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Search For Earthquake Survivors; Mexican President People Still Trapped In Rubble; All Students Now Accounted For In School Collapse; Rescuers Race To Find Survivors In Mexico Quake; Storm Leaves Trail Of Destruction In Caribbean; Puerto Rico Faces Long Hard Road To Recovery; Pyongyang Hints At H-Bomb Test In Pacific; U.S. Hits Pyongyang With New Sanctions; Rescuers Race to Find Survivors in Mexico Quake; Puerto Rico Faces Long, Hard Road to Recovery; Facebook Handing Over Russian Ads to Congress; Cartoonist Captures Merkel's Political Career. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 22, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm John Vause live in Mexico City, where the search for the survivors is now focused on 10 collapsed buildings where there are still signs of life anybody who may be trapped under the rubble.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay live in Los Angeles, where were also tracking new warning from North Korea in response to Donald Trump's threats to destroy the country.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

VAUSE: Well, the mayor of Mexico City says, as many as 50 people are still unaccounted for after the Tuesday's killer earthquake. Rescuers are focused right now on those 10 collapsed buildings here in the capital, where survivors could be buried alive. The sense of urgency though has ended at one elementary, for the search crews were trying to reach a young girl, they thought -- was trapped, rather, in all of that debris. But now, officials say, all of the students have been accounted for -- they're either alive or they are dead.

Across this city, though, they -- the search continues. An army of volunteers have spread out across the capital looking for anybody who may have survived that 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Here's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The search survivors is not over. Brigades of civilian volunteers swarm this Mexico City neighborhood, more than two days after the earthquake. This was a seven-story building that collapsed, and right now they believe that there's a man trapped inside of a car right underneath that heavy machine over there. Military officials believed there were 12 people inside this building when it crumbled to the ground.

Mexican Army General, Federico Sursano, is overseeing rescue operations at this scene. He says seven out of the 12 people have been pulled out of the rubble, but only two have survived. And right now, it's an urgent search for a man named Roberto. "He dropped the microphone into space and they're using an amplifier to hear his voice," he tells. "We think he's there."

And after a moment of silence, the workers erupt in a loud cheer. The reason you heard the workers here erupting to a loud cheer is because they had made contact, they heard the voice of the man believed to be trapped inside the car. So, they were celebrating that one brief moment and hopes that they will be able to pull him out alive.

These rescue efforts are supported by a largely improvised system created by thousands of volunteers. This supply station was open in the middle of a Rotunda, and there's feverish frenzy in the air. A private bus company loads dozens of volunteers to take them away. The people have shown up here in this square, in the heart of Mexico City.

This bus is going to the state of Morelos, which needs a lot of help. All of these people have volunteered and jumped on these buses to go help, and they have no idea when they're coming back to Mexico City. And when the bus pulls away, head on its mission, the crowd cheers. Across Mexico, the urgency to move mounts of rubble is relentless. They feel that each piece they move by hand brings then one-inch closer to saving a life.

We still don't know if that man was pulled out of that rubble. The search efforts, we're told, will continue as long as it takes. Now, more than two days after the earthquake struck, rescue workers know that the clock is ticking, and that time is running out if they're going to rescue anyone alive at this point. I'm Ed Lavandero, reporting from Mexico City.


VAUSE: Meteorologist, Karen Maginnis, joins us now from the International Weather Center with more on the quake. And yesterday, Karen, we had this very unusual situation that there had been no aftershocks, at least none of significance have been recorded. So, what's the latest on that?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is stunning when you think about it. I can't recall another major earthquake, in which we've had zero aftershocks. But apparently, it's easily explained in that this did not occur right along the fault line, it was essentially in mid tectonic plate. So, if we're right on the fault line, you might see all kinds of shaking or aftershocks. But in this particular situation, it was just one main earthquake.

Now, let's take a look at the weather. Now that we see just how vulnerable Mexico City and those areas are around it. And during the month of September, we see these showers start to move in very typical across this region, during the month of September but it starts to drop off rather dramatically across this area.

[01:05:12] September seems just about 125 millimeters on average for the entire month, give or take. But we start to see -- go in latter part of the month, if that starts to drop off rather dramatically because the October precipitation is about half of what we see during the month of September. So, once again, here in Mexico City, you can kind of see that there a little bit more, in a way, precipitation, but that's just on the next step -- five days or so.

