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People Remembers Irma's Wrath; British Virgins Islands Finally Gets Aid Assistance; North Korea Snubs U.N. Sanctions; U.S. Joint Military Drills Continues; Elites Hand in Hand for Hurricane Victims. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 13, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Irma is gone. But it will take some time for the U.S. and the Caribbean to recover from the devastation this monster hurricane unleashed. It killed at least 17 people in the U.S., a dozen of those in Florida.

Emergency officials say 90 percent of homes in the Keys are damaged or destroyed. Millions across the state are without power. A utility company says people on Florida's West Coast may have to wait until next Friday to have it restored.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean is still trying to assess the damage. They've reported at least 38 storm-related deaths. The World Food Programme says as many as 250,000 people are in need of aid on the eastern islands.

European politicians are visiting their Caribbean church where they've seen criticisms over their response to this disaster.

CNN has teams across the Caribbean on some of the hardest hit islands. And we will bring you their reports this hour.

Well, some people are starting to return to the Florida Keys to see if their homes are still standing. The area was blasted with some of hurricane Irma's strongest winds when it made landfall on Sunday.

CNN's Brian Todd takes a look at the damage.

BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The Florida Keys recovering from winds of over 130 miles an hour. Plus a devastating storm surge. Further down on the delicate chain of islands, debris has piled up from the storms. And some homes have the roofs ripped off. On many islands the water, the sewage, the power, and cell service is out. Authorities setting up shelters and food and water contribution points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK SCOTT, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: My heart goes out to the people in the Keys. There's devastation. It's a -- and you know, I just -- I just hope everybody, you know, survived. It's horrible what we saw. I know for our entire state, but especially for the Keys, it's going to be a long road. There's a lot of damage.


TODD: In Lower Matecumbe Key this is what's left of a three-storey condominium complex with a garage on the first door. Seventy-three- year-old Tom Ross owns the unit here. He says he and the other condo owners all evacuated before the storm. .


TOM ROSS, LOWER MATECUMBE KEY RESIDENT: What you're looking at right here this is the third floor of the building.

TODD: Third floor?

ROSS: Third. Top floor. And there's the second floor and the parking garage. So, all of this collapsed down.

TODD: And nearby Islamorada Key, a picture of how widely there also destroyed by hurricane Irma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it's devastating for a lot of people.

TODD: Sail maker Eric Fracker (Ph) takes us on this done and shows us two restaurants that are completely gutted. The Island grill was known for its tuna nachos. This Hog Heaven dockside bar was a hopping place until 4 o'clock each morning. And now it's obliterate.

Here's an illustration of the force with which Irma hit the Florida Keys. We're on Islamorada Key, the owner of this property says the storm dragged this 45-foot sailboat, the Mariah, all the way up here. He says it was more a quarter mile offshore. The anchor was dragged, this large buoy was dragged along with it and it narrowly missed this house.

On Cudjoe Key where the center of the storm made landfall even the sides of some houses are ripped off.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We stayed in the bathroom in the hallways. It was, for two days, it was hell. You didn't know if you were going to make it or not.


TODD: Route 1, the only way in and out of the Keys, took a beating. But officials say they hope to patch up two Key stretches by the end of the day. Tonight, for the first time, residents are already returning to the first few islands.

And in the hardest hit areas of the Keys, some are even turning down offers from the federal government to evacuate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's ridiculous. We're making do where everybody is helping out bringing down the supplies.


TODD: In Lower Matecumbe we asked Tom Ross about the future here.


ROSS: I'm devastated but (TECHNICAL PROBLEM)



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... is being made remarkably quickly.

CHURCH: Understood. So how would you describe overall the level of damage? And how long would you predict it will likely take to return life to normal there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it looks like a war zone, like I said, when you fly over or just see just the all downed tree limbs. Because the storm did havoc on all of our beautiful palm trees and landscaping. I mean, my yard, I just had it finished. And now all of it, you know, just the trees have no leaves.

But all that, you know, my structure of my house, I'm not even going to put a claim into insurance because my structure of my house is fine. The only thing I have down is a ceiling fan. But there are, you are definitely are houses that got damaged throughout the Keys. And we just don't have an assessment from that. But it looks worse than it really is when you take a closer look at the structures.

