Return to Transcripts main page
Tsunami Predicted in Pacific; Government Releases Plan to Deal with Flu Pandemic; First Lady Talks about Efforts to Rebuild Hurricane Struck School Libraries
Aired May 3, 2006 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, HOST: Live from CNN's B Control, I'm Kyra Phillips. Tsunami warnings issued for Fiji and New Zealand after a powerful earthquake strikes the South Pacific. We're on that story.
Also, sexual predators chasing your child on the Internet. Wait until you hear what a 13-year-old victim has to say. She's going to tell her story of abuse, live.
Also live this hour, battling a possible flu pandemic. Two million lives at stake right here in the U.S. The White House released its plan to protect you.
Also right now, CNN's John King sits down with first lady Laura Bush in Biloxi, Mississippi. It's a live one-on-one interview.
But first, let's start with CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras. She's tracking the tsunami warning issued for Fiji and New Zealand this hour.
Jacqui, tell us what you can tell -- tell us what's going on right now.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Kyra, we just got a brand-new warning in from the Pacific Tsunami Center. They have new estimated times of arrival for the potential tsunami. They've also added a few more countries and locations into the warning. So I want to read off the warning for you.
Tonga, which was near the epicenter of the earthquake. Niue, the city that we mentioned that had the little blip where a possible wave could have been detected there. America Samoa, Samoa, also Fiji. And then those are all the warnings. And then we have Hawaii, which is under a tsunami watch at this time.
We still don't know just yet whether or not a tsunami was generated. But we're playing it safe. And hopefully everybody's taking the necessary precautions.
America Samoa, Pago Pago, should be a arriving there if there is a tsunami now at 1:20 Eastern Daylight Time. And then it should be moving across Fiji around 2:04 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
If our director could kindly take source GR-13, I've got a map in from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center that shows you where the epicenter is. Here we go. Let's see. Here it is. And this is the timing, the location, of how far out that wave would be propagating.
So you can see how huge the Pacific Ocean is here. And we're not talking until midnight when this thing would be arriving in Hawaii.
We'll go back to our other source. And I want to show you just a little bit better. There you go. There you can see Tonga. Here's where Fiji is. And Niue, where the potential blip was indicated, is over here.
There's New Zealand. And then Australia, of course, is off to the west of this.
So this was a very large earthquake. The magnitude now has been changed down just a little bit. Preliminary reports were saying 8.0 magnitude, which is a great earthquake. And now they've downgraded that just a little bit, not much of a difference, to 7.8.
So as we continue to get new information, of course, we will bring that along to you -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: All right. Jacqui, stay with me. On line, we have USGS David Applegate with us, of course, an expert on earthquakes.
David, what can you tell us?
DAVID APPLEGATE, EARTHQUAKE EXPERT, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: Well, the -- this earthquake struck just about an hour and a half ago now. It was off shore of the Tonga islands.
And we have changed the magnitude to a 7.8. As additional information comes in from seismic stations, we do -- we do make adjustments. And that still is a very large earthquake. And NOAA, the Tsunami Warning Center, still does have both the tsunami warnings in effect.
PHILLIPS: Well, David, you know when Americans hear the word "tsunami," just thinking about what happened of course within the past couple of years. Those overseas already showing tremendous concern. We're getting a lot of e-mails here to the CNN control center.
Give us a reality check with regard to a tsunami, the chances of that really happening, the odds of that happening, and what kind of effect it can have.
APPLEGATE: Well, this is -- I think the key thing to understand is that this is -- you're right, when people think about tsunami now, they think about the events of December 26 of a year past.
And this is a considerably smaller earthquake. It still is a very large earthquake when we think about it in terms of the impact it would have if it struck on land, and if it struck near a large population center. But this earthquake, especially now that it's a 7.8, it certainly does have a potential to generate a tsunami, but it is not likely to generate anything like the size of the wave that we saw after the -- either the December 26 event or there was a subsequent, very large magnitude 8.7 event that struck in March 28th of 2005.
PHILLIPS: Jacqui Jeras what are we missing?
JERAS: Well, I just want to know a little bit more information. What kind of time scale are we talking about? When are we going to get a better idea of when we're actually going to know if the tsunami is occurring? And are there changes in the magnitude, possibly? I mean, put it into perspective, 7.8, versus 8.0, for us, would you?
APPLEGATE: Sure, a 7.8 is -- this is -- the scale goes by order of magnitude. For example, magnitude 8 earthquake, 10 times larger than a seven, but it actually releases 33 times more energy, is the way that that scales up.
Magnitude 7.1 is similar -- that was the 1989 earthquake that struck in the Bay Area and led to the World Series being -- being postponed.
JERAS: What about...
