Return to Transcripts main page
Malaysia School Fire Kills 23 People; Hurricane Irma Survivors Struggling To Recover; Thousands In Need Of Aid In Antigua And Barbuda; Hurricane Irma Devastated The Island Of Barbuda; Long Road To Recovery For Caribbean; North Koreans Defiant And Optimistic Despite New Sanctions; Myanmar's Suu Kyi To Address Crisis In Speech; Paris to Host 2024 Olympics While Los Angeles Will Host 2028 Olympics. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired September 14, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. We begin with the breaking news in the Malaysian capital. At least 23 people are dead after a school fire in Kuala Lumpur; most of the victims were children. The cause of the fire is still unclear. But officials say the school was not certified to operate. Journalist King Chai joins me now on the line from outside the school in Kuala Lumpur. King, thank you for being with us. Can you set the scene for us? What is happening right now at the school? Is the fire completely under control?
KING CHAI, JOURNALIST: Yes. A fire broke out in the early morning hours of the morning and emergency services received a call at 5:40 a.m. early this morning. And the fire was very quickly put under control by the fire department. Now, this is the religious school. It's a boarding school just outside of Kuala Lumpur. And right now, what we're hearing from the authorities is that there are 23 students dead and two teachers, and they have survivors and victims, now at the hospital. We are also waiting for the official statement from the investigators. And the prime minister has tweeted his sympathy on social media.
SESAY: OK. King, what can you tell us about these children who lost their lives? 23 Children died in this fire. Do we know how old they were and where were they from? Did they come from the local community?
CHAI: Yes. These are Muslim children from the local community. Some even come as far as the east coast of Malaysia to come to attend this school. They're generally aged very young, between 10, 11, to 16 and 17. We spoke to a next of kin earlier, Madame Norhayiti Kalit, who told us that her son 11-years-old has only just moved to this school three months ago. So, she's seen the condition of the dormitories and she never thought there were any issues with it. The last time she saw her son was yesterday evening at about 5:30 in the evening.
SESAY: King, as you made clear, authorities are saying that this school was not certified to be operating. Nonetheless, it was operating. What can you tell us about the oversight provided there in Malaysia to these religious schools -- schools in general. How much regulation is there?
CHAI: So, schools like this, if they want to operate in Malaysia, they need to get a permit and also a certification. A certification of fitness for it to operate. So, the director general of the Fire Department has just announced that the initial investigation showed that the capacity was too high. The building has only one exit when they should have two. And it seems that the proprietor has submitted the architecture plan but they have yet to receive approval. So, they are -- the authorities are looking for the proprietor to bring justice.
SESAY: Tragic, indeed. Journalist King Chai, joining us there from outside that school in Kuala Lumpur, where 25 people lost their lives -- 23 children after that massive fire broke out. King, we appreciate it. Thank you.
Well, Hurricane Irma left islands across the Caribbean looking like war zones. This is an aerial view of the French side of St. Martin more than a week after the storm. Many buildings are destroyed and there is debris everywhere. Only left, the patch work of devastation in other small islands and killed at least 44 people. Puerto Rico has become a refuge for Hurricane Irma evacuees from the U.S. Virgin Islands. CNN's Michael Holmes joins us now from the capital city San Juan. Michael set the scene for us. I mean, how are people doing?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They're doing it tough -- those who are still on the island. You know, a lot of them are still being evacuated in their thousands. In fact, later today, 2,000 people from the island of St. Thomas are coming here. They're being evacuated on a cruise ship of all things, which can hold that many people -- going to bring the 2,000 here. They're going to be processed through the convention center. And then, hopefully, sent off to hotels that can take them or perhaps to other onward destinations.
Another 2,000 will be coming in on Saturday from St. Martin. So, the evacuations continue from people who are essentially living on islands that in many cases are functionally uninhabitable. I mean, there is no infrastructure. There is no communication, there is no power, and in many cases water is either short or non-existent, and they're having to get aid sent in. We're going to be discussing a bit of that later.
[01:05:05] Now, the British island of Tortola was in the direct line of sight of Hurricane Irma as it roared through this region; enormous damage was done. They're starting to try to rebuild, but it is going to be a very long process indeed. Polo Sandoval is on Tortola and he has been talking to people there who will not give up.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On Tortola's east end, was no hiding from Hurricane Irma's wrath.
ROBINSON DE GUZMAN, RESIDENT OF TORTOLA: The roof, gone. Gone. SANDOVAL: The eye of the deadly storm swept across the largest of the
British Virgin Islands just over a week ago. Wicked winds consumed this once lush countryside. As Robinson Guzman describes it, it's as if a bomb went off in the middle of this Caribbean paradise.
DE GUZMAN: If I look around with a different island, it's like fire feeling with the island. We'll lose the island. That's really terrible.