So, we're looking at an up and down forecast with temperatures for the most part. Now, these are in degrees Fahrenheit. We've got mostly in the 70s. The average high temperature, around 73. So, roughly around 23 to around 25-degree Celsius. So, daytime temperatures are relatively warm; overnight temperature, if you're exposed to the elements, no matter how mild those temperatures may be at night, the constant exposure outside does take its toll. Aside from the emotional and physical tolls that it takes on your body after such a devastating situation like this.

Now, out on another situation, and that is Hurricane Maria. Maria, we got an update from the National Hurricane Center just about two hours ago. In the next hour, we'll get another advisory from the National Hurricane Center. This is now traveling off towards the northwest. Here are the Turks and Caicos, right here. The Bahamas, extending in the vicinity.

The Turks and Caicos are not going to see a direct hit, meaning the eye is not going to move directly over the Turks and Caicos. But what we can expect are hurricane force conditions. We will see quite a heavy storm surge across this region. Some areas could pick up, maybe as much as 500 millimeters of rainfall. Take a look at the Bahamas, and just in the juxtaposition of what we're looking at in regards to these model comparisons.

We've got the red, representing the North American, and the blue represents the European model. You may remember this from the previous hurricanes that we've talked about -- both for Harvey, and then for Irma, or -- and as we look at Jose and its impact on the eastern seaboard. But now, as we take a look at Maria, going out into seven days for Thursday, they diverged, but they still keep away from the eastern seaboard of the United States.

And John, they even keep it away for the most part, from the Bahamas, but that's not to say they're not going to be impacted because we're going to see very heavy surf, could be beach erosion, could be the storm surge, maybe three meters or so. So, it's still substantial that we don't have to have a direct hit for the Bahama. They have TCI to be affected by this monster system, that has just carried on its deadly path across the Caribbean now. Back to you.

VAUSE: Thank you so much. And certainly, still with Maria, but what we do know, for some, is the extent of the damage and devastation that that storm has left behind. In particular, in Puerto Rico, there is chaos there as well. The National Hurricane Center is worrying of catastrophic flooding still to come. In some parts of the island, the storm dumped almost 100 centimeters of rain in just a 24 period, that rain will continue until the weekend. We've said this over and over again, the entire power grid is down, it could be out for months. Leyla Santiago now is in Puerto Rico, and she has a report on how people there are now coping amid all of this devastation.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And as Maria ripped through the island of Puerto Rico, this is what she left behind. The first images of utter devastation, 10 miles west of San Juan. A Cat 4 hurricane with enough power to turn roads into the river. Residents dredging through floodwaters to reach their homes, many arriving in homes without roofs. To get around here, four-wheel drive kayaks or walk like Luis Guzman whose home was destroyed.

LUIS GUZMAN, RESIDENT OF SAN JUAN: That probably is my neighbor's house.

SANTIAGO: Rescue teams are now going home to home, finding anyone needing a new shelter. But everyone here seems vulnerable. Sylvia Colog is fighting back tears after a firefighter and the National Guard reached her 84-year-old neighborhood. 16-year-old, Marie Terre Santos had to cross floods to get to the rescue team. Her family of six filled bands with snacks, toiletries, and pillows; grabbed their small dogs and left to find help when the water got too high.

[01:10:05] MARIE TERRE SANTOS, RESIDENT OF SAN JUAN: I'm scared. Like, what's going to happen now to us. Where are we going now? Where our family is going to be now?

SANTIAGO: Once at the evacuation shelter, some safety and their future ahead, already filled with uncertainty.


VAUSE: Live now to Nick Valencia is San Juan in Puerto Rico. Nick, the amount of flooding there is reaching Harvey-like levels, like what we saw in Houston. But unlike Houston, Puerto Rico has suffered catastrophic damage to the infrastructure. There are only around two stages and trying pumps on these waters away from the cities, away from the island.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, it seems that every inch of this island territory has been impacted one way or another. And you talk about the flooding, it's something that we've heard leading days after this hurricane's landfall. The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, being very concerned and taking a very ominous tone during his press conference and is leading up to the storm saying, "flooding is the number one cause of death after storm systems like this pass through and hit land." Infrastructure, you mentioned that. We saw it firsthand with our eyes. We tried to get out a couple of days ago, but the flooding was just too bad. It took us about an hour-and-a-half to two hours to go just a few miles outside.

And the devastation, we're just hitting a small sample of it. It is a small microcosm, if you will, of what the island is going through. Here, around us in the area that we're at, there's of life getting back to normal -- businesses have re-opened, people are on the streets, and there's a lot of tourists around, though. So, you know, what we're seeing does not begin to explain what this island has been through. We saw gas -- gas stations underwater. We saw billboards ripped apart. Roof ripped off of homes. The highway here, interstate 26, parts of it just inundated by water. It seems as though the officials and their warnings that life is going to change, and residents here should expect, and that's the way of life and that's what it's going to be here for a long time coming, John.