APPLEGATE: So it's all about location, location, location. This is still a large earthquake, but it's not -- it's not the kind of monster that we saw with Sumatra.
JERAS: What about aftershocks? Could there be more activity coming up here shortly?
APPLEGATE: Absolutely. We -- one of the things that is absolutely guaranteed to happen is that we will have subsequent earthquakes striking in that area as the earth's crust sort of recalibrates itself. But in general, aftershocks are a magnitude -- or even smaller. So we would expect them in the sort of 6.5 to 7 range. Not likely to generate really violent shaking as an earthquake at this time.
PHILLIPS: And how...
JERAS: Go ahead, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: That's all right. USGS David Applegate. We'll continue to check in with you.
Jacqui Jeras, thanks so much. And of course, if this strikes New Zealand, we're going to stay on that story.
Meanwhile, we're talking about beyond bird flu now. The White House unveils its plan to battle a pandemic in any form. Although bird flu could become a human pandemic, it's not at that point right now.
But many scientists warn, the world's overdue. In 1968, it was the Hong Kong flu. In 1957, the Asian flu. And in 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million people around the world. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins me now from the White House with more on how the feds plan to respond to another pandemic, if another pandemic develops, rather. Suzanne, what do we know?
SUZANNE TOWNSEND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, right now Fran Townsend, the president's homeland security adviser, is actually briefing reporters about what's inside of this document, 220-plus pages or so.
The one thing they really want to emphasize here is not to get people to panic. This is something -- of course, there is no evidence of a pandemic. There is no evidence that this virus could be transmitted human to human. But they want to be prepared here in the worst case scenario.
They are talking about the possibility here of two million dead, 50 million infected and 40 percent of the workforce incapacitated. Here's what they're outlining.
First and foremost, talking about U.S. stockpiling vaccines. They've already started that program. Fran Townsend has already acknowledged that the United States will not have a vaccine or the kind of drugs to deal with this pandemic at the time it hits.
So that is something that they're working on. They're going to have to work on a new vaccine.
Another point that they're talking about is encouraging voluntary quarantines. And they even address the possibility of mandatory quarantines in the event that they have to prevent the spread of this from state to state. The federal government, of course, has that authority.
They're also talking about recommendations to businesses. This is going to have a very big impact on the way businesses actually carry out their day to day activities. Possibilities are time share or even keeping employees three feet apart from each other so they don't spread this kind of virus.
Also, they're talking about travel restrictions. If, in the case a passenger aboard a plane was found to be infected, they would divert that flight to another area. All of this in this comprehensive report.
One of the things they're stressing, as well, that they do not recommend is closing the U.S. border. If there's a situation, a pandemic overseas, they do not believe that wholesale closing the border will really do very much. They say it will only slow down the disease. That is something that Fran Townsend addressed just moments ago.
Kyra, sorry, we don't have that bit of sound, but essentially she was saying that it was impractical to do such a thing, that this is something they would have to work with other governments to make sure that they were screening people coming in and out of the country. But wholesale closing the border not necessarily a good idea -- Kyra. PHILLIPS: Suzanne, we now have that sound with Fran Townsend. We apologize for that. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK TOWNSEND, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR: If this develops into a circumstance where there is efficient human to human transmission, we will take immediate action to prevent or to slow the spread of the infection, including entry and exit screening, restrictions on movement across borders and consider the rapid deployment of international stocks of anti-viral medications in coordination with our international partners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Kyra, again, Fran Townsend stressing in that briefing that this is a bird flu virus. It is not a human virus. But of course, as you know, and even some questions pertaining to this. A lot of criticism when it came to dealing with Hurricane Katrina and other crises, that the United States, the government, certainly not on the ball when dealing with that. And so they want to get ahead of this thing and they believe this is, at least, a first step -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: All right. Suzanne Malveaux at the White House, thanks so much.
Let's go to CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. She joins me now with some more perspective.
Elizabeth, other public health officials, what are they saying about this plan?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. I've been talking with infectious disease and public health experts, Kyra, and they say that this plan does some things well, for example, calling for the development of a vaccine, putting money in that direction, putting money into getting enough Tamiflu to treat people if there were to be a pandemic flu. But that's something that the plan does relatively well.
But they said the devil is in details. For example, they say that the plan does not call for enough money to help hospitals deal with, potentially, tens of millions of sick people if there were to be a flu pandemic. How would these hospitals take care of all these people?
Or to give another example, the plan discusses would happen if a plane from a country that had pandemic flu were to land in the United States and someone on that plane appeared to be ill. How do you decide what to do? If that person has a fever, is that enough alone to isolate that person? Where would you isolate that person? Do airports have rooms to isolate people?