SANDOVAL: This is the reality for the island of Tortola and its residents. Irma destroyed infrastructure; critical supplies like food, water, and fuel are limited.
DE GUZMAN: We need international help because the island is destroyed completely, completely.
SANDOVAL: The damage only seems to worsen as we drive down the winding hillside roads into the island's capital. Crippled communications are sending residents to phone and internet businesses -- their only hope of connecting with the outside world, picking up a wi-fi signal. Not far from here, we found one of Guzman's neighbors facing a challenge of her own.
SHAMMICA STEVENS, RESIDENT OF TORTOLA: Need prayers. Pray for us. Pray for us.
SANDOVAL: Shammica Stevens waited hours with her son for medicine at a local hospital.
STEVENS: I don't know. I can't talk anymore because it's so devastating. I've never seen my country like this.
SANDOVAL: Back at Stevens' east side community, neighbors seem to be coming together.
DE GUZMAN: We've got to stay here, to help the island stand up. We've got to rebuild it and make it again.
SANDOVAL: Amid the rubble, there are signs of resilience and rebuilding. Though these islanders have a long way to go, they're already on the path toward restoring their paradise. Polo Sandoval, CNN, on the British Virgin Island of Tortola.
HOLMES: And thousands of people are also in need in the islands of Antigua and Barbuda. Now this, of course, these islands were in the line of Hurricane Irma when it was still a category five, slamming into that area. Michael Joseph is the President of Antigua and Barbuda's Red Cross joins me now on the line. I can't imagine your workload at the moment. What have been your priorities?
MICHAEL JOSEPH, PRESIDENT, RED CROSS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: Well, we've been trying to make sure we get everything right from day one. So, right now our primary response has been to support the evacuation of Barbuda and Antigua, as well as to work with the National Office of Disaster Service to register everyone, identify their needs, and respond to their immediate and medium-term needs. So, tomorrow we're starting with the registration, and then starting with distribution as early as Saturday.
HOLMES: The Red Cross, of course, prepares for disaster as a matter of course. Could you be prepared for something of this magnitude?
JOSEPH: I don't think those small Caribbean islands could ever prepare for anything such like this. Not a 15, 20 years, we still would have suffered a similar fate. Just by nature of how our countries were designed, developed, and nature of their size.
HOLMES: So, what changes do you think need to be made as rebuilding goes on? What could have helped in this situation?
JOSEPH: Honestly, we are dealing with hurricanes that are stronger than we've ever, ever experience. I mean, before we're preparing for category five hurricanes. Now, we're seeing winds that exceed in their current scale measurements. So, now, we are now -- we now have to relook at our building structures and building code, and that building to withstand potential category six and seven, of course, because of the strength of them. So, this is just what we have to deal with.
HOLMES: And Michael, just one more thing. I was going to ask you, you know, the people, how dire is the situation for a lot of the people you're dealing with? There are a lot of people who are still trying to get off islands that are basically being described as uninhabitable.
[01:10:09] JOSEPH: Well, I've paid a visit to Barbuda today. As you know, we had to evacuate the entire island because they were concerned with Jose that we will have a great fatality. And during my visit to them, I must say that Barbuda is no better state than it is in before. As a matter of fact, the stench of rotten carcasses from an animal, contaminated brown water, and also going off mosquitos have created a huge health concern. At the same time, we have internally displaced groups in Barbuda that are now taking shelter in Antigua, and temporary shelters are looking forward to moving back home as soon as possible. So, it's very -- it's a very ticklish and funny situation to deal with because we have a group that wants to go home. But a home that's not ready to accept them -- residents' shelter and the needs vary as the days go by. So, we were just working as much as possible to respond as quickly as possible, and evacuate as much as possible.
HOLMES: Michael Joseph, President of Antigua and Barbuda's Red Cross on the line. Thank you so much for a massive job ahead, doing terrific work there. And when we talk about aid, we've got Isa Soares here joining us. You were out today on an aid delivery. Tell us how your day unfolded.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This was a civilian boat, basically. It wasn't led by any government organization, anything like that. And it was led by a group, one person, one man, who spent over 20,000 pounds of his own money --$25,000 roughly. And what he's basically done, he's hired a whole bunch of boats that normally were taking people snorkeling, island hopping as many people would do when they visit the islands, Caribbean islands. And really, what he's doing, he's using the boats and using the boats to delivering aid and even much-needed aid as we heard from the World Food Program to parts of these islands, Caribbean islands.
And we visited the St. John Island that is one of the smallest islands as part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, I must say, but it is one of the hardest-hit, Michael. And for all those of you who have visited really the islands, you wouldn't recognize those beautiful rolling green hills, these pristine white beaches. That has changed so dramatically. It is, for me, as if a bomb has been dropped in that land. I mean, the vegetation is arid and --
HOLMES: Simply because the winds have literally stripped them.
