Return to Transcripts main page


Immigrants in Houston Face Double Threat; Kenyan Supreme Court Orders New Presidential Election; NAFTA Negotiations Resume After Trumps Threat; Harvey Exposes Failing Infrastructure; Companies Find Creative Ways to Help Harvey Victims. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 1, 2017 - 16:00:00   ET


[16:00:00] PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST: You know, this rally just won't stop. A long holiday weekend, low volume, it inched up so close to the 22,000

mark. It's Friday, September 1st.

Signs of recovery in Houston, but undocumented immigrants there face a new threat. Back to the voting booth. Kenya surprises with a court order and

new presidential election.

And NAFTA negotiations resume under the shadow of president Trump's threats. Mexico is calling his bluff. I'm Paula Newton and this is QUEST


Good evening and welcome. Tonight, Houston says it's open for business. Slowly but surely there are now signs of an emerging recovery in water-

logged Texas. The Port of Houston, this is so significant, has reopened for the first time in a week. It is a vital economic driver. We can't

overstate this. It impacts 2.7 million jobs right across the United States.

Now meantime debris removal is under way. A federal official tells CNN there is a good plan in place, but danger lurks in Harvey's wake, mold,

disease, chemicals and sewage are all threats now. Just imagine it. And in Beaumont where 135,000 people were stranded -- the irony of it --

without running water, new emergency pumps have arrived as the floods recede. And U.S. army corps of engineers are being asked to think outside

of the box and they are working to try and get things up and running.

Our Rosa Flores is on the ground in Houston tonight as she has been for several days. Rosa, I know you have been out with people doing the best

they can to try and get out on with their lives. What's the challenge now?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've talked to multiple people who have returned to their homes for the very first time, after the rising waters,

after they were rescued. I want you to take a look behind me. Because this is what we're seeing in the city of Houston. Neighbors helping

neighbors. This is the actually the home of Evelyn Hawkins. They call her mama Hawkins here. And the people that you see around her are her church

members, her church family. These are people who say that Ms. Hawkins has helped so many throughout her life that they wanted to come out and help

her rebuild. You can see that they are drying out her things. They are pulling out anything and everything that is soaked inside her house. And

they are helping her get a fresh start.

Now you know, Paula, we heard a lot of stories of a lot of grief because of the hurricane. Now we're starting to hear the stories of people helping

people, so that they can rebuild Houston, one house at a time. Paula --

NEWTON: Rosa, it is going to be tough. You know, the mayor was really quite passionate, to say, look, we're open for business. But we need some

help. I mean, help was out here in terms of trying to understand this push-pull between what the federal government is offering, but what he

local community there says, look, sometimes you just need to give us what we don't even know we need yet.

FLORES: Right, and that's the thing. And there's a lot of learning the past storms. We hear it all the time. What did we learn from Katrina?

What did we learn from Rita? What did we learn from Ike? For the people, here who have gone through this multiple times. Ms. Evelyn behind me, has

gone through this four times, she tells us. This is the fourth time that she's gone to a rebuilding process.

So, that's why a lot of people don't wait for the federal government. They don't wait for the state government. They pull up their sleeves, with

their friends and their church members, like you see behind me, and they start just doing it themselves. Because yes, it's great to know that the

force of the United States government will eventually come and help you. But if your house is starting to mold. If you house is starting to stink

inside because everything is so soaked.

Texans have done it before. They roll up their sleeves. They take out fall of the stuff from their house. They put it out on the curb. The city

comes and picks it up. You'll probably see -- I don't know if you're able to see it, but this what you'll see along streets in Houston. Mounds and

mounds of just furniture, stuff, it's all over. Why Because people don't wait for the federal government. They don't wait for the state government.

[16:05:00] They take action, and it's the only way they can start rebuilding, make sure that their home is going to be in the best coition

that it can. And we can't go in, because we don't want to interrupt the operation here, Paula. But you'll also see that they started taking out

the sheet rock. Everything in the house that has gotten wet. In this area, it's probably about three or four feet. They will cut that sheetrock

very quickly, that house will be down to the studs so that it can dry out and then they'll start rebuilding. People in taxes have done it before.

And many of them they're not going to wait for the federal government.

NEWTON: Yes, I'm sure it feels good to be getting on with it. And we can all use a mom on the scene during these times, right. Glad she's there.

We will continue to keep in touch with you as Houston and the rest of Texas starts to recover. Appreciate it.

Now, estimates are ready peg Harvey to be the second costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. That's after Katrina. But government officials

say it could yet surpass that storms more than $100 billion price tag. And you can see why just from what Rosa just showed us. But look at the stats.

Houston is the fourth-largest and the most culturally diverse city in the United States. Economists say that will help pull it through some of these

setbacks from hurricane Harvey.