The plan also talks about quarantining the fellow passengers on that plane, the fellow healthy passengers and healthy crew. Where would you quarantine them? Where would you take, say, 300 people? Airports don't have room to quarantine 300 people for two days. You don't want to just tell them go home and stay home, because to get home they have to get on buses and trains. How would you handle that?
So some people are quite critical of how the -- how the plan, how this road map, deals with some of those details or doesn't deal with them.
PHILLIPS: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much. Of course, we'll continue to follow this story.
A lot of things happening right now. We're also talking about the recovery in the Gulf Coast. It's getting a boost from the first lady. But that's not all. Our John King will ask her when Laura Bush joins us live, coming up on LIVE FROM.
And with the storm season just weeks away, we want to hear from you. I'm going to talk with the man in charge of FEMA during the 3 p.m. Eastern hour. What questions do you have for the acting director, David Paulison? E-mail us your questions at LiveFrom@CNN.com.
PHILLIPS: We're getting ready for our one-on-one interview with the first lady, Laura Bush. But first, we want to let you know we're following these tsunami warnings that were issued across the Southwestern Pacific island today after a massive earthquake measuring about 7.8 in magnitude, shaking up the Southern Pacific Ocean.
We definitely want to let you know that if it strikes New Zealand, we are on top of this story and we'll continue to update you on any information we get, especially from the USGS. We're in close ties with them as we follow these tsunami warnings.
PHILLIPS: Well, it's a cause close to Laura Bush's heart, rebuilding school libraries destroyed by last year's hurricanes. She's on the Gulf Coast today with grant money from Washington. For the next few minutes, with our chief national correspondent John King, they join us live from Biloxi, Mississippi.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. NATL. CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon to you, Kyra.
And we are in Biloxi, Mississippi.
And First Lady Laura Bush, thank you so much for joining us on CNN this afternoon.
Let's begin with the reason you are here. You are leveraging your position, if you will, as first lady to raise money, to help these devastated schools -- this one here in Biloxi among them -- restock their libraries. Eleven-hundred schools, is that the right number? LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: That's right. Yes, damaged or destroyed all along the Gulf coast, and so that meant of course a lot of school libraries were destroyed.
KING: So the first round of grants today. How much money are we talking about today? And how much money will it take to get it all done? And Do you think you can get it done by the start of the next school year this fall?
BUSH: Well, today, we gave $500,000 worth of grants to 10 schools on the Gulf Coast, Louisiana and Mississippi, for them to restock their libraries. It cost about $50,000 to restock, or to stock, build an elementary school library, and over $100,000 to build a good, wide high school library. And there are a lot of libraries that need help. So we hope to be able to continue to give grants as schools are ready to restock. And as you can see from this one, this was a brand-new school. It was flooded with six feet of water. And so now it's being redone, and it will be open in September, and they lost all the books in their libraries. But other schools, of course, won't be open next September. It will take a longer time to have all the schools rebuilt.
KING: I think a lot of people would say, this is how it should be done, someone in your position, using your profile, using your interest in the subject, to go out and get help from the private sector, including our company, Time Warner, helping out with that today.
BUSH: That's right.
KING: But that's how it should work. But eight months later, there are still a lot of examples, people would say, of dysfunction, and people scratch their heads. Just this week, for example, FEMA announcing it's closing its office in New Orleans, its long-term planning office, because it says the city doesn't have its act together, so its no need for FEMA to be there. The city says the federal government is abandoning New Orleans again, the finger pointing, the blame game. Why is it eight months later we are still having that dysfunction?
BUSH: Well, eight months seems like a long time, but when you look at the destruction, all along this coast, how many things were destroyed. With were in New Orleans earlier today, so many homes. There's a lot of rebuilding, and there are schools that are rebuilding, and there are people who have come back and are rebuilding their homes. But there are still a lot of houses that are empty, people haven't come back.
KING: Excuse me for interrupting, but isn't that the case where the mayor needs to get on the phone with the president and somebody needs to say, OK, I don't know really care who is to blame, get in a room and fix it.
BUSH: Well, that's what my friends in New Orleans said last night that I went to dinner with. They said, let's quit looking backwards. Let's make our plans for what is forward, what we're going to do next to rebuild. But things are happening. It's slow, and it's probably going to be slow. It's a very, very long recovery. That was one of the things that one of the librarians who wrote for a grant put in her grant proposal. She said this is going to be a long journey, and she knew it. But she also said that these are can-do people who will work hard, and the Gulf Coast will be revitalized, and really, I hope, and I think everyone believes, will be better than ever.