CHURCH: All right. Well, let's hope that cleanup effort continues at the same pace that you're telling us. We appreciate you speaking with us, Cammy Clark (Ph). Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: Well, the full force of hurricane Irma was not enough to destroy the hope of one Florida Keys resident.

CNN's Randi Kaye went home with a man who was surprised by what the storm left behind.

RANDI KAYE, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, CNN: Mike Weinhofer has lived in the Florida Keys for 30 years, working fishing charters. He's about to see what's left of his house.


MIKE WEINHOFER, FLORIDA KEYS RESIDENT: Right over there. My boat is still there. My house is still there. Look at the boats piled up here. My gosh.

KAYE: How does your house look to you?

WEINHOFER: It looks like it's still there. We've got boats in my front yard. Look here. It's all destroyed. Wow. Totally gone. Really kind of excited to see what's left. I don't think we got the 10 or 12- foot storm surge. I'll know it when we get to my house.

KAYE: How many (Inaudible) are totally destroyed?

WEINHOFER: That's total.

KAYE: This is your boat right here?

WEINHOFER: Yes, one of them. It's a little beat up but it survived.

KAYE: Like for slammed, what do you think?

WEINHOFER: It's not horrible. I still have a house. I still have my flats boat. Underneath my house looks a lot different.

KAYE: Why, how so?

[03:09:58] WEINHOFER: Well, I didn't have all of this stuff here before. A lot of this isn't mine. That's not mine. The tackle box isn't mine. This will be the telltale. Watch.

KAYE: Yes.

WEINHOFER: It's dry so far.

KAYE: The eye went right over your house.

WEINHOFER: Right over our house.

KAYE: Isn't it amazing that it's still standing?

WEINHOFER: Yes. I'm ecstatic. They changed our building codes about five years ago. I think it made all the difference. We build to 180 wind load here.


CHURCH: Randi Kaye reporting there. And as we mention the power is out in much of Florida. And millions are sweltering. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with the details. I mean, this is the problem, isn't it.


CHURCH: And the aftermath of hurricanes like this. The problems of power outages, water, food, all of those sorts of things.

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.

CHURCH: It's a real problem. Of course, we're seeing this rattle Harvey and Irma, Jose.

JAVAHERI: Correct.

CHURCH: Is this it for a little bit?

JAVAHERI: You know, for now, it looks like. It looks like Jose may not be a direct impact to this point. It might be veering away from the U.S. But the latest model is depicting that.

I want to talk to talk about something though. When it comes to this sort of an event, Rosemary, of how many people are impacted, the one element that people often forget to think about is, the power outages in relation to of course extreme heat coming in place of this.

If you think of Florida, you know, the elderly population is rather high. And we often say the elderly and the children, I want to break that down here as far as how things can play out here when it comes to just the extreme temperatures.

The maps here in motion. How about these temps. We're talking the early morning hours, 3 in the morning here, temps into the upper 70s, lower 80s at this hour. And again, we're talking millions of customers without power as well.

And really what's fascinating to me is, you look the perspective of Key West into Naples, the areas that were directly impacted. The weather observations literally out of commission from the power of the storm system. I'll take you out towards the Caribbean. Turks and Caicos, Grand Turk no weather observations to be had.

And to Beef Island that's the British Virgin Islands and to St. Kitts and Nevis also no weather observations. So you can kind of see where the track of the storm was, just by looking at what weather instruments are not reporting.

But the forecast it looks across southern and central Florida looks as stifling as it gets. Middle and upper 90's into the afternoon hours. Keep in mind an estimated six trillion gallons of water fell from the sky across the state of Florida in the last couple of days.

So with all of that moisture evaporating, you get the humidifies is up. Your body's number one response to being able to cool off is through sweating. If humidifies are close to 100 percent, sweating will not happen at least not very efficiently. And that is a major concern with 4.3 million customers without power. That's about say three or four people per customer so we're talking maybe 12 to 16 million people without power when you break it down at such.

But the numbers look in such, when you look at 1 in 20 people, estimated to be over the age of 80 in the state of Florida. And of course over 3 million estimated to be up to 60 years old or older.

So, the body's ability to efficiently cool itself is essentially severely limited when you're an elderly group or below the age of 5. Sweating is not as effective, Rosemary. And of course, once your core temperatures get above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which is above 40 Celsius then your organs begin to fail and your system begins to shut down and heat stress sets in, Rosemary.