Now its recent growth has been absolutely astounding. The metropolitan area has been growing -- has about 6.5 million residents. The area is a

well-kwon hub -- as we've been talking about for days -- for global oil and 20 Fortune 500 companies call Houston home. Now is also a great center for

cancer research. And the Johnson Space Center employs some 15,000 people.

Because the economy has been so strong. Residents who had to flee their homes are much more likely to return. And you know, that wasn't the case

of what happened in New Orleans in 2005 when Katrina struck that community. The mayor of Houston told CNN that you know, he just can't wait for the

final damage assessment of Harvey. As we said, that could take some time. He wants the money now.


Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston (via phone): We need -- everyone needs to offer up, with a sense of urgency. We need money advanced to us now.

We started out having to need improvement two days ago. And we'll be out there every day. But we need to ramp up and we need immediately, just for

the debris removal alone, anywhere between 75 to $100 million.


NEWTON: A source familiar with the discussions in Washington says the Trump administration will request nearly $6 billion in additional funding

for the relief effort. Al Green is a Democrat Congressman from the Houston Area. He Joins Me Now. Congressman Green we are so happy to see the sun

shining at least in Houston. And to see that the water is receding. But tell me what's it going to take to start to get this community back on

their feet?

REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: Thank you for having me. I'm delighted to see the sun a well. It will take large sums of money from Washington, D.C.

The 5.5 billion is a start. But you're right, your news report of it taking more Dan 100 billion is correct. I was in Louisiana after Katrina.

I've had an opportunity to compare both of these circumstances. And I assure you, Houston will exceed $100 billion. More than 70 percent of the,

area was covered with more than one foot of water. Now we've had over 136,000 structures that were damaged. Tens of thousands of cars -- that

were legally parked by the way -- these are not cars stranded out on t freeway. They were in driveways. Homes have been damaged. We do have a

lot of damage and we do have to call upon the Congress of the United States of America to do what it's supposed to do. This is what your government is

for. To help you through a time of crisis.

NEWTON: And it does look there is that kind sentiment at least for now. Both at the White House and in Congress, will wait to see what happens. In

terms of what you are going to need more logistically. We've talked about that lot. This is not like Katrina, because Houston and Texas remain at

the heart at the very core of the America economy. How much do you worry that things will get bogged down if you don't get the money that you need?

What is a vital strand, again of that American economy.

GREEN: Well I am worried. The port has reopened, and that's a good thing. The airports are still having hundreds of flights canceled. But they're

coming back online as well. We still have the finest medical complex in the world. Houston is the medical center for the world. People come here

from every place to get health care. We need to make sure that our hospitals are up and running properly. We need to make sure our airports,

if there are structural damage is there, they're taken care of. And we need to make sure that the port of Houston gets what it needs. We cannot

allow ourselves to get into bickering about walls. Houston needs levees, not walls. We've got to move forward and we've got to do it expeditiously.

[16:10:03] NEWTON: In terms of who you think you can bring on board, we talked about the government, corporate America, how much do you think that

they will be a factor in trying to rebuild Houston and the communities outside of Houston.

GREEN: well, they're ready a factor. Walmart has contributed $10,000 to pardon me -- $10 million according to a report that I just read. We've had

others in this area to make generous contributions. One of our football players has been in the business of raising literally millions of dollars.

People are going to give. They're going to open up not only their hearts but they're opening up their purses. But in the final analysis, the

federal government has to step in. This is what the government is there for. And the government has to take all the heavy lifting. Others will do

lifting that will be consequential, but the government has to take on the most consequential aspect of this recovery.

NEWTON: Tell me Congressman, Texas is diverse in many ways, not least of which from the fact that it elects a lot of Democrats and a lot of

Republicans. Have you reached out? Has the Republicans reach out to you? Are you guys working in a coordinated way to get the message through the

Washington of what you need?

GREEN: The Speaker called me and we talked. We had an amiable conversation. I have talked to my colleagues on the other side of the

aisle. I've not talk to a colleague so for who has indicated that he or she would have some consternation about trying to help us get to a complete

recovery to the extent that we can. But I also would assure you that we are going to be pushing for things to happen quickly, is not enough to have

it happen next year. The mayor indicated he needs $100 million just for debris removal alone. So, my colleagues seem to be on board. My hope is

that we'll get it done.

NEWTON: Yes, and such a great point, right. We don't need to come in months. We need it to come in the next few days and weeks. Congressman

thank you so much. And I'm sure that you know, CNN here, we've been hearing from people right around the world who are very concerned and who

wish everyone there all best work.

GREEN: Well, if I may say so, you are the critical news network. You are there when the critical information has to be accorded. You get it out.

