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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
FEMA: 90% of Florida Keys Homes Destroyed or Damaged; Death Toll Rises In Florida; Millions Without Power; Florida Resident Returns To House "Buried Like A Jungle"; North Korea "Condemns in the Strongest Terms" New Sanctions. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 12, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OutFront next, the breaking news, Florida battered. We're just learning the extent of Irma's devastating effect on the Keys tonight. Nearly every home damaged or destroyed.
Plus, across the Caribbean, a desperate situation. Food and water are low, reports of looting. Some carrying guns and machetes. One couple in the middle of it is OutFront.
And the White House says the Justice Department should consider prosecuting Jim Comey.
Let's go OutFront.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, the breaking news, Florida in crisis. Authorities struggling to grasp the grim extent of Irma. The numbers are staggering and the images are frankly really hard to imagine.
The destruction of homes, many people right now are homeless and desperate for food and water. When it comes to the Florida Keys, getting the first looks there today, one in four homes completely destroyed. Tonight, FEMA telling CNN, and I quote them, basically every house was impacted in some way.
Now, we showed you some of the first images from the islands as they came in. And they've been coming in through the day. Entire neighborhoods flattened, trailer after trailer picked up and tossed.
We still don't know if there were any people inside those homes at the time of Irma. So far, officials say, eight people have died as a result of the hurricane that they know of. They are going door to door.
And moments ago, when you think about the situation, we learned nearly 5 million homes still have no power. And that as temperatures are hovering near 90 degrees. Food is spoiling, water may be contaminated. It's hard to get any supplies in. It could be more than a week before the power comes back on.
President Trump says he is going to make plans to visit Florida. He's going to go Thursday. Earlier, the president tweeted, and I quote, the devastation left by Hurricane Irma was far greater, at least in certain locations than anyone thought. But amazing people, working hard.
And tonight, emergency crews are doing just that, overwhelmed with calls for help, hope to be rescued and hope locate loved ones who are still missing tonight with no power or cell service.
We have a team of reporters standing by. I want to start with our own John Berman who's live in Sugarloaf Key, so down in the Keys where the eye of the storm hit. And John, you know, look, it was impossible to get where you were, you managed to do it. It was hard.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we took a helicopter, a private helicopter from Miami to here, and to conserve fuel, we flew straight over the water. So I did see a lot of the Keys from the air, but what I did see was Cudjoe Key which is right over there and Sugarloaf Key where I am right here.
And the eye of the storm did pass over this area. And from the air, what I saw was most houses intact, but as FEMA reported earlier, Erin, almost every single house damaged in some way.
We put the helicopter down in a field right near here because this area looked particularly hard hit. This trailer area right here, this campground, we see a lot of trailers just blown over. There's an airstream on its side right there. And then we came over to this house which was mostly destroyed.
I also want to point out one thing, the storm surge, the storm surge came up about two feet here and this mucky silt is everywhere, much deeper than this in many places. When we got to this house, we found Armando (ph), who is here with me now.
Armando, come here for a sec. Armando chose to try to ride out the storm. And you stayed in your house right here until a certain point. But then what happened?
ARMANDO: You know, after the tree fell down and then the house can't support any more, and then it lifts all the roof up, then that's when I decided to go in the backside of the house. And then after that, I wait until the eye passed by and when it gets cleared up, you know, take away to go to the safe house and go to the garden.
And after that-- that's how I get -- survive, and then after that, I forgot my rooster, and I get back. I left my truck over there so I came back walking. The water was coming over to my knees and then after that, I go back again.
And in the middle of the bridge, I get stuck there. I can't even go through anywhere, the wind, it's keeping you down, you know. I walked there.
BERMAN: So Armando, you can hear it there, tried to stay in the house. The tree came crashing down, tried to hide in the back, waited for the eye, drove to somewhere that had more safety, more protection during the eye of the storm. An amazing, you know, story of survival here.
Meanwhile, the dog, what's the dog's name?
ARMANDO: Chingy (ph).
BERMAN: Chingy did OK, and the rooster is OK, also here. But this is the first chance Armando has had to tell his family in Orlando that he's OK. There's just no means of communication from here, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, John Berman, thank you very much. And look, as John was speaking, a grim development here. The number of hurricane related deaths in Florida has now gone up. We had said it was eight, it is now 12.
As I said, they're going door to door, trying to find people. And of course, Georgia, three dead, one in South Carolina, 16 in the Continental United States.