VAUSE: And just on that point, they have been very blunt about what lies ahead, not just in terms of days or weeks but for months. Everyone will have to adjust to a new way of living. So, exactly what did they mean by that?

VALENCIA: You know, I was talking to the mayor of San Juan earlier tonight. And I was asking her, you know, the fatigue that people are going to feel. She was saying that we're going to start having to prepare four months, six months to be without power, to be without clean water in some instances. And I said, how are you going to -- how are you going to explain to people? They're going to get frustrated after just four days, if not, four weeks. Now, you're talking about four months?

She says it's up to us to set the tone for our residents to begin now, and explain to them that they were going to have to take -- you know, they're going to have to take a different approach to life. She really didn't give me specifics, so I think they're kind of trying to work through that right now. But it is worth highlighting, and I don't, you know, people -- I think it's pretty obvious that this island relies a lot on tourism. And when people seeing this from countries and other territories, I'm sure they're going to be very reluctant and hesitant to want to come here with what this island territory has been through, John.

VAUSE: Yes. And just quickly, Nick, is there any indication if officials have got some kind of plan or power, they can recover from this? Do they know what they need to tackle first? Are they at that point yet or is it too soon?

VALENCIA: It is too soon. They're worried about rescues still. In parts of the south here, rescues are still underway. 10 miles away from here, also rescues in towns are going on right. You know, I think it's just too soon for them to wrap their heads around what they're dealing with. They're just as affected and impacted as the residents of this island. I was talking to the mayor, again, her home was flooded. She took several inches of water in her home, and she's still out hour by hour going to out on these convoys, meeting with the Marines here that have come in from the U.S. mainland, meeting with FEMA officials who are here to help as well. But you get the sense, or at least I got the sense in talking to her last night that she is overwhelmed. And I think a lot of people here are still very overwhelmed by this situation that's on-going, John.

VAUSE: Yes. Overwhelmed, to say the least. Completely understandable, obviously. Nick, thank you. Nick Valencia, doing some very hard jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thank you, Nick. A lot more from Mexico City later this hour, but for now, back to Isha in Los Angeles.

SESAY: Thank you, John. I mean, like you said, people are overwhelmed. They don't know -- they can't even begin to imagine the future as they in the midst of so much chaos. John, thank you. We're going to come back to you shortly. We're going to take a quick break here. [01:15:02] Just ahead, North Korea's Kim Jong-un vows to make Donald

Trump pay dearly about threatening to destroy North Korea. Now, there are hints about some drastic step the regime may have in mind.

Plus, Facebook is giving the U.S. Congress thousands of political ads. These sorts of Russian accounts before the 2016 election. How could that affect the investigation into election interference? That's next.


SESAY: Hello, everyone. North Korea may retaliate about the harsh speech by Donald Trump, by setting up a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean. North Korea's foreign minister laid out that certain scenario late Thursday after the American president vow to "totally destroy North Korea" if the U.S. would force to defend itself or its allies from Pyongyang's aggression. Well, North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un, seem to take Mr. Trump's words as a personal threat. And he's quoted in North Korea state media's saying, "I am now thinking hard about what response he could've expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire."

Just hours earlier, Mr. Trump announced new sanctions in a bit to deny Pyongyang act as the hard currency. Under the new executive order, anyone who does business with North Korea risks to being cut off from the U.S. banking or having their assets frozen. The new sanctions would cover multiple industries, including banking, energy, manufacturing, textiles, and fishing. And any ships or plane that visit North Korea would be barred from entering the U.S. for 180 days.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Foreign banks will face a clear choice to do business with the United States or facilitate with the lawless regime in North Korea -- and they won't have so much trade.


SESAY: Well, let's hear the latest now from our correspondents: Paula Hancocks in Seoul South Korea and Matt Rivers in Beijing. Welcome to you, both. Paula, you first. So, we get the first-person statement from Kim Jong-un, which makes clear that Pyongyang does intend to take steps to retaliate for President Trump's U.N. remarks. Then, late Thursday, we get these words from the foreign minister, that hint at the hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean -- the possibility of one, I should say. How seriously are officials in South Korea taking the words of the foreign minister?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, I think leaders around the -- around the region and also in Washington are taking this very seriously. If this would happen, it would be a significant escalation that this isn't something just slipped off the tongue of the North Korea Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-ho. He is a seasoned diplomat. He has been part of the North Korean regime for a very long time. And everything is very heavily choreographed from North Korea, so this would've been a pre-approved message that Ri Yong-ho was given. And the one thing that's being picked up here in the as well is it the difference in the statement from North Korea.