And by the way, you've saved lives as well in the process. My hope is that we'll integrate our news coverage more into the actual recovery itself. I

can see a need now for greater integration of news along with us first responders.

NEWTON: And I'm sure everyone on the ground for CNN is up for it. Congressman, again, thanks so much appreciate it.

Now U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce Tuesday the fate of a controversial Obama era immigration program known as DACA. The program

allows undocumented immigrants below the age of 30 and arrived as children to live and work in the United States for two years. Now advocacy groups

warn that ending the program would be quite a blow to the economy. Now a study estimates there are nearly 800,000 participants in the DACA program.

Losing it would cost employers $2 billion. GDP would take a hit of some $280 billion over the course of 10 years.

Earlier present Trump a drawn on what kind of action he would actually take.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- they must be worried.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We love the "Dreamers." We love everybody.

NEWTON: He loves everybody. Now this is an interesting development today. The US House Speaker, Paul Ryan, is asking the president to hold off

scrapping DACA. Remember he is a Republican and corporate America is standing with the Dreamers as well. They include Best Buy, Netflix, and

Microsoft in an open letter to President Trump, they wrote.

Dreamers are vital to the economy all of our companies and of course, to the greater economy. They are part of why we will continue to have a

global competitive advantage.

Now ending DACA would hit Houston particularly hard. This is iron municipal story. The city is home to some 600,000 undocumented immigrants,

85,000 residents are right now covered under DACA. There are already concerns the victims of Harvey are not coming forward due to the threat of

arrest or deportation. Cesar Espinosa is from FIEL. His organization works with Houston-based DACA resident -- recipients, pardon me. And you

yourself are on DACA right now benefiting from the program. Just from an emotional point of view -- we just had the President come out just moments

ago and said, oh, you know we might have the decision tomorrow, Sunday. We're now hearing it's Tuesday. How does it make you feel when he says we

love all the Dreamers?

CESAR ESPINOSA, FIEL HOUSTON: Well, to us is very hypocritical when he starts saying that. I mean, if you really loved all the dreamers, then he

would do everything to protect them. When you love somebody, you protect them. And at this point if we are left without deferred action. If we are

left without DACA, there were no longer going to be protected. It's very emotional. We have been dealing with physical storms but as well as

internal storms here in Houston in terms of the undocumented community. We dealt with the physicals from Harvey. But we were also worried about C4.

[16:15:00] Thankfully, a judge stop that just a couple of days ago. And now we are dealing with another internal storm, which is the possible

ending of DACA. Many Dreamers were looking forward to having her DACA to be able to help their families rebuild. And at this point we don't even

know what's going to happen next.

NEWTON: You know, what's at stake for you? What would it mean for you if this program ended?

ESPINOSA: If the programming it would mean that I would once again be undocumented. I have been living here in the United States for 26 years.

I've done all my school here. I graduated from college and I am a working member of Houston society as well as is a state of Texas and was United

States of America. So, for me would be a devastating blow. Because I will go back into the shadows. I wouldn't have a driver's license. I mean, I

would be in fear of deportation. With the way deportations have been ramping up, that is we'll fear that we has undocumented people have -- even

though we have DACA now, we still don't know what can happen next.

NEWTON: And in terms of the Speaker, Paul Ryan, saying now that he thinks there should be a congressional fix. I mean, from the people that you

speak to, do you think that that's a reality when Congress right now can't seem to agree on anything?

ESPINOSA: Well we hope that we're reaching across the aisle. I mean, we did have a plan of action leading up to September 5. But obviously the

hurricanes derailed all those plans. So now we're trying to get back -- not only are we trying to get back on our feet physically, but were trying

to get our program back in order. So, we can start reaching out to our congressional representative. To all people who are involved with this so

that hopefully we can come to a good determination on the future of the deferred action program. But nevertheless, we're still going to be

pushing. We're still going to be fighting for legislation like the Dream Act. And were going to be pushing for legislation that would legalize the

more than 11 million undocumented people who currently reside and who are continuing to build America and make America what it is today.

NEWTON: You know, you're at the Houston Convention Center right now, it is still a shelter. This impacted of this storm as we just discussed is still

yet to come. What's it like for the people in this program to now here today that this is being debated back and forth and knowing now until

Tuesday what's going out with the fate of the program?

ESPINOSA: Well there's a lot of fear in our community. Every time there's something that comes out on Twitter or Facebook people start calling our

office immediately and asking what's going to happen next. For many people, we've already received calls of Dreamers in fear -- calling us and

asking us, you know, I'm really hoping that they don't take away DACA because my family has lost everything. And without DACA it's going to be

really difficult for us to rebuild. But our community is strong. Our community is resilient. And we came here without nothing and we are going

to continue to build and to make our futures better with or without, we have to keep fighting. But we hope that the DACA program

remains in effect so that our families can continue to rebuild. And dreamers all over the United States should continue to contribute back to

their communities, to their economies and to our society.