So, we talk about heat illness, which is a daily occurrence if you're outside in an extreme temperature for say three, four, or five hours. that heat illness, heat stress is accumulative effect. And that can happen over a period of several days.

We know there are several nursing homes and such across Florida that are -- have been without power since Sunday morning. So we're going on three or four days, a lot of these areas, people are not going to be able to handle it in areas that, frankly, the air conditioning is running 365 days a year. So, this could be a very big story if power is not restored and a lot of people are working on that right now.

CHURCH: Yes. It's a big part of the story. Just because the hurricane is gone, doesn't mean this is over by any stretch of the imagination, right?

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.

CHURCH: Pedram, thank you so much. I appreciate it.


JAVAHERI: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: Well, damage and desperation across the Caribbean after hurricane Irma. European leaders are being criticized now for not doing enough fast enough. We'll take a look at that, next.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The Caribbean needs help after Irma ravaged a series of popular islands. Thirty-eight people were killed when Irma plowed through as a category 5 storm. Many people are running low on food, water, gasoline and other essentials.

European countries are starting to deliver some aid after they were criticized for not doing enough fast enough. This is one of the destruction of St. Martin, one of the islands that is reported significant looting. The situation there is desperate.

The north is administrated by France, the south by the Netherlands. Both were leveled when Irma roared for the Caribbean as a category 5 hurricane as we mentioned. Just look at the rubble the storm left behind across the island.

Our Cyril Vanier reports St. Martin's residents are anxious for aid to get there.

CYRIL VANIER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I want to show you the first impression you get when you get to St. Martin. We're on the Dutch side right now and when the sun sets. This is it. There's no light. There's little power on the island right now. So all along down that street, there's an insurance, there's a pizzeria, there is furniture store and many other stores. Only two of them still have a light that's running. We're actually very fortunate because the biggest newspaper on the

island, the Daily Herald, has agreed to let us sleep here. They've got power. They are one of the rare people, for them, the power is working. So the power company is actually going house-to-house, one by one, they've got to make sure there are no live wires before they turn it on. We're very fortunate.

But let me show you a couple of things that are absolutely necessary right in St. Martin. This is a generator. The few lights that are on in the island, either they are one of the fortunate ones that have the power turned back on, or they have a generator.

If they have a generator, then they need some of this. They need the gasoline. But the gas stations they're all closed. And that buys you in this building about two hours of power.

Let me show you this way. So these are the guys who are -- have allowed us to stay here. And that's the only reason we can even put this broadcast out there. One of the few things -- Tom, I know you're camera-shy. I know you didn't want to talk about this. But when you talk to people, this is what happens. Where -- why are you sleeping here?

[03:19:59] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The roof of my house is gone.

VANIER: You can't sleep in your house anymore?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once it gets better fixed I will. But yes, but that's going to be a while.

VANIER: All right. So for the moment, Tom is one of the very -- one of the many, many people whose homeless and you can put it that way. And he's sleeping here with his wife. He's one of the sports sections of the paper. Let me show you this. This is the lifeline. I was telling you about the gasoline, we consider that this is about two hours of power.

And with everything that's been filled up, we have maybe two days of power. Once that goes out, not much we can do. And this is the printing press. They can't print anymore because this requires water. There's no water. It's essentially what the Dutch marines are giving you in terms of water.

This is the last newspaper they printed on Tuesday. It was the day before the hurricane hit. And this is the headline. Businesses must close at noon. Curfew, 8 p.m. Now with all this, there's one glimmer of hope, which is we've learned now, that tomorrow, two things are going to reopen that are key to a normal functioning life here in St. Martin. And that is supermarkets. A couple of supermarkets have said that they are reopening on Wednesday.

That's going to bring up great relief if they do open to the population of St. Martin. And gas stations, as well. A couple of them have warned that they would reopen. There will be security to ensure that it's done in an orderly fashion. It's is the very, very beginning of life restarting in St. Martin. CHURCH: Cyril Vanier reporting there.

And French President Emmanuel Macron is pledging to rebuild the French territories devastated by hurricane Irma in the Caribbean. He visited St. Martin on Tuesday to survey the devastation firsthand. Officials say 95 percent of the island was destroyed. Mr. Macron assured residents that life will eventually return to normal.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): The days that follow are the days for returning to normal life and for reconstructing. And it's important that as many people as possible, everyone who can and who wants to, stays on the island of St. Martin. And I say this because St. Martin has a future, one that needs to be reconstructed. And today, we should think about reconstruction in the short, medium and long-term.