[19:05:09] And many people are overcome with shock. The people who have survived and are going home for the first time and hoping against hope that what they find is salvageable. Kyung Lah is OutFront in Islamorada in the Florida Keys as well. And Kyung, a major hit in Islamorada as well. What did you see when you went into homes today as people were going back for the first time?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the first time that they were actually able to answer the question after so many fled, fearing what Irma would do. And in some cases, especially homes that are not re-enforced, homes that are vulnerable like mobile homes. Here in Islamorada, here in this particular neighborhood, this is what one community, one small community is seeing.
You're looking at a motor boat, the water is 150 yards away. And as you look further in, what is left there, that used to be somebody's home. You can see it's just a shell of one and that's a road. We don't know where it came from. Residents trying to figure out what to do next.
LAH (voice-over): Waiting throughout the night, the line of cars stretching and growing as dawn breaks.
HEIDI NEUZIL, KEY LARGO RESIDENT: I want to go home. I want to see my home. I want to see that we have a home.
LAH (voice-over): Heidi and Allan Neuzil, out of their Key Largo house since Irma hit. Fear and anxiety growing by the minute as they wait.
ALLAN NEUZIL, KEY LARGO RESIDENT: My house where I pay taxes, and I'm not allowed to get in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I spent five days on the (INAUDIBLE) road.
LAH (voice-over): Before tempers flare even more, 7 a.m., the first road block comes down. The evacuated returning home for the first time since the hurricane.
H. NEUZIL: Thought this would never happen.
LAH (voice-over): Cars moving down U.S. 1, the only highway in or out of the Florida Keys.
(on camera) If you had to describe in a few words how you feel about all of this, what would it be?
A. NEUZIL: Frustrated. Angry with the whole situation. Just watching the news and not knowing what's going on with your house and everything, your life.
LAH (voice-over): You can see damage throughout Key Largo plantation, and Islamorada, but they're considered lucky compared to the lower keys. In Islamorada, Marilyn Ramos and her family are trying to look beyond their destroyed business.
MARILYN RAMOS, HABANOS OCEANFRONT RESTAURANT: Things aren't looking great right now, but we're just trying to clean up and do the best that we can.
LAH (on camera): While the residents of some keys got their answers today, others did not. This is the new road block, another obstacle they'll have to wait for to get past.
(voice-over) Beyond the road block, the door by door search and rescue continues.
(on camera) The people who stayed behind, how desperate are they?
MANNY LEON, MONROE COUNTY FIRE RESCUE: Like everyone else, you know, wanting food and water and wondering when electricity is going to be back. And it's going to be a while.
LAH (voice-over): Back in Key Largo, Allan and Heidi Neuzil get their first look at their home.
H. NEUZIL: Oh, my God, the roof.
LAH (voice-over): Irma toppled five tall trees, crashing them on their boat and their house. A mess of debris. But damage, limited to one corner of the roof and their boat. Inside, it's dry.
(on camera) Seeing the house, are you OK?
A. NEUZIL: Now, right now, I'm OK. Right now, my family is OK, I'm OK.
LAH: So they want to try to clean up, try to do those repairs, but Erin, there is no power. There is in many cases no water, no gasoline, and very, very limited fuel. So it is going to take a while. Erin? BURNETT: All right, Kyung, thank you. And I want to go now to Florida State Representative Holly Raschein whose district includes the Keys and she joins me from Islamorada where Kyung Lah was in the Keys.
And you're there, you're on the Keys. I know you've also gotten a briefing from disaster relief teams who are operating across the entire Keys. What is the situation there tonight?
REP. HOLLY RASCHEIN (R), FLORIDA: Thank you so much, Erin, for having me this evening. And first and foremost, I want to -- you know, my heart goes out to our constituents who have suffered damages because of Irma. Either to their homes or their businesses.
But our emergency management team, our local government, the National Guard, our military have done an incredible job at trying to restore our critical infrastructure here in the Keys.
BURNETT: Now, do you have any sense of when that's going to happen? You know, we know some people are saying it could be a week, it could be more before power comes back. And obviously, it's hot and food is spoiling and people need water. Do you have any sense of when the power is going to be back?
[19:10:01] RASCHEIN: Well, power is actually going back on in several different locations, definitely in the upper Keys. The lower and middle Keys, the timeline is probably a little different down in that region of the Keys.
However, our priorities remain the same, communications, food, water. Critical infrastructure that we need right now. And again, a big shout out to our emergency management team for doing an incredible job.
BURNETT: And I know some of those teams are going door to door, and I know the Monroe County commissioner, obviously the county of the Keys, says they have found some remains. Do you -- have they gone everywhere yet? Do we know that everybody is OK or do you still not know?