SOARES: It is. It's completely naked to the bone. I mean, there are no leaves. But for people living there, when they're so used to that visual impact, the moment you arrive as well, that is quite breathtaking. And looking at the images before and after takes -- it really does take your breath away. But the reality on the ground is even worse. I heard you talking there to the Red Cross, to the gentleman that you're speaking there earlier, and the problems are similar to a certain extent. No water, no power, no infrastructure, humility, as we know it, communication, and cleaning water, drinking water.
And the concern for people is OK, that's fine for a day, two days, perhaps one week. But when you're talking about perhaps six months, a year, that is just unbearable. So, what they are recommending is that if you can, if you have children or if you need help, any sort of advice, health guidance, that you need to leave the island, and seek shelter because they just do not have the means or the resources to help. And they're unable to keep saying, look, if you require that much attention, we cannot give it to you. We need to dedicate our efforts and our attention to rebuilding the island, and it is about rebuilding it, Michael.
HOLMES: I'm curious at what you described and what you went on today on that boat ride is a private enterprise, privately funded, private boats. When you talk to locals there, are they upset with the official response, that has meant that the private responders had to do that work?
SOARES: So much so. And they are, and I can tell you, basically, spitting feathers at what they have seen as their lack of governmental response. They've been too slow. Doesn't care that much. And one has said to me, they've never really cared about us. They -- she said, you know, we're like a little rock in a big ocean, and we've always felt isolated. And Hurricane Irma and the lack of response from the government has only just re-emphasized that feeling. But having said that, seeing the U.S. Coast Guard, the Navy on the ground made a huge difference. In terms of -- specifically, when it comes to anxieties over looting and -- which we have seen across many of the islands.
[01:15:15] HOLMES: Yes. SOARES: Many of them were very jittery about being in their homes
with no power, nothing, and then hearing noises at night. So, they were left, basically, the island. So, having that presence on the ground calmed nerves. But having said that, there is still this anger towards the fact that government has just ignored them, completely ignored them. And they're dependent on the kindness of many individuals -- I mean, mostly here in Puerto Rico who are delivering their good, who are, as I saw this morning, basically, opening the boot of their car, taking out pallets and pallets of water.
HOLMES: Unbelievable. Yes, that private response has been extraordinary. Isa, thanks very much. Great reporting. Isa Soares here who was out today. Isha, obviously, a long process ahead. A desperate situation for so many people. And it's not going to end anytime soon. Back to you, Isha, in L.A.
SESAY: Michael and Isa, thanks to you both. Sadly, this will go on for very long time. Thank you. We'll check back in with you later. We're going to take a quick break now. And despite new harsher than ever sanctions on North Korea, the country remains defiant and optimistic. We hit the streets of Pyongyang to see why residents there are so upbeat. Plus, the U.N. calls it ethnic cleansing. How Myanmar's Rohingya crisis is getting worse and what's to be done about it, next.
SESAY: Hello, everyone. North Korea's facing the harshest sanctions ever levied against the country. But you would never know it, walking the streets of Pyongyang. Our own Will Ripley is the only western television journalist in North Korea and has this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's tough to find a traffic light in Pyongyang. Traffic cops direct the flow of cars. The streets, noticeably busier each time I come here. Busier, at least, for now. The U.S. says the latest U.N. sanctions threaten to cut North Korea's oil supply by nearly a third, which could spike prices for everything from taxis to energy. A ban on textile exports and the end of foreign labor contracts could further slash the income of this cash-starved country. But if you ask Ree Hei-hyung, she's not worried. Her refreshment stand has a steady flow of customers. She says life is improving despite round after round of increasingly heavy sanctions.
"We have no problems," she says. "Everything I'm selling is made local. We don't worry. We rely on ourselves." Kim Hei-song casually shrugs off threats from the United States. The U.S. President, Donald Trump, said that these sanctions are just not a big deal and that there's much worse to come. Does that worry you at all? "We don't care what the U.S. President says or what the outside worlds think about us," she says. "We don't worry because we believe in the leadership of Marshal Kim Jong-un." Keep in mind, this is a very thin slice of life in this closed country. [01:20:18] Reporters like us can only see what the government allows.
But all over the North Korean capital, we see plenty of new construction, an increasingly modern skyline, a mandate from North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un -- determined to prove he can grow the economy and the nuclear program, all in the face of unprecedented sanctions for his repeated violations of international law. You see these posters all over Pyongyang and they pretty much sum up North Korea's official response to increasing pressure from the U.S. -- more missiles.