CHURCH: The storm left many of the Caribbean islands unrecognizable. Some people in the British Virgin Islands lost everything and are now all but stranded.

But CNN's Polo Sandoval reports there are glimmers of hope on the island of Tortola.

POLO SANDOVAL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: When you think you've seen some of the worst damage caused by hurricane Irma, you come here to the largest island in the British Virgin Islands. And you can see the devastation is widespread here on Tortola. You can see what's left of one of the marinas here.

This is certainly one of the hardest-hit regions. People here had been struggling to find food, to find water. However, supplies are slowly making their way here. And also neighboring Caribbean islands that have been hard hit. Many of the residents that call some of those places home have had to evacuate to nearby Puerto Rico, the United States.

Many people who live here are trying to make it back to the U.K. But we've also heard some remarkable stories of survival. People who have essentially had to huddle inside their homes to ride out the storm. And then had to scrap whatever they can to try to eat and drink. And that is the reality for many people here.

Resources are slowly but surely making their way to some of these regions that were devastated by hurricane Irma nearly a week ago. But it certainly not at the rate that many locals would like to see it happen.

What does stand out after our time here in the Caribbean have -- has been the resilience for many of the people here who are determined to clean up. They were determined to rebuild. And they are particularly determined to get their piece of paradise back. But for now, the reality if that long road to recovery, people are

just getting started on that journey.

Reporting on the Island of Tortola, Polo Sandoval, CNN.

CHURCH: The United Kingdom is defending its response to Irma in the Caribbean. The U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is visiting British territories there after the British government was criticized for not moving quickly enough to help victims.


BORIS JOHNSON, British FOREIGN SECRETARY: We have every sympathy for the suffering of the people who are being hit by this extraordinary hurricane, the biggest in 150 years. So, I think most fair-minded people looking at the deployment that the U.K. has made.

This is the biggest military deployment that we've seen since Libya. The point that -- the message that we want to give. The reason I'm here is as far as secretaries, because of course these are our, these are overseas territories, these are British people, work here to show our support, not just for the short-term, but for the long-term.


[03:25:07] CHURCH: And CNN's Nina Dos Santos joins us now live from London. Good to see you, Nina. So, politicians from both major parties say Britain's response to hurricane Irma in the Caribbean has been found wanting. That's pretty telling, isn't it? Why was Britain so slow to respond? And what all is it sending so far?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPPONDENT, CNN: Well, the foreign office and the British government at number 10 have been saying that people have to remember that these aren't the same types of jurisdictions that France's Emmanuel Macron, the French President is dealing with where territories like French Guadeloupe and St. Martin are actually part of French territories.

These countries, in particular, the British Virgin Islands they are actually part of the British overseas territories and they are self- governing which means that the U.K. doesn't have the same military infrastructure, permanent military infrastructure out in this region from which it can deploy military personnel and also the badly needed food and water items, water purification tablets, and so on and so forth.

Having said that, though, the government has earmarked about $41 million worth of relief aid. They've already deployed about 1,000 military personnel across this British overseas territories in the Caribbean to help specifically with the relief effort.

And also there are about 50 police officers who have been sent from the U.K. to help shore up security in islands like, for instance, Tortola, that you heard Polo Sandoval reporting from before. Where obviously, there's big concerns about issues like looting, and so on and so forth. And there will be more aid on its way from here. HMS Ocean, which is a

big ship that is set sail from Gibraltar carrying about 50,000 water purification tablets, 5,000 hygiene kits and 10,000 buckets for collecting rainwater so that people can drink something clean. That is on its way over towards these islands.

But of course, it will take about 10 days to get there. So in the meantime, what we've had is government ministers like Boris Johnson turning up, albeit a day later than France since the king of the Netherlands and the French president.

And they're probably going to have to try and rely on places like the United States to mobilize food aid, to buy food aid over from the mainland in the U.S. to help people who need water, food, and medical supplies before the U.K. can manage to get them over from Europe. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. Ten days is a long time when you're in need. Many thanks for that live report. Nina Dos Santos joining us from London, where it is nearly 8.30 in the morning.

Marco Island, Florida, was also pummeled by hurricane Irma. Coming up, we will talk to a resident about how she rode out the storm alone. Back in a moment with that.