RASCHEIN: I think those assessments are still being completed. I know search and rescue missions have started and will probably keep going until we know that each and every person and community member is accounted for.
BURNETT: And what is the biggest issue that you face right now? Is it power, is it the lack of cell phone service, is it that the roads are shut, is it that you don't know if you can get to people who might still be alive and desperately need help? I mean, how do you prioritize?
RASCHEIN: Yes. Again, I think our top priorities are communications, food, water, and all of those critical infrastructure needs. And we are doing our best from a local level. We have also had an outpouring of support from the state of Florida and actually nationwide. I have seen folks come as far as from Minnesota, Tennessee, I saw somebody here from Madison, Wisconsin. Those remain our priority, and just want to let folks know that, you know, the Keys, while we may be down, we're not out right now. But everybody is working very hard.
There are crews working around the clock to make sure that things like electricity, our sewers and such are getting back online so that we can welcome everybody back to the Keys.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Representative Raschein. I appreciate your time.
As they are fighting to get back, it is a fight for survival tonight in the Caribbean where resources are incredibly scarce. And we're going to have much more from the regions throughout the evening.
I want to go quickly though to Cyril Vanier, he is OutFront, he is live in St. Martin which was leveled by that category 5 storm. Desperate there for food and for water. And Cyril, what are you seeing tonight?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (via telephone): Erin, I'm going to give you the impression that somebody has when they land in St. Martin and tell you about that right now because the airport on the Dutch side, I'm on the Dutch side, is totally under military control. So you're talking (INAUDIBLE), military personnel, French and Dutch. Remember, this is an island that is controlled in part by the French and in part by the Dutch.
I'm standing in total darkness, in total utter darkness. I can't see maybe three feet in front of me. That's because there is no light. And bear in mind, I'm just outside the airport but this is normally a place that would be very well lit, especially as it's controlled by the military, another reason it to be well lit but it's a total darkness.
Erin, part of my family is from the Caribbean. I have flown through St. Martin numerous times as a child and as a teenager. And I had seen the pictures of St. Martin before coming here with CNN.
I did not expect it to be like this. This reminds me -- I have covered my fair share of other earthquakes, or hurricanes, natural disasters. This reminds me of Haiti, the earthquake in Haiti which had leveled everything.
I don't see this airport reopening. All the staff I spoke to at the airport, which is the international side, that everybody uses, won't be reopening for months (INAUDIBLE) commercial flights. That's number one.
Number two is, of course, what's the situation for people here. Well, we just learned from the governor of St. Martin again on the Dutch side that 85% of structures and buildings are uninhabitable, partly or totally destroyed.
So that number alone puts the scale on the destruction here. There is little to no power. People are still eating the food that they stocked up on before the hurricane. And that's the water on the Dutch side, they depend on the Dutch military to give them water.
So, the first signal that I'm getting is that people are thirsty and people are hungry. Not starving but they're hungry because they're rationing themselves. This is the situation, and then on top of that, there is a security concern.
In the first few days after this happened, they saw people store looting and people still feel unsafe. There is a 24-hour curfew on the Dutch side, which means you're not allowed to be out, whether it's by night or by day, Erin.
BURNETT: Wow. All right, Cyril, thank you very much. A pretty stark and honest assessment of what is truly a catastrophe and what comes after that storm.
[19:15:03] People are hungry, people don't have water, and there's a 24-hour curfew. It is just stunning to imagine that these sorts of things are happening. We're going to be back in the Caribbean in another place where some of this is happening as we go through our program tonight.
And in Florida, you still have millions and millions, about 5 million without power. How long will they actually be waiting?
And running out of food and water. What is it really like in the Caribbean? A doctor who armed himself with a machete is my guest.
And a nun in Miami, taking matters into her own hands. Sister Margaret Ann is OutFront.
BURNETT: Breaking news, millions of Floridians with no power, some of these residents, of course, well, all of them right now, everyone in Florida fighting oppressive heat and humidity. Thunderstorms, they're trying to sift through what's left of their lives. The temperature was close to 90 degrees today with the humidity, the index was about 100 in some areas.
Alex Marquardt is OutFront in Sarasota. And Alex, here's the big question. You know, you can do this for a day or two, but panic starts to set in about your life, about food, about water if it's longer. Do residents have any idea when the power is coming back?
[19:20:01] ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are getting a bit more of an indication from Florida's biggest utility company, Florida Power and Light. On the East Coast, they're saying that power will be fully restored by the end of this weekend. On the West Coast, where we are which of course was hit much harder by Hurricane Irma, it will take another 10 days.
