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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Massive Flooding Continues, Multiple States Run Short on Gas, Another Powerful Hurricane Forms in Atlantic. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired August 31, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening again from Houston.
There are new challenges tonight across this area. The entire city of Beaumont, much of it, covered in floodwater, is now without clean drinking water, and will be for days. A hundred and eighteen thousand people live there and many of those who can are lining up for bottled water.
Elsewhere, far from the disaster area, people are lining up for gasoline. I'm talking about refineries, major pipelines out of commission there. The resulting gas shortages already being felt in a number of states across the country and are likely to increase.
And back here as door-to-door searches begin in Houston, the death toll now stands at 39. And some of the other numbers associated with the storm are just frankly staggering. Harvey has now dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of water on the region, 27 trillion; destroyed or damaged 100,000 homes according to federal officials. FEMA says that more than 96,000 Texans have been approved for emergency assistance so far.
Explosions rocked a local chemical plan and officials warned there could be more. The fumes sent emergency responders to the hospital.
And on top of all of that, as if that's not enough, there's Hurricane Irma now here in the Caribbean with one storm model pointing towards the Gulf of Mexico. Category three, and getting stronger.
Again, there's a lot to cover in the hour ahead, starting with our Gary Tuchman in Beaumont.
So, Gary, talk about the evacuations of people there from a hospital all throughout the day.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's unusual, it's sad, its dramatic. But right now, we're in the middle of a process were 193 patients inside this hospital, the Baptist Beaumont Hospital, are being evacuated via helicopter. Yes, via helicopter. And you would think, why are they doing that? It's because of flood waters? No, it's because of no water.
A pump station broke because of Harvey. Therefore, the city now has no clean water. One hundred eighteen thousand people live in this city. They have no water and the hospital has no water. So, therefore, the decision was made, the patients can't stay here.
It's not safe. So, even the very sickest patients are coming out every few minutes out of the hospital this evening, this afternoon, and this morning, boarding helicopters and being taken to other hospitals in Texas for safekeeping.
As we're watching, we're watching, first, a Black Hawk helicopter that came in this morning. Several of them came and they took five people, and the five people who boarded first were dialysis patients. Several of those helicopters came and then after the dialysis patients, out came emergency room patients and then ICU patients on stretchers.
And you can only imagine what these poor people are going through. They're going through this trauma of being in the hospital and they have to be taken outside in their stretchers, go on a helicopter and go to another hospital. But I will tell you, Anderson, the people here at this hospital been very professional, very kind, very compassionate.
Later tonight or early tomorrow, we are told that nine babies in the neonatal unit inside this hospital will be coming out together, the nine babies will go on a helicopter together with their doctor who will keep a close eye on them -- Anderson.
COOPER: Is there a sense, A, of how long it's going to take to get all the patients out of this hospital? And also, what happens to other folks in Beaumont who need water?
TUCHMAN: Right. Right now, it looks like the city officials said it could be four or five days before they have running water once again. So, they are handing out containers of water, bottles of water, to people who need it. Other surrounding towns have water, but here in Beaumont, they don't.
Meanwhile, this evacuation could take up to 36 hours. It started this morning. It could continue until tomorrow night. They're being slowed and delivered because they can't have lots of helicopters landing in the parking lot at any given time. So, they keep coming back every 10 minutes or so to pick up one or two more passengers.
I will tell you, Anderson, probably the last patient to board the helicopter will be a woman inside the hospital right now who is about to give birth. She hasn't given birth yet, but the hope is if everything goes well with the birth, that she and her newborn baby will board one of the last helicopters tomorrow.
COOPER: All right. Gary, appreciate you being there. Thank you.
And it bears repeating that the disasters of this magnitude frequently take days to come fully into focus, and one thing that's already clear is the extraordinary efforts we have seen of so many people, volunteers, local police, EMS crews, folks with monster trucks, ordinary people doing extraordinary work literally in times, joining hands, creating human chains to save people and the danger of being swept away. Also, the helicopter crews that we have been seeing in the skies.
This morning, I went out with a crew from the Coast Guard and, so far, the Coast Guard says, in all of the storm thus far, they believe that they have aided or rescued as many as 9,000 people in Texas and also in Louisiana.
The crew I set out with today, early this morning, didn't expect today to be busy. The skies over Beaumont and other areas in that region were clear. They thought most of the rescues would have been done. That is not how the day turned out.
Here's what we saw.
COOPER (voice-over): All day, the searching continues. Coast Guard pilots Matt Mayer and Dan Miller are flying low over the flooded streets of Vidor, Texas. Flight mechanic Eric Burovescos (ph) and rescue swimmer Evan Gallant (ph) look for anyone in need of evacuation.
(on camera): We've been flying over this area for about 20 or 30 minutes. They just believe they have somebody who has been waving to them. It's an amusing situation though, they can't tell for sure if this is somebody who wants to be rescued or not. He had -- the rescue diver is ready to go down if necessary, but there's a -- they're trying to figure out exactly.