NEWTON: OK, Cesar, we will continue to follow this issue especially as it pertains to Houston and Texas. Really appreciate your time, thanks.

Still I had on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, Kenya's Supreme Court orders a new presidential election. What it could mean for the economic growth story in

East Africa. And after that we are back on the ground in Texas I speak with the American Civil Society of Engineers, they say the U.S. is paying

the price for decades of ignoring its infrastructure.



[16:20:35] DAVID MARAGA, KENYON SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: A declaration is hereby issued that the presidential elections held on the eighth August

and 17 was not conducted in accordance with the Constitution in the applicable law rendering the declared results invalid, null and void.


NEWTON: You heard it, void. For the first time in Kenya's history judges have nullified the results of a presidential election. President Uhuru

Kenyatta says he disagrees with the ruling, but respects it. Opposition candidate meantime, Raila Odinga, is jubilant. He calls the ruling

precedent-setting. We want to review how things got to this point.

Now the main issue here in terms was an apparent discrepancy between the electronic results as transmitted in the manual count. Now, the Carter

Center had sent former U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, as one of 400 election observers. You know what, we've got John Kerry. We've got the

Carter Center. And we have 400 monitors. He said then that that while there was quote little aberrations here and there were a few little aberrations here and there, but the process was

essentially open. Now the Carter Center issued a statement just a few hours ago, actually praising the court and saying they had done the right

thing in terms of having independent inquiry.

Now new elections have been ordered of course. And they happen within 60 days. Yes, everybody's been sent right back to the starting line. That's

also the deadline though for the court to publish its full ruling. A lot of people are waiting to hear that full ruling. CNN's Farai Sevenzo is one

of them. He joins us now from Nairobi. Listen, we cannot overstate what a surprise this was. How much of a test is this going to be to a Kenyan

political system that has already been through so much in a decade?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. Nobody saw this coming. It came from Litchfield, from wherever, that this happened.

We were coming to the Bureau this morning expecting the judgment to be rubberstamped. Yes, Mr. Kenyatta has won. But of course, what this does

to the Kenyan people, whose appetite for voting, remember Paula, has not been diminished by this. They went around the block to come to this

election. And they were determined to make their mark and vote for their man. But what the six judges, four Mr. Odinga's petition, and two against.

It basically said it wasn't free and fair. That it was not valid, null and void as you rightly say.

So, we are waiting to see the nitty-gritty of what it is it made them come to that decision. And of course, it throws the whole presence of election

observing into disarray. But to be fair though, Paula, I've just been looking back at the EU statement. I mean, they did say immediately after

the election that the process had been fair. But they also went on to say that this preliminary statement is delivered prior to the completion of the

collection process. The final assist with the relations will depend on the content of the remaining stages of the election process. In particular the

telling of results. Acceptance of the results and the handling of election petitions.

So, they kind of foresaw that this was coming. But they made their statement way too early and of course the opposition said they rush to

judgment. But it is finally in the hands of the courts and the courts have delivered their verdict. So, we all go back to covering the selection all

over again, Paula. How fun it is for us.

NEWTON: And of course, you highlighted -- you are right to highlight the enthusiasm of the those Kenyan voters. But if your Kenyan voter right now,

you're thinking to yourself, let me get this straight. In 60 days, they want me to go back. How do I know that the process them about to engage in

again will be proper and will be accepted again by both leaders and the courts?

SEVENZO: This the thing with Kenyan politics, Paula. But is so polarized behind these two men. Remember they are long-term rivals and when indeed

Mr. Kenyatta was announced as the winner, we reported four deaths here. The Human Rights Commission of Kenya reported 24. So, when we went around

those strongholds of Odinga's this afternoon and watch them celebrate and full of glee that they have another shot of putting their man in power.

They really are embracing this they think.

[16:25:00] and they're very proud of the fact that it's a precedent in African politics. No court in all of Africa's elections has ever provided

this kind of result. So, in terms of the voters, I think they're very keen to go back to the booth.

NEWTON: That's so interesting. And again, important to note that this ruling really echoed through the whole of Africa for that reason, in terms

of its precedent-setting. I know you will stay on top of this story. Thank you very much.

We do want to though take a look now at the turbulent past of Kenyan presidential elections. I mean, as we were just alluding to, the history

is important here. In 2007 Odinga claimed the vote had been rigged after he lost to the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki. The country plunged into widespread

violence there. More than a thousand people were killed in months of bloodshed. Now there were some protests after Odinga lost in the 2013

election to Kenyatta, but the situation was largely peaceful. Remember, you just heard that these two candidates had been added a long time.