Now, we're at a staging site for FPL. These are the sleeping trailers for many of the crews who are working around the clock, but for many here, that's not fast enough. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MARQUARDT (voice-over): On a small Sarasota street, a simple plea, FPL, please. A cry for Florida Power and Light, the state's biggest utility company to visit Rose Street, where neighbors have cleaned up but are desperately waiting for the power to be restored. Chris Crooks said he put up the signs out of anger.
CHRIS CROOKS, SARASOTA RESIDENT: I just -- maybe somebody can see because I've done all the Facebook stuff and I've done all their app and this and that. And their phone numbers and stuff. And they just go, we're getting to you, we're getting to you.
MARQUARDT (on camera): Do you believe they're getting to you?
CROOKS: I saw a truck earlier, but he just drove by.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Crooks is running a generator to keep food and the house cool. But he's hoping that he and his wife Terry (ph) won't have to stay.
CROOKS: I will have to, but I'd like to get my wife somewhere. You know, a neighbor, somewhere where there's some air conditioning.
MARQUARDT (on camera): Your wife's not doing well?
MARQUARDT (on camera): And so it's not the best place for her to stay right now.
CROOKS: No, because I need to be out of here. And I'm worried about her in there. And she says don't worry about me, don't worry about me. Because she wants to help, and she can't help.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Down the block, the Hays Family is packing up to leave. They have had enough of the relentless oppressive heat.
NATHAN HAYS, SARASOTA RESIDENT: Just really hot. For a fat guy especially, it's hot. But you know, they're working around the clock. And they can only do what they can do, you know.
Hopefully get a hotel room, get some air and get a good night sleep. We got everything else we need. Just need a little cool air.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Progress is being made, but there's still around 4.6 million Florida customers without power. And as Irma swept north, she also knocked out power in four neighboring states, now leaving almost 700,000 customers off line.
FPL and other power companies have built staging areas across Florida. Their crews working 24 hours a day.
(on camera) This just shows the around the clock effort to get the power restored. This is a sleeping trailer for some of the thousands of power workers who've been brought in. They each get a basic bunk with just sheets and a pillow, and a curtain for privacy. They will stay here, we're told, until the job is done.
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: This impacted the whole state, so it's hard to preposition all of the assets you would want to position if the storm just came from one coast to the other. But even with that, we're having over 30,000 -- I think the number is over 30,000 individuals from out of state that are helping us get our power back on.
MARQUARDT: Most of the crews staging out of here are from out of state, and we're told that another 100 vehicles with 300 workers will be arriving tomorrow from several states. A national response to one of the worst power outages in U.S. history. Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Alex, thank you very much. Pretty stunning to see those bunks and how hard they're working. Thank you.
Many Florida residents are now returning home. And they're finding houses and businesses destroyed. Alvaro Perpuly along with his parents and his sister left their home and their business behind in Homestead, Florida, to escape the hurricane. It was a mandatory evacuation zone. They heeded those warnings, and today, they returned to see the destruction.
And Alvaro is OutFront to speak for his family. Alvaro, thank you. You're standing in front of your home. You filmed this video of what happened when you went back and you saw it for the first time.
How bad is it? It looks really bad.
ALVARO PERPULY, LOST HOME AND BUSINESS TO HURRICANE IRMA: Yes, our fence is knocked down, and there are two trees in front of both of our entrances. We have an entrance here and over there that are completely blocking the entrance.
And as well, we also have the roadway completely blocked into the house. And as well, we had a tree that fell on the right side of our house which did do damage to our roof. So it's pretty bad.
BURNETT: I mean, it looks that's way. And just from those trees, I mean, it looks like the road, getting to your home. I mean, how difficult was it for you to even get there with all of these trees?
PERPULY: I mean, you have to slither around the trees, but you can't even actually enter the parkway because there's a tree directly in front of it. So you have to actually -- to get inside, you have to climb the fence but you can't actually -- and to get inside and jump over the fence, but you can't actually drive in with a car.
BURNETT: Alvaro, when you went home with your sister and your mom and dad -- I mean, how shocked were you? I mean, it must have felt awful to see this.
[19:25:00] PERPULY: It really is awful to come back and see this. You know, it's -- it definitely saddens me to come see, you know, home that I grew up in and that means so much to me destroyed and left such very like a jungle.
BURNETT: Now, Alvaro, what you saw with your home, I know, is so painful. But your family also is a big farming family. You've got a lot of crops. You have a packing plant.
Just up the road from where you are right now, and you sent us a picture of the plant. I mean, that is also heartbreaking to see. There is damage.
