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Deadly 6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Indonesia; Separated North and South Korean Relatives to Meet. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired August 6, 2018 - 00:00   ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Devastating images out of Indonesia after a second earthquake hits the country in just one week. This one even stronger and deadlier than the first.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN NEWSROOM HOST : Whilst now (ph) that the U.S. heads back down (ph) to the Iran nuclear deal. Tehran is bracing for a new chapter with the return of some of the sanctions on its economy.

ALLEN: And also this hour more tear-filled reunions on the Korean Peninsula as some forcer (ph) families from the North and South will get to meet again after decades apart.

VANIER: Thank you for joining us, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier in Atlanta.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen, and this CNN Newsroom.

VANIER: For the second time in a week, a powerful earthquake rocks Indonesia's resort islands. This one is stronger and deadlier than the last.


So this was the theme is a store Sunday evening. Panic as parts of the ceiling caved in. The epicenter of the 6.9 magnitude quake was on the popular island of Lombok. The tremors were also felt in neighboring Bali.

ALLEN: The number now, at least 91 people are dead. Hundreds of others are injured. Officials say thousands of buildings were damaged during the main quake and by several significant aftershocks, so this is an ongoing story. Our Will Ripley is following it for us from Hong Kong.

Hello to you, Will, and I want to begin with the death toll. It continues to rise. It has in the past half hour. What are you hearing about conditions on the islands and the emergency response?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's obviously a very chaotic situation right now, Natalie, as you might imagine after a major earthquake. I mean, many people were awake throughout the night, terrified to go back into some of these brick buildings.

Indonesia, even though it is very earthquake prone, it straddles the Ring of Fire, yet many of the areas of the country still struggle when it comes to earthquake resisting construction. And so sadly the 91 people who were killed and the more than 200 people now reported injured are all local Indonesians, people who were staying in Tourist resorts.

The Australians, the Americans who are often vacationing on the resort islands of Bali and Lombok, they have not been reported among the injured. So the people who are most susceptible here as we often see in these developing countries that face national disaster are people in poorer areas with less stable building construction.

And, of course, this just comes on the heels of that quake last week where more than a dozen people died, a 6.4 magnitude quake. There have been, as you mentioned, dozens of aftershocks, several of them relatively strong. People have electricity outages that they're dealing with right now, cellular phone outages making communication very tricky. Even the U.S. model and TV host, Chrissy Teigen, was live tweeting from Bali to her 10 million plus followers that she was feeling the shaking far away from the epicenter of the quake in Lombok, Natalie.

ALLEN: Yes, I was going to ask you about Bali. Most people know Bali very well, but this was - the epicenter is Lombok. How close or far is Bali from that island?

RIPLEY: So these are two resort islands that are - the neighbor each other. And so, some 46 million people, including many of the people in Bali felt what could be characterized as relatively weak or moderate shaking compared to the very strong shaking that was felt right at the epicenter of this earthquake, and it just goes to show you the power of this quake.

It was 31 kilometers, some 19 miles deeps. That's relatively shallow, which means for a large number of people, tens of millions of people, this was felt, and even people in Bali were feeling shaking that was enough to kind of jolt them awake and keep them awake and quite frightened during the overnight hours.

ALLEN: And such a popular tourist area this is. Is it seasonal? Is this a particular time when more people would be there?

RIPLEY: This is a very popular time for vacationers - a lot of people flying over from Western Australia. It's a very quick trip for them. You do have American tourists. Tourists from all over Asia that travel to Bali this time of year to enjoy the beach season and, of course, it's considered a relatively affordable vacation destination.

Those people, obviously, were frightened by this quake, but the true toll at this hour is being felt by the citizens who live there. Again, 91 people reported dead, 209 injured, all of them local Indonesians. And, of course, the number, sadly, is expected to go up as officials are able to get into some of these damaged areas and learn more.

