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Simultaneous Disasters Happening in the World; Government Agencies in Full Alert for Hurricane Irma; Trump Junior Faces Senate Committee; Irma's Wrath One Week after Harvey's Devastation; French Island Territories Did Not Escape Irma; Former U.S. Presidents in One Force; Mexico's Coastal State Shook by 8.1 Earthquake. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 8, 2017 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CNN Newsroom. We're live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

And we are following two major national disasters right now. A monstrous hurricane is tearing through the Caribbean and making beeline for Florida. We'll have more on that shortly.

But first, this happened in the past hour. A magnitude 8.1. Earthquake struck off the coast of Mexico and that the epicenter of the state at Chiapas there.

The governor says two people there were killed the house collapsed on them, tremors were felt as far away as Mexico City even though that's 1000 kilometers to the northwest. Part of that city are without power now. This amateur video shows streetlights violently shaking on an overpass.

And officials confirmed there is a tsunami from this quake, the largest wave so far has been less than 1 meter high.

We have Jay David, an eye witnessed joining us on the line now. He is in Mexico City. Jay, thank you for talking with us. First of all, what did you experience in Mexico City?

JAY DAVID, WITNESSED EARTHQUAKE IN MEXICO: So, I'm staying here at the Hyatt Regency in Polanco, Mexico City, so it's really tall like 40 storeys, 700 rooms. And as we're getting for bed when the earthquake happened. And then first in my bed started to shake violently and I knew right away what was happening. Then the fixtures of my room started moving, the clothes hangers, the light fixers, even the drinks at the mini bar.

Then there is this creaking sound that at the hotel's way from side to side. It almost sounded like a creaking wood. And it felt like it's between 30 seconds to a minute before the vibrations stop inside my hotel room. It's pretty scary.

ALLEN: You're from the Philippines, is that correct, Jay?

DAVID: Yes. I was born in the Philippines and live in California for nine years, so I'm used of.

ALLEN: yes, I guess.

DAVID: Yes, this one in Mexico City was pretty scary when it was happening. It's definitely on my top five.

ALLEN: Well, and you're 1,000 kilometers away so we can't imagine what the people there in Chiapas state experience.

DAVIDZ: Yes, I went down to the lobby 30 minutes ago -- to 30 minutes ago. There was full of people in their pajamas and blankets probably spending the night in the lobby (Inaudible) to sleep beds than be at their hotel rooms. It was that scary.

ALLEN: Yes. And tell us again how long did it last?

DAVID: It seems like it was 30 seconds -- 30 seconds to a minute before the vibration stop. You know, this is a fairly tall hotel so maybe what took a wobble for the vibration and the swaying to stop.

ALLEN: Are you going to stay in the hotel?

DAVID: Yes, we're back to my -- back to my hotel room and probably sleep it off.

ALLEN: All right. Jay David...

(CROSSTALK)

DAVID: I talk to the staff if this is OK.

ALLEN: All right. Well, Jay David, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it. We're glad you're safe.

Joining me now on the line is Gonzalo Segundo, he is in Chiapas. Gonzalo, what can you tell you tell us, what did you experienced?

GONZALO SEGUNDO, CHIAPAS RESIDENT: Hi. Good night.

ALLEN: Yes, Gonzalo, can you hear me?

SEGUNDO: We are alive. That's the good thing. So what can I say? I could never feel something worse before in my life than tonight. It was a very strong experience. We have experienced earthquake before but not like this. It was so intense and talking about maximum time and also the intensity.

ALLEN: Where were you, Gonzalo when it happened?

SEGUNDO: I was already in bed. I'm watching my place so we are expecting to have a tranquil life every night but suddenly you can start (Inaudible) the room where of the (Inaudible) and suddenly everything breaks apart. Glasses and furniture and everything and then while you have to -- you have to stay out from bed, walk to the street and that's awful.

[03:04:55] Because that's not the condition and we finish (Inaudible). And especially when we find with your neighbors in different situation. Just parking, glasses, breaking down everything - everything is like you don't know what. (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY).

ALLEN: Can you repeat that, Gonzalo? Gonzalo, can you still hear me? All right, that was Gonzalo Segundo. I want to one repeat again what he said. He has been in hurricane, excuse me, earthquakes before -- we have two major stories going on. He's been on earthquakes before but he said he has never in his life experienced anything like he just did the past hour experiencing this earthquake that struck just off the coast of Chiapas. He is in Chiapas and we hope to reestablish communication with him later this hour.