KING: As you know, voter anger, the country's anger at what they perceive to be a slow federal response is one of the reasons your husband's poll ratings have slumped considerably. He's now in the mid 30s in most poll ratings, and they're using the term in Washington, many are, lame duck. He can't like that.
BUSH: No, I'm sure he doesn't like that. I don't like that either obviously. But when you're elected for a second term, and there are term limits, then of course you start off in some ways as a lame duck. I still know that my husband is going to be very effective and has been very effective, and that his agenda that he ran on in the last election, in 2004, he will be able to get through. We have a lot of problems. We have -- there are a lot of challenges facing our country, besides, obviously this major challenge of the devastated Gulf Coast. We have a war on terror, we have a war in Iraq. The Iraqis are building their government, and that's encouraging and exciting. We have high oil prices. We have all of the things that countries have to deal with. And we have them all at once.
But I also know we have -- just like that librarian said, we have a lot of people with a can-do spirit and with -- that'll work hard and will be able to overcome these challenges, just like Americans have overcome all the other challenges that we've faced in our country.
KING: Well, you say can-do spirit. The president's new chief of staff, I think, has used the term "mojo," trying to get some new mojo, fresh mojo, momentum, in the White House. As you know, there has been a staff shakeup in the White House. And there are many, including friends of the president, who say because of loyalty to his former chief of staff, because maybe of just some sheer stubbornness, a stubborn streak that he has, he waited too long to do that.
BUSH: No, no, I don't think that at all. Andy Card served so ably. He was a terrific chief of staff. He turned -- served longer than every other chief of staff, save one, and he did a wonderful job. He's very beloved in the White House and all around Washington. But at the same time, it's great to have Josh Bolten in this job. He comes with a fresh perspective, and he'll be terrific.
KING: One of the great constant conversations in Washington -- and I know you don't always like the conversation in Washington -- is about this mythical figure, Karl Rove. And there's -- he's a friend, as well as an adviser. He's been with you and your husband since your days back as governor in Texas. He had his policy portfolio taken away.
In Washington, there's this big debate. Was Karl Rove demoted, was he forced out of his office and across the hall? Who is Karl Rove to this president? You know the Democrats think of him as the bogeyman sometimes. They blame him for a lot of things. Is he indispensable in this White House?
BUSH: He's a very good friend, Karl is. He's been with the president through all his races, starting with the first governor's race. He's a very brilliant strategist. His politics are his avocation, his real interest. He's valuable, absolutely. There's no doubt about it.
KING: Has your husband ever complained of feeling snake bit? It seems sometimes he does come out -- in the Rose Garden, the other day, to talk about good economic news, and to introduce his new press secretary. And then things happen that dominate the news cycle. Violence in Iraq, Karl being called back before the grand jury. Your husband has been at the political game a long time, not only in his own campaigns, but around his father when he was president and vice president. Has he ever walked the halls to the White House and say...
BUSH: You know what...
KING: ... I'm snake bit?
BUSH: You know, John, he really doesn't complain. He doesn't complain at all, and I think that's one of his really great traits, one of the best traits about him, is that he knows what his responsibility is. He knows what he swore to the people of the United States when he was sworn in as president of the United States. And he takes those responsibilities very seriously. You know, when you run for this job, you have no idea what will happen. You have to expect the unexpected. And these are challenges, but they're not insurmountable. And I know he knows that.
KING: As you know, one of the debates in the country right now is about immigration reform, illegal immigration. And one of the controversies is the new Spanish language version of the national anthem. Your husband, the president, said he thinks it should only be in English. But if you go to the State Department Web site, you can find it in I think four languages. Secretary Rice said she's heard a rap version of the national anthem. What's wrong with...
BUSH: Well, we've all heard a lot of different versions like at the Super Bowl...
KING: What's wrong with singing in Spanish?
BUSH: ... every year. I don't think there's anything wrong with singing it in Spanish. The point is it's the United States' national anthem. And what people want is it to be sung in a way that respects the United States and our culture. At the same time, we are a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of many, many languages, because immigrants come and bring their languages.
KING: Is that an issue on which you disagree with your husband? He says it should be sung in English.
BUSH: Well, I think it should be sung in English, of course.
KING: But you also said in other... BUSH: But we're -- but it's, you know -- it's like...
BUSH: You know, it's like reading hymns in the hymnal. I love it when I look at the bottom of "Amazing Grace" and there are the words in the Methodist hymnal in Swahili. I think that's great. And I recognize that we're a nation of immigrants, and that we're a welcoming nation of immigrants. And that's why we're diverse, that's why we're so strong. That's why our culture is as rich as it is.
KING: Another byproduct of these demonstrations has been crowds of tens of thousands, many of them holding the Mexican flag. Now even supporters of their cause say they find that offensive, that it's the United States of America. If you want rights, if you want status in the United States of America, don't be waving a Mexican or an El Salvadorean, some other country's flag, in our face. Do you agree with that?