ALLEN: All right. Will Ripley following it for us there in Hong Kong. Thank you, Will. We'll stay in close contact with you. VANIER: All right, meteorologist, Karen McGinnis, has been gathering all the geological information on this earthquake. Tell us about this quake, Karen.

KAREN MCGINNIS: Yes, and Will just mentioned that this is part of the Ring of Fire. We talk about that frequently. It is just kind of a rim around the Pacific, and in this area the earthquakes and the volcanoes go hand-in-hand, and I'll explain that more, just one second.

Here's the epicenter of this magnitude, 6.9 initially. When it was reported, it was 7 magnitude, but typically there are adjustments, so that is not unusual. But this is stronger than the one that we saw just about a week ago on July 29.

It is also deeper. It is, I would say, moderately deep or moderately shallow with 31 kilometers deep. This is in an area that is frequented by many travelers as just heard Will say. There are islands that are just off the coast. A lot of people got snorkeling or scuba diving. They enjoy these beautiful beaches.

So not only are the residents, but also the people who visit these beautiful islands were very shaken by not just one powerful earthquake in the past week, but now - and that turned out to be the foreshock, but now the 6.9 magnitude earthquake and they were very close together in proximity.

And they are saying that they also felt this on Bali. People were escaping buildings. There was a report of a portion of a mall that was collapsed. Also, a school or a cap as it (ph) was referred to.

Also you may notice that this is a very prominent feature - a stratovolcano. A lot of people trek up this volcano. Last week when we saw the earthquake, there were some 700 people trapped on that volcano. They were very shaken up. There were some injuries, people in shock. It took days to bring them down.

Now, this is from the initial earthquake, what is now referred to as the foreshock. We thought this was going to be it. This was going to be the magnitude that we would max out at. This is a daytime picture. This is an evening picture of our latest earthquake. Now, this doesn't depict a whole lot of damage, but it occurred at night.

And now that we're seeing daylight and our numbers are ticking up by each hour, the number of dead right now standing at 91, it is anticipated that that number will go up. A lot of people were seeking shelter in the streets because that's the only shelter that was available or there's just too much fear to stay in one place rocked by the 6.4, now rocked again by the 6.9.

So what is the weather? We're looking at partly cloudy skies and each day a typical round of showers. Can't rule it out about 20 percent chance each day. Back to you guys.

ALLEN: And, of course, the chance for more aftershocks -

MCGINNIS: Exactly.

ALLEN: - of course, but we'll on - alert for that. Karen, thanks very much.

VANIER: Yes, Karen McGinnis from the CNN Weather Center, thank you very much. We'll follow up with you. Unfortunately, that is typical of these kinds of stories where now that it is - now that the day has broken, they're figuring out and assessing the extent of the damage there and death toll is still expected to rise.

ALLEN: All right, we're going to turn to our other story we're following. The U.S. - will we impose some sanctions on Iran Tuesday, a result of Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear deal? President Trump announced that withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal back in may and gave companies 90 days to wind down contracts with the country.

VANIER: Now, the sanctions covers Iran's purchase of U.S. dollars as well as trade and gold, precious metals and the automobile sector. In November, sanctions on Iran's oil will take effect with the U.S. threatening financial measures against countries that import the oil.

ALLEN: For a fifth day, there were sporadic anti-government protest in Iran with demonstrators angry over soaring inflation and a plunge in the value of the currency.

VANIER: CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Jason Rezaian, joins me now. He's an opinion writer at the Washington Post, a former correspondent in Tehran. Jason, you also spent more than a year and a half on just the imprisoned by Iranian authorities.

American sanctions are going to gradually kick back in in Iran. Now, you lived in the country when it was already under heavy sanctions. Tell us what that's like.

JASON REZAIAN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it is a jarring experience to go from a situation where, as you know, Iran has been under some form of sanctions for decades now, but in 2012 when the Obama administration placed very severe sanctions on Iran's banking industry and on the oil industry, overnight almost, the situation, economically for the normal person, became much more difficult. People's spending power was decimated, and the public and the authorities scramble under a very difficult situation.