North Korean propaganda is built around their nuclear program. It symbolizes strength, independence. It's key to their national identity. Is there anything, anything at all that could get North Korea to walk away from its nuclear program? "We'll never give them up," says Ree Chong-song. "If we did, it would mean our destruction." Around town, new posters show a pair of hands ripping up U.N. sanctions resolutions. North Korea's defiant message: they will never give up their nukes, even if that means life is about to get a lot harder. Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.
SESAY: Well, this weekend, Will Ripley, takes us inside North Korea for an exclusive look into the lives of people who live there including the country's teenagers.
RIPLEY: In North Korea, government minders watch our every move and restrict what we can film. Even if this is what we want to see high school students horsing around at the beach. I can't help but wonder, what do they actually know about America?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No, I just wear it to play sports.
RIPLEY: Have you ever heard of Portland?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haven't heard of it.
RIPLEY: Have you ever seen any American movies or heard any American music?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
RIPLEY: Ever heard of Facebook or Twitter or Instagram?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all.
RIPLEY: These teens have been told Americans act and look scary. What would you expect from an American? What would you expect an American to be like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big nose with a hairy chest.
RIPLEY: Big nose and hairy chest, huh? Well, I don't have a hairy chest. You tell me, do I have a big nose?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a nose like that, it is sort of.
RIPLEY: Have you guys ever met an American before? They become visibly uncomfortable when they learned I'm an American. I'm the first one they've ever met. I won't interrupt your game any longer. Thank you very much. It was nice to meet you, guys.
SESAY: Well, that secret state inside North Korea, you can watch it at 8:00 Saturday night in London, that's 9:00 in Berlin. It is only here on CNN.
Well, Myanmar's de facto leader plans to give a state of the union speech next week to address the Rohingya crisis. World leaders are increasingly critical of Aung San Suu Kyi for her failure to stop widespread violence against the Rohingya Muslim -- an ethnic minority in her country. The U.N. says, at least 1,000 have been killed in what it calls a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. And the U.N. chief says the crisis must be addressed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, CHIEF, UNITED NATIONS: The humanitarian situation is catastrophic. When we met last week, there were 125,000 Rohingya refugees that have fled into Bangladesh. That number has now tripled to nearly 380,000. Many are staying in makeshift settlements or with those communities who are generally sharing what they have. But women and children are arriving hungry and malnourished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Joining me now from New York to discuss the plight of the Rohingya is Philippe Bolopion, United Nations Director with Human Rights Watch. Philippe, thank you so much for being with us. So, Human Rights Watch has obtained satellite images which you say drive home the scale of the ongoing destruction of Rohingya communities in Rakhine State. We're putting these up on the screens for our viewers to take a look at. Philippe, what exactly is the scene? Give us some perspective on what was focused on here.
PHILIPPE BOLOPION, DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS WITH HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, a few weeks ago, our satellite experts started trying to understand what was happening in Rakhine state. They detected several, large-scale fires across the region. It was, of course, very unusual for the season. It's the monsoon season. So, the only possible explanation for these fires was that something very bad was happening. And in the course of the last couple of weeks, our worst fears have been confirmed. It looks like Rakhine is literally on fire -- a large number of villages have been completely destroyed.
And since we have been able to go to the border and talk to refugees, I talked to one of our researchers earlier today. They see people coming in every day, hundreds of them -- most of them are women, children. They are scared. They are crying. They are hungry. Some of them are injured. They have been forced by the Burmese military to leave their villages. And they arrived after five, six, seven of travel in the jungle. They arrived in Bangladesh with still nowhere to go for them.
[01:25:24] SESAY: The story is emerging from these fleeing people truly are just desperate and tragic. The world has been shocked by the subdued response from Nobel Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. I want to play for you part of her statement, a statement she made after meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUNG SAN SUU KYIN, STATE COUNSELOR OF MYANMAR: We have to take care of our citizens. We have to take care of everybody who is in our country, whether or not they are our citizens. It is our duty and we try our best. Of course, our resources are not as complete and adequate as we would like them to be. But still, we try our best and we want to make sure that everyone is entitled to the protection of the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Philippe, that's a striking statement and that she has refused to make any clear comments in support of the Rohingya, who are suffering in her country. In fact, she seemed to be downplaying what is happening. What do you make of her lack of response, if you will? And what does it mean for the plight of these people?
BOLOPION: Well, look, it's an absolute shame. Like many other human rights activists, I had a picture of Aung San Suu Kyi in my office for many years. And like many of my fellow human rights activists, I've had to take it down because her statements, you know, are simply trying to diminish the gravity of the situation by all accounts. And according to our research, the current campaign is a campaign of ethnic cleansing -- and these are not words that we use lightly.