And after last month selection there was unfortunately sporadic violence. At least 24 people were killed nationwide. Now the Kenyan court's ruling

took just about everyone by surprise. And of course, that included the business community and investors. Stocks plummeted on the Nairobi Stock

exchange. Trading was briefly halted. The FTSE NSE Kenya 25 index finish down 4 percent for the day. Kenya is in the midst of an investment boom.

Its economy is the largest in East Africa. The IMF expects it to grow by 6 percent this year and by 6 1/2 percent next year.

Now we want to do a bit of a deep dive on this, especially on the economics with it, with Jeremy Awori. He CEO of Barclays Bank Kenya. He joins me

now again from Nairobi. Listen, I can already hear you saying, you will say business took this calmly. They will take it in their stride, but I

find this hard to believe. Certainly, the winner had a pro-business agenda. The market had cheered that. What's at stake now if they don't

get this right the second time?

JEREMY AWORI, CEO, BARCLAYS BANK KENYA: I think the first thing is this is a historic and important verdict that we've got. We have to remember that

we've got a situation now where we have to go back to the polls. But remember, we to do it peacefully and we need to keep business going and

separate out the political process from the business process. Because we don't need uncertainty lasting for longer than it needs to as we move

forward with our agenda.

NEWTON: And how do businesses like yours do that though? Again, there are lot of challenges still in the Kenyan economy. And as well as the economy

has been doing, many expected more from Kenya in the last decade.

AWORI: Yes, I mean, I think they're still very many positives for the country. We talked about this on this very show. And when we look at our

location, we look at our economic growth, it's right up there. We've got a great population. Very entrepreneurial, very innovative, many companies

have actually been putting their hubs here in Nairobi because they believe in this economy in this market. We remain optimistic.

NEWTON: Ok, but you just bring up my point. If you had just open a new business, you put a new investment in Kenya, you have to be sitting back

and saying to yourself, there is a lot more political risk here than I thought there would be.

AWORI: In fact, quite the contrary. What I would say is we've seen actually a very mature political process. And we've seen institutions

actually coming through. The judicial has taken a very difficult decision and said, this election is null and void from a presidential perspective

and sent us back to the polls. That shows that we really built our institutions and that we should be proud of this fact. It doesn't

automatically mean that this is going to be a problem the economy or a problem for business. It just means for the short while we have to go

through this process. But the business prospects still remain very positive for this country and for businesses here. So, as an investor, I'm

still very optimistic about the future as we move forward.

NEWTON: And understood. And it's a good point to make in a sense that so far, it's been peaceful. And it seems like both sides have accepted. But,

you know what, politics has stalled again for several months. I don't have to tell you about the challenges ahead in Kenya. Principal among them is

the corruption is still continually right. Do you worry that really for what a Kenya could be in the next couple years? That the stalling of the

political process -- no matter how peaceful -- will put a dent in potential.

AWORI: No, I think what we've got to do is everybody agrees we've got to tackle corruption in both the public sector and the private sector.

Because that is going to be critical to give businesses confidence to be able to invest in this country. But also, equally critical is also a very

fair and reliable judiciary and legal process. And that's what we've seen today. So, even though there are things that we've got to agree address,

there are still many opportunities that we see as business here in Kenya and in the region.

NEWTON: We will watch with interest, and obviously pray that everything continues to be peaceful there and watch the results coming forward.

Jeremy, always good to have you come appreciated.

[16:30:00] Now experts say Americans are paying the price for years of underfunding infrastructure projects in the path of those late summer

storms like Harvey. Now 12 years after Hurricane Katrina, we asked to give any lessons have been learned.


NEWTON: Hello, I'm Paula Newton, and there's much more QUEST means business in a moment. When Harvey puts what some call America's failing

infrastructure in the spotlight. The president of the American Society of Civil Engineers tells me how much it will cost to fix it.

And the devastation meets its match as donations poor in. We'll show you some of the creative ways companies are helping. Before that though, they

headlines this hour.

The mayor of Houston is demanding immediate assistance after the U.S. government are to begin rebuilding after hurricane Harvey. Now, he says

people cannot live in shelters forever. And he expressed serious concern about the mounds of debris starting to dot this city as floodwaters


"The New York Times" reports special counsel, Robert Mueller, has obtained a letter that explains why U.S. President Donald Trump fired former FBI

director, James Comey. Now Mr. Trump and a top aide apparently drafted the letter just days before Comey was let go. The Times did not reveal what

was in the letter, but reports White House counsel, Don McGhan, considered it in his words, problematic.