VANIER: And you explain in a recent article in the Washington Post, this really well-written and really thoughtful that the sanction disproportionately impact - I'm paraphrasing here - the weaker members of society, right? That the upper-echelons can actually sort of get away with more.

REZAIAN: Right. In a society like Iran where there are black markets at work controlled by members of the regime and the system, they have a very good understanding of how to skirt these sanctions and continue to make their money. And what happens is the average man is the one who feels the brunt of it. Now, overtime, it could serve to kind of corrode the internal situation and make the workings of the regime more difficult. But the first people hit by these extreme sanctions are normal citizens.

VANIER: Does this actually weaken the regime, the leadership of Iran?

REZAIAN: I think in the short term probably not. I think Iran is facing a multitude of challenges right now, crisis from everything from the economy to the environment and all sorts of things in between. Freedom of expression and women's right's to have some equality in that society, which they haven't had at any point in those last 40 years.

But I think that the sanctions serve to sort of hopefully in the minds of the Trump administration somewhat destabilize the regime. And I'm not sure that's actually going to be the case anytime soon.

VANIER: But you would expect it could weaken the president Hassan Rouhani who has staked a lot of his political credit and a lot of his presidency on signing that erstwhile nuclear deal with the U.S.

REZAIAN: Right, I think the initial response to that nuclear deal among the populist in Iran was anticipation and hope that it would elevate some of the pressure of sanctions. That hasn't happened. A lot of companies that presumably would have started doing business with Iran are afraid to enter that economy because they don't see it as one that's particularly stable in the long term. And that's proving this - itself to be true right now.

VANIER: So Donald Trumps strategy, and you kind of alluded to that is hurt Iran economically. And at some point the leadership will feel compelled to negotiate again. That's the big idea. Do you think that's likely to work?

REZAIAN: I think at some point the Iranian officials will come to the conclusion that they have to negotiate with the United States. But at what end, for what? Right?

VANIER: It worked for Obama right?

REZAIAN: Right. But the thinking now among the Iranian security and power structure is it worked once. But the United States is not living up to that agreement. Why would we want to do that again right now? And I think rhetorically they've come out so heavy against Trump that it would be hard for them to kind of back down now and say, "yes, let's sit down and talk".

VANIER: But you could argue that it was same thing with Obama. The redirect against the United States was really ramped up. There was a lot of animists towards the president.


VANIER: Then towards the country. And yet at some point they did - they did feel that their best course of action was to sit down and negotiate. REZAIAN: Right. I think at the time though there was clear

incentives for them to do it. Right now the Trump administration does not offer the same kind of incentives that the Obama administration did.

VANIER: I wonder is there an alternative to sanctions? I mean if you look at if from the United States point of view. If the U.S. wants to renegotiate a more stringent nuclear deal and more globally wants to try and shape and influence Iran's activity in the middle east. Does the U.S. have any other efficient tools that it can use?

REZAIAN: Well you know President Trump has come out just yesterday in a tweet saying "hey, I'm ready to talk to them". So I think that there are always other options besides the blunt instrument that is sanctions. Obviously military options are another component of this that most people seem to be opposed to at this point.

So I think that there hasn't been a lot of imagination and I don't think that the Trump administration has a very strong plan for what they have in mind for Iran. And this seemed to them to be the best option.

VANIER: And I wonder what leverage if any does Iran have in this situation? I'm thinking just it was 24-48 hours ago that they had this military drill unannounced in the Strait of Hormuz.


VANIER: Which it seems was intended to show that they do have some capability to at least block that waterway, which would be obviously very problematic for a number of countries and for the passage of oil. What's their leverage?

REZAIAN: Well I think that that's more redirect than anything else, the likelihood that they would do that seems pretty small to me. But I also think that they look at the European Union, and China, and Russia who they negotiated this deal with along with the United States.