It's one of the difficulties have these coast guard crews are having is just the lack of communication. They get information based on 911 calls, but a lot of the people that they've been rescuing, they just see -- they get a visual on and then they hover over the area. They give them a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down to get an indication of whether they need to actually be rescued.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Swimmer's going down.
COOPER (voice-over): The pilots hover about 120 feet above the water, as Evan Gallant (ph) is lowered to the roof of the house below.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was pointing down, saying there was someone in the house. I think he went downstairs to take a look at the guy's wife. It didn't sound like they were in trouble but I think he's trying to figure out how to get them on the roof.
COOPER: Two people are in the house, along with their two dogs. Medically, they're OK, but want to escape the rising floodwaters. A basket is lowered to bring them up one at a time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basket going down. Survivor is getting in the basket.
COOPER (on camera): The basket is now clear of the roof. They're bringing it up slowly and it's slowly bringing it up. Again, Eric, the flight mechanic, who's in the doorway, he has a visual on this and he's giving the information to Dan Miller and that Matt Mayer, the pilot. They're hovering directly above this, obviously can't see what's going on.
The basket is now back on the roof. Now, a second-person is getting in the basket. Eric Romesco (ph) is telling the pilots in a second survivor in his words in the basket and eric is also giving a word to the pilot move a little bit to the right in order to hold position directly above where the basket is.
They still haven't brought back the rescue swimmer. They're asking the other second words they brought up to get out of the basket to sit here in order to move the basket, make sure there's enough room, don't put the basket up on the side. Now, it's the question of getting back up onboard the chopper and then taking these two, as well as their pets.
I got to say these dogs are incredibly mellow, even what they just went through.
So, what's the plan now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm actually not sure if I put them up on the ICS here talk to the pilots up when I was down in the room I was talking to them and they said that in the next hour or so, we're going to have some boats come through this channel and there's a drop-off point not far from here. So, I think we might drop them up there so they can get on a boat and maybe go back and salvage some more of their property.
COOPER: It's amazing to watch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
COOPER: It was amazing to watch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's a whole lot of fun. It's kind of surreal once you're doing it.
COOPER (voice-over): Plans change quickly, however. Another Coast Guard helicopter has picked up four people and dropped them off a nearby field. The chopper we're in will now pick them up and bring everyone to a shelter.
(on camera): I think we're going to be landing in that field as well in order to pick up some of the people that they had rescued, and then we'll take them because we have more fuel.
More people who just boarded, they are wet and they are cold and they have been trying to ride out the storm, but said the water just kept on rising and they think it may rise even more in the coming hours. So, they wanted to get out. So, they now are going to go to a shelter where they get some dried clothes, they get some food and they get rest. They've been through a lot. They're ready to get out of here.
(voice-over): There are now six evacuees and four dogs on board. There's room for more than a dozen people. And if space is an issue, my cameraman and I would get off. In minutes, the chopper reaches the shelter. When the evacuees are gone, this Coast Guard chopper heads out once again, searching for anyone in need of help.
COOPER: As we mentioned at the top of the program, the aftermath this storm is far from over right here in Houston where the search and rescue operations also continue on the ground level. Rescuers going door-to-door, searching for any survivors who may still be trapped by floodwaters.
CNN's Brian Todd joins us now with more on that.
Brian, I know you spend the day with rescuers. How was it? What did you see?
[20:10:00] BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDNT: Anderson, it's pretty jarring. We're almost six days after this hurricane hit and look at this neighborhood, rescuers are going door-to-door, even on dry ground, but they've got to keep going through these neighborhoods and boats.
Look at this -- this is the Walnut Bend area, west of Houston, and the water in some of these cases, look, I mean -- look at this. This goes past doorstep and in some cases halfway up windows on the first floors. This is a little shallower than we've seen, even that behind us in this neighborhood.
But look at this -- this is waist-deep at the very least. And again, I can't stress enough, six days after this hurricane, and as we mentioned, still active rescues. This is still an emergency response situation. A short time ago, we witness Customs and Border Protection agents pull a man out of an apartment complex.
TODD (voice-over): We came across one man in an apartment complex who had been holed up since the hurricane. He was rescued by Customs and Border Protection agents. He donned a life jacket and packed up a suitcase.
In some neighborhoods, firefighters are already going door-to-door, checking if people are OK.
Tony Roreyes (ph) said the water in his house was several feet high. He has already started ripping out the walls.
(on camera): How do you feel about this, Tony? Do you want to stay here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not now.
TODD: Stand by. Just show.
And that's really because in these neighborhoods, a lot of these houses are still uninhabitable, but they just don't know how many people may still be holed up in these houses and how many may be missing.
Even on dry ground, when we went door-to-door with those firefighters today, and they're knocking on doors. They're not getting a response from some of these houses. And they say that even in drier areas, there are still hazard of these houses because there could be electrical lines that have been shot and just a lot of dangers in the average home.
And that's in dry ground, Anderson. You imagine what it's like to come back down to a house like this.