Over the last three weeks, about 400,000 people, Rohingya, have had to leave Burma. That's 1/3 of the Rohingya population in Burma. So, it's massive. And what we see from her is equivocation, in some cases statements that seem to claim that what's reported on the news is fake news and misinformation. It's simply unacceptable. Now, this being said, of course, Aung San Suu Kyi is not really the problem there. She has no control over the army. The ones that need to be on the spot and under the microscope are not, you know, people like Aung San Suu Kyi. The generals in Burma, who are actually are conducting this bloody campaign.
SESAY: Well, the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, condemned the violence. And as you referenced, the secretary-general said ethnic cleansing is taking place. I mean, from a practical point of view, what else could the United Nations be doing other than making statements of condemnation?
BOLOPION: So much more. Today, the Security Council, you know, to date has been literally missing in action. What we had today was only a press statement, something quite unofficial. They're meeting behind closed doors. This is not what's needed when there is a campaign of ethnic cleansing. After Rwanda, after Bosnia, we said never again to these types of crimes and they are happening again in front our very eyes. So, what does the U.N. Security Council need to do right now?
Well, it needs to send a very strong message to these generals in Burma who are in charge and responsible for these crimes, that they will have a price to pay. That if they don't stop right now, they will be put under sanctions. They will be forbidden from traveling abroad. Their assets in other countries will be frozen. The companies that are, you now, leading in Burma and that they are benefiting from should become pariahs in international markets. They should also know that they will be held accountable. That's t kind of signal that can make a difference from the Security Council. We should be way, way past the statements of concern.
SESAY: Philippe Bolopion, many, many people agree with you. We thank you for joining us just to give us some critical insight into the situation regarding these most persecuted people. We appreciate it. Thank you.
BOLOPION: Thanks for having me.
[01:29:17] SESAY: Quick break here. Still, to come, many people in the Caribbean are struggling to get by in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. A live report on what they are up against, straights ahead.
SESAY: Your watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay, the headlines this hour. A fire for school in Kuala Lumpur has killed at least 23 people; most of the victims were students between 13 and 17 years old. It's still unclear how the fire started, but officials say the school did not have certificate to operate.
It was actually General Antonio Guterres who calls the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar catastrophic and says that there is no better term for what's happening then ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi canceled her trip to the U.N. General Assembly later this month. But she says she will address the violence in a State of the Union speech.
The situation is desperate on several islands in the Caribbean a week after Hurricane Irma barrels through the region. There is little food and drinking water and thieves are looting in some areas. The U.S. and European governments are sending aid to their Caribbean territories and evacuating residents.
Well let's go back now to Puerto Rico, lots of Hurricane Irma evacuees from the hard hit Virgin Islands have ended up there. CNN's Michael Holmes joins us from the capital city, San Juan. Michael?
HOLMES: Isha, yes of course this storm has left plenty of people pleading for help. The U.S, Virgin Islands especially hard hit. The storm hit three of the biggest islands in the group especially hard. We're talking about Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, killing four people in fact and causing incredible damage. CNN's Sara Sidner with the latest.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: On Saint John, the smallest of the three major islands and arguably most ruggedly beautiful, Hurricane Irma swept away life as we knew it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is nothing left.
SIDNER: Nearly 30 square miles of island, wiped out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in our sheltered hurricane anchorage, called Hurricane Hole. It was about--- I would guess about 200 boats out there and all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait you was on a boat?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on my boat, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you survive in a boat of all places?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was lucky, a lot of the boats sunk.
SIDNER: It took life here as well. The struggle for survival crushing, the suffering endless. Most of the inhabitants on this island lost what little they had. Most have no means to rebuild without a Herculean relief effort.
So nothing has been left untouched here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, just about everything has been touched.
SIDNER: Help is on the way, but it has taken far too long. Nearly a week for it to arrive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A week ago from today it was all going down man.
SIDNER: But relief is only trickling in here instead of flooding in. The reason for that is two fold. Communications is nearly impossible here, and security is precarious. Crime has shot up residents say, a dangerous desperation has emerged. As human beings try to get their needs meet by any means necessary.,
A few miles away on another island -- more tragedy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard to get food, water, gas; it took us three hours to just get ice. And I'm worried about the mosquitoes and I'm worried about diseases, I don't know if I can do it.
SIDNER: In Saint Thomas, the stunning landscape that attracts tourist from around the world is decimated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you hungry? I'll grab some water for you.
SIDNER: The sheer force of sustained winds at tornadic speeds turned this island inside out in spots. There is a telltale sign that the eye wall of a category 4 or 5 has hit, and it's this. There are no leaves on the trees. With wind speeds up to 185 miles an hour, the hurricane has stripped every branch on this island bare. From St. John to St. Thomas there is no end to the destruction. Right now in much of the Caribbean life is anything but paradise. Sara Sidner, CNN, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.