And say hey these guys are not on board with what the United States is trying to right now in this new sanctions regime. The U.S. is kind of going at it alone. So there trying to make the case with those other countries that we should continue our relations. I'm not sure that's going to be successful either.

VANIER: Yes, and the European counties the other parts east of that nuclear deal Russia, China as well trying to keep that deal alive. It's unclear whether that, whether its going to survive really once these American sanctions start snapping back in.

Jason Rezaian, CNN Global Affairs Analyst. Pleasure speaking with you today, thank you.

REZAIAN: Thanks so much Cyril.

[00:20:00] ALLEN: A activist fear of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could launch an even harsher crackdown on his critics after surviving what he calls an assassination attempt. Six people in Venezuela have been arrested. The U.S. and Columbia are denying any involvement in the alleged drone attack.

VANIER: Now some analysts say Venezuelan government could have made up this incident. Well real or not President Maduro is probably going to use it to drum up support. He has relied heavily on the military to hold onto power and now, at least publically the military is pledging its unconditional loyalty to the president.

ALLEN: Coming up here. What did he know and when? Donald Trump takes to Twitter again to defend himself over that infamous Trump Tower meeting involving his son and a Russian lawyer. That's coming up.

VANIER: And separated by war for decades, now families on the Korean Peninsula will have a rare chance to meet once again.


ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. U.S. President Donald Trump is steering the story of that infamous Trump Tower meeting in yet another direction. In a tweet Sunday Mr. Trump admits the June 2016 meeting between his son Donald Jr. and a Russian lawyer was in fact to get information on an opponent. At the time Mr. Trump was facing off against democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. But, he adds, he knew nothing about the meeting.

VANIER: Also interesting, Mr. Trump writes it off as, totally legal and something done all the time in politics. Boris Sanchez lays it all out.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a Sunday morning tweet, President Trump dismissing recent reporting by CNN and other outlets, but the president is growing increasingly concerned that the Russia probe could ensnare some of his immediate family, including his son Donald Trump, Jr. and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Sources have told CNN that the president is growing increasingly agitated and that has a direct impact on his aggressive attacks, his direct attacks against Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

We should point out that in that tweet the president made clear the exact nature of that June 2016 meeting between his son, other campaign officials and Russian nationals promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Previously we had heard from the president's son and others that this meeting was about adoptions.

In that tweet, the president lays clear that it was intended to seek political dirt on his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. We've seen a swift move from this administration. The president going from saying that, to the best of his knowledge no one that he knows has anything to do with Russia, would now, him and his political allies and attorney's suggesting that collusion is not illegal. Listen to one of his attorney's, Jay Sekulow, on a Sunday morning talk



GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC CORRESPONDENT: He says the meeting totally legal, done all the time in politics, but according to the e-mail that Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, has, this was a meeting to get information from the Crown prosecutor of Russia on Hillary Clinton's campaign. How would that be legal?

JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP ATTORNEY: Well, the question is, how would it be illegal? I mean the real question here is, would a meeting of that nature, constitute a violation -- the meeting itself constitute a violation of the law?


SANCHEZ: Now critics have pounced on this, suggesting that the president and his attorney's are moving the goal post, so to speak.

We should point out that despite repeated calls from the president and his team for this investigation, this witch hunt, as the president calls it, to come to an end, it is moving forward and sources indicate that Robert Mueller intends to interview one of the key figures in that June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.

Emin Agalorov, a Russian pop star, who's father is an oligarch, with deep old ties to Vladamir Putin. We've learned that, for more than a year now, Robert Mueller has been working to secure an interview with Agalorov and his legal team.

Of course, whether that interview happens or now is still unclear, but the information that could be gathered from that may spell trouble for Trump and his allies.

Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president outside Bedminster, New Jersey.

VANIER: Okay, Scott Lucas joins us now. He is professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and also the founder and editor of "EA WorldView."