This wasn't a state-run media statement quoting Kim Jong-un, this was a statement directly from the North Korean leader directly to the U.S. president. That's something, as far as I can remember and experts have spoken to if you can remember, that hasn't happened before. We have an image on state-run media refer Kim Jong-un looking directly into the camera. Potentially, we could see some kind of footage later in the day. So, the fact that he is almost speaking leader to leader with U.S. president, shows just how rattled or just how annoyed North Korea is by the U.S. threat to destroy the country -- if they feel that themselves or their allies are in the threat, Isha.

[01:20:44] SESAY: Paula, we thank you, standby for us. I want to go to Matt now in Beijing. Matt, North Korea's foreign minister making this comment after we learned of the new U.S. sanctions on Pyongyang. And the fact that China's Central Bank is making move to wind down financial dealings with North Korea, does the threat of a hydrogen bomb test open up the possibility that China might rethink its willingness to cooperate with U.S. in its call to increase pressure on Pyongyang?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, right off the bat, Isha, I think China would argue that its already doing that. It routinely argues that it bears more burden than any other country when it comes to enforcing these kinds of sanctions and it would argue that it signed on to the last four rounds of sanctions that have been levied by the U.N. Security Council. But that said, you and I both know that if China wanted to do more, it certainly could. For now, it has made this strategy calculation that it doesn't want to do anything -- sanctions-wise -- that it believes could lead to the downfall of the collapse of the Kim Jong-un regime. And so that, of course, leads us to the question: well, does China have a red line? Is there something that Pyongyang could do that would turn China to the side of the United States. And the answer to that question is we just don't really know, China is maddeningly sometimes consistent.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefings and in public statements saying that it always urges relevant sides to de-escalate this situation, but it never said if North Korea does this, then we are willing to do whatever the United States wants. We don't know if that red line exists for China. We don't know if that red line could possibly be a test in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. We do know that the last time that happened was actually conducted by China back in 1980 -- actually put in a nuclear weapon on top of the missile and exploded it over its western desert. That's the last time we've seen it above ground nuclear test. So, what -- is that China's red line? Could be. But the simple answer is we just don't know.

SESAY: We should be watching very closely for reaction in the coming hours. Paula Hancocks there in Seoul, South Korea; Matt Rivers there in Beijing, thank you to you both. Let's bring in Political Analyst, Michael Genovese, he is the President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University; and with us from San Francis is Paul Carroll, Senior Advisor for the N Square -- an organization devoted to nuclear disarmament. Gentlemen, welcome. Good to speak to you once again.

Paul to you first. So, President Trump takes a say to the U.N., issues these threats to Pyongyang, and now Kim Jong-un says he feels insulted and that he will retaliate. His foreign minister, late Thursday, says the retaliation could take the form of a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean. Let me ask you as someone who has studied the country, knows the region, should we be taking this threat seriously?

PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISOR FOR THE N SQUARE: I think we absolutely should be taking this threat seriously. North Korea has been very consistent in essentially doing what they say, not only as exactly as they say it, not only exactly as we would anticipate -- for example when they threatened Guam earlier this summer. They were very creative. They didn't fire a missile directly to Guam, they fired it toward the east over Japan, demonstrating they had the capability to reach as far as Guam but stirring clear of any U.S. of any territory or base. So, a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, not totally clear what that means, but I would take it very seriously.

SESAY: All right. Paul, thank you for that. Michael, to you, you know, ahead of President Trump's speech at the United Nations, it was already said he had to walk that fine line between, you know, deterrence, talking tough, and de-escalation to not inflame this situation. Now, we are here with threats of the possibility of a hydrogen bomb test by default on the part of the U.S. or by design?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST AND PRESIDENT OF THE GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, certainly not by design. This is nothing to do with welcome or hope that would be executed. And I think what happens is that you know, two leaders who simply can't resist. They feel put upon. They feel insecure. They feel challenged. And so, they keep having to respond and escalate upward, and the spiral goes upward when you need to turn down the temperature. And so, I think what happens is that -- well, in policy terms, the president is really approaching that, I think, from a reasonable perspective: escalate slowly, step-by-step, bring China in a little bit by a little bit. But the rhetoric is inflammatory, it's combative, it's dangerous, and it's not useful.

