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Harrowing Stories of Survival; Help is on the Way but Late; Life Continues in North Korea Amid Sanctions. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired September 14, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes in San Juan, Puerto Rico where thousands of evacuees from hurricane Irma are taking shelter. In fact, 2,000 more are expected to arrive in the hours ahead here on Thursday. They are going to be taking shelter at the convention center here. They are going to be processed and move on.
Another 2,000 will arrive on Saturday. These are from the islands of St. Martin and also St. John.
Now, hurricane Irma turning less landscape in the Caribbean into brown and barren landscapes. The storm killed 44 people across this region.
The British foreign secretary are so stunned by the damage to the British Virgin Island of Tortola that he described it as a nuclear landscape.
In St. Martin, devastation. Buildings destroyed, debris is everywhere. A similar scene on the Dutch side of the island. This is what's left of a hotel there. People are comparing their situation to the end of the world. There's no water, electricity and no way to communicate.
Meanwhile, people in the U.S. Virgin Islands are pleading for help like so many others in this region. The storm hit three of the largest islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas killing four people, causing widespread damage.
CNN's Sara Sidner with the latest.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On St. John, the smallest of the three major islands and arguably most ruggedly beautiful, hurricane Irma swept away life as we knew it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing left.
SIDNER: Nearly 30 square miles of island wiped out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in our shelter hurricane called hurricane hole. It was about, I would guess, about 200 boats out there in all.
SIDNER: Wait, you were on a boat?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on my boat, yes.
SIDNER: How did you survive in a boat of all things?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was lucky. A lot of the boats sunk.
SIDNER: It took life here as well. The struggle for survival, crushing. The suffering, endless. Most of the inhabitance on this island lost what little they have. Most have no means to rebuild without a Herculean relief effort.
So, nothing has been left untouched here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Just everything been touched.
SIDNER: Help is on the way but it has taken far too long. Nearly a week for it to arrive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A week ago today it was all going down, man.
SIDNER: But relief is only trickling in here instead of flooding in. The reason for that is twofold. Communication is nearly impossible here and security is precarious. Crime has shot up, residents say, a dangerous desperation has emerged as human beings try to get their needs met by any means necessary.
A few miles away on another island, more tragedy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard to get food, water, gas. It took us three hours just to get ice. The mosquitos and I'm worried about diseases. I don't know if I can do it.
SIDNER: In St. Thomas, the stunning landscape that attracts tourists from around the world is decimated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hungry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're getting hungry. I got some water for you.
SIDNER: The sheer force of sustained winds at tornadic speeds turned this island inside out in spots.
SIDNER: There's a telltale sign that the eye wall of the category 4 or 5 has hit and it's this. There are no leaves on the trees. With wind speeds up to 185 miles an hour, the hurricane has stripped every branch on this island bare.
From St. John to St. Thomas, there is no end to the destruction. Right now, in much of the Caribbean, life is anything but paradise.
Sara Sidner, CNN, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.
HOLMES: And thousands of people continue to be in dire need in places like Antiqua and Barbuda. Let's remember that this hurricane was still a category five when it slammed into those islands last week.
A Red Cross official spoke to me earlier about the conditions they are facing on the ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: So what changes do you think need to be made as rebuilding goes on? What could have helped in this situation?
MICHAEL JOSEPH, PRESIDENT, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA RED CROSS: Honestly, we're dealing with hurricanes that are stronger than we've ever, ever experienced. I mean, before we were preparing for a category 5 hurricane (Inaudible) of experience their current scale measurement.
[03:05:00] So no, now we have to look at our building structures and building codes, and that building to withstand potential category 6 and 7, of course, because of the strength of them. So this is just what we have to deal with.
HOLMES: And Michael, just one more thing. I was going to ask you, you know, the people how dire is the situation for a lot of the people you're dealing with? There are a lot of people who are still trying to get off islands that are basically being described as uninhabitable.
JOSEPH: Well, I paid a visit to Barbuda today. You know, we had to evacuate the entire island because there were concerns that Jose will have greater fatality. And during my visit today, I must say that Barbuda is no better state than before.