And you took video of the avocados. And those are destroyed. I mean, what is going to happen? What are the losses?
PERPULY: Well, we have -- we sell tropical fruits to different stores around the United States and international, such as mangoes, avocados, and starfruits. And that was just -- the picture was just the avocado field, but we also have other fields as well. And all the crops are completely lost.
If the trees are knocked down and if the tree isn't knocked down, then all the fruit is on the floor, and the crop is completely lost. In total, it's about a half a million dollar loss, which is tremendous and it's a big hit for the business. And we're not sure exactly what the path forward is, but we're -- we have to start from square one, and we go from there.
BURNETT: That is just so -- it's hard to imagine. I'm so sorry to hear that. And those trees, I mean, even if you are able to get any sort of insurance or assistance, those trees don't just come back, right?
PERPULY: Yes. It takes quite a bit to grow them back. And there is no government program to assist farmers after a catastrophe or a hurricane like this one because again, trees are not something that can be done overnight or in a month. They have to be planted and it takes years to grow them back and to get all of the crops back.
BURNETT: So what happens, Alvaro? What happens to your family and the business?
PERPULY: We're not exactly 100 percent sure. There's not a certain plan A, B, and C step plan. But we're definitely going to work hard to, you know, clear the area and to try to get settled again and start from square one.
BURNETT: Pick up and start again. Just inspiring just to hear that you can even think that way and given where you're standing and what you're going through. Thanks so much, Alvaro.
PERPULY: Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: Stunning to imagine the loss and that he can see it as we're going to start again.
Well next, the decimated Caribbean. Reports of looting, lawlessness, forcing some to defend themselves with machetes in their hotels. A married couple who made it out alive are OutFront. And a woman watches hopelessly as her home is blown away by Irma. Blown away. She's OutFront.
[19:30:28] BURNETT: Tonight, islands in the Caribbean trying to pick up the pieces. They were decimated by the storm. Catastrophic damage, you've got homes leveled, neighborhoods gone, widespread power outages, food shortages, water shortages and growing fear about looting and lawlessness.
Clarissa Ward is OUTFRONT in Guadalupe, which is serving as a processing center for evacuees.
And, Clarissa, just how bad is the situation right now in the Caribbean?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very serious, Erin. They now estimate that as many as 200,000 people across the Caribbean are in desperate need of aid. Many of these people are from the island of St. Maarten, one of the hardest hit, 90 percent of the buildings on that island were damaged. Many of them were absolutely decimated.
And where we're standing here at this processing center in Guadalupe, we have seen a steady stream of people from St. Maarten pouring in, 4,000 of them have come in the past few days. Some of them limping, injured, in wheelchairs, most of them looking incredibly distressed. Women crying, telling stories of honestly, Erin, Lord of the Flies- like scenarios.
Take a look.
WARD (voice-over): The island of St. Maarten, last week, one of the jewels of the Caribbean, now a paradise lost.
Not a day went by, she says, without us thinking that we were very lucky to live on this idyllic island. Today, it is just complete chaos.
Six days after Irma pummeled St. Maarten, officials say more than 90 percent of the buildings on the island are damaged or destroyed. Food and water are still scarce. Power remains out for most.
Thousands of tourists were stranded for days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. Never been that scared in my life.
WARD: The desperation has led to looting and violence, with reports not yet confirmed by CNN of armed men roaming the streets. Dr. Lachlan and Kaiann Macleay were vacationing at this resort on St. Maarten when Irma struck. Macleay spent several days caring for the injured but also found
himself forced to stand guard against looters, sharing this text with a colleague back home. Military is trying to control chaos, but nothing is safe after dark, lots of looting. I was on patrol last night with machete until sun came up.
And the story is much the same all across the hard-hit Caribbean. On the British Virgin Islands, one resident told CNN that the situation is only getting worse.
KENNEDY BANDA, HOME DESTROYED BY HURRICANE: The supermarkets here, they double their prices. The gas stations have doubled their prices. So, we're running out of cash. It's just scary. And the gas station tried to buy gas on a guy, on a motor bike, a scooter came up and pulled out a gun.
WARD: Help has been slow to arrive to many of the islands where people are struggling to get by day to day, and long term, officials say full recovery may be years away.
WARD: French President Emmanuel Macron is actually in St. Maarten at the moment. He's overnighting there.
He made a lot of promises today, Erin. He said we're going to get the power back on. We're going to get the water going. We're going to reopen the schools next week. We're going to rebuild the whole of this island as well as the neighboring island, also French territory of St. Barts.