[01:25:24] SESAY: But he must've known to use that kind of language would provoke a reaction that would, in turn, bring a possible retaliation which is why I asked you by design, if not, this. But certainly, some kind of reaction.

GENOVESE: Well, I think Trump can't help himself. I think he -- when he feels challenged and threatened, he attacks. In this case, verbal attacks. The problem is you have someone on the other side who's just like him -- two spoiled children, poking each other in the eye and that can't lead to good results.

SESAY: Paul, to you, why would the North Koreans telegraph their thinking? I mean, Paula Hancocks who has been in the region for a long time just said, you know, the North Korea informants are saying they might do this -- wasn't a casual tripping off the tongue that it would've been choreographed and approved by Pyongyang. So, why would they do this?

CARROLL: Well, I think there's a couple of reasons. One of them is cultural, frankly. The idea -- the notion of saving face is an extremely powerful and relevant factor in North Korea's history, in Kim Jong-un's personal responsibility. And as the other guest said, he can't not respond. And so, doing so through as foreign minister is kind of an interesting step. The fact that he made the speech personally, directed at our own president is remarkable -- it's unprecedented, really. But issuing the threat through the foreign minister, actually, leaves a little bit of leeway and it was interesting that the foreign minister said, this is one of the options we're considering.

I also wanted to point out that I completely agree with the other guest, the other of, sort of, escalation should be done very meticulously and in a measured way. But here, we had a U.N. Security Council Resolution passed unanimously and quite strong. But then, we had a unilateral presidential executive order slapped on these other sanctions. It's unclear whether China was counseled with that? The South Koreans, the Japanese, or whether it was simply shooting from the hip.

SESAY: Michael, sadly, we're close to out of time but I want to ask you this: if indeed Pyongyang goes ahead with this hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean, how would that alter the calculus for the U.S. or U.S. allies when it comes to dealing with this North Korea problem?

GENOVESE: I think the heat turns up for everyone, and especially China. China has enjoyed the United States getting poked in the eye a little bit by North Korea for the number of years now. But right now, it just leads into the point, we've in endangered China's position -- its leadership in the region, its status in the region. And so, I think this is the time when China needs to be brought in even more fully because that's the key that unlocks this if we unlock it.

SESAY: Gentlemen, sadly we are out of time. It's a great conversation. Michael Genovese, thank you. Paul Carroll, always good to speak to you. We thank you for the insight.

CARROLL: My pleasure.

[01:28:24] SESAY: Quick break here. Now, the bucket brigades are out in force in Mexico City. Just ahead, how rescue crews are using anything at their disposal to search for survivors of that deadly earthquake.


[01:31:07] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour.

(HEADLINES) SESAY: In Mexico City, rescue efforts have tapered off at a school where a young girl was buried under the rubble after Tuesday's earthquake. Authorities now say all the students are accounted for and they're either alive or probably died. The 7.1 quake killed at least 282 people.

Let's go back to John, in Mexico City, for more -- John?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANHCHOR: Isha, thank you.

It's 12:30 on Thursday morning, just after midnight and the streets are still filled with people trying to do whatever they can. They are volunteering. They want to help. But right now, there are more volunteers than there is need. So people are just waiting, hoping they can do something in the midst of this earthquake crisis.

I'm joined by two volunteers. Fernando Alvarez, part of a group called Los Topos, known as The Moles. They specialize in rescues.

Glad to have you right now.

And Ferdinand Marjanha (ph), a doctor who is also volunteering his time with the rescue efforts.

But, Fernando, I'd like to start with you.

You are part of Los Topos. You have special training. You know how to use the specialized equipment. You actually train for earthquakes like this.

FERNANDO ALVAREZ, VOLUNTEER, LOS TOPOS: Yes, we use the international guidelines for United Nations so we are specialized in this kind of disaster.

VAUSE: You've been going pretty much nonstop since the quake happened.

ALVAREZ: Yes, more than 48 hours.

VAUSE: It's obviously difficult work. Have you had a moment where you have managed to get somebody to safely?

ALVAREZ: Yes. Well, we have rescued live people.

VAUSE: Virtually, over the last 48 hours?


VAUSE: Describe what that moment was like.

ALVAREZ: Well, I was in the -- we were downstairs and we heard some noise and started looking where the noise came from and with Red Cross and other rescue teams with us, crawled in from the other part of the building, on the side of the building. We had to break some walls and bring this girl out. VAUSE: And your group, Los Topos, The Moles, they were born out of the 1985 earthquake when this village essentially had to do the work that the government was not doing?