As a matter of fact the stench of rotten parts s from animals contaminated ground water and also grown those mosquitos have created a huge health concern. At the same time we have internally displaced roofs that Barbudans are now taken shelter in Antigua in temporary shelters and I'm looking to moving back home as soon as possible.
So it's very, it's a very ticklish and funny situation to deal with because we have a group that wants to go home but a home that's not ready to accept them. (Inaudible) shelter and the needs vary as the days go by. So we were just working as much as possible to respond as quickly as possible and as accurately as possible.
HOLMES: Michael Joseph, president of Antigua and Barbuda's Red Cross on the phone. Thank you so much. A massive job ahead doing terrific work there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And Rosemary, of course, you know, we focused a lot as the hurricane went through Florida and into the other southern U.S. states over recent days, but it's only now that the full extent of the damage being done -- that has been done through the Caribbean is starting to come out and the needs of the people is just incredible.
These, a lot of these islands, as we said, are uninhabitable. Thousands of people having to leave and come to places like here in San Juan just to get away. They can't live in their homes. CHURCH: Yes, a lot of those people feeling forgotten at this time.
Michael Holmes, we will come back to you in just a moment. Many thanks.
Let's talk more now about the U.S. Virgin Islands with Paul Naball (Ph), he is an American citizen originally from Arizona who has lived on St. Thomas for six years. And he joins me on the phone. Thank you for being with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. Good night, Rosemary. Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: So, I want to talk to you about just how bad conditions are on the ground where you are, and how long do you think it will likely take to get things back to normal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is an open-ended question. Things have -- you know, we've -- we were struck on Wednesday, the 6th, with hurricane Irma, and we have been without power or water here on the island now for quite some time. We -- on the ground, things are starting to look a little bit better here. The streets are starting to get cleared.
For a while, we couldn't even get around all of the island. I had to actually hike into my house the first day after the hurricane to see how it fared. So things are starting to get a little bit better as far as mobility around the island goes.
But things are starting to get very scarce around the island as far as our grocery stores and our fuel supplies, basic necessities for food and water. Things are starting to dwindle here on the island. So that's been a little bit difficult.
But as far as when things will start to improve, great question. Hopefully very soon. You know, our power company was largely damaged in this storm. And so we -- they're working tirelessly around the clock we've noticed. However, it looks like it's going to be a long battle for us here.
CHURCH: Right. And that is the concern, isn't it? As you mentioned, there's no power right now and no access to clean water and dry, clean clothes. Is there any indication that help is on the way?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we have started to see some ground troops show up, which has been great. I know that the marines have showed up, the National Guard have showed up, the Coast Guard have showed up. So that's been wonderful.
What we need are supplies though. Supplies are very limited. You know, they are scarcely being provided at different points which are not accessible to the a lot of islanders, and just not enough supplies coming in for the amount of people who are displaced.
[03:10:07] We have about 40,000 displaced people here, which is about two-thirds of the community.
CHURCH: Right. And I'd be interested to find out from you what you plan to do in the days and weeks ahead. Do you think you will stay and rebuild?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I plan on -- I plan on staying. I plan on living here. I do think that I am going to have to leave island for a while if I'm going to continue to work. I need power, I need internet, I work from home for an internet-based company. And without power and internet, I can't see myself keeping my job.
So, I know I will have to leave eventually. It was, you know, important for me to help get people off as soon as possible that needed off sooner. And I am waiting for our airport to hopefully open soon. It is still down as it was largely destroyed by this hurricane.
CHURCH: And just very quickly, more than three million people live on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Why do you think the response initially to help people was so very slow?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we have about -- about 110,000 people living in the U.S. Virgin Islands with a total of 3.2 million in the territories, including Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, I think everything has come up so slow because of the fact so much of the media was covered for Florida. No one really even paid attention to us when it was hitting us.
Everyone is focus on was when it was going to hit Florida. And we were sort of already forgotten before it even hit us. So now waiting for supplies everything to come with, so many people are just now gearing about the devastation here, and even though we've been going through it for so long trying to just recover from everything that just happened to us.
CHURCH: Well, we'll certainly make sure that people are aware of it. Paul Naball (Ph), thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course. Thank you.