Kenya's top court has ordering new presidential elections within the next 60 days after nullifying last month's contentious vote. The court says the

election was not in accordance with the Constitution. Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga now has another chance to win after losing to Uhuru


Monsoon rains are claiming more lives in South Asia. A flash flood killed 16 people in Karachi, Pakistan. Most of them children. Many were

electrocuted after down power lines fell into the water. The death toll from monsoon flooding across South Asia now tops 1,200.

And we return to our top story. The devastation from Harvey. We've all heard the statistics. Tens of trillions of gallons of water -- what I've

been banging on about is what the heck does all of that look like? Thankfully it's Tom Foreman to the rescue. He explains the vast amounts of

rainwater which Texas has seen.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 45 million gallons every minute, that is how much water flows over all the falls of that Niagara. And yet they

would have to run for 381 days to equal the amount of water that Harvey has dumped in Texas and Louisiana. Some experts now putting the total dumped

there at 25 trillion gallons, some say less, but is it possible to be that much? Well, look at the vastness of the area and you will see how it might

be. If you put this over in California, if would stretch from Los Angeles up to San Francisco. Shove it to the East over here and you would have it

going from Washington D.C. to above New York, and by comparison the worst tropical storm rainfall in California was 1976 Kathleen.

[16:35:00] What was that? Just under 15 inches over a much smaller area. What about on the East Coast? That was New York in 2011, Irene, a little

over 13 inches. But look at Harvey, this massive amount, well over 50 inches in some areas. Really high in other areas even if it wasn't that

high, that is why all the records are being shattered here. And if you were to compare this to Katrina for example. Very different types of

storms, Katrina had broken levees, all sorts of things like that. Here is a comparison, a lot of New Orleans ended up flooded with somewhere between

10 to 20 feet of water. This is what 20 feet would look like next to me.

If you took all of the water from Harvey and you compress it into a smaller area like this, it would completely engulfed buildings that were 12 stories

tall. And very mind even when this water starts going away, the danger will still be there. Because this water is not pristine, it is now been

infused with petrochemicals, and now it's agricultural runoff and toxins from homes and businesses, and raw sewage. Many, many, many threats out

there. Even as the water drains off.


NEWTON: Our Tom Foreman there, I told you it would be good, now these latest images from Houston are reminiscent of 2005 when hurricane Katrina

ripped through New Orleans failing infrastructure. Tom was just talking there about the levees. Katrina did not even deal direct below but the

federal levees breached in the city was devastated. It caused more than $100 billion in damage. And 1500 people lost their lives in Louisiana


Twelve years later as the U.S. stares down another natural disaster, the American Society of Civil Engineers still only gives the country's

infrastructure a D+. The organization's president Norma Jean Mattei told me hurricanes like Katrina and Harvey should remind us why infrastructure

investment is so critical.


NORMA JEAN MATTEI, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS: the problem is we have as Americans for generation have taken off investing in

infrastructure, Our infrastructure has gotten old. It has not kept up with population shifts and trends. It is not innovative. It is not resilient.

And all of these things are so important, in particular, resiliency when it comes communities that are suffering. Because a resilient community with

resilient infrastructure can come back much more quickly. And a D+ or a D grade just doesn't indicate to me that our infrastructure is resilient.

NEWTON: Which is ominous, especially, when you think about the magnitude of storms like Harvey in the fact that there may be more of them to come.

In terms of infrastructure, keyword there, obviously, Donald Trump wants to get that bill going. It does not seem like it's a huge priority right now,

they want to do tax reform first. But as an engineer, do you think something good could come out of Harvey to really give impetus to the

entire country to get that infrastructure bill through Congress and get past?

MATTEI: Well, I think that all of those Houstonians who are right now standing ankle-deep, knee-deep inside of their homes would say that they

would like to have more investment in infrastructure. Because they now feel the way that I now watching them. The next time it happens their

hearts are going to go out to that community that is suffering so much. If we as a nation can pull together and start investing in infrastructure,

perhaps we can lessen the blow of the next hurricane Harvey that happens.

NEWTON: Does it mean though it's pretty crystal-clear that many of the lessons from Katrina were not learned, and that is why they are still

having a hard time in Texas?

MATTEI: It takes a long time to build infrastructure, letter also takes a willingness to invest in infrastructure. And Houston has grown very fast

and so that is part of the problem with Houston, that fast population growth that has changed land-use in that area, so that now water runs off

much more quickly into storm drains. It's actually not that new a city, it has been around since the 1800s. And so, some of its infrastructure is not

new, and so I think investing in infrastructure in Houston will play a big part in perhaps minimizing flooding from heavy rains that, I think right

now if you look at what folks in that projected weather pattern, they are saying that Houston is seeing a change in weather, and that the rains are

getting harder.