ALVAREZ: Yes. Well, a group, we met six months after because we started this as volunteers with no knowledge of what was this job or how we use -- had to work in these structures. We have been training, specializing in disasters.

VAUSE: Ferdinand, you are a doctor. You have been on standby at sites like this, just waiting to treat people.


VAUSE: There are so many doctors here. What's been happening with you over the last couple of days?

[01:34:54] MARJANHA (ph): Well, I happened to do for my formal job, which is at a hospital and treating patients, whether they're related to --


VAUSE: Yes, but when you come here.

MARJANHA (ph): But after I'm done with my job, I volunteer and come and do whatever is needed. So every doctor that comes, sometimes we see patients or rescuers that need any help. Sometimes you don't get that job but you get to what I'm doing now is classifying medicine, medical equipment, sending it to where we get information that it's needed.

VAUSE: How important is it for you - you live in a city, these are your neighbors, people you know. They are Mexicans and they're in need. How important is it for you to be here to do what you can?

MARJANHA (ph): It very important. Very emotional to see all of the help that is need. It's really amazing how, once we're here, you start talking to your neighbor doctor of friend, you think everyone is helping because they want to. Sometimes friends went into the building after it collapsed after they ran out.


ALVAREZ: It's very important, yes.

MARJANHA (ph): It's very personal. And also very important to help organize. There's an overwhelming amount of help.


VAUSE: The organization question, Fernando, I'd like to ask you, the response we've seen over the last 48 hours, what is the government response?

ALVAREZ: Well, we need more resources. We are not prepared with the amount of resources should be in place in the whole setting.

VAUSE: Back in 1995, I think 30,000 buildings collapsed. This time, maybe 38, I think is the official number.


VAUSE: Right. You think it's, what, you think it's more than that?

ALVAREZ: Yes, I think there are more, not many more, but more. We are not prepared. We have to deal to many more to recover.

VAUSE: No one was found alive under the rubble today?


VAUSE: How difficult is that to hear that there were no miraculous stories?

ALVAREZ: You have to walking. The U.N. has classified that you have to be working for seven days. The expectancy of life, you should inspect in the rescues for seven days and that's when you start finishing the rescue.

VAUSE: So holding onto hope for the next couple of days?


VAUSE: This is the crucial time?

ALVAREZ: We have to be working seven nights, 24.

VAUSE: Fernando, Ferdinand, thank you so much.

ALVAREZ: Thank you.

MARJANHA (ph): Thank you.

VAUSE: Appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

We are also following the destructive path of Hurricane Maria right now. CNN has correspondents placed across the affected storm zone.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Derek, tell us what's happening right now, because Maria is heading off to the Turks and Caicos, but Puerto Rico is still pretty much feeling not just the brunt of Maria, but dealing with a secondary disaster of flooding.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEROLOGIST: Yes. John, you can see the rain has not come to an end in San Juan. You can imagine, once into the mountainous terrain of Puerto Rico, the rain is even intensified because of the effects of your -- or graphical affects take place there. They have had rainfall totals upwards of 960 millimeters since the start of the storm roughly 48 hours ago. We're talking comparable numbers to what they saw in Southeast Texas with Hurricane Harvey three weeks ago. So this is almost a Harvey-like storm for Puerto Rico. So flash flooding still ongoing. There have been search and rescues underway across many locations. Just to our west side, across that region, that area about 15 kilometers to our west, has seen extremely heavy flooding. To our south and west, a direct hit from the eye wall of Hurricane Maria. Landed early Wednesday morning. There's also been search-and-rescue operations there. Entire neighborhoods have been completely flooded. In San Juan, just to put this into perspective, we're in an affluent tourist location of San Juan right on the coast. We have seen trees snap. We've seen traffic signs and traffic lights dangling from electric poles, glass shattered across the roadways, windows completely blown out of high-rise buildings. But at least we can walk and traverse the roads. In fact, there's some semblance of normalcy. People opening up businesses slowly but surely here. But again, just to our west by 15 kilometers, a whole different story. They got the wind and they got the heavy flooding. We were spared the worst of it here in the city center of San Juan, but really, you start to get out of the city center area and that's where conditions have really gone from bad to almost catastrophic -- John?

[01:40:20] VAUSE: Derek, thank you.

If you would like to help the victims of the earthquake in Mexico and those still struggling with the devastation of Hurricane Maria, head to our Web site, We vetted the organizations providing relief so you know whatever you give gets to the right place.

A lot ore from Mexico City next hour.

Now, back to Los Angeles and Isha.

