others and have the lift kit on them. That need to be routine.

VAUSE: When you look at the difference in the numbers, 100-something helicopters operating in Texas, more than 300 operating within days after Katrina hit New Orleans and Louisiana. That seems, in some ways that maybe the lessons from Katrina have not carried over to Harvey.

HONORE: Right, because since Katrina, we reorganized. The focus is going to be in the states to be able to do the response as opposed to bringing in a federal headquarters or a dual-hat headquarters. And that has turned in to most National Guard generals is they appoint a brigadier general to run the dual-hat command. Well, that's problematic. We need to go back and take a look at that. This state of Texas has a division headquarters, two-star headquarters that's capable of doing strategic -- I mean, operational level planning, and being to look two or three ahead of time, and has the logistics experience as opposed to the dual-hat commander, which we need to -- is not a person, is it a command. That needs to be fixed.

And, look, I respect all these guardsmen, my two sons are National Guardsmen. They give up a lot. But they -- we owe them better than to mobilize 3,000 of them when all of them should've been mobilized on day one. Texas is a big state and this is a big storm, and it was predicted to be a big storm, and it's a lot worse than anybody could've envisioned. That being said, we need to have the guard do what is advertised. We got National Guard in every zip code; they need to be there during disasters.

VAUSE: General, good to speak with you. Thanks so much for sharing your insights and your experience.

HONORE: Good day, sir.

[01:27:49] VAUSE: Well, search and rescue operations continue around the clock in Texas and there are efforts underway to save the non- human family members -- the pets, those who have been left stranded. More on that after the break.


HOWELL: Welcome back to our Hurricane Harvey coverage. I'm George Howell, live at the convention center that is being used as a shelter for so people in Houston, Texas.

The good news is many people around this state, especially in south Texas, they looked up and saw the sun for the second day. Harvey is no longer a hurricane but the flood waters are the story here. Emergency workers and volunteers are struggling to rescue people in trouble. Drew Griffin highlights a few heroic stories, including one story that

involves his own CNN team.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A deepening humanitarian crisis in Houston and throughout southeast Texas. Amid historic flooding, victims are fleeing to shelters, convention halls, churches. Even a bowling alley and a furniture store now house flood victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said the water is rising, time to go, so that's what we did.

GRIFFIN: The destruction is spreading beyond Houston. Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas got pummeled with 26 inches of rain in 24 hours. The mayor of Port Arthur says his whole city is now underwater.

This shelter flooding overnight, compounding the misery for people forced from their homes.

BROCK LONG, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: This is going to be an incredibly large disaster for the country

GRIFFIN: Multiple agencies are making rescue after rescue while many more are waiting for help. Emergency crews race against time to reach those trapped in their homes.


GRIFFIN (on camera): How long were you in there?


GRIFFIN: Amid the devastation, extraordinary acts of humanity. These two residents lost their homes but are working around the clock, themselves, to save their neighbors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You eat something and dry up a little bit and a little bit of energy and a little bit of coffee and we're back out.


GRIFFIN: This group forming a human chain to save an elderly man from rushing waters.

And as we prepared to go live on CNN, man mistook a flooded ravine for a street and drove right into the water.

UNIDENTIFIED: Look at this. Get out, dude! You got a power cord? You got a rope?

Hold on, I'm trying to get you a rope.

Brian, call 911.

Hold on, sir.

Can you grab his car? OK. Grab it now. Wrap it around your -- OK. Come on, buddy.

Are you all right, now, buddy?


GRIFFIN: OK. Take a breath. We're going to pick you up and get you off this bank

How you doing?


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Later, we were able to catch up with Jerry Summeral.

SUMMERAL: It was all flooded and I just got -- I kind of disoriented. I was looking at the water and thought I hit a curb like and I was going to go on the road. But it wasn't a road, it was a canal.

[01:35:10] GRIFFIN (on camera): Did you think, dang, what did I do?

SUMMERAL: No kidding. I thought it was the end. If it wouldn't have been for your crew, I would have drowned, I swear to god.


HOWELL: The camera happened to be rolling and captured all that. No time to call 911. Drew just did what he needed to do with his team. Good work out there. And good that Mr. Summeral survived.

The storm has separated many families, many families of different kinds, including many pets who have had to fend for themselves in the flood waters.