[16:40:00] NEWTON: Still to come, President Trump threatens to pull out of NAFTA, he has said that before, but now Mexico is calling his bluff.


NEWTON: A new round of NAFTA talks starts today, yes, they are getting on with it under the shadow of a President Trump. He has threatened to pull

out of the agreement if negotiations don't go his way, but the Mexican economy minister says his country and Canada will stay in even if Mr. Trump

follows through on his threat. CNN's Leyla Santiago is in Mexico City, Leyla, so good to see you. You and I both know it's not about Canada and

Mexico staying in, Mexico has been even more blunt than that. They have actually suggested well maybe we will just walk away from the table if you

want to continue with your exaggerations and your hyperbole.

What do you think they're getting at here? Many people have suggested that on all sides, this is all about negotiation tactics.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, and when I speak to Mexican officials, a lot of them tell me, listen, we have heard what President

Trump has to say via social media. And we see that just as a negotiation tactic in his end, happening right now, Paula, 25, a roundtable filled with

government officials from Canada, U.S., Mexico of course here, and they are discussing the North American Free Trade Agreement. All sorts of clauses,

sort of really dissecting every single word, especially, when it comes to e-commerce, energy, even anticorruption. I was able to hear from at least

two advisors to Mexican officials this morning as they were getting ready to go into those closed-door meetings, and they were telling me that they

expect new proposals on the table, but is too soon to really tell where these negotiations will go, given that there has been some mixed signals

from the United States.

So, here they understand the importance of it. You have $1.5 million on average crossing the U.S. and Mexico under NAFTA and trade every single

day. And then take it to the U.S., you have 5 million jobs that depend on that. Mexico is willing to work with the U.S. and Canada but they are also

looking at other options. Saturday, tomorrow President Enrique Pena Nieto, yes, he will be in China.

[16:45:00] And they are already exploring options also in South America for buying drains which right now they buy from the U.S. Certainly, they are

looking at other options in the event that Trump in the United States move forward with pulling out of NAFTA. But one more thing that is sort of a

factor here in Mexico, is the timeline. Mexico will have a new president next year, Paula, so that means if President Trump wants to do a new NAFTA

under this administration that has said they are willing to work with him, he may be running out of time.

NEWTON: It is interesting, Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump had a conversation yesterday, obviously, talking about the timeline which you

said. The White House claimed they talked about ending by the end of the summer, very quickly, Leyla, Mexican officials still optimistic that they

can get this wrapped up by December?

SANTIAGO: I actually spoke to one of the original NAFTA negotiators from Mexico this week. His name is Luis de la Calle, and he was telling me,

that seems a little tough, but it is doable if everyone has the same objective. But he was questioning what the objective was for the U.S.

Trump has said we need to get that deficit down, while Canada and Mexico has said, we just want a strong competitive North America. So doable,

Paula, we will have to wait and see. But doesn't seem like they are working toward that, I think so, I really do.

NEWTON: So good to see you, Leyla, I know that you will be watching negotiations carefully from your end, your neck of the woods. You are

going to toss it to me in Ottawa next, so I will do it there.

The Dow rounded the week off with some gains before traders headed off to the Labor Day long weekend. The market closed up 39 points. It is

extraordinary to me, because it is actually close to 22,000. Now the pace of hiring a slowing in the United States, 156,000 jobs were added in

August. This is weaker growth than the past few months, and lower than analysts had expected. At the same time, unemployment also notched up a

bit to 4.4 percent, but still of course, you have to keep in perspective the 16-year lows. That wage growth remains sluggish at 2.5 percent Fed

chair Janet Yellen. The numbers were gathered before though hurricane Harvey touched U.S. shores, remember that that will take a bite out of the

economy as well, ever so temporarily, but it will do that.

Now, if you have best part of the program or you want to take us on the road with you, you can download our show on our podcast, it is available

from all the main providers or you can listen to When we return on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, McDonald's sends a truck to help victims in Texas.

We will show you what they have cooked up after the break.


NEWTON: now, there has been massive destruction and devastation in Texas. And there has been a massive response in reply to appeals for funds to help

those victims.

[16:50:00] Businesses have pledged over $141 million, that is just so far. The largest donation came from the tech billionaire and Houston native

Michael Dell who committed $36 million. Companies are coming up with creative ways to help, volunteers and McDonald's are offering food at a

shelter from pop-up kitchen called the McRig. Matthew Kades, president of the McDonald's Owners and Operators Association of Greater Houston,

remember these are franchise owners. He explained it all to Maggie Lake.



goes to several major events a year throughout the country, like the Oscars, the Grammys, things of that nature. Big events. However, when the

need was seen by his McDonald's Corporation up in Chicago, we were on the phone within 24 hours, we were able to not only get a prepared, ready come

down. And we were able to get it staffed in being up and going and literally about a 24-hour period, from the time the call was made to

getting it down here, driving it from Kentucky. And having it all set up to serve its first hamburgers.