CHURCH: And more than three million customers across Florida are still without power and probably will be for the immediate future. But it's really hot in Florida, even in September, and without electricity, there's no air conditioning. That heat has become a deadly problem.
Eight residents at a nursing home near Miami have died after during stifling conditions.
CNN's Miguel Marquez has more details.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A criminal investigation is underway into the deaths of elderly residents at this Hollywood, Florida nursing home. They died after the facility face power failures in the wake of hurricane Irma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH LEVY, MAYOR OF HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA: They did have apparently a generator, but whatever was running by that generator, apparently the main air conditioning units for this facility that would take care of the second floor, apparently were out of commission.
MARQUEZ: So electricity was on and the air was on when you left last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Not the -- not the current.
MARQUEZ: From the generators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: The surviving residents of the rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hills have been evacuated to Memorial Regional Hospital which is adjacent to the nursing home. Tonight, about a dozen of them are in critical condition.
Dr. Randy Katz is head of the emergency care unit at Memorial, he says at least 50 of his employees ran to the nursing home after being called for help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDY KATZ, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, MEMORIAL REGIONAL HOSPITAL: The scene was chaotic when I arrived. We had had 115, at least 115 patients that we were trying to evacuate and bring them to safety.
MARQUEZ: This woman's mother is a patient in the nursing home.
Were you in there this week?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yesterday. I saw everything.
MARQUEZ: You were here yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MARQUEZ: What was the temperature?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One hundred ten or more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: Millions of Floridians are still without power and with temperatures in the 90's, the health risks significant. Across Florida more than 30,000 federal employees are on the ground working with state and local officials.
And while most of the state is dealing with downed trees and damaged buildings, in the Keys the situation is more grave. Just in the last 24 hour, the Coast Guard has made more than 100 rescues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a dire situation but the good news is the resources are coming. We're getting food, we're getting water, we're reconstituting the port of Key West but it's going to take a little time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: Eight people are dead, another 12 in critical condition. The death toll could rise. The state has shut down the rehabilitation center here and the criminal investigation is continuing.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Hollywood, Florida.
CHURCH: Going house to house in the Florida Keys. A sobering search for what's left of a community coming up here on CNN Newsroom. We're back in a moment.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. In the Florida Keys, crews are going door to door searching for both the living and the dead in the aftermath of hurricane Irma.
CNN's Randi Kaye went along with a team on Ramrod Key as they double checked that no one was left behind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're making entry, can you hear us? Fire and rescue, can anybody hear us?
RANDI KAYE, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, CNN: Task Force 2, a search and rescue team from Miami on the hunt for anyone still trapped after hurricane Irma, the concern at this house in Ramrod Key, a car out- front so perhaps someone is stuck inside. Here the team has to force their way inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire and rescue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire and rescue.
KAYE: The roof is gone, but so is the family. The rescue team hopes they made it out alive. Down the road, more houses to search and hopefully clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear.
KAYE: Here at this house the team had to cut through all of this brush in the front yard here just to get inside. Once they got in the front door they found an elderly woman who had ridden out the storm here, she was trapped inside, very low on supplies. They gave her water and then they marked the mailbox here, 1L, one living.
At one point we all come across a horrible smell. A smell anyone who's covered a deadly hurricane knows all too well.
[03:20:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hit me right away and the smell that's pretty strong and it's kind of indicative of a body.
KAYE: Having covering Katrina, I remember this smell, it's a very distinct smell of death and you smell it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That smell never leaves you.
KAYE: He decides to call in the cadaver dogs. This dog is called on to search and smell the area around a handful of homes. If he smelled human remains or even remains of a dog or cat or somebody's pet, he would signal, but he never does. Still the area isn't given an all clear. The source of the smell still a mystery. The team is especially concerned about this house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something like this. It's shuttered up, it's in relatively good condition. Somebody possibly could have ridden the storm in there out then we're going to try our best to hail and scream out to see if they hear us, if they don't hear us we'll make the decision whether or not to force entry and go in.