BUSH: Well, I think this is a very, very sensitive issue, that immigration is. A lot of people have stood in line for a long time and done everything they can do to be accepted as legal citizens of the United States. And it's unfair to think that other people will have a chance to get in front of them when they've abided by the rules.
On the other hand, it -- just as a human rights issue, we want people who come across the border to come legally, to come in a way that is legal so they don't risk their lives by coming across the desert of Texas or the desert of Arizona. And a guest worker program or some sort of legalized worker program would help make sure that that happens.
And we want Mexico to be able to build an economy that allows people to have good jobs in their own home and stay in their own homes. So I think it's an issue that needs to be treated very sensitively. It's an issue for debate. But I also think it's an issue where we need to think about what's fair to people, both American citizens and people who want to become American citizens.
KING: The issue that is the biggest drag on your husband's standing right now is questions about the strategy in Iraq. This week was the third anniversary of what has become known as the mission accomplished speech, because of that banner that hung over the president's shoulder on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
In that same week, former Secretary of State Powell gave an interview in which he said publicly, well, I urged the president at the beginning to send in more troops. I disagreed with Secretary Rumsfeld, I thought there should be more troops.
I know you're not in the military planning business, but when your husband's trying to get back on track, do you find it disloyal that people who are in those private meetings, in those rooms, would come out and speak publicly, knowing that it would add to the political debate? BUSH: You know, there is plenty of debate and there's plenty of time for debate about every single step in the war on terror. But the fact is, when the president stood on the Abraham Lincoln, that Abraham Lincoln's mission was accomplished. They were coming into San Diego with all of their troops on board and that was the end of their term there in Iraq and in the bay.
We can look back at everything, just like my friend said last night in New Orleans, within (ph) or with them. We can look back and say, well, we should have done this, we should have done that. But the fact is, we are where we are now.
And when you think about where we are, Iraq has had three major elections. Millions of people have shown up to vote in those elections, braving violence. Right now, they're working to build their government. Are there still people who detonate bombs? Sure. And do people want that? No. I know they don't. Just like we don't.
I know the Iraqi people do not want to have terrorists blow up groups of their troops or groups of their people who are trying to get a job as a policeman. And I think it's time for everyone to say, let's stop. You know, let the Iraqis build their government with our help. And I hope that other governments, the international community, will stand with us also, to say, you know, this is enough.
KING: I'm going to finish on a more personal note. The Bushes of Midland and Austin have had a sometimes a tense relationship with what we call the Washington establishment. Some of us think that might be a good thing, but there have been criticisms, oh, you don't entertain enough, you don't have these grand parties, you don't reach out to the establishment.
I understand that you snuck out of the White House, if you will, this past Monday for a lunch in Georgetown with some members of that dreaded establishment. Was it an attempt to detente, an attempt to get them to ratchet down the criticism?
BUSH: No, I don't -- we don't hear that criticism. I mean, I had lunch with people who are friends of mine that live in Washington. Maybe they're the social friends in Washington. But, you know, that is the least of our worries to worry about whether or not we entertain enough or reach out to ...
KING: But you do entertain quite a bit.
BUSH: We do, we entertain a lot. We entertain a lot.
KING: And you don't get much -- do you think there is some bias ...
BUSH: Tonight I'll be going home to have ...
KING: ... in the social press that you don't get credit for that?
BUSH: ... diner with the president and with the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. And we've -- the president has actually had more working lunches and dinners with heads of state after September 11 than any other president ever has, as people came from around the world to see what they could do, to stand with the United States after September 11.
KING: As I thank you and toss back to Kyra Phillips in Atlanta, you know, we boys at CNN, we think that Kyra is muy caliente. As you know, at the White House correspondents dinner, the president and his body double impersonator had some fun at your expense and the translation would be oh, she's hot. What did you think of that joke and -- as the president tried to make the first lady more of a sex symbol of the country at the moment?
BUSH: I thought it was very funny. I thought the whole show with Steve Bridges, the George Bush impersonator, was great. I thought it was really terrific. I think people who serve in the White House know that the president has a great sense of humor, that one of the reasons I married him is because I knew he would make me of laugh and I loved that part about him a lot.
KING: We thank you for your time here today in Biloxi, and Kyra Phillips, back to you in Atlanta.
PHILLIPS: John, I want to know if the first lady thinks that her husband is muy caliente.
KING: Oh, Kyra Phillips is asking you if you think your husband is muy caliente.
BUSH: Muy caliente. Mucho muy caliente.
KING: She's on the record. Mucho muy caliente.