HOLMES: And it will take literally years for St. Martin recover from the impact of this storm. People are trying to leave in droves, only to find that it's not that simple. Our Clarissa Ward reports now from the northern French half of the island.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The military has to had to set up this checkpoint less than a mile away from the airport, 'cause there are so many people here who are desperate to leave the island of St. Martin and the airport simply can't cope with the crush of people. You can see around me hundreds, three to four hundred, every day, some of them have been here since four or five o'clock in this morning.
Some of them of course will also have to sleep here. There aren't proper tents. There aren't proper mattresses. There are limited supplies. And everyone has a horrifying tale to tell.
UNKNOWN: We have no news. The toilets are just a whole in the ground. We are parked with pigs. I'm disgusted, I am totally disgusted, we are all totally disgusted. We can't believe they are so incompetent.
UNKNOWN: It's hard but we have no choice. I was hoping to get out. Me I don't mind staying but when you have the kids, my main interest is the kids.
WARD: For these families who have already been through so much, this really is the final indignity. They have been living a nightmare and they have no idea when it will end. Clarissa Ward, CNN, St. Martin.
HOLMES: So many people affected, Isha, and I'll have more from here in Puerto Rico in the next hour. For now though, back to you in LA.
SESAY: Yeah, It's staggering when you take the full slope of this tragedy. I mean, we're talking about millions of people's lives changed forever. Michael Holmes, we thank you. Check back with you later.
Well, Florida Governor Rick Scott spent much of Wednesday in the Florida Keys where Irma made its first U.S. landfall early Sunday. Many homes and businesses are total losses. But cargo planes full of, emergency supplies are getting into the airports. d authorities report stead progress restoring water and power to the Island chain. Our Kyung Lah, with one couple as they returned to what was left of their home.
BYRON GAUZE, FLORIDA RESIDENT: this is the hallway coming into our master bedroom and our master bathroom.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting a tour of Byron Gauze and Jessica Cooper's home after Irma raged through it.
GAUZE: We still have three feet of standing water in here. JESSICA COOPER, FLORIDA RESIDENT: This is my bed.
LAH: Your bed?
GAUZE: This was our bed.
LAH: What is this place?
GAUZE: This is my armoire that was in this corner of my master bedroom with all my clothes. We're standing over three feet in the air right now.
LAH: Beneath our feet, seaweed, three feet of saltwater, and a beach that used to be outside before it burst into the home. The couple rode out the storm in a neighbor's house. Recording this video as the hurricane slammed against their first floor home.
GAUZE: first sign that everything wasn't all right was we started seeing our possessions floating out this door.
LAH: Their concrete construction held up. But the windows failed. Wait a second. These were hurricane shutters?
GAUZE: Yes, these are hurricane shutters, but there's only two of them left.
LAH: The couple lives in Marathon Key, a lower Key, hurricane damage is everywhere you look. It's still closed off for residents to re- enter. In the upper keys the cleanup is under way. Without power, cell phones, and in some cases water it's agonizingly slow in the Florida heat. But signs of modern life are returning. US Highway 1 is cleared, and open for emergency crews, gas finally coming back to a few stations in Key Largo.
COOPER: I don't know where to start is my problem. I know I need to start some where and I don't know where to start.
LAH: But for those still waiting for those glimmers of normalcy.
GAUZE: We're probably about 4 1/2 feet above what would normally be our patio level. These are just regular full size sliding glass doors that you would walk through that now look like bay windows.
LAH: The disaster still remains at their front door.
GAUZE: It's absolutely the most catastrophic thing I've ever seen. There's the price of living in paradise. It's not for the faint of heart.
LAH: This couple did not have insurance despite that, they say that they're going to do the clean up themselves. They're going to figure it out, they want to rebuild they want to stay. But this time, they might add onto their second floor. Kyung Lah, CNN, Big Pine Key, Florida.
SESAY: While many, many hurricane Irma victims need assistance, shelter and critical supplies. If you want to help, head to CNN.com/impact. You can donate to one of the charities we've vetted or you can volunteer your time which is much needed as well.
Well still to come Hillary Clinton speaks to CNN about what happened in the 2016 election. That's a look on everything from James Comey's intervention to possible Russian interference.
SESAY: Well Hillary Clinton is speaking to our Anderson Cooper about her new book, "What Happened". In it she ultimately takes responsibility for the 2016 presidential election loss. But she also is spreading a lot of blame to other people, including former FR Director; James Comey. Here's part out their conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You said about James Comey that he shived you which is a very - that's a strong word --
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a strong word.
COOPER: And it also implies that this was personal or that he was trying to get you.
CLINTON: He's never been clear about his motivation and what bothered me the most as time went on after the election is - and we learned more about the open FBI investigation into the Trump Campaign and their connections with Russia.
That had been going on for quite some time, the American people didn't know about it. He was specifically asked why didn't you tell the American people about that investigation. And he said because it was too close to an election.