KAYE: Before ever going inside they test the air with a carbon monoxide meter and also a tool to detect electricity. And this large search camera that can get into cracks and crevasses like an attic space if need be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to go and force entry to the opening that significant damage in the structure. We want to make sure it's clear. Once we get in there, we're going to minimize damage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very strong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire and rescue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire and rescue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody in here?
KAYE: In the end they don't find anyone inside. Yet the disturbing smell in this neighborhood continues.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Ramrod Key, Florida.
CHURCH: I want to turn now to Bonita Springs resident Don Manly. He has been helping to rescue people with his own boat. He's rescued nearly 30 people so far. And you can see him there on the left in the gray shirt and white hat.
Don Manley joins me now via Skype. Thank you so much for being with us and, of course, for all the great work you have done so far in the aftermath of hurricane Irma. Talk to us about what sort of conditions you've been facing over the past few days as you've been rescuing all these people and just how bad is the flooding?
DON MANLEY, BONITA SPRINGS RESIDENT: The flooding is particularly bad in one area of our community in Bonita. And the conditions we've been facing is it's running water, it's rushing water. The residents, some of them have very little damage and yet some I've taken a couple of families to their homes where it's almost shoulder deep. It was well, well above their waist.
It's very difficult to have somebody in situations -- most of these people evacuated their homes before the hurricane although some stayed and we rescued them. But to take someone into a situation when the first time they see their house and it is in ruins and they have no insurance, it is a very difficult situation.
CHURCH: Totally understand that. What have been some of the toughest rescues that you've been involved in so far?
MANLEY: Well, actually I had a crew from CNN yesterday and I rescued about 30 people yesterday and about 40 to 50 today. So it's a total of 80. But we were in some relatively deep water and I thought I had heard something so I asked everybody to be quiet and I shut the boat off. And two ladies were hollering, and they were in water almost up to their shoulders.
I have no idea how they got there. They were trying to save some of their material possessions out of their house, and I have no idea how they ever would have left if we wouldn't have been so fortunate to kind of happen onto them.
It's interesting what people say, what's important to people. These folks are facing hunger and so they saved a 50 pound bag of flour so that they could make tortillas. It's amazing what's important to people in times like this.
CHURCH: Yes, you're right. Of course you talk about those women in the water. That water, how dangerous do you think conditions are there because we do see people wading through the water. Does that concern you?
MANLEY: Well, it doesn't concern me, but my wife has told me, because I cut my hand and I have -- that I need to get a tetanus shot. It doesn't concern me but I'm just that kind of individual where I don't worry about much. I do think that, you know, the sewer plants are shut down.
This is -- it is going to be bad but it's only going to get worse until we get the power restored, until we can get the water drained and get people back into now it's not rescue, it's now gathering their personal belongings and then basically tearing many of these homes down and rebuilding. And that's the next step.
[03:25:08] CHURCH: And just very quickly, how long do you think it will take to return the power and see the water recede and really get people back into their homes?
MANLEY: It will take a month to get the water out and return power. And then we're talking -- because it's not only this community. It's all communities in Florida. We're going to be talking years before the restoration is complete because there's so much to do and so many -- so many homes need to be rebuilt that it's going to be a long-term process. It's going to be very difficult on people, but we're resilient and we will get through this. CHURCH: It is going to be a tough road ahead for all those people,
for you as well. And, of course, I know the whole community is thanking you for the work that you have done so far. Don Manley, thank you so much for joining us.
MANLEY: Thank you. I'd just like to invite anyone who would like to help to come out and help, and help wherever you can. So thank you very much.
CHURCH: And many hurricane Irma victims need assistance, shelter and critical supplies. If you want to help, just head to cnn.com/impact. You can donate to one of the charities we've vetted or of course, you can volunteer your time.
A week after Irma, a frantic quest for food, water and just a little bit of hope. The latest from the hard hit islands of St. Martin and Tortola coming up here on CNN Newsroom.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, where it has just turned half past 3 in the morning.
HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes in San Juan, Puerto Rico where thousands of evacuees have taken shelter in the aftermath of hurricane Irma.
A lot of those islands that were hit by that brutal hurricane that came through here as a category 5 are living on places that are being described as uninhabitable. There is no infrastructure, there is no communication, no power, and in some cases, no water or food.