But the reality is that is going to take a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of patience, and a lot of coordination.
And meanwhile, many of these people here have nowhere to go, and they're feeling angry. They're saying to us over and over again that, listen, we knew this storm was coming. Why wasn't more done? Why wasn't aid there more quickly -- Erin.
BURNETT: I mean, right now, it's not about the big long-term promises. It's about near term getting people so they feel safe.
Clarissa, thank you for that.
And now, the doctor Clarissa just reported on in her piece, he and his wife were rescued from a St. Maarten resort. They're now in San Juan and waiting to go home. I know you guys want to be there yesterday, but you're waiting. Dr. Lachlan Macleay and his wife Kaiann are OUTFRONT.
And first of all, to both of you, we're glad you're out, and I know that it's a huge relief because it sounds like it was very, very scary.
Doctor, you know, you're -- I want to hear your incredible story of survival because it was incredible. But on the back of what Clarissa is reporting about, after Irma hit, there was chaos.
[19:35:05] You were saying people at the resort had to form a night watch. You had to arm yourselves. You had two machetes, kitchen knives, a sledge hammer.
I mean, what was happening?
DR. LACHLAN MACLEAY, SURVIVED HURRICANE IRMA ON ST. MARTIN: Well, basically there was no real communication that we could get for what was going on. We just had some minimal information from town that there was, everything was in chaos. We knew from the night that the hurricane, after it hit Wednesday night, we actually saw some people roaming around our property of the resort.
So, that next morning, we knew that we were going to set up patrol watches at night, and there were several tourists including myself who volunteered to stay up through the night with what little we had to defend ourselves with. But we didn't have any significant encounters, but we did make sure we were all going to be safe.
BURNETT: And what kind of looting was happening that you were aware of? Or --
MACLEAY: Well, all of the supermarkets were blown open, and then people were going into the supermarkets and taking anything they needed. There were lots of restaurants that were destroyed. People were going in and looting things that you wouldn't really even need, like there was a perfume shop down on the corner and people were stealing perfume. So, it was just --
KAIANN MACLEAY, SURVIVED HURRICANE IRMA ON ST. MARTIN: They were stealing from the gas stations. They were taking gas from other people's cars, televisions, mattresses, anything really. Nothing was safe.
BURNETT: I mean, that sounds mean when you say gas from other people's cars, given the situation. All of it sounds terrifying. I mean, Kaiann, you know, when you woke up that morning, the hurricane is passed and now you start seeing this chaos. How scared were you then about your life being in danger? That seems to have been truly terrifying.
K. MACLEAY: I was terrified. I was obviously totally relieved and grateful to be alive. But when I saw the devastation, then I was faced with the reality that we were in a really, really bad situation. And it was terrifying.
BURNETT: And --
L. MACLEAY: It's not every day that you have to go into survival mode.
BURNETT: How did that feel, Doctor? I can't imagine, the only other place I have seen people standing on neighborhood watches with machetes was in Cairo during the revolution. I mean, that is -- you -- how did that feel? When you're sitting there actually with a machete and a kitchen knife prepared to protect yourself, your wife, and others around you?
L. MACLEAY: It just felt like you had to call yourself to action and do it because no one was going to protect us other than ourselves.
K. MACLEAY: Yes.
L. MACLEAY: We had to rise to the occasion and just band together.
K. MACLEAY: That became apparent very quickly. That assistance was not arriving, and that we had to prepare to take care of ourselves and figure out a way to survive.
BURNETT: And you did finally get out. Obviously, in Puerto Rico and I know you're waiting to get home. But how did you get out?
K. MACLEAY: We left the French side of St. Martin where we were staying very early in the morning and we took the back roads all the way over to the Dutch side with two other couples that we had really bonded with during the whole ordeal. And when we got to the airport, the Dutch militia said they didn't know if any American planes were coming or not. So, it was really frightening to think that perhaps we were going to be stuck there with no place to go.
And after several hours, one of the Dutch militia that I had been speaking with came up to me and said that a cargo plane was coming to get us. So we knew we were going to safety somewhere.
BURNETT: Which I know must have been such a relief.
Doctor, you know, this whole part of it sounds so harrowing and frightening, but the storm itself decimated where you are and has decimated St. Martin. How did you survive?
L. MACLEAY: Well, we started off, I started to feel pressure in the room, so there were big sliding glass doors. I took the bed and put the mattress up against the window and put a dresser behind that. Then I said we should probably move to the bathroom because I know that from experience that tornadoes and things.