Also, producer Paulina Gomez-Wulschner felt the earthquake from Mexico City. Again that's 1000 kilometers away from where Gonzalo was. She spoke with CNN earlier and described what she experienced.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULINA GOMEZ-WULSCHNER, PRODUCER: I was coming home and I was listening to the radio so I started to hear the alarm that it sounded an (Inaudible) through speakers so I knew it was coming. Because yesterday we had a false alarm also. Everybody was alerted yesterday (Inaudible). I park my car and you know, it was in the middle of the street with a bunch of people, they were very scared, everybody was very scared.

Actually I went outside to check what's going and they don't want to go back to their homes because they are afraid of their abrupt death. And (Inaudible) Chiapas state which is close to the Guatemala border and authorities expect to have replicas here in Mexico City so they are recommending to stay in safe places and if you are going to your home make sure you don't any (Inaudible) with the gas and your house is in good condition because replicas are going to happen.

It was a very, very strong earthquake. One of the stronger -- strongest out here. And I'm going to tell you I was here in 1985 when that earthquake collapse Mexico City.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: We'll continue to follow developments and talk with more that experience earthquake there in Mexico. We want to turn now to hurricane Irma.

People in South Florida have just about 48 hours to get out of the way or suffer the consequences. A category five storm is one of the largest and most powerful ever recorded. The latest forecast show it's heading straight for Miami.

State officials are frantically trying to persuade people to leave now while they can.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMAN GASTESI, COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR, MONROE COUNTY: You might as well leave now what you have a chance because when you dial 911 you will not get an answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Meteorologist Karen Maginnis is tracking Irma's path for us. There she is.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: (AUDIO GAP) closely now and the one that is essentially the gold standard for the forecast for this hurricane is now tracking a little bit further towards the West.

All right. Let's just pretend. Let's put a mark down the center of Florida, the spine of Florida and then we put this into motion and watch what happens. It moves over the Florida Keys and then there are the Everglades and then it just kind of stays to the west of that center line, just a little bit, not too much and then we take a look at the American model.

Now watch this. This one just go slightly to the east of the center of the state. So, Miami, yes, you're going to be in the grips of this hurricane. That's not to say other people aren't because we've got these counties, Dade County has about 2.5 million people, Broward County has about 2 million people. You go up towards Palm Beach County and Martin County then you start to see the populations taper off but it still a huge hurricane.

That will encompass the entire state. Already lots of places without gas, lots of places without food, the interstates are clogged, the weather is going to deteriorate, maybe your house is protected maybe it's not. Maybe you've never experienced anything like this.

There are just a whole lot of really good reasons to leave. Because it's a category 5 hurricane. Now maybe it will category 4 but by the time it makes landfall, when are we expecting landfall? Probably Saturday night and going into Sunday morning.

[03:10:01] But we haven't seen anything like this. Look at this eye and it's going to just wind its way between Cuba and the Bahamas -- and the Bahamas for Eleuthera, Cat Island, the Great Abaco Island, the Grand Bahamas Island. You're kind of on the worst side of the system.

And Miami if you haven't lifted one of these hurricanes like Andrew 1992 -- this is ferocious, this is even worse than that, worse. It's looking now like the wind field is so broad, it looks like the storm surge 5 to 10 feet. That is the water that just kind of gets pushed up.

This is a huge system. This is going to impact everybody. The airlines are shutting down starting on Friday, so just think about flying out if you could buy a ticket consider yourself lucky. But now is just back down the hatches. They've close schools, they've close government buildings, they had forced evacuations.

This is really a terrible, dreadful situation for the entire state of Florida and you can see how the models just kind of curving back across the state of Georgia. So, once we move on from Florida it's going to be several days then we have to look at what happens with Irma, is it moves into the southeastern U.S.

Back to you, guys.

ALLEN: Thanks, Karen. Well, survivors of hurricane Irma are sharing their terrifying experience as a dangerous storm ripped through their homes. Josephine Gumbs-Connor says she can barely recognize Anguilla after all of the damage. Here's how she described the magnitude.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPHINE GUMS-CONNOR, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: This was a few hours of such intensity that you worry, you literally worry then you listen to the people in Anguilla. When you talk to people on the road everybody has story. Who wasn't holding down a door, who was witnessing, you know, projectiles coming to their house.