Aid is starting to get in, sometimes it's a little slow in getting there. There's going to be 2,000 evacuees arriving here tomorrow on a cruise ship. They are coming from the island of St. Thomas. And then on Saturday another 2,000 will arrive on the same cruise ship which is going back to get them from St. Martin.
They will be processed here at the convention center and they will go off to hotels or other accommodations or perhaps head home to points elsewhere. It is a terribly upsetting upheaval really for so many people in this area.
Now the storm took a really strong hit at the island of Tortola. It was almost devastated by hurricane Irma. They are starting to cleanup, but it is going to be a very long process.
Polo Sandoval is there.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Tortola's east end there was no hiding from hurricane Irma's wrath.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The roof, gone. Gone.
SANDOVAL: The eye of the deadly storm swept across the largest of the British Virgin Islands just over a week ago. The wicked winds consumed this one slash countryside. (Inaudible) and Guzman describes it as if a bomb went off in the middle of this Caribbean paradise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I look around it's a different island. It's like fire filled with the island. We lose the island. That's really terrible.
SANDOVAL: This is the reality for the island of Tortola and its residents. Irma destroyed infrastructure, critical supplies like food, water, and fuel are limited.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need international help because the island is destroyed completely.
SANDOVAL: The damage only seems to worsen as we drive down the winding hillside roads into the island's capitol. Crippled communications are sending residents to phone and internet businesses, their only hope of connecting with the outside world picking up a Wi- Fi signal.
Now far from here we found one of Guzman's neighbors facing a challenge of her own.
SHERNEKAH STEVENS, TORTOLA RESIDENT: Pray for us. Pray for us.
SANDOVAL: Shernekah Stevens waited hours with her son for medicine at a local hospital.
STEVENS: I don't know. I can't talk anymore because it's so devastating. I've never seen my country like this.
SANDOVAL: Back at Stevens' east side community, neighbors seem to be coming together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to stay here to help the island stand up. We got to rebuild it and make it again.
SANDOVAL: Amid the rubble, there are signs of resilience and rebuilding. Though these islanders have a long way to go, they are already on the path toward restoring their paradise.
Polo Sandoval, CNN on the British Virgin Island of Tortola.
HOLMES: And a lot of criticism about the response. The official response from governments, be it France or Great Britain, when it comes to the territories they control.
Nina Dos Santos our Europe editor joins us now from London with more on the reaction in the U.K. Nina?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPPONDENT, CNN: Yes, thanks so much, Michael. Well, over the last few days, Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary has spent a day and a half out in the Caribbean touring some of the destruction on islands like, for instance, Anguilla which he described as being something that looked like a "nuclear bomb site such was the destruction," quote, unquote. [03:35:04] And so, the U.K. government is under huge pressure here to show exactly what it's doing on the ground and what kind of aid it's going to be sending from here. It's already got around about 1,000 military personnel, police force members. It's already also got royal navy members who are actively the trying to help with the relief effort across a number of its Caribbean territories.
And they have been dispersing things like food aid, obviously water is the main thing that people need now, clean drinking water and access to water that they can bathe themselves in, hygiene kits as well.
And I should point out that they do have -- have pointed out over the last few days that they did originally have one of the biggest warships, one of their biggest warships in the navy circulating around the area armed with some of these particular supplies that they knew people would need during the time when hurricane Irma hit and they could begin disbursing aid straight away.
They're already managed to give about around 40 tons food aid but there's another 260 tons that are on their way on another big warship called HMS Ocean which set sails two days ago from Gibraltar, but that will take obviously about a week or so to get there from here.
And in the meantime, the British government is under increasing pressure to raise more money for the relief effort and pledge more money. Here's what Theresa May told parliament about this just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Today I'm announcing an additional 25 million pounds to support the recovery effort further to the 32 million pounds of assistance I announced last week. We have now deployed over 1,000 military personnel to the region, with an additional 200 to arrive in the next days along with over 60 police. And more than 40 tons of aid has now arrived.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: So that extra chunk of money brings the total outlay so far by the British government to its territories in the Caribbean, Michael, up to 75 billion and counting. And they've also pledge to match donations made by the British public to the British Red Cross.