So ask yourself, a closed investigation that ended the prior July, an ongoing investigation into the Trump Campaign and Russia. One deserves to be blown out of all proportion, nothing to be found one more time and the American people don't have the information that a legitimate investigation going on about Trump before they vote.
COOPER: Do you think it is personal?
CLINTON: I have no idea. I can't sit here and tell you. I know that there had to be some pressure on him because Rudy Giuliani announced two days before that letter came out that something big was coming in two days. And people have speculated.
Was he under pressure from Giuliani and others within the FBI or the broader law enforcement community? I don't speculate on it, I just talk about how really hard to understand it was and the impact that it had.
COOPER: One of the things though that Director Comey gave for that press conference in July, was the meeting that your husband had on the tarmac with the Attorney General - Attorney General Lynch, you write about it in the book but, what you don't mention in the book is what you said to your husband when you heard about that meeting.
CLINTON: I didn't hear about it for days because it was so inconsequential to both of them and then when I heard about it, I didn't really think much of it and I think this was rationalization that was used for being able to do what he did.
But, you know what's important to me going forward is, as I say, I think it's important to focus on what happened because lessons can be learned. But, the more important lessons that will affect our Democracy going forward are not about him and his investigation. He I think, forever change history but that's in the past.
What's important is the fact that the Russian's are still going at us. He himself admitted that before Congress. People I really respect like, Jim Clapper and John Brennan and others, who knew what the Russian's were doing have been sounding the alarm.
I will tell you this Anderson, If I had been elected President under the same circumstances so that - you know I lost the popular vote, I squeaked through the Electoral College and evidence came up that the Russian's for what ever reason was trying to help me, I would have said on the first day in Office we're going to launch the most thorough investigation.
No nation, particularly an adversary nation can mess with our Democracy. I would have had an independent commission; I would have done everything I could to get to the bottom of it because it's not going to stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Peter Mathews joins me now Political Analyst and Professor of Political Science at Cypress College. So, Peter spoke what happened, allowing Hillary Clinton to get a lot off her chest as you hear there with Anderson Cooper and all the other interviews she's been doing to promote the memoir.
But let me as you this as a student of Political Science, does this book add anything meaningful when it comes to the public record?
PETER MATHEWS, POLITICAL ANALYST, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, CYPRESS COLLEGE: There's some details that would probably, would be interesting to historians et cetera. But, over all it's something that of a candidate who lost would do. They would be introspective as to where we went wrong, what part of it was her own fault, or is it circumstance beyond her control? I think she tries to balance it.
I think she blames a lot more other people than herself but, it's very interesting. I think it's just a book that's a memoir and I'm not sure how much impact it will have historically but it certainly is something worth looking at and keeping it for history.
SESAY: As she has been sharing her personal feelings on what happened in 2016, she's also made the point that she is not going any where. She's not going to be Canidate again but she's not going to retire to the shadows. MATHEWS: That's right. She's established an organization that's -
MATHEWS: Suppose to promote other candidate's - younger candidates to bring them up on the ladder. And, she wants to be involved in Politics, that's her life.
SESAY: OK, and if you're in the Democratic Party and she's there and the specter of Hillary Clinton continues to loom large, what does it mean for the Party?
MATHEWS: It might actually put a damper on some of the newer candidates or even others (who've) run and could actually consider winning and running. They may consider well will she step in any time - I mean jump in the second time around? We don't know because candidates can make up - change their mind anytime, right?
They can say we're not running right now then maybe they'll do it again so. She has to make it clear that she's not going to run if she's not going to run she has to make it clear that she's there to help the Party when based on going back to it's core values and to be passionate and to have - the Party have a vision and to have articulate that.
Which, I think Bernie Sanders has been helping to do is his alias of the Party have been doing quit well and she needs to come aboard and support that all the way if we're going to have a winning of Democrats who have a winning ticket next time around.
SESAY: All right well, let's talk about the man who is in the White House, Donald Trump.
SESAY: He has been schmoozing with people and Hillary Clinton side of the street with Democrats.
SESAY: Having dinner with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and the Democratic leaders on Wednesday night and what has emerged at least from the Democrats that they have struck a deal on DACA. Which, is Obama era regulation that saved young people brought to this country illegally, saved them from deportation.
Their saying they've got a deal and also it's part of some arrangement on board of security that doesn't involve the war. We shall see the details of the wall in the hours to come but will there be much wailing and mashing of teeth among the Republicans to see this President once again go down the road of making a deal with Democrats?
MATHEWS: Yes, it's not just the fact that he's making a deal with the opposite party but it's actually splitting his own party. Is this your illegal immigration and how to deal with, has really has them parting on both sides of the fence. Some Republicans are for a path to citizenship, others are saying no way.