I, for example, have seen a situation in which concrete and rebar was sliced - sliced. Anguilla is a completely different place at the moment. If you talk about, for example, essential services, hospital. One hospital on the island its lost. A good portion of its roof. One police station on this station on this island it lost its roof. The court house lost its roof. The prisons has lost its roof.

All our schools are totally very damaged. They are basically open shelves and open to (Inaudible). Our churches seriously damage. And we have, you know, we pride ourselves on one church that was built back in 1830, one of the oldest churches here in Anguilla completely destroyed and it's a shell.

It's just the magnitude is just -- I keep saying incomprehensible because that's what we're seeing on ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: And that's one person on one island talking about the wrath of Irma. Thousands of people are now evacuating their homes as hurricane Irma makes its way toward Florida but some are staying behind getting ready to ride out this dangerous category five storm.

They're boarding up their homes and getting all the supplies they can find it. Let's get more about that now from our Isa Soares. She is live for us in Miami, Florida. We can tell the winds picking up there. Isa, question is, how many have stayed behind, any idea?

ISA SOARES, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, let me give you a sense of really if I just show you in Miami Beach. And if I can just pan, get the camera to pan down just on this area. This would have been an area, Natalie, that would have been packed right here with people in bars really drinking and eating and would have been buzzing at this time but it's absolutely empty.

Having said that, I have seen people walking their jobs, I have seen people in their bicycles but it very much feels like this is an empty city. It's very desolate in many ways. And what I see coming in is just long queues, long line of people trying to get out. Whether you're talking there about preparations in some food and supplies, going to a supermarket today many of the aisles were absolutely empty. Some of the shelves most of them are water but also crackers or bread,

they were empty. And then we saw very long lines of people waiting to go north to get out of here get away from the eye of the storm and get away from danger. And those cues were around petrol stations. That is the real choking point here.

[03:15:01] People want to be prepared not just for the hurricane that's coming in the next two days or so, but also what may lie ahead because who knows how long if they are going to be without electricity as many are suggesting. Many are suggesting how long that may be.

So what we have seen is the police escorting fuel tanks, Natalie to these Keys petrol stations that line the route north to try and keep the fuels flowing so that people can move out of this area much quickly.

Meanwhile, those who were staying here they've been taken to shelters. Thirteen additional shelters have been created around Miami and those are mostly mainland that's an additional to another eight shelters. Some are 650,000 people have been evacuated and the majority I believe they say seem to be heeding those warnings.

So, although I did speak to a restaurant owner in the last hour or so, Natalie, who basically said to me, look, I'm staying, quote, "I'm trying to help those who were staying behind but as they get closer I will of course keep an eye on the storm and really leave. But for the moment I'm providing help for those who really can't help themselves, Natalie.

ALLEN: We need a lot of that in the next couple of days, won't they?

SOARES: Indeed.

ALLEN: Isa Soares for us, thank you so much, Isa, there in Miami.

Well, many hurricane Irma victims are in need of assistance shelter and other critical supplies. If you'd like to help log on to our web site cnn.com/impact and donate to a charity working on this mission.

And still ahead here, the president's son meets with Senate (AUDIO GAP) why he is still a potential focal point of the probe into his father's campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: Welcome back. We're live in Atlanta. Tracking this hurricane. Irma has already brought death and destruction to parts of the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic says more than 2,000 had been damaged and around 7,000 people displaced. Destruction is also expected in neighboring Haiti which sadly has a history of deadly hurricanes.

Category 4 hurricane Matthew devastated the country last year. It killed over 1000 people. And in 2008, Haiti was hit by four big storms. Nearly 800 people died and some 8,000 people were impacted. For more on Irma's potential impact in Haiti and the Dominican

Republic, I'm joined by Save the Children's Ascension Martinez. She is Port-au-Prince for us. Thank you so much for talking with us.

ASCENSION MARTINEZ, OPERATIONS MANAGER, SAVE THE CHILDREN: Good morning.

ALLEN: What are you doing there to prepare, what have people done to prepare there?

[22:20:00] MARTINEZ: People in Port-au-Prince itself people have stocked up on food supplies, torches, batteries, water and any essential that they need. And pretty much bunker down. The government has also open or declared across the country 800 calamity centers that are open to receive people that are evacuate -- need to be evacuated if they want to go.