SESAY: Thank you, John.

Next on NEWSROOM L.A., Facebook under pressure. Why the social media giant is now handing over Russia-linked ads to Congress. We'll explain.


SESAY: Facebooks says it will give the U.S. Congress information on more than 3000 Russia-linked ads. It has already shared them with Special Counsel Robert Mueller who is investigating Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he doesn't want anyone to use this company's tools undermine democracy.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: We are in a new world. It is a new challenge for Internet communities to have to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections. But if that is what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SESAY: Let's bring in Michael Genovese, still with us, president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, and science journalist, Jacob Ward.

Gentlemen, welcome.

Michael, think you for staying with us.

Michael, to you first.

Facebook handing over all the days all the data, information to the House and Senate Intelligence Committee. The hope is, in doing so, they can put this behind them, they can focus on the new measures they've announced to make sure this never happens again. But now that they've made this move in their cooperation with Congress, it seems unlikely that this is will go away any time soon. Lots more questions to be answered.

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, THE GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: This is the tip of the iceberg for Facebook and for other social media organizations because the Russians, on Facebook alone, had 3000 ads costing over $100,000, all from one -- paid for by one Russian corporation that has close ties to Putin and the government. Facebook should have known that. They claim they didn't. Now they are starting to cooperate. I think he's promised two things. One, cooperate with the government. But two, internal policies can change, more transparency, more disclosure. So it may be too late but at least it's a step in the right direction.


Jacob, Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, he's raised a couple of key questions. Why it took as long as it did for Facebook to discover the Russian-sponsored adverts, and what else may not yet uncovered. Facebook is obviously done their own internal investigations, but have they attempted to answer these questions?

[01:45:08] JACOB WARD, SCIENCE JOURANLIST: Not yet. They will have to as they hand over this information. But even in today's statement, Zuckerberg says the vast majority, in fact, all of Facebooks ads are purchased from it, or done so without anyone ever having direct contact with anyone at Facebook. And in going forward and trying to make a promise about doing better, he says, even if our employees are not involved with the sale, we can do better. So the suggestion that isn't really going to change. Ads are bought on a programmatic way. This is essence everybody needs to understand. Facebook talks a lot about being connecting the world, but as a business, it's really just about making money off keeping us on Facebook, and doing it in the most efficient way possible. And so it's going to go right against the business model of this company to have to cooperate with congressional investigators and to really do what they claim they're going to do here and try and get in the way of this kind of thing.

SESAY: To dig deeper in what you just said, Facebook talks about it's about human connectivity, their reason to exist. But the way they operate behind the scenes is already quite a humanless. It' all about algorithms and equations -

WARD: And money.

SESAY: And money.

WARD: That's right. That's right. It really is a -- the thing about Facebook's business is about keeping you on Facebook. They use a combination of algorithms and your favorite people gathered around you to create the most addictive, intoxicating flow of information they possibly can. So it's a perfect pipeline for somebody, in this case, perhaps, Russia, to get in there and use the pipeline to manipulate sentiment in the United States. It you look back to 2014, the Crimea and the Ukraine, the playbook by which Russia gained approval within the Ukraine before going in -- and this is very well documented in some amazing research that comes out of Poland -- they created a whole playbook of things like the principle of emotional agitation. You can see actually ministry of information people talking about this. You get people emotionally agitated. You give them exactly the information that they agree with, and they will come to our side. You read that stuff, which is Soviet-era propaganda playbook stuff, and it reads like the playbook of a modern social media company. These are perfectly aligned players. I don't mean they colluded in any way.

SESAY: Sure.

WARD: But Facebook is created a pipeline through which somebody like Russia has the perfect instrument for manipulating Americans.

SESAY: So, Michael, to pick up on that, you know this information is with Robert Mueller, special counsel, and Congress. One of the major if not the major question is whether the evidence shows that the ads were targeting specific groups, specific geographical locales, and did they help, American help.

GENOVESE: That's the key and that's why it's so important for the Russian investigation. They ads were targeted. They were put in selective places. And to know where to put them, you had to have a very sophisticated understanding of American politics, which is why many people believe that there was -- there may have been collusion, that they had to have inside information to know where to place those, in those districts, in those areas that could be flipped to the Republicans. And so that's what Mueller will be looking into, and so is the Congress.

SESAY: Jacob, there is a growing call for the Federal Election Commission and Congress to strengthen regulations regarding political ads on sites like Facebook and others. You touched on it a little bit that this could have implications for revenue but, I mean, how seriously?