CHURCH: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Let's return to hurricane Irma and its aftermath. Fifty five people died in the storm in the U.S. and the Caribbean. The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates 90 percent of the homes on the Florida Keys have been destroyed or heavily damaged.

Many residents who evacuated are eager to get back home. But Governor Rick Scott urged them to check with local officials to make sure it's safe.

The city of Jacksonville is trying to recover from a record-breaking storm surge and flooding. About five million homes and businesses across the state are without power.

Marco Island in Florida was hit hard by hurricane Irma. And many people rode out the storm while their houses fell apart around them. One woman spent some harrowing hours with her dog. Because of gas shortages, she thought the safest choice was to stay put.

Elizabeth Heuermann captured these images of the aftermath in Marco Island. And I spoke to her earlier about her experience and what's next for her and her community.


CHURCH: Now going forward, what lies ahead for you and how long do you think it will take to get life back to normal? ELIZABETH HEUERMANN, MARCO ISLAND RESIDENT: Well, I think that some

of the buildings -- I mean, I actually was passing by a building that was across from the post office. And the entire roof was just -- I mean, demolished. It was terrible. It was a big building, as well.

I was really surprised about that. There are -- our generator, the actual air conditioning on the top was damaged severely. So, I think they are going to have to replace it. So that's something that's going to have to be done.

My place, I mean, we're going to board up the windows tomorrow. So, right now, they're just wide-open because there was nobody -- there's so many people are having problems right now, that you just can't get somebody to help. And also the supplies are very limited right now.

So, but once I get that taken care of, I was really lucky. I mean, my neighbor, he had carpet. I have ceramic throughout. His carpet is completely saturated. And so, he was actually here in the storm, at this apartment. The winds were blowing. All the rain and everything was coming into his unit. It was just terrible. It was not a good thing for him. He's actually just next door.

CHURCH: Right.

HEUERMANN: And so, but I think that my place, I was really lucky. There wasn't that much structure except for the windows. I mean, there are some coming through the front windows here. So I had to mop everything up. And then we are going have to have something as taken care of and paint and that kind of thing.

So I think mine will be fixed in the next couple weeks, three weeks. Something like that. But there are other -- there's other damage to the island that I'm sure is going to take a little longer.

CHURCH: Indeed. And we've been looking at pictures as you've been speaking with us. So, just one of so many stories in the wake of hurricane Irma. Elizabeth Heuermann, thank you so much for speaking with us.

HEUERMANN: Thank you.

CHURCH: We appreciate it.

[03:34:59] HEUERMANN: You take care.


CHURCH: All right. We'll take a very short break here. But still to come, while North Korea fumes over harsh new sanctions, South Korea is carrying out live fire drills with the U.S. The latest on the nuclear standoff. That is next.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The U.S. Supreme Court just sided with the Trump administration and granted a request to uphold the travel ban for most refugees. The order affects about 24,000 people that would have been granted entry by an appeals court ruling last week.

Now, they're banned once again. The Supreme Court will begin considering the full legality of the ban in October.

North Korea calls the latest U.S. sanctions -- U.N. sanctions a heinous provocation. They're the strongest measures ever made against the regime, meant to choke off the country's economy and ban almost a third of its oil imparts. But U.S. President Donald Trump says there could be much more to come.


[03:39:58] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a vote yesterday on sanctions. We think it's just another very small step. Not a big deal. Rex and I were just discussing not big. I don't know if it has any impact. But certainly it was nice to get a 15 to nothing vote. But those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.


CHURCH: Ian Lee joins us now live from Seoul with more on this. So, Ian, we have seen North Korea's reaction. Is this an indication that Pyongyang is really concerned about this new round of sanctions in a way it hasn't been before?

IAN LEE, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary, they're definitely not happy about it. We heard this many different statements from the North Korean government over the past 48 hours before the sanctions. They said there would be unbearable consequences. And afterwards, they called this a further provocation.

A lot of harsh threats and rhetoric coming from the North. Will it actually have an impact? That's the big question. You know, and will they feel the pinch?

North Korean's have been able to skirt sanctions in the past. There's a concern that with these further sanctions that they might go a further unorthodox measure and try to sell their nuclear secrets to other people. Their missile technology, something that would be difficult to keep tabs on.