COOPER: Do they think the worst of the flooding is over in the area where you are?
TODD: You know, Anderson, I don't get a sense that they think it's the worst is over because, you know, this water really only started to come up at about 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning. This was a late hit in this storm process. This was because the controlled release of the Addicks Reservoir. These people just got slammed and they had no warning. And the water at least in this street has not gone down since that time.
So, these people are just wondering when this is going to end and they don't have a sense of when it will.
COOPER: Yes, Brian Todd, stay safe. I appreciate out there.
As we want to go to retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, I also want to look at the hospital in Beaumont where another evac helicopter has just landed. Gary Tuchman was reporting on that situation earlier. We're going to continue to follow that evacuation of the hospital there because that is an urgent situation that town out of clean drinking water.
I mean, General Honore, for that town, and as if Beaumont hasn't been hit hard enough to suddenly now have drinking water being an issue.
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's a game-changer when you lose the grid, Anderson. As you knew in New Orleans, we had no water, no electricity, and about 10 to 15-foot of water most of the communities.
As we see here in Beaumont, the next question is, as Brian was talking earlier, the release of the water out of the dams in the big city here in and around Houston, my fear is that we lose the grid.
COOPER: Because even in a neighborhood like this, they were affected by that release of water from the reservoir.
HONORE: Right, because it could cut to take the grid out, or we could have a plant with a major significant event with electrical problem.
COOPER: Because it's one thing to be flooded in your neighborhood and stuck in your home. It's another thing to be stuck in your home in this heat, without clean drinking water, without electricity. HONORE: Without electricity, within 24 hours, all of our (INAUDIBLE)
disastrous zone. I think or the prudent thing to do now is to encourage people who got -- who can take these extended five or 10-day vacation until this risk goes down, because until that water clears, this metropolitan area, we're at the verge of a major disaster because if we lose electricity, it's a game-changer.
COOPER: Because there's some people who have been able to move up to the second floor of their house and have electricity on the second floor. They turned it off in the first floor, but had electricity and had been able to ride it out.
HONORE: Right. So, again, the coaching is, take a look at the city, what are the most vulnerable parts? Where people are surrounded by water and where that water could cut the part of the grid out or they have to take that part of the grid down as it release the water and start doing some selective evacuation, or to inform people, you could lose power in the next two to three days.
Communities like this, people might take the option, hey, we're not just going to open school for two weeks, let's get out of here and reduce the risk, as opposed to ending up with 100,000, 200,000 people without electricity, because then it turns into -- and without water.
[20:15:03] COOPER: Yes, the mayor talked about trying to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. But obviously --
HONORE: I don't think we're ready for normal here.
HONORE: We're not ready for normal until the risk of the water has cleared and everybody can see we've got the grid at a 95 to 98 percent reliability, and I don't think the grid is there now.
COOPER: General Honore, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
HONORE: Yes, sir.
COOPER: Appreciate you being here.
Coming up next, how all the water around us is creating a shortage of gasoline across Texas and also around the country.
Later, another powerful hurricane the forecasters are looking closely at, and where it could hit.
Plus, Houston Texas star J.J. Watt joins me here with an update on the millions, that's millions of dollars he has already raised for storm survivors. Remarkable what he's doing. We'll talk to him ahead.
COOPER: And welcome back. We're live in Houston. You're looking at live pictures from Houston. Another reminder that crisis in this city is far from over. I mean
the rain has stopped the last few days, but as you see, some neighborhoods, the water has risen and others, that's starting to dissipate. You've been seeing the results of this all evening when Harvey came ashore second time, the county's east and south of here, they got the worst of it.
And I saw it firsthand how bad conditions still are in places like Beaumont and the counties nearby. One of them, a neighboring Orange County issued mandatory evacuation orders just this afternoon involving areas along two local rivers.
[20:20:01] I want to go there have more on all that now from CNN's Ryan Nobles, who's on the ground.
So, are you still seeing people where you are despite the evacuation order?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we are, Anderson, and part of that is because not all of Orange County is evacuated, just some targeted areas. But nonetheless, there aren't very many people in this community. The people we do see are like these folks that are in the distance right now, they just went by in a boat. They had a gentleman there who is in need of medicine that was still in his house.
They waited for things to calm down a little bit, realize that there weren't going to be able to get over there with a vehicle. So, they actually brought a boat. They launched it from over here and have now been pushing the boat down the road in order to get into this house, which they say is only probably a few hundred feet away from where we are right now. But this is vital medicine that this gentleman needed, so they needed to do something drastic in order to get to it.
And we've seen examples of that all day long, folks returning to their house to see exactly what the situation is, able to collect some of their belongings because they are worried about a second round of flooding and here's one of the reasons why. The water levels here are pretty unpredictable. It's relatively shallow where I'm standing now, I don't have to walk very far at all for the water level to increase. It actually will get up to my knees if I continue to walk further along the way here.