Scott, let's look at the key line in that tweet again. Mr. Trump writes, this was a meeting to get information on an opponent. Is that Trump admitting that his campaign intended to collude with the Russians?

SCOTT LUCAS, PROFESSOR: It's Trump admitting that they actually were in discussions with the Russians and this may amount to conspiracy, to give it the legal term. Let's break this down, last -- when this meeting was revealed last year, Donald Trump, Jr. said in a statement that it was about adoptions. Now, Donald Trump, Sr.'s lawyers acknowledged, in June, that the statement was, in fact, dictated by the president. Now the president is saying, well the meeting was not about adoptions,

the meeting was actually about to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. That means he dictated a false statement that was issued last year. That constitutes possible, I would actually say probable obstruction of justice. It's up for the Special Counsel Robert Mueller to determine.

So, at the least you've got that serious issue, but let also remember what caused these latest revelations and that is, that Donald Trump's, long-time attorney, Michael Cohen, is reportedly about to say or will attest in court, that Donald Trump, Sr. knew about the meeting in advance.

Now Donald Trump, Sr., is still denying this, but if he did know about the meeting in advance, we have gone beyond obstruction of justice to possible conspiracy.

VANIER: And "The Washington Post" was reporting that Donald Trump is reportedly bothered about this. Now, Donald Trump has denied this in his latest tweets and the Trump legal defense is that a collusion is not a crime. Even though there isn't a crime that carries that name, they're still on very shaky legal ground aren't they?

LUCAS: Let me give you an analogy, there's no actual crime which is listed as stealing. So, if I go down to my store and I take a quart of milk, I can say, well, stealing is not illegal, it's not listed as such. Well of course not, but theft is a crime and is identified as such. So, in other words, let us call this by what it is in the legal sense.

This is a possible conspiracy. You may dance around the Trump conclusion(ph), but this is actually talking to a hostile foreign power about intervention in an election and that is illegal.

VANIER: Yes. And federal campaign finance law is very clear about something that foreign countries are not allowed to intervene in any way, shape or form in U.S. elections. They're not allowed to provide of anything of value, whether it's directly or indirectly and U.S. citizens are not allowed to assist them in any way, shape or form in that respect.

But you also have to wonder and you were touching on that earlier, if this meeting was totally normal and legal and done all the time, as the president claims, then why would he and his son, in his campaign, lie about the nature of the meeting in the first place?

LUCAS: Because they know that, in fact, this meeting was actually unprecedented. I mean, this was actually, remember, not just about discussing getting, quote, "dirt on Hillary Clinton." In the months after this meeting, Russian operatives, including military intelligence officials, hacked information of the Democratic Party and the Clinton staff.

They disseminated that information of the Democratic Party and the Clinton staff. They disseminated that information in an attempt to influence the election. The missing link, of course, is did Trump campaign staff know the Russians were going to do this? That's why this meeting is so important.

We don't have final answers yet, but let's be clear, Donald Trump is doing -- well, I'll give it the nicer form of the term we use down in the south, he's coving his backside, but I'm not sure that cover's going to last very long.

VANIER: Something totally different. Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, has distanced herself from Mr. Trump's accusation that the media are the enemy of the people. I want you to listen to this.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I don't believe journalists are the enemy. But, I think some journalist are an enemy of the relevant(ph).


CONWAY: And enemy of the news you can use. And I think most of the senders things(ph) omission not commission, meaning, why wouldn't more reporters, Margaret, cover the Vice President receiving the remains of our fallen in North Korea. Why less than a minute on one of the major cable stations?


VANIER: I wasn't going to bring up this enemy of the people thing again, but the reason that I do is because this is coming from the mouth of Kellyanne Conway. Kellyanne Conway of alternative facts fame. She is normally very assertive in her defense of the president and yet apparently this is a bridge too far for her.