So, we moved to the bathroom. We were in the bathroom for probably about 45 minutes, and the windows exploded in the bedroom. We could feel the wind coming down the hallway through the kitchen.
And we were still in the bathroom. The bathroom roof started to flex and water started coming through the cracks in the bathroom ceiling. So I figured we didn't want to be there. That might cave in, so we went between the refrigerator and the front door and stood in the doorway.
K. MACLEAY: In the door frame.
L. MACLEAY: In the door frame for the next three or four hours, as the winds just howled.
[19:40:04] K. MACLEAY: At that point, there was about five inches of water on the floor where we were standing. The whole room was filled with water because the roof was leaking, and there was glass everywhere from the sliding glass doors. But the door frame against the metal door was really the safest spot.
BURNETT: Wow, this just sounds -- it's miraculous. Thank goodness for both of you. I know I'm sure it's sort of a traumatic stress you're going through, but thank you for sharing your story. And our best of luck that you get home and get home soon.
K. MACLEAY: Thank you.
L. MACLEAY: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: And next, a survivor story. My next guest crawled to safety after the storm destroyed her home and her life. Tonight, her story.
And in Miami, people pitching in. Everyone pitching in, including this nun with a chainsaw, and she will be OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, struggling to survive. Residents in the hard hit U.S. Virgin Islands trying to put their lives together after hurricane Irma, desperately seeking food, water, and power nearly a week later. Roads and homes ripped apart by that category 5 hurricane.
[19:45:02] And OUTFRONT now, one American who had relocated to St. Thomas but now is going to move back to Washington, D.C. with her family, Jennifer Cooper.
And, Jennifer, look, I know you had moved there and pursued a dream. And you were working there and had gone down to live a new life. I mean, what is left of your home in the U.S. Virgin Islands tonight?
JENNIFER STEPHENS COOPER, HOME WAS DESTROYED IN HURRICANE IRMA: There is nothing left of my home right now. We have one wall left. The roof is gone. All of the furniture is gone. The car is gone. So, at this time, it's just the kids and the dogs and my husband.
BURNETT: You know, your home literally blew away, and you saw it happen, Jennifer. This is what's stunning. You were at your neighbor's house and you saw your own home blow away. I can't imagine what that was like.
COOPER: It was very hard. We were in the bottom apartment. And when the eyewall hit, we saw the roof fly off and land on our car. And then maybe 30 minutes later, it blew off the car and down the hill.
BURNETT: I mean, I just can't imagine the fear that you must have felt at that moment.
COOPER: That's when fear set in. That and when the roof blew off, that's when the bottom apartment started to flood. And we had water up to our ankles. And that's when I got really scared.
BURNETT: You rode out that storm. Doesn't have much left, either. We're looking at some pictures that you sent us of that. I mean, did you think that you might not make it?
COOPER: When I saw the roof fly off and then the water started pouring down, that's the first time I started to really think that we weren't going to make it. That's when I almost started to panic. It was the scariest thing.
BURNETT: And you're a nurse. And you know, there's obviously, you had a hospital you were working at in the U.S. Virgin Islands. That hospital also destroyed. You sent us a couple pictures. The ceilings are caved in.
BURNETT: The roof blew off. There are wires dangling everywhere. Some of that happened in the storm while patients were still inside. Is everyone OK there, Jennifer?
COOPER: To my understanding, everyone is OK. The nurses worked tirelessly to get the patients down to the next floor to keep them safe. And to make sure that nobody, none of the staff members got hurt. So the next day, I believe, they managed to get the ICU patients evacuated to Saint Croix and the medical patients transported to Florida. So, currently, there are no hospital patients in that hospital facility.
BURNETT: That's miraculous they were able to get them through that storm alive and do those transfers. That I know has got to be the work of a lot of heroism from a lot of people. I know you're originally from Washington and you had relocated to St. Thomas and you were working at that hospital.
But with what's happened, you're going to move back to Washington with your husband and your two sons, is that right?
COOPER: That is correct. The hospital -- the hospital is completely -- it was deemed a catastrophic failure. It will take years for them to be able to rebuild. So, at this point, because the boys need to go to school and finish up, we're going to move back to D.C. and try to get life somewhat back to normal for them.
BURNETT: And is your dream still to go back down, or do you think this is permanent or I guess at this point, maybe you haven't had time to even think about those questions?
COOPER: Yes, there's so many thoughts that are going through my head. I don't want to leave. I want to stay here and do what I can for this island. It was our dream and I'm hoping that we can return to it.
BURNETT: All right. Well, we hope that you can, too. But really, the best of luck for you moving back and for your two boys going to the new schools and hopefully they're there very soon.