But the big question is how will they get a lot of these items that are needed to the people they need them so badly so quickly. Well, for that they're going to have to be relying upon some members of the private sector, like some of the airlines, one of the airlines, package tour airlines that departs from the U.K. has been taking lanterns, for instance, solar powered charging devices and lanterns out to some of these stricken areas.
And also they're probably going to have to rely on a huge amount of coordination with the French, Dutch and the United States to try and bring in food from say the U.S. mainland or other territories as well. And that concerns helping the people who are in these British overseas
territories. We should also mention that over the last week or so, there's been a huge effort to try and get tourists back. That's more of a consular effort right across the Caribbean to get British tourists back into the U.K. who obviously got caught up in the terrible situation that was hurricane Irma and of course its aftermath, Michael.
HOLMES: Yes. Nina, thanks so much. Nina Dos Santos there. Obviously, Rosemary, a long way to go for this part of the world. A lot of those islands literally uninhabitable. Others were severe damage, and some that are up and running in many ways that were dealt more of a glancing blow.
And this whole region relies on tourism for its economy. (AUDIO GAP) On the places that are running, and there are resorts back up and running that people do come. They do come and spend some money and help this economy, you know, kick start itself after such utter devastation elsewhere around the region. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes, it is a huge cleanup operation and for some it could be years before any normalcy is seen. Michael Holmes, thank you so much for that. We will back -- be back with you in just a moment. Let's talk -- take a very short break.
Despite new hasher than ever sanctions on North Korea, the country remains defiant and optimistic. We hit the streets of Pyongyang to see why residents there are so upbeat.
We're back in just a moment.
[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. North Korea is staring down the most severe sanctions ever imposed on the country. But you would have no idea talking to the people there in Pyongyang.
Our Will Ripley is the only western TV journalist in North Korea and has this report.
WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Here in Pyongyang government officials are strongly condemning this latest round of U.N. Security Council sanctions, using words like evil, vicious, calling it a full-scale economic blockade.
But when you go on the streets and speak with regular people, they don't seem concerned at all.
It's tough to find a traffic light in Pyongyang. Traffic cops direct the flow of cars, the streets noticeably busier each time I come here, busier at least for now. The U.S. says the latest U.N. sanctions threaten to cut North Korea's oil supply by nearly a third which could spike prices for everything from taxis to energy. A ban on textile imports and the end of foreign labor contracts could further slash the income of this cash starve country. But if you Ri Hye Hyang she's not worried. Her refreshment stand has a
steady flow of customers, she says life is improving despite round after round of increasingly heavy sanctions. "We have no problems," she says. "Everything I'm selling is made local. We don't worry we rely on ourselves."
Kim Hye Sung (Ph) casually shrugs off threats from the United States. The U.S. President Donald Trump said that these sanctions are just not a big deal and that there's much worse to come. Does that worry you at all?
"We don't care what the U.S. president says or what the outside world thinks about us," she says, "we don't worry because we believe in the leadership of martial Kim Jong-un."
Keep in mind this is a thin slice of life in this closed country.
[03:45:00] It's good.
Reporters like us can only see what the government allows. But all over the North Korean capital, we see plenty of new construction, an increasingly modern skyline, a mandate from North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un determined to prove he can grow the economy and the nuclear program , all in the face of unprecedented sanctions for his repeated violations of international law.
You see these posters all over Pyongyang and they pretty much sum up North Korea's official response to increase pressure from the U.S., more missiles. North Korean propaganda is built around their nuclear program. It symbolizes strength, independence, it's key to their national identity.
Is there anything, anything at all that could get North Korea to walk away from its nuclear program? "We'll never give them up," says Ri Chang Son. "If we did, it would mean our destruction."
Around town new poster shows a pair of hands ripping up U.N. sanctions resolutions. North Korea's defiant message they will never give up their nukes, even if that means life is about to get a lot harder.
And that really is the bottom line. North Korea say nuclear weapons are vital to their survival as a nation. And they say these latest U.N. sanctions will only speed up not slow their development of weapons of mass destruction, threatening to escalate an already dangerous situation even further.