BUSH: Muy, muy.
PHILLIPS: Muchismo. Outstanding, first lady, thanks so much. John King, thank you very much.
Of course we've been following a very serious story before we got to that president -- the interview, rather, with the first lady. And that's the information we've been getting in about possible tsunami warnings for southwestern Pacific islands after a massive earthquake.
Jacqui Jeras has been following all angles of this.
We had a chance to talk about it a little while ago, Jacqui, but any new information?
JERAS: Yes, a lot of new very important information, Kyra. I just got off the phone with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. And a small tsunami has been detected, very small, about 40 centimeters. That equates to about 16 inches. This was at Pago Pago and American Samoa and Niue that we told you about earlier.
Here's Tonga. There's Niue and there's the American Samoa islands, right in this area. So it's not very large. They say the threat still remains in the immediate area, and tsunami warning still in effect for Tonga, Niue, American Samoa, Samoa and Fiji Islands.
Now the change that we have is in effect for the greater Pacific and for Hawaii. They don't think this is going to be a big threat for the greater Pacific. And the watch was in effect for Hawaii now has been downgraded to an advisory. They don't think there will be a tsunami in Hawaii any longer.
The timing of this has also changed. They were reporting earlier possibly midnight that those waves would be arriving in Hawaii. Now they say it would likely be at 11:30 this morning.
And this is a statement off their site, saying, "Based on all available data, no destructive tsunami threat is expected for Hawaii." However, some coastal changes in Hawaii could experience like small sea level changes so be aware of that. You probably don't want to get in the water today or get too close to the coast through the 11:30 hour -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: All right, Jacqui, thanks so much.
We want to get straight to -- we're continuing to get more information and also getting some interviews in. On the beeper line, I'm being told that Paula Chipman -- she's U.S. tourist from Seattle -- she's actually there in Tonga. She felt the quake.
Paula, describe to us where you are, what you were doing and exactly what you felt.
PAULA CHIPMAN, AMERICAN TOURIST IN TONGA: We were just coming home from a -- the prince's party, actually, his birthday party. And there was a lot of people out. It was just ending. And we'd been in this hotel maybe five minutes and it started. And it was a shaker. I mean it went up and down and back and forth, and it was very, very hard.
PHILLIPS: What hotel are you in, Paula?
CHIPMAN: It's called the Pacific Royale, and it's right in downtown Nugalisa (ph), Tonga.
PHILLIPS: So you...
CHIPMAN: It's an older three-story hotel.
PHILLIPS: OK. And when it -- when it happened, what kind of response, emergency response did you receive? Were you instructed to go...
CHIPMAN: Nothing, zero.
CHIPMAN: Zero. Absolutely nothing.
PHILLIPS: So what did you do?
CHIPMAN: Haven't heard anything as of yet.
PHILLIPS: So no one's informing you of anything there at the hotel?
CHIPMAN: No. No.
PHILLIPS: Do you see any damage is the hotel?
CHIPMAN: Stuff on the floor. There some stuff upstairs that have come out of rooms. Kitchen, stuff in the kitchen, dishes. You know, I mean, everything looks pretty much intact for what it was. For the kind of shaking.
PHILLIPS: What about outside? You see any damage outside?
CHIPMAN: It's still dark, we don't know.
PHILLIPS: OK. So...
CHIPMAN: The power's still out. It's sporadic power. The hotel must be on generators.
PHILLIPS: Got it, so the power's out.
PHILLIPS: And you still -- so how many minutes -- or how much time do you think has passed? And no one's knocked on your door, no one's given you any kind of instruction?
CHIPMAN: I'm in the lobby. I'm not staying -- I'm not staying up there.
CHIPMAN: Since it happened, nothing, absolutely zero.
PHILLIPS: What are the workers in the hotel doing?
CHIPMAN: Very, very, very calm. I am just stunned.
PHILLIPS: OK. And so you have no power so you're not able to get any kind of radio transmission, television?
CHIPMAN: We must have generator power. There's other guests that have pulled their luggage out. They're sitting out in the lobby. And hanging outside of the lobby with luggage or outside of the hotel.
PHILLIPS: Are you calling us on a cell phone?
CHIPMAN: No, CNN called into this hotel.
PHILLIPS: OK. So there's phone service?
PHILLIPS: And anybody...
CHIPMAN: There's actually Internet. There's actually Internet but you can't -- I mean it doesn't go out. So computers are up. Certain things are up at this location. Like I said..,
PHILLIPS: So what are you going to do -- what are you going to do...
CHIPMAN: I'm sorry?
PHILLIPS: What are you going to do from this point on? Are you just sort of waiting -- I mean, part of me says you should be proactive and find the manager, the general manager, of this hotel and ask what's going on and what you should do.