And we've got reports of flooding and damage of fallen trees, et cetera in the north. But at this point in time there's no other information. It does appear that the brunt of the winds has not come this way.

ALLEN: And it won't is that what you are saying or hasn't yet?

MARTINEZ: It hasn't yet. And it appears that it would be just heavy -- just, but heavy rains. It's looking like the biggest impact at the moment.

ALLEN: We certainly hope that Haiti can withstand Irma. And let's talk about Haiti and how it's built back after years and years of just terrible storms and so many people don't have adequate shelter to go to. How is Haiti doing as far as when thing happen have they built like more resiliently?

MARTINEZ: Well, we know that the last big hurricane was just 11 months ago and that was in the south of the country. This impact is in the north. The thing is there is build back save the campaign, that is about improving the way people actually build their houses. It's not only what they build with but where they build. Making sure they they're in safer environment.

So it's a work in progress but it's still going to be a long way to go because of the extreme poverty, so people cannot build out of their adequate materials. They don't build in safe sites. It's a working progress and it will still take a long time. People are still recovering from hurricane Matthew. That struck 11 months ago. And not you know, the reconstruction progress has not finish there.

ALLEN: I would imagine people in Haiti they are either amazingly resilient in which they probably are. But also at the same time terrified. Because of what they've have been through with storms and even earthquakes many years ago. How are they doing emotionally?

MARTINEZ: I think that's the big question, isn't it? We have part of our preparation social work that we do especially with the children trying to make sure that they able to be adequately cared for in the immediate aftermath of any disaster so that they have somewhere to be safe, somewhere to play, somewhere to be with children and someone to go to talk to.

It's a very important part. And it is something that again, it is important to have something in place straight away. But also to offer support mechanisms for later. That also is working. But it is still needs a lot more work. The government this year has reduced (Inaudible) has reduced the funding in education. So still a lot of work to be done in what is the worse (Ph) country of the Americas.

ALLEN: Yes, indeed. We thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. We hope you remain safe and many others down there in Haiti. Save the Children Ascension Martinez in Port-au-Prince. Thank you.

MARTINEZ: Thank you.

ALLEN: In other news we're following out of Washington, CNN has learned that special counsel Robert Mueller is seeking interviews with White House staffers about the president's son. Donald Trump, Jr. held that now infamous meeting with the Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign with the aim of possibly getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Our Jessica Schneider has the latest.

DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: Well, it's great to be here.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Donald Trump, Jr. is more than five hour long face to face with the Senate judiciary committee left some senators unsatisfied.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: His appearance today raised as many questions as it answered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Sources tell CNN Trump Jr. insisted to the committee that he did not tell his father about the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. The controversial gathering also included brother-in-law Jared Kushner, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as well as a Russian lawyer and a few others.

Trump Jr. said he took the meeting because he was intrigued by the offer of damaging information on Hillary Clinton. His opening statement said "To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character, or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believe that I should at least hear them out."

TRUMP, JR.: I'm an American.

SCHNEIDER: Sources tell CNN Trump Jr. also told the committee that he didn't recall the White House's involvement in his written response after the meeting became public this summer.

[03:30:03] That statement omitted that the meeting was about opposition research on Hillary Clinton. And the White House has since admitted the president weighed in and offered suggestions.

Trump Jr. admitted he knew there could be legal questions about accepting such information. Saying "Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration."

But when the president's oldest son first disclosed the meeting in mid-July he gave no indication he was concerned about any fallout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP, JR.: This is pre like Russia fever. This is pre-Russia mania. I don't even think my sirens, you know, went up or the antennas went up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: President Trump similarly said the meeting was nothing out of the ordinary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It's called opposition research or even research into your opponent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Don Jr.'s appearance on Capitol Hill coincides with Facebook's disclosure that it sold about $100,000 worth of advertising to fake accounts likely operated out of Russia during the election. Most of the ads didn't mentioned either candidate and centered on divisive issues like immigration, race, and gun rights.