And the problem is that the Sabine and Neches Rivers which are nearby have yet to crest and that could mean more flooding in this community and that's why many people yet have not been able to breathe a sigh of relief because they are not sure the worst is over quite yet -- Anderson.
COOPER: Is it known when the two rivers are expected to crest?
NOBLES: Well, according to the National Weather Service and this is just a projection, they believed that those rivers may not crest until early next week, maybe Monday or Tuesday, possibly as late as Wednesday, the floodwater -- I'm sorry the river levels are both already above flood stage, but they could rise another two, two and a half feet before they finally crest. And if that's the case, communities like these in east Texas could be in trouble, there could be a lot more flooding and it could be some time before the folks here are able to begin true recovery efforts.
COOPER: Yes, Ryan, how it goes on and on. Ryan Nobles, thank you.
We mentioned gasoline shortages at the top of the broadcast, as well as the kind of fear-driven buying that can make things worse. Given the storms impact on the Houston area, the refineries, the distribution networks, you can obviously see how that might happen. It's affecting commodity markets. It's also being felt at the pump as far away as North Carolina.
Tar Heel Governor Roy Cooper taking emergency measures today to ensure the ample supplies and try to prevent price gouging.
Today, in the Dallas area, there seems, you simply do not see much in this country, let alone in Texas.
CNN's Alison Kosik joins us now from Dallas with the latest.
So, what have you been seeing on the ground there, Alison?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You make a good point, Anderson. You know, you rarely see scenes like this in Texas because in Texas, it's kind of the hub of refinery, of refined gas. So, if you were in your car today and you were in Dallas and you were looking to fill up your car, you're going to see either one of two things -- you're going to see gas stations completely out of gas, like this gas station across the street. This Texaco out of gas, no cars there looking to get filled up.
Or if you do find a gas station with supply, you are bound to find this -- very long lines, lines that last for anywhere from a half hour to an hour, maybe even more.
You know, we actually were trying to fill up our crew car with gas, we were on empty. We had to drive to four different gas stations and, by the way, had four different prices. And it took us those four tries and 45 minutes waiting in line.
But that's nothing compared to what one gentleman I talked to who was driving around for 35 miles to find a gas station with gas and when he finally found it, his car ran out of gas and he had to push his car through the pump. So, clearly, not an easy situation here for drivers and they weren't even affected by the wind, by the rain, by the flooding that's happening in Houston. But you're seeing Dallas tangentially, certainly, affected by Harvey anyway -- Anderson.
COOPER: And any idea how long it's going to last and how far-reaching it could go?
KOSIK: And that's a thing. This can hit not just Texas. It's going to wind up hitting across the country. You're going to see that hit in the gas prices, the prices that we pay. Right now, we're seeing gas prices up anywhere from 10 to 15 cents. Some analysts expected to spike into 50 cents a gallon by the end of the week.
Why is this happening? A couple of reasons. For one, the distribution of gasoline has hit a big hiccup and that is because the refineries in Houston and in Port Arthur have been shut down.
So, there's plenty of supply. There's a lot of gasoline but it's in storage at those refineries, but because as refineries are closed, you can't get that supply to market.
The other reason, frantic pictures on social media, of those news reports of production problems in making gasoline.
[20:25:01] So, that caused everybody to come out at once in droves, go to get gas, and these gas stations were not ready for that. They weren't ready to have this inundation of people buying gas. So, they ran out of supply -- Anderson.
COOPER: Alison Kosik, I appreciate you being there. It's the last thing that folks want to hear, but meteorologists have their eye now on another hurricane that's gaining strength. We want to see what's happening with it.
Tom Sater joins us now with the latest on Hurricane Irma.
So, what do we know about this? Where is it? How strong?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, it's interesting, Anderson. Last night when I was on with you, we were talking about concerns with Harvey, with the rivers rising and stress on the levees. I almost brought this up, but I thought, let's give it another 24 hours. It's a coast -- right off the coast of Africa this wave develop.
Irma, yesterday, was just a tropical storm. This morning, it became a category one hurricane. Before noon, a category two. Just hours ago, a category three.
We've never seen really, this is rare to have this kind of intensification so early on. The National Hurricane Center kind of carries it along its historical track, this is what we see this time of year toward the Caribbean, but it puts it up at a category four, as we get into Monday. Again, the computer models just like with Harvey, they've been incredible agreement with this and we're going to watch it move toward the Caribbean and as we get a little bit further out, we'll start to see maybe some concern as far as its fanning out.
We're going to need four or five more days, Anderson. It won't be this weekend but next weekend.
COOPER: Do we know -- you said next -- do we know when it could potentially make landfall?
SATER: Well it's 3,000 miles away right now, but to give you an idea, Anderson - I mean, let's take a look at the European weather model. This handled Harvey greatly. I mean fantastically. As it makes its way toward the Caribbean, if it interacts with land, it may lose some strength. But this model wants to keep it as a formidable storm at a category four, Saturday night in between Florida and Cuba.