CHIPMAN: Yes, you know, I agree with you. However, it doesn't work like that in this country.
PHILLIPS: Really? What do you mean by that?
CHIPMAN: Not -- not rapid response.
PHILLIPS: You said you were at the prince's party?
CHIPMAN: Yes. Birthday party.
PHILLIPS: OK, and what happened -- has that already dispersed?
CHIPMAN: No, we had left that. We had left that. So that's why it was early a.m. hours that everybody was just getting back.
PHILLIPS: OK. All right, well, Paula, we -- we're going to continue -- how did we connect with you. We called a main line and you were there in the lobby?
CHIPMAN: Yes, I am in the lobby. I'm not going to go back to my room.
PHILLIPS: OK. All right, we've got your information so we're going to continue to check in with you. If you get a chance to talk with the general manager, someone in the hotel, to find out what the next plan of action is, we'd like to keep in touch with you, if that's all right.
CHIPMAN: That would be great, I would appreciate it.
PHILLIPS: All right, Paula Chipman, from Seattle there in Tonga. Thanks, Paula so much. I'm also told now that we have Colin Wright on the phone. Colin is a journalist with New Zealand Radio Live.
Colin, I don't know if you heard that interview with Paula Chipman. I think we've got the -- I think that Colin is still on hold. Is Colin still on hold? Is that why we're hearing music?
COLIN WRIGHT, JOURNALIST, NEW ZEALAND RADIO: Good morning.
PHILLIPS: There we go. Colin, are you there?
WRIGHT: Yes, good morning. How are you?
PHILLIPS: Great. You're live on CNN. Thanks so much. We had you on hold there, and we were hearing some pretty good music. But on a serious note, what can you tell us about these tsunami warnings for the southwestern Pacific islands?
WRIGHT: Look, it's 5:30 in the morning here. So obviously, we're sort of waking up and still coming to terms with exactly what the warning is and what's happening.
I've spoken to a Constable Yasmine Coli (ph) of the tiny island of New Kalofa (ph) and she's pretty much told me the similar things as to what your person just told you there from the hotel, that the quake struck and lasted for around four minutes and obviously was a fairly terrifying experience.
The police constable told me that in the building that she was in people ran out of the building. There were fears that it was going to collapse. However, that hasn't been the case, and there's been no building damage reported in New Kalofa (ph) at this stage.
And as your person just told you then, the police constable told me that there has been nothing done at this stage in terms of warning people regarding a tsunami. You have to remember, it's probably still in the small hours in the morning over there and people are possibly still asleep. And they also told me that electricity is down in some areas, as well.
So obviously, still got a fair few things to do in terms of warning people, if the warning hasn't gone out yet. But you have to remember that this is still a warning.
I can also tell you in the last 15 minutes that New Zealand has now been taken off that warning. We've been talking to officials over here. And they've said that we've now been removed from any possible tsunami warning. So it looks like at this stage Fiji seems to be the main area facing this warning.
PHILLIPS: So the threat for you is over, because that was what we were hearing, as well, that -- that there was concern about a tsunami hitting New Zealand. So you're getting word from emergency officials there you're in the clear?
WRIGHT: It seems to be that way, at this stage. But obviously, these things can change within minutes. You know, like we said, it just only happened in the last hour. But at this stage, our officials are fairly confident that we may be off the threat list at this stage, which goes against a number of reports that we're seeing on the international wires, which is quite funny, saying that major cities have been evacuated.
That's not the case at all. We haven't made any evacuations. The earthquake wasn't even felt over here. And so things have been misreported a wee bit there. But at this stage, appears we're off the tsunami warning.
PHILLIPS: Well, to this point, you brought us up to date with correct information, because you're right there. Colin Wright, journalist there with New Zealand Radio. Colin, thanks so much.
The news keeps coming. We're going to keep bringing it to you. More LIVE FROM after a quick break.
PHILLIPS: You're kid, if they're cyber-savvy, and they probably are, are also cyber-susceptible. We can trot out cases from now to next week, adults with sexual intentions looking for kids and finding them online. Congress is hearing some of those cases today from people who lived them, victims, and investigators and TV journalists who want tough new laws now. People like CNN's Nancy Grace. She join us now via telephone. She's actually going to be testifying there during those hearings.
Nancy, great to have you.
Tell me how you prepared for today.
NANCY GRACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, actually, I've been planning for years and years and years for today, fighting child molestation and child predators since I was a prosecutor there in Atlanta. Same message, different forum. But it all crystallized, Kyra, when I met a little girl named Masha Allen. She had been adopted as a Russian orphan to an American pedophile, Kyra, if you can even imagine that. And from ages five to 11, she was repeatedly molested by her adoptive father.