And while Facebook did not describe the ads CNN is told the Russian accounts controlling the advertising urged users to like certain political groups which prompted political messages to flood Facebook news feeds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARK WARNER, (D), VIRGINIA: I think it really raises a series of questions about a number of social media firms and we've got to talk to Twitter as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Donald Trump, Jr. issued a statement after his five hour sit down with the Senate judiciary committee. He said he answered every question and trusts that this interview fully satisfied their inquiry. But senators have already signaled it doesn't. They want Trump, Jr. back in a public session and top democrat Dianne Feinstein has already said she is prepared to issue a subpoena is he doesn't come back voluntarily.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington. ALLEN: We turn back to hurricane Irma in just a moment. European

territories in the Caribbean have been destroyed by the storm. We'll tell you how governments are responding from thousands of kilometers away. That's ahead. And in the Bahamas massive storm surges are a great concern right now. We'll have a report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. And I'm Natalie Allen. We'll have the latest from hurricane Irma in just a moment. But first, we have more breaking news this out of Mexico.

[03:29:53] A short time ago about just less than two hours ago, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake, 8.1 struck off Mexico's Pacific coast near Guatemala. It triggered a tsunami wave less than one meter high. Tremors were felt as far away as Mexico City 1,000 kilometers to the northwest. Shaking that right there the city's symbolic Angel of Independence statue. It shook.

Emergency workers rushed to a collapsed building in the Mexican capital to see if any one needed help. And the governor in Chiapas State told FOROtv damage there included buildings with collapsed roofs and hospitals that lost power.

We'll continue to bring you more anymore information on the earthquake as we get it.

Now we turn to hurricane Irma. People in south Florida have just 48 hours to get out of the way or suffer the consequences. The category five storm is one of the largest and most powerful ever recorded. The latest forecast shows it's heading for Miami.

Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is in Nassau in the Bahamas. He joins me now live. And what are the Bahamas there expecting?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Well, Natalie, the Bahamas are expecting the worst. They're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. And that we are seeing coming here two days ago we have seen people stocking up on water and stocking on food and trying to make shelter and make their lives as safe as possible.

But right now we can hear the sea just behind me the surf getting louder and louder and the sea level is rising. And we're expecting to rise up to 20 feet. If that happens most of the archipelago most of the Bahamas archipelago which is a group of very small little island in the middle of the ocean will probably get flooded.

And we could see the same scenes of devastation that we have seen in the past few days in the eastern parts of the Caribbean in St. Turks and St. Martin, and of course that it's definitely great concern right here in Nassau because Irma is arriving and we can feel it now.

ALLEN: It's quite windy there. As far as these other islands in the Bahamas it's such a huge island chain have they had many evacuations from those islands? POZZEBON: Absolutely. There has been a hurricane warning going out

about two days ago in the 6,000 islands, Natalie. And those six islands have been completely evacuated. People living there, those inhabitants has been displaced. Right here in Nassau which is in the northernmost part of the archipelago is the capital and where these people have been able to find shelters and make up houses that they're ready to welcome them.

And of course, there is still great concern for the parts of the southern and westward part of the archipelago which is going to be probably hit more directly by the hurricane. While Nassau which is where we're still -- where we're standing now could be a little bit more protected because it's on the northernmost part of these archipelago.

I mean, that's more than 700 islands in the Bahamas. But definitely here we can already see that the sea is rising and the hurricane is approaching, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, Stefano Pozzebon for us in Nassau the Bahamas. Stay safe, please. Thank you.

Well, European nations have pledged to aid and support for Caribbean territories devastated by hurricane Irma but some people are criticizing the U.K.'s response and communication since the storm hit.

Abigail Blake (Ph) hasn't been able to reach her husband who weathered Irma on Tortola in the British Virgin Island. She talked about her worries earlier on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are so many people in desperate straits in the Virgin Islands. There's houses with no roofs no walls no doors. People don't have shelter. And there is another hurricane coming for them Saturday or Sunday.

I'm not sure that everybody is even aware that that's coming even the lack of information. Resources they are extremely limited and there is no infrastructure in place. I don't think the U.K. government grasped the scale of the disaster in the time that they should have. I know that help is on the way but it's not there yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Again, that Abigail Blake. Her husband is missing on Tortola that's part of the British Virgin Islands.

And joining us now is Melissa Bell for reaction from the government there. She is in Paris for us. Hello, Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Good morning, Natalie. There's been a very different response really from French authorities. You know, Natalie that two of the islands that were the hardest hit by Irma so far were French territories. We're talking about St. Barts and nearby St. Martin. Islands that have been devastated.

In fact, Irma spent an hour and a half over the tiny island of St. Barts and really the pictures that we've been seeing coming in have been spectacular.

[03:34:59] But the response of French authorities has been pretty swift even as the hurricane was hitting the islands. A crisis center was set up here. And as of yesterday afternoon it had 92,000 calls. Of course, many people extremely worried about their relatives and about their response.