Now, let's look at the U.S. model. That one puts it up near Bermuda on its way to Cape Cod. So, there is definitely some uncertainty here as we get in toward the weekend. However, we're leaning more toward the southern track here and if it moves in and south of Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, it could, and it's the last thing we want, have a landfall somewhere between maybe 9/11 or the 13th of September.
Let's hope it stays well to the east of Bermuda, up into the northern Atlantic, but right now, it looks more and more like it's taking the southern track. So, again, not this weekend, next weekend. But we're going to need another four or five more days. Still kill some uncertainty.
COOPER: All right. Tom Sater -- Tom, thanks very much.
Up next, how one family is dealing with what is just as unimaginable loss of six members of their family. I'm going to talk about where that family has drawn their comfort and helping them get through when we continue.
[20:31:10] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: As we're seeing, rescues continue across southeast Texas today. The scope is really still unimaginable. Charge (ph) kind of wrap your mind around Federal first responders estimated more than 10,000 people have been rescued so far plus more than 1,000 pets, but the work is certainly not over. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena knows that far too well, he joins me with the local where things stand. First of all, how are your efforts going? Because I understand today, you actually started on the ground searches of home, is that right?
SAMUEL PENA, CHIEF, HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT: That's correct. Today, we started the second phase of our response and recovery efforts. We did a wide area search and go home to home in areas that were affected by innovation and our threshold was anything that was -- that had three feet of water or more. We were going to go in there and search.
COOPER: But some homes have already kind of gotten across, look and neighbors know --
COOPER: That this is sort of a more systematic?
PENA: Exactly. It's a systemic approach to the search. Essentially when there was flooding we went and did a hasty tough search, you know, and -- but now that the waters have receded a little bit, we go and knock on every single home in the areas that are affected. We have six zones throughout the city of Houston that were going to hit. We've completed the first one today and we hope to get through the rest of them by the end of the day tomorrow.
COOPER: Obviously, the death toll is in the 30s at this point. It's impossible to know where things may go. PENA: Correct.
COOPER: And just -- I mean, as we saw in Katrina, those search efforts were very kind of ad hoc, people trying create a grid and they would write on the doors.
COOPER: Yours doing a more systematic?
PENA: It's a more systematic approach. We're not going to be doing any writing on any doors. We're not going to be putting any stickers on any doors because that's just an invitation for people that, you know, to in there do damage additional damage to people who have essentially lost everything. Our approach is, yes, it's systematic door to door but we're going to use a GPS-based system where we track it at the end of the day, we'll be able to quantify what we did and what we actually searched.
So that phase move we started today and we'll going to continue that through tomorrow. And then we're going to help with the recovery. And -- so that was encouraging with Mayor Sylvester Turner, myself and police chief, one of my flight today. And to see what the devastation is, of the storm was. And it was significant. It was significant but, you know, what was encouraging is the since of community. And it was encouraging to see people out in the streets, it was encourage to see traffic, people working in their homes and --
COOPER: You're seeing that today?
PENA: I'm seeing that today, exactly. You know, at hand, this storm affected everybody, single family home to multimillion homes. You know, if you going to stop, it was going to hit you.
PENA: But it's encouraging to see the community of Houston fight back.
COOPER: You know, to me, Houston, it's not only my favorite city in Texas, and always has been but I think it's one of the friendliest cities in Texas, and other family city, and I think we have seen that in just the last couple days. Neighbor helping neighbors and strangers -- I mean, again another kid yesterday, not from this area, saw what's happening. He brought a boat --
COOPER: He literally bought a boat by himself and then he brought it here and --
PENA: Yes, it's incredible. It's incredible to support the -- you mentioned it, neighbors helping neighbors. You know, we had people showing up at the fire station with bags of good, you know, for firefighters who had been working there for three days straight without having a time to go back and assess the damage to their own homes. But, you know, and -- but there was people that had lost essentially everything and they still found it in their heart to go out and help the first responders. You know, and that's the encouraging, that heart warming and that's an indication of the resiliency and tenacity of the community in Houston.
COOPER: Yes, Chief Pena, I appreciate your effort.
PENA: Yes, sir. Thank you. Yes sir.
COOPER: It's an honor talking to you.
Looking at the local neighborhood still covered in water six days in, seeing one flooded home, after another for mile after mile in some places. It's hard not to be concern for the condition of anyone who remain in yet to be rescued. Crews as Chief Pena mentioned continue to search block by block as Brian Todd talked today still making rescues. They same thing, which is make us think how awfully nightmarish it is to have been in those waters as why they were rising.
[20:35:18] We already know about some of those whose lives were lost in the awful moments. Police Sergeant Steve Perez died on his way into work and six members of the Saldivar family, a coupled and their four great grand children, the oldest 16. The youngest just six years old. The van they were being driven in swept away in flood water. The driver Samuel Saldivar made it to safety and he couldn't get the rest out of the van, he said. His sister in law, Virginia joins us now along with Danny Saldivar.
You've both been here. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for being with us. What do you want people to know about the six members of your family?