So there is some concern about these sanctions being implemented and what North Korea could do. But the one thing they have told us they are going to do is accelerate their nuclear program. They say that these sanctions, any sort of international pressure isn't going to have an effect on their nuclear program, their number one program in the country, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And that is certainly what we've seen in the past, haven't we? We've seen numerous sanctions applied to North Korea wherein very little impact. Of course, we're watching this progress now being made with their nuclear program. So why should this be any different? LEE: And that is the big question. Will it really have any

difference? And you're right. You brought up a good point, that North Korea in the past has surprised people by how quick they've been able to develop. Not only their nuclear program but also their missile technology especially when they came out and said that they can put a hydrogen bomb on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

You know, these new sanctions we heard from the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is being some of the toughest yet. And it does go after some important industries. Most specifically, it goes textiles which bans the export of which is roughly $800 million a year.

You also have foreign laborers, which there is about 100,000 North Koreans working abroad. They bring home about a half a billion dollars. That will also be affected. And then you have oil, as well. You know, really putting the screws to North Korea.

But then, we heard from the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said that the North Koreans would eat grass before they gave up their nuclear program. So, while on one hand you have the international community trying to put the screws on North Korea, North Korea doesn't seem to be affected by or at least their nuclear program doesn't seem affected by it.

CHURCH: So, Ian, what is it that North Korea wants here? Does it want direct talks with the United States? Or is this just about defending its nation? What's it -- what's it really pushing for here?

LEE: You got a couple things, Rosemary. First and foremost, North Korea knows what happened to Iraq and Libya, which gave up their programs of weapons of mass destruction. And they saw how the United States went into Iraq and supported the rebels in Libya. And so they don't want to be the third country.

But also, they want to be seen as a legitimate nuclear power. They want to talk to the United States as two nuclear powers. And that's just something that the United States, South Korea, Japan, other countries aren't willing to do. The United States said, they're willing to talk to North Korea.

But first, they have to dismantle their nuclear program. So you have that big rift there, Rosemary. One that it doesn't seem like they are going to be able to cross that divide anytime soon.

CHURCH: All right. Ian Lee, joining us from Seoul in South Korea with that live report where it is nearly 4.45 in the afternoon. Many thanks.

Well, as far as North Korea sees it, the U.S. is the aggressor, stirring tensions and raising fears with its annual joint military drills with South Korea.

But as Paula Hancocks reports, Washington and Seoul believes those exercises are crucial. PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This U.S. marine division has

come over from Japan to carry out this live fire drill alongside their South Korean counterpart.

[03:45:01] They say it is very important they train with the South Koreans.

Engaging an imaginary enemy the combined force of tanks, artillery and ground fire. Two countries united on the battlefield. South Korean air support covers for U.S. marines on the ground.

So the U.S. military says that this kind of live-fire drill is vital to make sure that they know how to cooperate, to communicate, to fight alongside their South Korean counterparts. So this is why this training happens throughout the year here in South Korea.

Now of course they say that they don't have a specific enemy in mind whilst their doing these drills. That's not necessarily how North Korea sees it.


DAVID ROOKS, U.S. 1ST BATTALION 3RD MARINES: U.S. marines are always prepared for a fight. It doesn't really matter who is on there. And you know, we do our best to not specify a particular enemy.


HANCOCKS: Pyongyang has called joint exercises radical and dangerous. Proof of a hostile American policy, intent on invading the North. But for the U.S. 3rd marine division, if you don't train, you can't fight.


NICHOLAS DUNCAN, CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER, U.S. BATTALION: It's really there to go and strengthen the bond that we have with them, that we have a common understanding for that combine approach to conflict. So it allows us to be able to shoot, move and communicate across the battlefield, wherever that battlefield may be at.


HANCOCKS: Two nationalities fight side-by-side, showing Pyongyang, if you engage one, you fight both.

Now China and Russia have called for drills like these to be put on hold, so they can convince North Korea to put a freeze on their nuclear and missile program. A suggestion the U.S. officials call insulting.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Pohang, South Korea.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break bere. But still to come, American country music star, Kenny Chesney, is vowing to help Irma victims in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Why it hits so close to home for him. We'll take a look. [03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Stevie Wonder there with a very appropriate message at the hand in hand hurricane relief benefit.


STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN: We come together to love on the people that have been devastated by the hurricanes. When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences, and no political persuasions. It just loves.

As we should begin to love and value our planet. And anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming, must be blind or unintelligent. Lord, please save us all.