LUCAS: Well, yes and no, because Trump's people, since Trump gave another enemy to the people statement last week, they've been trying to give it this nuance and I just, no, no, no, all journalist are not enemy to the people. I bet they would say that Fox and Breitbart are not enemy of the people, for example. But, those that spread fake news are enemy of the people.

Now, you sit at a station, which has been accused day-in and day-out, by Trump and his advisors of spreading fakes news. So, I'm afraid that despite Miss Conway's statement, that that label is still on you.

VANIER: All right. We'll be -- we'll carry our cross. Scott Lucas, thank you very much.

LUCAS: Thank you.

ALLEN: We turn back to our top story in just a moment. Indonesia, shaken again, a second deadly earthquake hits the same island area in less than one week. We will have the latest from there just ahead here.


[00:30:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Cyril Vanier. Here are your headlines this hour.

ALLEN: Venezuela's military is pledging its unconditional loyalty to President Nicolas Maduro after he survived what he calls an assassination attempt. Columbia and the U.S. are denying any involvement. He pointed the finger that way. Six people in Venezuela have now been arrested and activists fear the president could now launch an even stronger crack down on his critics.

VANIER: In the Democratic Republic of Congo health officials are trying to stop an outbreak of the Ebola virus that has killed 33 people. The World Health Organization says another 43 cases are suspected. The outbreak is spreading through North Kivu province, an area with a heavy cross border trading and fighting between government forces and militant groups.

ALLEN: In Chicago, police blamed illegal guns for a particularly violent Sunday in the city, in just 14 hours, 44 people were shot in both random and targeted incidents, five died from being shot. Chicago is struggling to deal with rampant gun violence and high murder rates in some communities.

VANIER: At least 91 people are dead and hundreds injured after Indonesia was hit by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. This is the second strong quake to strike the popular resort island of Lombok in a week. Neighboring Bali, also felt significant shaking. Officials say thousands of homes were damaged.

Let's go straight to Lombok. Evan Burns is the General Manager of Living Asia Resorts and Spa. He joins us by the phone. Evan, thanks for being with us. First of all, is everyone at the hotel, your guests, your staff, OK?

EVAN BURNS, GENERAL MANAGER, LIVING ASIA RESORT AND SPA (through telephone): Yes, thank you for your time. Everyone is accounted for and everyone is safe. Many of our employees are unable to reach the hotel because their buildings completely flattened, but they're taking shelter in nearby villages that we have a final headcount, and a minor or few injuries. Everyone else is fine.

VANIER: How much damage is there where you are? I mean, the hotel but also the whereabouts?

BURNS: Look, it's -- I'm in an area called The Gili, which is a main tourist area in Lombok that was quite severely damaged about 30-35 kilometers away from the -- from the point of impact. And I can't imagine what has happened in the villages close that, around these areas. There are some quite severe and it's not pretty to look at.

VANIER: Yes, Evan. We're looking -- we're looking at some of the pictures that you sent us, so I assume this is around your hotel or not too far from where you are. And the damage is -- looks pretty severe to some of the buildings. We're seeing some roofs partially collapsed. Some of the --some of

the walls appear to have sustained major damage. Cars have been flattened. Yes, continue to describe what it's like around you.

BURNS: OK. We're in a clean-up stage at the moment. This is all materialistic. We can rebuild and we can regrow.

[00:35:11] But we just need to put it up to the loss of life here. We're up to close to a hundred, loss of lives in Lombok in this (INAUDIBLE) so, it's quite bad. It was scary. Many guests were panicking and our job was to try to keep them calm and give them support that they needed.

But, yes, it was -- it was a long night and I'm thankful that everyone is safe and our families are safe and we can move on from this point.

VANIER: What about the infrastructure? Roads, communications? I mean, I know these are two key things especially for the government and for search and rescue efforts to do their work.