JACOB: It could absolutely -- if you really did what I'm sure federal election officials would like to see happen, it absolutely upends Facebook's and Twitter's old business model, which is to create the most efficient algorithm-driven means of communication between people and step out of the way. If you have to get human beings in their reviewing every ad, that will create a problem. But, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking today, said this amazing thing about how, you know, if that's a problem for you as a business, well, Facebook, that's your problem. That's not society's problem to solve. You've got to solve the problem. So you're right, it's a huge problem for them and for Twitter, which comes up before Congress next week. They also have a huge problem on the plate. But the question here is, are they going to take it seriously or are they going to continue doing what they've been doing, to be as efficient as possible.

SESAY: Mark Zuckerberg, Michael, did make the point that, you know, they say that they can close the gap, you know, that something that should never happen again. He said something more concrete than that. But something to the effect they'll put all these measure in place, but something could still happen.

[01:50:16] GENOVESE: There's always a loophole you can find.

SESAY: That's right.

GENOVESE: There's always something that the new technology can be exposed. And so even if they tried harder -- I don't think Mark Zuckerberg is good in his patriotic duty by doing this. I think he's following, as Jacob was saying, a very strong business principle. But even if he works hard to try to be the best he can be, his company best they can be, there are going to be loopholes you could drive a train through.

WARD: That's right.

SESAY: We shall see what comes out as Congress starts to look closely at this information.

Michael Genovese, thank you for being with us --

GENOVESE: Thank you.

SESAY: -- to talk Facebook and North Korea.

And, Jacob Ward, always a pleasure having you on the show. Thank you.

WARD: Thanks, Isha.

SESAY: Quick break. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., Germany prepares for a major election. What Chancellor Angela Merkel's migrant policy might mean for the vote. That's ahead.


SESAY: In Germany, voters head to the polls Sunday for this year's federal elections. Christian Democratic Chancellor Angela Merkel appears set for another victory. She's expected to trounce this man, Social Democratic candidate, Martin Schulz. The chancellor may not be the only winner. The Far-Right Alternative for Germany has gotten a boost from the migrant crisis and Merkel's handling of it. It could pick up seats for its staunch anti-emigrant platform.

If Merkel gets another win, it will be her fourth term in office. Her style has earned her a reputation as being humorless, but it's been great for one political cartoonist. He's tracked Merkel's career for years. He says, behind had gruff demeanor, lies a shrewd politician.


HEIKO SAKURAI, CARTOONIST: My name is Heiko Sakurai. I am 46 years old and I am a political cartoonist.


SAKURAI: Merkel gets stronger every day. She gets to create an idea every day. And to stick to the soap opera of politics every day. And that's the real chancellor.

The best moment is if you just get an idea. You'll hear information to us and then, click, you have an idea.

First, I have to read my paper newspaper. I start with one news I want to comment on, and then I try to picture it in my mind.

Normally, if you see her face, she's a clever person and she can become dangerous, pushing her rivals out of the way. She must be, otherwise, you can't reach the highest position.

You have to draw a person more and more. It gets more simple and more pure to find the formula of the face. "Her eyes are important. In former times, I thought her eyes a bit closed meant she is a bit sleepy, a bit shy, but meanwhile I know it is her rationality.


[01:55:24] SAKURAI: It was a big surprise how she acted in the climax of the refugee crisis, that she didn't close the border, and she really stick to this.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESWIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At least we have something in common perhaps.

SAKURAI: I think there is no bigger difference in character than between Trump and Merkel. He's loud.

TRUMP: Just to finish.

SAKURAI: Sometimes not very rational. And she's is the exact opposite position. She's rational, calm. She's is thinking and thinking all of the time before she says anything. Merkel is really prepared for everything. And Trump.

She's not vain. She's calm. She's a bit distance. She's Mummy. You can rely on her. You can feel in safety with her. I think that's why people like her in a way.


SESAY: Fascinating. Join us this weekend as Hala Gorani hosts a two-hour special, bringing the results of the general election as they come in. It starts at 5:00 Sunday afternoon in London, 6:00 p.m. in Berlin.

You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

Be sure to join us on Twitter, @cnnnewsroomla, for highlights and clips from our show.

We'll be back with more news right after this.


VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause, live in Mexico City. We're covering two major stories this hour. Behind me, the desperate search for survivors. This is a scene being repeated Mexico City at 10 sites after Tuesday's massive earthquake.

[02:00:02] SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay, in Los Angeles. Millions are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Heavy flooding and flattened homes and widespread power failures. Our correspondents are standing by with the very latest.