I'm Will Ripley reporting in Pyongyang, North Korea.
CHURCH: And this weekend Will is going to give us an exclusive look into the lives of people who live in North Korea, including the country's teenagers.
RIPLEY: In North Korea, government minders watch our every move and restrict what we can film. Even if this is what we want to see. High school students horsing around at the beach. I can't help but wonder, what do they actually know about America?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No. I just wear it to play sports.
RIPLEY: Have you ever heard of Portland?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I haven't heard of it.
RIPLEY: Have you seen any American movies or heard any American music?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No.
RIPLEY: Ever heard of Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No, not at all.
RIPLEY: These teens have been told Americans act and look scary. What would you expect from an American, what would you expect an American to be like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Big nose with a hairy chest.
RIPLEY: Big nose and hairy chest, huh. Well, I don't have a hairy chest. You tell me, do I have a big nose?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): With a nose like that, it is sort of.
RIPLEY: Have you guys ever met an American before? They become visibly uncomfortable when they realize I'm an American. I'm the first one they've ever met.
Well, I won't interrupt your game any longer. Thank you very much. It was nice to meet you, guys.
CHURCH: And you can watch the premier of Secret State Friday at 10 p.m. in New York and the replay Saturday at 8 p.m. in London and Hong Kong.
Well, amid the devastation in the Caribbean stories of survival. You will hear from a family who say a stranger saved their lives.
We're back in a moment.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Hurricane Irma has taken much from people in the Caribbean. Their homes, their businesses and some cases, their loved ones. But it's also, in some cases, brought out the best in people.
Sara Ganim tells us about one family who say they were saved by a stranger. SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michelle Cox, Eugene Connors and their
5-year-old daughter Cynthia lived in this once beautiful neighborhood on St. Thomas, overlooking the U.S. Virgin Islands and all of their beauty.
EUGENE CONNORS, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: Obviously it had a great view. You know, things were great for four years, but, you know, when this hit, it was a bad location.
GANIM: Last week, when hurricane Irma came roaring through, their home crumbled on top of them.
MICHELLE COX, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: I was stuffing towels into the rafters to stop the leaks from coming in. Cynthia was screaming. And I got a phone call from this number I had never seen before.
GANIM: A man who they say knew their landlord was watching from across the valley.
COX: He says I'll come get you. The minute I walk out from that slammed door was her. We slammed someone into, slammed into the other side. We couldn't get up the wind was just pushing up against it. Then he came out and he grabbed Cynthia and ran out the door and there was John and Dalton waiting for us. I want to go home. I want my home.
CONNORS: We didn't know them and had no idea who he was.
GANIM: He was a complete stranger?
COX: He's just the bravest guy in the whole world, him in the side, I mean, height of the storm, trees are falling down, the rain coming down like crazy, the winds were up to almost 200 miles per hour. They were telling us he just drove in and out weaving to get us. I did see the roof flying that way when we were running. And it's a miracle it didn't hit his truck.
GANIM: What would have happened if he didn't come?
CONNORS: I really believe we would have been dead. Just the level of destruction. I mean, or at least seriously injured. So we're very grateful.
GANIM: John and his son took these videos of the storm on the way to the rescue. He is now letting them stay in his house. And across the island, people like Eugene and Michelle have also lost their homes to Irma. The worst storms that native say they've ever experienced on this island. Many say they will stay to help rebuild. But Michelle and Eugene are not sure.
[03:54:59] COX: Our extended family as we call them, you know, then friends that we've made and shared things for three years. We want to stay with them and rebuild and restart our lives, but I'm scared. We don't have a place of our own. It's hard to get food, water, gas.
It took us three hours just to get ice.
GANIM: For now they are simply in shock over what they lost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good thing John saved us.
COX: Good thing John saved us, yes.
GANIM: Sara Ganim, CNN, St. Thomas.
HOLMES: So many stories of loss, but also resilience and hope. It's a long road ahead.
I'm Michael Holmes in Puerto Rico.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. Early Start is next for our viewers here in the United States. For everyone else, stay tuned for more news with Max Foster in London.
[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)