Long story short, Kyra, not only was that going on, but he was -- in fact, he's like a child pornography clearing house. The police came to arrest him on those charges. They found a surprise, a little girl sitting on the front porch -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: I'm sorry, Nancy.
GRACE: Sure. When I met her, I wanted to take part in this battle to Congress. In fact, as you can hear, I'm standing right outside the Rayburn building, waiting to go in, but I wanted to talk to you first.
PHILLIPS: I'm glad you did, because we've been wanting to talk to you because of case specifically about Masha Allen. I mean, Nancy, we've been, as you know, all of us here at CNN, following this case. All we had was a picture. We couldn't actually see her face. And how investigators tracked her down was pretty amazing, just the technology they used and how they took these pictures and looked at what was behind her, what she was sitting on.
GRACE: Kyra, it was amazing. And you're dead on. She was called for so many months the "Disney girl," because all you could see was the background of a hotel room, and it was identified as one at Disney World. So they took the little girl out of the picture, pixelated it and determined where it was. That helped them find out the identity of this little girl. It was a major investigation.
But what it's really done is opened a lot of eyes into the danger of Internet pornography and how predators are online waiting for your kid to get online.
PHILLIPS: Now, Nancy, you've developed a pretty amazing relationship with Masha. How is she doing? How does she remain so strong? I mean, she's a brave young lady, getting up and talking today.
GRACE: You know what, I've never seen anything like it, Kyra. And I've dealt with a lot of child-molestation victims. Some of them would break down during their testimony, put their head down on the witness stand, and I'll have to lead them sentence by sentence through the rest of their testimony. This little girl, I recently had dinner with her in New York and was trying to teach her how to use chopsticks, and I had to get up and excuse myself -- it made me start crying. This little girl who had lived through so much had still so much wonderment and joy of living. And always learning new things and trying to be an example for other children to speak out. And she's an inspiration to me today, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: What about her adopted father? I mean, Nancy, there's got to be...
GRACE: Oh, Kyra, he is in jail where he belongs! And I'm so happy about that. He's under -- he's behind bars on federal wire sentencing for Internet child pornography. It's very hard to get him. And he is facing other state charges for what he did to Masha.
PHILLIPS: Well, what about the adoption process? Someone like this should have never been allowed to get a child like this in his arms.
GRACE: Kyra, you're right. But today, I'm taking it one thing at a time, one monster at a time. Today, it's Internet child porn. Tomorrow, it's the adoption agencies. Because, catch this, Kyra, they never even did a home study, or they would have seen, there's no mommy. The mommy and the other daughter had left because of molestation. The home was just him and a little girl with one bedroom. And this was so disheartening. She told me that he fed her only macaroni and cheese for the longest time so she wouldn't grow up, and she would remain childlike.
PHILLIPS: What do you think will happen to him? GRACE: Well, I hope he spends the rest of his life behind bars and never gets out to see the light of day or another child again. I'm only afraid he'll have access to the Internet.
PHILLIPS: So what do you think Masha Allen is going to say today, Nancy?
GRACE: I think she'll tell her story. I have no doubt she'll be brave. My only fear is that Congress may not listen.
GRACE: So I'm just proud to be...
PHILLIPS: Why do you say that? Tell me why you're concerned.
GRACE: Because I've noticed all these years fighting anti-crime issues that the last person ever heard are people without money and power, and that would be children. And that is my fear. But I have high hopes. And I want to thank you for highlighting this, Kyra. It really means a lot to me.
PHILLIPS: Well, I know it does, and you're highly involved. And I'm curious, Nancy, if you were to sit and write the legislation, what would you tell these members Congress they have to do to protect children like Masha?
GRACE: Well, for that, you're going to have to tune in to CNN Pipeline, because they're covering it live.
PHILLIPS: Nancy Grace, you always keep us hanging. But we're glad you of all people are there testifying, that's for sure.
Nancy, thanks so much. Hopefully we can talk after you testify, it we're still on the air. If not, I know you'll be on the other shows.
GRACE: Yes, ma'am. Goodbye, friend.
PHILLIPS: Thanks, Nancy.
Well, sitting next Masha during her testimony will be that familiar face to CNN and viewers. As you know, it will be our own Nancy Grace. And we're planning to carry that testimony live in less than an hour. Also tune in at 8:00 Eastern tonight for her live special, protecting your child.
That's on CNN Headline News.
Now, an earthquake deep in the ocean. We're tracking a tsunami. More on that developing story as soon as we return.
The news keeps coming. We'll keep bringing it to you. More LIVE FROM next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (WEATHER REPORT)
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com