Also France's overseas territory minister went straight out to Vaadhoo which is the neighboring island from which rescue and help efforts are being coordinated. And she's already been able to fly over St. Martin and St. Barts to have a look at the scale of devastation. Huge means have been deployed not only by ship but also by plane.

And those include not only the sorts of first kind of relief that people are going to need the tents to help to house them for the next few weeks, the food, and drinking water. The efforts to get electricity back up and running, communications networks as well.

But also, Natalie, extra troops because there have been reports of looting on both islands. Now one of the big things we're expecting Caicos and St. Barts. Of course this is one of the islands where most of the houses are in the several millions of dollars. Is this order that will come from the French government recognizing this was a national catastrophe and will allow people to turn towards their insurance agencies and try to get some kind of compensation.

ALLEN: Do we know is there any way to reach people on either of these islands right now. The St. Martin and St. Barts?

BELL: It's been fairly sporadic and little by little things are starting to get up and running. The network operators have said that they expect communications to be back in place relatively quickly. Much, much lower will be the electricity which has been completely wiped out.

Things like as we were just hearing from that woman in the British Virgin Island the basic necessities. I mean, these are -- these are populations having to deal with the trauma of having lived through the eye of this extraordinary hurricane who are now facing. And this is what French authorities are warning them up not weeks but months of reconstruction efforts to get anything like a normal life back and running, up and running.

For now and this is what they're over and over again when they can't communicate. They are really struggling even to survive.

ALLEN: Melissa Bell for us, live in Paris. Melissa, we thank you for that information.

And coming up, hurricane Irma is closing in on Florida but still not done with the Caribbean. We'll show you where the storm is headed next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: Welcome back. We return to our breaking news out of Mexico now. We are learning that the president of Mexico says so far three people have been identified, have been killed in this 8.1 magnitude earthquake. it's unclear if that number will rise. But the quake was extremely powerful. Tremors were felt all the way in Mexico City. That's 1,000 kilometers away from the epicenter.

[03:40:02] Those are street lights right there that you see shaking up on that overpass in Mexico city.

Back now to hurricane Irma where millions of people are in the possible path of this massive storm. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis joins us now with the latest forecast, the latest path. Everyone wanted to the where it's been and where it's going, Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Yes. And one of the things I want to make sure that I mention is the expected landfall, meaning when the eye crosses the coast will be Saturday night late or early Sunday morning. Let's assume Sunday morning just to make the calculations little easier. So we've got roughly 48 hours.

If you are in south Florida the window is really closing very, very quickly. If in fact -- if in fact it's not passed. But I want to show you this European model. Let's just say we split the state down in half and see where the eye of this particular model goes. It looks like it shifts to the left of center moving across the Everglades more between Tampa and Lake Okeechobee. That's that model.

And then we have the North American model and it shows it making landfall right around Miami. Now this is Dade and Broward County between the two has about five million, close to five million people. Mandatory evacuations in both of those areas as it treks towards the north but that's more towards the eastside.

So it doesn't really matter exactly where this hurricane is going with category five possibly at the time of landfall. Category four hurricane force winds. But it is going to rip through the Bahamas with powerful winds. Very large storm surge. Brush the northern coast of Cuba before making landfall across south Florida with its dense population. Its strong winds. Its heavy rainfall. There are all kinds of reasons why people should have left this area. And there's almost no turning back just yet.

Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: Right. I hope they heard that. Thank you, Karen.

Well, many hurricane Irma will need water or they need shelter and medical supplies. You can find out how you can help by going to our web site cnn.com/impact.

Victims of hurricane Harvey still need support too. All live living former U.S. presidents have teamed up to launch one

America appeal to raise money for relief efforts. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hurricane Harvey brought terrible destruction but it also brought out the best in humanity.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As former presidents we want to help our fellow Americans begin to recover.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our friends in Texas including President Bush '41 and '43 are doing just that.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People are pouring down here. But as one Texan put it we've got more love in Texas than water.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We love you, Texas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Following the announcement, President Trump tweeted his support writing, "We will confront any challenge no matter how strong the winds or high the water."

I'm Natalie Allen in Atlanta. We'll have the latest on hurricane Irma and the deadly Mexico earthquake coming up in 15 minutes. Right now, stay with us for a world sport update.

[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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