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is absolutely amazing, and so needed right now, Matthew, we have seen the pictures, we know so many people. Not

only displaced, their refrigerators were floating down in the floods. We know store shelves are not full yet, you are from the Houston area I

understand. Talk to me a little bit about what you have seen, extent of the damage in the area.

KADES: It is unbelievable. Truly heartbreaking, myself was extremely blessed and fortunate, but many of my friends, many of my employees are out

of their houses, they were displaced. It was almost no rhyme or reason where the water went, but you know what, we are part of the community. The

community is taking care of us and now we are here to take care of them.


NEWTON: That is what is so incredible, that those McDonald's employees, a lot of them have 3 feet of water in their own homes, and they are out there

at the McRig giving out some of that hot food. So many stories. At the same time, we have to remember so many homes and cars have been ruined in

these floods. The folks of TekDry are starting small. They are drying out water damaged smart phones. The company uses a special drying process to

recover phones which takes about half an hour. I will take it. Adam Cookson is CEO of TekDry and joins me from Houston. Know what is so

remarkable about this, it is a small thing but everyone can relate to the fact that if you can't use your phone because it has been drowned out, that

it is a lifeline for you. How is it been going? How many people have you had take part?

ADAM COOKSON, CEO, TEKDRY: So far, we have helped many dozens of people, and as you said, it's such an important lifeline for people, especially in

a crisis like this.

NEWTON: In terms of how the technology works, a half an hour, why so fast? How do you actually do?

COOKSON: It it's basically a special vacuum chamber with some metallic beads in it, and makes the water turn to gas spontaneously. Down to a

molecular level the phone becomes dry. And 75 percent of the time it comes back to life with every function.

NEWTON: Everybody knows the bag of rice trick, I've tried it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. How does it compare to the bag of rice?

COOKSON: We actually studied rice, the thing is right doesn't go inside the phone where the water is. Rice actually slows down the drying, so if

rice seemed to work, it was probably that your phone was not that wet to begin with. After two days, 87 percent of the water is still there.

NEWTON: You are saying the right doesn't work at all? Because I have lots of people put it in a bowl of rice, and it has worked just fine. You are

saying it just dried out?

COOKSON: You should keep the rice for a nice dinner with your family, rice does not dry phones.

NEWTON: OK. You have been very pointed on giving me advice about how to dry out the phone in terms of though what you are seeing there, what

motivates you to go down there and do something like this, be on the fact that you are obviously advertising your business. How you have been

impacted just about the sheer need of what is going on down there, from phones to drying out everything else?

COOKSON: We came down here from Denver, and it is obviously, this is the first disaster scene that we have ever helped out with. And it has been

really moving saying first of all, how well organized it is and how respectful everyone has been. How smooth things are going, even in the

face of this great tragedy. Like you said, we are helping people with something that can seem very small, but is helping people get a little bit

of their life back. It just makes us feel really special, there have just been many, many moving experiences.

NEWTON: What has been the reaction from some people once in phones dry out?

COOKSON: What is that, sorry?

NEWTON: What has been the reaction from some people once in phones dry out?

[16:55:00] COOKSON: Oh, we have had people break down in tears because they have had pictures they didn't back up on their phone or they have

finally been able to tell their family that they are safe. Or call their employer and explain what is going on. So just a huge range of really

emotional reactions.

NEWTON: You kind of don't think of it, do you? But of course, if your phone is dried out and you have those pictures that you didn't back up or

whatever, and I am sure people are right now thinking, I want that phone to take pictures even just for insurance purposes. Right? I mean that is

what they got in order to record the damage, if they're going back home.

COOKSON: Yes, every single service that you can access you pretty much need a phone for, it is supercritical.

NEWTON: Well, I thank you for bringing this story to us, and that you are helping out there. I'm not sure I'm thankful about the whole rice thing.

I kind of wish that that had worked, but now you have shattered that. But that is OK, we will continue to follow obviously, all those businesses like

yours that continue to help out in Houston and beyond. Thanks so much, appreciate it.

Now, for more information on how you can help people impacted by Harvey, go to, I want to remind you that we will continue to have

breaking news here from the zone, from Texas and Louisiana. The president is expected to visit tomorrow and we will hear more about that federal-aid.

That has been Quest Means Business, thanks for joining us. I am Paula Newton in New York. Richard Quest will be back here on Monday. In the

meantime, the news continues right here on CNN.