These are illegal folks and we have to have a wall, and Trump's base of support was the people's support of the wall that was one of the most main platform issue, wasn't it?
MATHEWS: So now he's shifting back and forth and it doesn't strengthen the party over all.
ISHA SESAY: All right, he's at The White House, let's talk about someone who has left The White House. Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary. Take a look at that, he's made his debut on late night television.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If you want to ask about policy or a particular instance but to get up there and question on day one my integrity was not something I anticipated.
JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE : Yes, well I'm sure although when you brought that crowd size thing out, it's like you opened this terrible Pandora's box. Do you think that's what got you off to a kind of a bad start with the press court?
SEAN SPICER: I don't think it was probably the best start...
ISHA SESAY: Sounds like they're doing it's own version of what happened.
PETER MATHEWS: He had a mouth full, he couldn't say any - couldn't get it out could he? He's on the spot there.
ISHA SESAY: I'm mean - again back to your expertise - now you may leave The White House but you still stay in the spotlight. There is another chapter and I'm not to say that other people who've left other administrations haven't had second acts. But these happened pretty quickly.
PETER MATHEWS: Amazingly quickly with so many of them in and out in two weeks - three weeks - few months? Spicer, was that maybe eight months? And here your saying - his problem was, he was saying things they did not believe were true. And yet he had to say it as a press secretary I suppose. And he was a ver bad - he might be happy and relieved that he's out of there by now, you can think...
ISHA SESAY: Yes, I --
PETER MATTHEWS: ...He was in a very prickly situation there.
ISHA SESAY: So do you want to put some money or would you like to have it as a guess as to what he will do when he leave - I mean...
PETER MATTHEWS: I think that's an - I think him presume him to be his own character as opposed to and actress, right?
ISHA SESAY: We shall see, we never know. It's a pleasure, thank you.
PETER MATHEWS: Always a pleasure being here, thank you.
ISHA SESAY: A quick break here on news room LA. The city of light and the city of angels. Our Olympic city is again for the first time since the roaring 20s and the days of Mary Lou Retton, stay with us.
ISHA SESAY: Hello everyone. The international Olympic committee has announced the two cities that will host the 2024 and 2028 summer Olympic Games.
THOMAS BACH, PRESIDENT OF THE IOC: A great honor to announce that the international Olympic committee has simultaneously selected the host city of the games of 33rd Olympia 2024 and the host city of the games of the 34th Olympia 2028. Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028.
(APPLAUSE AND CHEERING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Wasn't exactly a secret. Although Las Angeles lost hopes of their Olympics in 1984 and Paris way back in 1924, CNN's Paul Vercammen has more on the Olympic size excitement in LA.
VERCAMMEN: Isha, there was a tremendous sense of euphoria in and around the Los Angeles memorial coliseum where some former Olympians had gathered. This of course was decided the 1984 Olympic games, the last Olympic games to earn a surplus and that's a big part of why LA got the games again.
The OIC feeling confident that this city knows how to run an Olympic games. Now, perhaps all of the reaction was put best by gold medalist swimmer John Naber from Montreal, 1976. He likened it to a wedding, you're invited, you're part of the wedding, do you lose, any of your sense of wonder over whose getting married that day. Let's listen.
JOHN NABER, US OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: When I woke up this morning I felt like the best man of a state wedding. I know that everybody's expecting a bride to come down the aisle, but you're never sure until it actually happens. Well, she said I do. The Olympic committee and Los Angeles are now jointly partnered and will be together for 11 years. And it's wonderful experience and it's a great excitement.
VERCAMMEN: Many other Olympians here, as I said, echoing what neighbor feels in all this they were excited. Now, let me tell you and show you why they are confident, the IOC is that LA 2028 will not have any of the cost overruns that have plagued some recent Olympics. First behind me the L.A. Coliseum is already built. It will be revamped between now and the Olympics, seats 70,000, opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies, and so much more.
And then if you don't mind, David Lake, my photographer, is going to give you some show and tell, Isha. This is beautiful new soccer slash football and the rest of the world stadium. It is being finished right next door. They will open up for football in 2018. But this is going to be part of the Olympics as well. What Los Angeles has that so many other cities have not had in the past is a complete build out of the infrastructure.
Almost all of the venues have already been completed. And as we noted before, LA has developed a surplus. They're confident again that they will make money off ticket sales and naming rights and sponsorships and to this day money that LA 1984 made still goes to youth programs in this city and their going to get another big check from the IOC to fund more youth programs so the way this city looks at it, it's a win, win.
Back to you, Isha.
SESAY: Thanks to Paul Vercammen, there. They're saying bring on those big checks. You're watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. Be sure to join us on twitter @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips from our shows. We will be right back with more news after this.
SESAY: Hello everyone, this is Isha Sesay, Live in Los Angeles, would like to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world.