VIRGINIA SALDIVAR, LOST FAMILY MEMBERS: The kids were the sweetest kids in the whole world. They were loved by everybody. Anybody who knew them could tell you great stories about them. They were awesome.
COOPER: They lived right across --
V. SALDIVAR: They lived across the street from us and we've seen them every single day. And our lives are never going to be the same again. Ever. And my in-laws were the sweetest people too. They would do anything for anybody. Help anybody. And it's just so sad.
COOPER: Your dad, Manuel, he took care of your mom. Your mom started to get Alzheimer's and then he started to get it in more recent years?
DANNY SALDIVAR, LOST FAMILY MEMBERS: Yes, he was getting dementia. So he was thinking everybody was after him, like, he would still do anything for you. If he could.
COOPER: And they're tried to ride it through the storm and they left Sunday. Sammy was driving and the water got too deep.
D. SALDIVAR: Got too deep where they just tried to save the rising flood that was coming in. And they didn't make it. They didn't make. COOPER: How is he holding on?
D. SALDIVAR: He was suicidal for a little while, but, you know, he's calmed down now. We let him know that this was a tragic accident and we were lucky that he made it out alive. But, you know, it's still too tragic for him so --
COOPER: What you want people to know about your parents, about your grand kids?
D. SALDIVAR: They were great people. They would help you if they could. Our grand kids were just -- like she said, they were the sweetest kids in the world. They were like our kids and they were always like our kids.
COOPER: Your dad worked hard and always like raised all of you in the same house?
D. SALDIVAR: Yes. Five boys all together.
COOPER: It's been handful?
D. SALDIVAR: It was a handful.
COOPER: When -- How do you -- I mean, how do you go -- are you just going day by day at this point?
V. SALDIVAR: We're just going -- actually it's more like minute by minute because it just takes the slightest little thing to set us off. Today, we found one of daisy's stuffed animals at the house and Daniel broke down crying and that I have seen a 12 pack of Dr. Pepper that Dominic had worked for and paid for himself. And it just brought me to tears --
COOPER: Dominic was eight?
V. SALDIVAR: No, Dominic was 14.
COOPER: Is 14, yes.
V. SALDIVAR: Dominic was 14. So it's everything reminds us of the kids and especially at our house because they were always with us. Always there. And I just --
D. SALDIVAR: We always like them.
V. SALDIVAR: Yes. So I just -- I don't know. I don't know how we are going to go through this. It's so hard. My son is so brokenhearted too. And he's in prison. And he can't see them. And he gets out in 10 days. And we're trying to see if we can get him out earlier because he hasn't had any kind of, you know, reprimands or anything in prison. And we're just hoping that the warden will give him a furlough, he will go back, if they just let him out for the funeral. So he can get out.
COOPER: And I know -- I mean, you as family member, you were searching for them ever since Sunday.
V. SALDIVAR: Exactly.
D. SALDIVAR: Since we found out that they were lost. We went in the floodwaters and trying to get there but the current was way too swift. (INAUDIBLE) T.V. You know, I had to call our oldest some backup before we got swept away. So there was nothing we could do. We just have to wait it out.
COOPER: I wish you peace and strength in the days ahead and I know there's not much comfort, but I appreciate so much talking with us and I always think it's important for people to see this on the news to know who your parents were.
D. SALDIVAR: Yes.
COOPER: To you know, who your grand children were. So thank you very much for talking to us.
V. SALDIVAR: And I just say, thank you to everybody who donated to our funds. There is like three or four of them. The only one I can remember is ours which is Saldivar memorial fund. Thank you very much for donating and helping us. Because there was no insurance or money to bury my grand kids. And I think we are going to be OK now. I think they're going to get a decent funeral and we have to put my babies to rest. Thank you, everybody.
COOPER: Have you made the plans?
V. SALDIVAR: We haven't yet. We're in the process of making them because of course their mom has to be the one who makes those plans. We're helping her along the way and anything she needs we're there for her too. So she's going through a tough time too.
[20:40:03] COOPER: I'm glad you are with each other and taking care of each other. Thank you so much.
V. SALDIVAR: Thank you.
COOPER: I wish you the best.
V. SALDIVAR: I appreciate it.
D. SALDIVAR: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, another example of just what Houstonians are going through and what Houstonians are made of. A Houston hero on and off the football field, we'll see for the FNL Star J.J. Watt, who set up a goal four days ago to raise $200,000 for flood relief. He has now raised more than $12 million.
Also when we come back, one Harvey survivor returned to his flooded out home and inspiration stuff, we'll hear his remarkable story this moment that went viral.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, in the middle of the heart break of losing much of his home to Harvey's rising floodwaters, one man was able to expressed himself without words through music. Aric Harding had return home, picked up a few toys for his seven kids, sheltering at the friends house. We realized their piano was not completely under water. One of his son plays piano and that's when this happened. Watch.
[20:45:20] COOPER: And Aric Harding joins us now. When I saw that video, I mean, I got to tell you, it's bring tears to your eyes. Did you think you were we going to play piano when you went home?