Our Gary Tuchman has this report.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If these pets could talk, there would be scary stories to tell about the flooding caused by Harvey, because these dogs and cats were left behind as the flood waters inundated neighborhoods in and around Dickenson, Texas. Owners were unable to take them or assuming the flooding wouldn't be serious.

I joined two people from the Humane Society of the United States after they received phone calls from evacuated pet owners asking for their pets to be rescued.

They went to homes where the flood waters were almost as high as the roof to make sure no humans are there, and then look for a dog and one cat left behind. The lower level of the house is destroyed. Empty pet crates are toppled. Flooding still remains. We see a stuffed animal which we feared for a split second was a deceased pet. They thoroughly search the house. No pets are found. It's not known what happened to them. A short time later, a happier outcome.


TUCHMAN: Two dogs located in the backyard of a nearby home. Snoopy, an 8-year-old poodle, and Abby an 8-yearld English bulldog are rescued.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The neighbor found them. She was able to obtain them and put them in her backyard and called.

TUCHMAN: Snoopy and Abby join the more than 300 dogs and cats at the public works building in Dickinson. The owners of almost all the pets identified and contacted.

(on camera): But some of these pets are strays. Canine and feline victims of the storm. Identities unknown. This guy was found on a flooded street corner in Dickinson. Let's call him Patches.

(voice-over): And then there are other kind of pets, like these two rabbits and a guinea pig. Elizabeth Minor is their owner. She couldn't retrieve them before the storm came and thought they might have died.

ELIZABETH MINOR, PET OWNER: I was having nightmares and having a hard time sleeping and, you know, now I can rest easy.

TUCHMAN: So can the people who lost Snoopy and Abby.


TUCHMAN: They are owned by Ryan Johnson's father-in-law.

JOHNSON: My father-in-law can sleep tonight. He'll be happy. Thank you, guys.

TUCHMAN: Many pets remain missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a good girl.

TUCHMAN: Thanks to these people who love animals there have been some happy reunions.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Houston, Texas.


HOWELL: A lot of people, animals, a lot of people affected by this storm. Find out what you can do to help by logging on to our special "Impact Your World" website at You will find links to vetted charities working to help people affected by the storm. That's

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, is offering his prayers and support for storm victims. This, after he was criticized for focusing on the crowds of people rather than the people in the crowds. Ahead, we'll see if his latest words of compassion are enough to satisfy his critics. Stay with us.


[01:43:13] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. 10:43 here in Los Angeles. The U.S. president was in Missouri on Wednesday talking tax reform, but he also had words of encourage and support for victims of Harvey, the message that was missing a day earlier when he was in the disaster zone.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To the people of Houston and across Texas and Louisiana, we are there with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you every single day after to restore, recover, and rebuild. Our thoughts and prayers remain firmly with the citizens and our fellow people, people, great, great people, all affected by this tragedy.


VAUSE: For more on this, David Siders is a senior reporter for "Politico." He's with us here in Los Angeles.

David, thank you for coming in.

On Tuesday, there was criticism that the president lacked empathy and failed the comforter-in-chief test. The comments he made in Missouri sort a day late?

DAVID SIDERS, SENIOR REPORTER, POLITICO: The jury will still be out on the president's reaction. One day or two days, in recent polling, a plurality of Americans think his response has been sufficient and are happy of it. While that level of response, not overwhelming, many people have not decided yet, suggests because his overall approval ratings are so low, even those who disapprove of the president give him good marks for how he has handled Harvey so far. I think he has a chance here. And people found the second-day remarks more empathetic.

VAUSE: Does this show what we haven't seen from Donald Trump, there was criticism and there was a change in behavior.

SIDERS: I think especially since it came at the top of the speech there must have been discussion about how his remarks came off, especially talking about crowd sizes in Texas, and, I think it definitely was a course correction.

[01:45:17] VAUSE: At some point, the president will need to go to Congress for an emergency funding bill for Houston, Texas, and everyone impacted by this. That would seem to be something which is pretty straight forward. They should come together for the common good and pass this measure. But right now, the relationship between Donald Trump and Congress and Republicans in Congress this is anything but straight forward, it would seem. SIDERS: There's the Trump effect, but it's not just because of Trump.