Thank you so much, Jennifer.
COOPER: Absolutely. Thank you.
BURNETT: These stories are hard to hear, as you see the human toll, and there are so many people who are trying to help.
I want to show you this video that caught, well, many people's attention.
A nun with a chainsaw out working hard with gloves on, cleaning up the debris. She's Sister Margaret Ann. An off-duty officer in Miami was driving through the neighborhood and he stopped in his tracks and filmed her at work.
And Sister Margaret Ann joins me now.
And, Sister, thank you very much. So, if people see that video and it sort of captures the heart to see you out there working. Obviously, using a chainsaw is not easy, and it's dangerous. What made you get out there and start getting to work?
SISTER MARGARET ANN, HELPED CLEAN UP DEBRIS FROM HURRICANE IRMA: The road was blocked.
[19:50:01] We couldn't get through. And I saw somebody spin in the mud and almost go into a wall going off the road.
And so, there was a need. I had the means, so I wanted to help out. At the school, ACC or Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School, we had the chainsaws sitting in a closet and it didn't belong there. They need to be used.
So, you know, we teach our students, do what you can to help. And so, this was an opportunity where I could do something to help, and thanks be to God I was able to do it.
BURNETT: That is -- that's the truth. I mean, I don't -- as you obviously were looking at the video of you there at work, there was an off duty officer, and, you know, they're working, what, 20 hours a day, 23 hours a day. He was coming by, just happened to pass as you were out with the chainsaw. Did you have any idea that he was there and filming you?
SISTER MARGARET ANN: No, I didn't. Afterwards, he came up and said something to me, and he said, you know what, Sister, the police will do this. And I said, but it's going to take them too long and I said it's dangerous and people are going to get hurt here. And so, there was a need and I did what I could to help out.
Other people stopped to help. It was great. Some of the alumni from our school saw what I was doing, they recognized they're a habit (ph) in the sisters, so they came to help out. It became a really good community project what we were able to do. I've been in education now over 30 years and I teach my student, do what you can to help other people, don't think of yourselves. And so, that's what we -- that's what I wanted to do, despite of who we are --
BURNETT: It is. And what about your school? I know that the archdiocese has said that Catholic schools are closed until further notice, do you know when the school's going to be open, what is the condition? SISTER MARGARET ANN: We don't know when our school will be able to
open. Part of our air-conditioning unit blew off and so, we need a lot of money to be able to fix that. So, it's going to take us some time to be able to get back in our school.
It's not so much the coolness because the student and teachers don't mind the heat so much, but it's not safe because of the condensation on the floors. And you can see from that picture there, that was our outdoor pavilion, part of the wall blew in. We had several trees down. Our (INAUDIBLE), part of that blew in to center field. The lift station, a tree fell on that.
So, tomorrow, we have some parents and students coming to try to help us. We probably -- the school is 40 acres and a good six acres of it is about as bad as that street I was working on on Sunday.
So, we got a load of work of our own today but the community will come out and help us. That's what we do. It's good.
BURNETT: It is good. I think seeing you, it's inspiring and it brings hopefully some smile and heart to people to know there are people like you out there Sister Margaret Ann doing that. I just want to make sure people know the name of your school as you're talking about. The Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School in Miami. So, thank you very much, Sister Margaret Ann.
SISTER MARGARET ANN: Thank you. God bless you too for all the work you do.
BURNETT: And next, North Korea responding to new sanctions. We are live in Pyongyang.
[19:57:25] BURNETT: Breaking news, North Korea condemning, quote, the strongest terms the new U.N. sanctions. President Trump though warning Pyongyang that the U.S. is actually prepared to go even farther.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know if it has any impact, but certainly, it was nice to get a 15-0 vote, but those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Strong line there.
Will Ripley is OUTFRONT from Pyongyang North Korea.
And, Will, these sanctions, round after round after round, round here, what, round eight or nine or whatever they might be, they're still going to be allowed to get oil imports, are these actually going to make North Korea stop? And we actually don't have Will Ripley. Will Ripley, of course, is
live in Pyongyang tonight. I believe what he was going to say is, no, that there isn't going to be any sort of a change from North Korea. North Korea, of course, has about 4 million barrels of oil that it gets in a month and it's going to continue to get that. Will has a documentary to make sure that you see Friday at 10:00 Eastern airing on North Korea. It's exclusive access. He's been there 15 times to Pyongyang. Secret state inside North Korea.
And thanks to all of you for joining us. We're going to take a brief break and "360" will be on the other side.