ARIC HARDING, EVACUEE WHO PLAYED PIANO IN FLOODED HOME: No, we were literary just going to go get some stuff and it is -- you know, I thought my son, is like, I assumed that it's working.
HARDING: And so I didn't know if would work.
COOPER: That's something he had talked about. He was concern about the piano?
HARDING: Right. I assumed it didn't work. I was going to, you know, do it for video.
HARDING: But that was the way he would know but it works and so I just end up posting piece of that video later on. And it kind of start recording with something our pastor had said in a Facebook live video to us. You know, about that we are all going to go through suffering but in that suffering, God is going do stuff. So -- and then so that coupled with this kind of airy flooded piano just kind of struck a cord all over the place.
COOPER: When you were doing that, what did think? I mean, did you have any idea that would strike this kind of cord? No pun intended.
HARDING: No. I mean, I just kind of posted it. I really knew that my closest friends would be like, that being melodramatic and they were, melodramatic.
COOPER: One of the things we were talking during the break is, your neighborhood. What happened and what happened since? The response that you have seen among your neighbors. I know maybe some people who aren't here are get sick of hearing about the stuff but I just think it's such an important thing to talk about.
COOPER: Because so many times, we see the working both -- I mean, in trade (ph) after trade we've seen the best of people here.
HARDING: American been filled with the worst people, right for hour and hour. And so to see stuff like this, like I mean, 24 hours after that video was made, I probably had 40 people at my house, tearing up walls and removing the wide installation, and laughing together and just -- it's filled with life.
COOPER: People are helping out.
HARDING: Yes. You know, so we got eight house on the street and so they're all -- two of our neighbors were stuck in Dallas and so today, there's another -- there's cruise over there. Church just ripping it out and make it happen and so when they came home one of them got home actually on the way here. They didn't came home to it but they came home like their church family. So that's parable. That's people loving people the right way. And it goes this new relationship to our neighbors that we never had. You know.
COOPER: You've meet neighbors. You got to know the way you never really --
HARDING: Really. We live -- like I have seven children. So we get off to new rescue and we show up at -- and like literary guys like, got to people I know and we knew him but not like well, he's like -- come on. No one takes seven kids and their dogs, never. You know, we forget --
COOPER: It's also small, though?
HARDING: It's big enough that's (INAUDIBLE) of door OK, you know.
COOPER: Oh really OK.
HARDING: It's really bad but we're working on it. So it's been cool. It's amazing.
COOPER: Well, I appreciate you sharing a few moments with us I wish your family the best.
HARDING: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
COOPER: Thank you so much, for your thought there, Aric Harding.
We'll see you right back. More ahead.
[20:52:08] COOPER: Welcome back. The breaking news from Houston, Brian Todd is with crews in the middle of a rescue tool. Let's go back to him. Brian, what's going on?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, this gentleman named Eric Zappy (ph), we just had to pull him and his canoe out of this rushing water. He got stuck in kind of a mangrove and he couldn't go any further. We just -- he was waving his paddle and we've pulled over to him and pulled him out because he got he got his young nephew and a cat but he's -- he went back to his house to get, Eric (ph). Tell me, how did you get stuck out here? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, obviously the current is way too strong. We paddled this way towards our house, the current was fine but actually I think the current is not even stronger as we were turning. And the same time, one of our paddles broke. So we were in a situation where it's unfortunate but fortunately I had to cellphone, it was fully charged. I was able to communicate with loved ones and they were able to communicate with the lifeguard with the Cajun Navy and miraculously, here we are here safe, so.
TODD: We're not actually with them. We were just kind of patrolling in an air boat looking at -- surveying the damage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TODD: Is this actually a street?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This is street. Absolutely. My house is around the corner. I've got three feet of water and, unfortunately, last Sunday, the water was encroaching on our house. I actually -- we were -- got a knock on our door that said, please, you got 30 minutes if you want to leave. So we were able to got my wife, myself, we brought our dog, left out -- but the worst was behind us, as left the cat upstairs with plenty of food, plenty of water. She's safe, she's healthy and everything.
Today we're -- this is the opportunity for us, if anything, to try to rescue our cat. There were no boats at the time so our neighbor had a canoe and so -- and we actually tested it going the opposite direction and it seemed the current was fine at the time. Fortunately -- or at least unfortunately, that was not the case, so.
TODD: And we've got actually some other rescuers who have come.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TODD: Maybe these are guys we've called.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TODD: Come and join us here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We are the ones.
TODD: OK. So this is an active situation, Anderson. He called these gentlemen. But he got stuck here. And the only way we saw him was -- we saw this canoe paddle going up and down and he was yelling help and we came and pulled him out of here. Now, these gentlemen who have come to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are good to go.
TODD: These gentlemen have come to rescued --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to say kudos to the Cajun Navy for all the people here in Houston, everyone has been wonderful. And everyone has gotten together, and helped each other out. It's been a beautiful, wonderful thing. And I just can't count my blessings enough that you guys are here to help save us. Thank you. Thank you enough.