BURNS: So, the infrastructure of the road is quite good. We have very good roads in Lombok and they've sustained not much damage at all, minus a few debris and everything on the road. But in terms of infrastructures -- so the road, it's OK, poles, telecommunication and power, we're still out.

Many of the hotels have generators, so we're relying on four generators. And all of our guests have access to the Wi-Fi, which is -- which is hooked through the generators now. And so, in terms of getting messages back home, it's quite good. We're lucky in the hotel.

We have this technology and this kind of money and that's for the good, just yet, they're still cut out from the outside world. And emergency services are working very hard at the moment.

VANIER: Evan, just before I let you go, tell me what it's like to experience this, because, of course, any time, there's news of an earthquake in Indonesia, I think everyone's mind races back to 2004, and that earthquake and tsunami, more than 100,000 people were killed then. So, what is it like to go through an earthquake in Indonesia, with that recent history?

BURNS: Yes, it was -- it was quite scary. You don't think that -- we're quite common to earthquakes and small ones. But in this kind of scale, it was something that we wouldn't expect. It's quite close to a recent earthquake. We had only a couple of days earlier.

So, in terms of how you deal with it, you just have to -- have to go with it. I've dealt with a loss. I've done everything from volcanoes to cyclones, to fighting the bombings and this was, by far, the worst experience that I've gone through in terms of what was going to happen.

And the impact that it had and basically, I was at home and it shook you straight out of bed and it was not nice thing to go through and i don't wish that on anyone else.

VANIER: Yes. Evan Burns, thank you so much for your time for joining us, sharing your experience with us, I can only imagine what that's like. But we are glad to know that your residents, guests and staff are all safe and accounted for. Evan, thank you very much.

ALLEN: And they rely on tourism so much. We certainly hope that those tourists will come back to these islands, but right now, it's a really tensed situation.

Another story we're following for you, dozens of Koreans on either side of the DMZ are getting ready for emotional reunions with family members they have not seen, if you can believe this, for more than 60 years. We'll have a live report from Seoul about this, coming next.


[00:40:00] VANIER: North and South Korea are working out the details for upcoming family reunions. They have set the dates and exchanged lists of who will get to participate. About 100 people from each country will meet their relatives later this month.

ALLEN: This will be the first time, since 2015, that families separated for decades, can you just imagine, on either side of the border will be able to see one another, these, of course, pictures from when these reunions happen. South Korea says more than 100,000 people have registered for the lottery for reunion visits over the years, though many have since, died.

Let's talk about with CNN's Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul. Paula, you have covered these reunions. They are so rare but always so precious for these families torn apart.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Natalie. They are incredibly emotional events and certainly for more than 130,000 people who originally applied to be part of these reunions since 1988.

The chances of being picked are incredibly slim of that original number, more than half have since died because it's 65 years since the Korean War ended, so many of these people are now in their 80s and their 90s.

Now, we do know from the South Korean side that 57,000 people were first considered. They were put into a lottery and then they looked at 500 people. That was narrowed down again, comparing it to the age of the person who wanted to be considered, whether they had a close relative that they wanted to see in North Korea.

What was their health like, were they able to travel to the Mount Kumgang Resort in North Korea, and then, of course, they had to switch the names with the North Korean side and find out if the other side of the family was still alive and healthy as well. So it's really a painstaking process. It's a very emotional process,

as well, for these families who are really desperate to see their loved ones that they haven't had any contact with in my of these cases, not even a letter, not even a phone call for many decades.

So, we understand about 90 percent of those who will be carrying out this family reunion are over the age of 80. So it just shows how urgent this situation is. There hasn't been one of these reunions since 2015, and these families are getting older. There was a desperation to fit in as many as possible. Natalie?

ALLEN: Absolutely. We know you'll be covering it and I can't imagine finding out that you're one of the lucky few that get to see your relatives. Paula Hancocks for us, thank you. We'll look forward to covering that story. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. You've got "WORLD SPORT" up next. We are back at the top of the hour with more news from around the world. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.


[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)