You're right, it used to be that these kinds of bills passed with bipartisan support. But go back and look at Sandy and relief efforts there. There is still a lot of animosity and hurt feelings among Republicans and Democrats in some of those affected states that, what is it, 20 House Republicans in Texas right now were around and voted against that funding. That --


VAUSE: And reasons why that don't add up.

SIDERS: That's right.

VAUSE: There's also the issue for Donald Trump, it's complicated by getting this budget measure through, the emergency budget measure through, but there is budget measure which involves raising the debt ceiling and the border wall. There is complication upon complication and it could impact what happens in Texas.

SIDERS: Definitely. I think the one different thing we're seeing on tax reform is, what the president has done is given the overall broad, framing-the-message speech that we didn't see so much of on health care. And he needs one of these things to go in his favor this year or else he will end the year without a legislative accomplishment.

VAUSE: It's interesting, the issue of tax reform, which we've got no details. We expected no details, and that's what we pretty much got. Basically, it's all about cutting taxes and government expenditure to pay for it, and that includes FEMA, 680 million the president wants to cut out of the FEMA budget. Talking about tax cuts and cuts to FEMA and at, the same time, wishing the victims of Harvey well. Again, it does seem to be an awkward way of going about this.

SIDERS: I think that would be politically difficult to sell. A Republican will argue the waste, fraud, and abuse. They say there are things you can eliminate, whether that adds up or not. But because of Harvey's timing, that makes that politically hard.

VAUSE: David, good to see you.

SIDERS: Thank you.

VAUSE: We'll take a break. When we come back, Texas is not the only place dealing with epic deadly floods. We'll have more on the rising waters across Asia in a moment, which have claimed more than a thousand lives.


[01:51:41] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. It's 10:51 here in Los Angeles.

While Texas is struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, there's catastrophic flooding on the other side of the world. Heavy rains have been slamming Mumbai in India since Tuesday. Since June, the rising waters have killed more than 1200 in India and neighboring Bangladesh.

Liz Nouslaus (ph) joins us live from Mumbai with more.

Liz, these numbers are staggering, from the death toll to the number of children who can't go to school because of the floods.

LIZ NOUSLAUS (ph), JOURNALIST: That's right, John. And also the number of displaced. When you tally up three countries, India, Bangladesh and Nepal alone, more than 41 million people displaced. And that's not going unnoticed when people -- they are noticing that media is spending an awful lot of time looking at Hurricane Harvey. Her was a headline on the front page of the "Mumbai Times," Houston, we have a problem here, too, referring to a famous phrase on Apollo 13. Is a sense that there's an inordinate amount of attention that gets shifted away from what's the real problem in is unprecedented amounts of rainfall and massive flooding, John.

VAUSE: And, Liz, where you are in Mumbai, a rescue operation is underway at the site of a collapsed building. What more can you tell?

NOUSLAUS (ph): Well, it's very unclear right now how many people are still trapped. It's assumed there are more than a dozen. Several people dead. But Mumbai had a recent building collapse due to shoddy, illegal construction. There have been walls that have collapsed during this flooding time and other buildings that have collapsed, but it's too early to say whether or not this particular building was caused by the heavy rains. It's a question of illegal construction possibly made worse by all the flooding, John?

VAUSE: One of the other issues which they are confronting right now in this region, they haven't really seen heavy rain like this for years. Quite often, we have talked about the droughts in India and Bangladesh.

NOUSLAUS (ph): Well, the south Asia region is one of the wettest regions in the world, generally. There are annual monsoon rains and those will continue, John, until through September. So more rain will be coming. But many analysts and climate scientists agree this is an unprecedented year. There are massive amounts of flooding going on that are causing misery. Also in China right now, they are suffering greatly from flooding. So it does seem like it's a particularly dramatic year. And some scientists expect that in the next few decades rainfall will increase by as much as 20 percent, John.

VAUSE: We are watching some of the images that people have been dealing with. And they also are incredible.

Liz, thank you for the update. We appreciate it.

You have been watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

[01:55:11] HOWELL: And I'm George Howell, live here in Houston, Texas.

Our live coverage continues of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey right after the break. Stay with us.


VAUSE: Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause, live in Los Angeles. It is about 11:00 here on the west coast.

HOWELL: It's 1:00 a.m. here in Houston, Texas. I'm George Howell, live this hour at this convention center that's been converted to a shelter for so many people, some 8000 people.