TODD: And ironically, Anderson, Eric is a meteorologist with the national weather service of all things. We going to get underway. We got to get down. So, we'll toss it back to you.
COOPER: All right, Brian Todd.
CNN's Alexander Marquardt was also our on flooded street today. And he was actually on a different kind of mission. Returning someone home. Let's watch.
BILL WOLF (PH): There's can be a mailbox here.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the first time that Bill Wolf (ph) has been able to get back to his house since being evacuated.
[20:55:02] WOLF: Surreal is probably the understatement of the century here. You know, watching a 30-foot fishing boat drive down your street is like something that you've just never seen before. This is my intersection here. And I don't know, this is crazy.
MARQUARDT (on camera): We'll see how high the water is, Bill.
WOLF: Yes. So I mean, we'll see if I can get in or not.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Captain Kenny Evans (ph) is talking Wolf back.
MARQUARDT (on-camera): One minute you're stressed about your gutters and then everything you have is ruined.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): It was Evans who rescued the Wolf family along with their cat and dog in the middle of the storm on Monday.
Oh, Lord. After navigating the boat to the door, we waded into the living room. Furniture now floating through past the pictures of his sons.
WOLF: I'm really proud of them. I'm really proud of them, my wife and my family. They're tough little kids.
MARQUARDT (on camera): They're holding up?
WOLF: Yes. Yes, it's -- I'm not an emotional guy. I'm pretty calm. And this has been too much for me. To be honest, I don't know if I want to be here very long.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Back in the office, the real loss becomes clear.
WOLF: And 150 of your family bible and there was water.
MARQUARDT: Stacks of photo albums, baby books and sentimental items. MARQUARDT (on camera): Is this the worst part, the personal stuff?
WOLF: Yes. I mean, this is the stuff you can't replace, right? I mean, this is my son's birth announcements. I mean --
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Upstairs where it's dry, Wolf throws his son's toys and sheets into garbage bags.
MARQUARDT (on camera): You think there's a possibility you may never live in this house again?
WOLF: I don't know. Yes, I mean, it's going to sit here for a month or two. It's six feet of water in it, so.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Up and down this neighborhood today, people taking stock of their belongings and their lives. 86-year-old Ed Windler (ph) is also back for the first time. With Captain Evans, we found him on Monday in his dark bedroom alone with no power. He needs his medicine so Evans heads inside past countless possessions now suspended in the dark floodwaters.
MARQUARDT (on camera): This was Ed office, all of these papers piled high on his desk and now they are all totally ruined. The water in here is so high that back there in the kitchen the fridge is now floating on its side.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): On the boat, Windler tries to take it all in.
ED WINDLER (PH): It's just very confusing. Can't get it wrapped up in my mind what's going to be next. And what I'm going to need to do.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Windler and Wolf are two of the countless people who Captain Evans has helped this week and his work is far from over.
MARQUARDT (on camera): It's not even real. You see this stuff on T.V. but this is total devastation, in every way physically, emotionally.
COOPER: That was Alexander Marquardt reporting.
J.J. Watt, a football star was going to be on this hour. He still on his way here. He have to navigate some time in Houston, he got lost. We're going to bring you J.J. at 11:00 Eastern time for another -- when we're on live for another hour. He's now raised more than $12.7 million for flood relief. He posted this video. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J.J. WATT, FOOTBALL STAR: We started out on Sunday with the goal of raising $200,000 and just now surpassed the $10 million mark. I'm going to leave the link open. We're going to see how high we can get it. I can't say thank you enough. Celebrities, musicians, athletes, kids with lemonade stands, people hosting fund raisers, businesses donating.
I cannot thank everybody enough. What's happening right now is -- my focus is very much on getting this money directly back to the people. As I've said the whole time. We have the semi-trucks being filled up as we speak, coming out here to donate the supplies this weekend. That's phase one, that's going to be the first phase of our operation to get as an immediate impact as we can.
We have things like water, food, clothing, generators, baby supplies, cleaning supplies but if there's something I'm not thinking of, please leave it in the comments because we want to make sure that we get these people exactly what they need so we can help rebuild as quickly as we can. Houston, we're thinking of you. Thank you to everybody who's donated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, I'm going to speak with J.J. He's getting back at 11:00 Eastern time here tonight. So we'll interview him then.
Also, before we go, I want to thank everybody here in this neighborhood which is Wilchester West for their incredible hospitality. They let our crew camp out on the lawn and broadcast. So thank you for being here and letting us be here and stay strong. You guys are incredibly impressive and show the best of the Houston. So thank you.
COOPER: Folks in Wilchester West. That's it for us here. Again, we'll be back 11:00 east coast time for another live edition of "360" with J.J. Watt. Right now, it's time to hand things over to Chris Cuomo. Cuomo Prime Time starts now.
[21:00:09] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Anderson. We're going to check back with you in just a few.
I am Chris Cuomo and this is Prime Time.