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Dorian Devastates Bahamas, Moves Along U.S. Coast; Shortage Of Food And Water In Hurricane Aftermath; Bahamas Prime Minister, At Least Seven People Killed In Hurricane; Thousands Of Fires Burn In Amazon Rainforest; United Nation Report On Yemen; Dive Boat Disaster; Hurricane Dorian Devastated the Entire Bahamas; Some States About to Brace Dorian's Wrath; Boris Johnson Facing the Brexit Challenge. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 4, 2019 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

We are following two major stories this hour. The devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, and now its path along the U.S. coast.

Plus, the bad news for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plans as lawmakers take over parliament.

And the Bahamas may be facing their greatest crisis ever. Hurricane Dorian has laid waste to the country, leaving entire islands in ruins. At least seven people have been killed. Homes are gone and hospitals crippled. People need shelter. They are drenched. They are hungry. The island's prime minister is asking for global help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUBERT MINNIS, BAHAMIAN PRIME MINISTER: I think we would need at this point in time we're concerned about security, safety and food. So we would need a lot of water and dried food. And whatever other assistance the international community can give. As you know, we will have to rebuild our infrastructure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well, as the Bahamas struggled, Dorian is rolling on. The hurricane has gotten weaker over the past 24 hours but it's not weak. It is now a category two, picking up speed and size as it lashes the U.S.

And CNN is covering this hurricane from both sides of the storm. Patrick Oppmann has been right in the middle of the devastation in the town of Freeport, Bahamas. And Derek Van Dam is in Jensen Beach, Florida, along the state's east coast.

But first we do want to go to our meteorologist here Pedram Javaheri to get an idea on the path and, of course, when it makes landfall and where you're expecting it to make landfall.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's going to be a storm system here that picks up some porous speed the next couple of days, Rosemary. And you know this is a storm that was hardly moving the last several days. So, at eight miles per hour to the north-northwest we're going to begin to see some progression here potentially towards the Carolinas, especially as we go in Wednesday night towards Thursday morning.

The system itself, the center sits about 80 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral. In fact, at Port Canaveral, they're reporting a wind gusts of about 70 miles per hour at this hour. So, beginning to see some of those hurricane force gusts impact the coast of Florida.

But really, a system that is just shy of what would be a major hurricane or a category three system. So really speaks to the significance of what a large player it is at this hour. And in fact, when you measure the cloud field, it spans some 500 miles from its western periphery to its eastern periphery.

So roughly the size of the state of Alaska. You drop this over the state of Alaska, it would span nearly the entire width of the state. So, it really speaks to the significance of it. Of course, when you look at a storm of such magnitude, we know tropical storm force winds extend some 175 miles away from the center.

So just about everyone up and down the central and northern coast of Florida will feel tropical storm winds. Some areas will feel some hurricane force gusts as well. But the question is where does the storm end up as we go from Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

The models suggest this will begin to take a turn towards the southeast. As it does, places such as Charleston, South Carolina, on to Wilmington, North Carolina, those are the areas we're watching carefully because this is the region indicated right here in the red that has those hurricane force winds.

And once this begins to cross over land, you get close to landfall. And we think around Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, potentially the Hatteras region, that's the likely scenario for Thursday for this storm to make a landfall. Potentially still as a category two before it skirts off the eastern seaboard.

And you kind of see the models highlighted here, the spaghetti models, the concentration which kind of confined just off the coast of Georgia and then South Carolina and then once you approach North Carolina, that again becomes the highest likelihood area of landfall.

So, still far from over and regardless of where it makes landfall, we know the impacts on the immediate coast are going to bell felt with significant storm surge, which always is the most destructive aspect of a storm. This is not going to be any different as it approaches land. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Absolutely. Thank you again, Pedram. We'll talk soon. Well, CNN's Patrick Oppmann and his crew have been riding out the storm in Freeport, Bahamas, one of the hardest hit areas by Dorian. They managed to get out and about for a look at shocking devastation. And they watched as ordinary citizens banded together to rescue survivors. Here's Patrick's report.

[03:04:59]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We were walking out to a staging area where they're bringing people in from the communities out here that have been flooded. Sometimes one at a time.

You can see there are still hurricane force winds and rain coming down on us, and yet these people are going out and pulling people from their houses, from on top of their houses and saving their lives.

There is a little baby here, a boy, they're covering up and protecting. Here I assume is his mother. Come through. Come through. Come through. Good job. And they're going out on jet skis because sometimes the boats -- ma'am, how are you doing? How are you doing? You made it. You're safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

OPPMANN: How high did the water get?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Up to the first floor.

OPPMANN: You're safe now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

OPPMANN: As she was saying, the water was up to the first floor of her house. Many people here have told us that the water came in so quickly into this neighborhood, you would not be able to tell from what you're looking at here, but there were hundreds of houses back there. The only way to get the people from the houses is from small boats and jet skis.

What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're trying to do the rescue here in Freeport. After the hurricane.

OPPMANN: How many people are out there still?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few hundred.

OPPMANN: A few hundred?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. A lot of homes are over here.

OPPMANN: And it's tough to get out there and get them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's tough.

OPPMANN: How long are you going to keep doing it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until we get everybody. We're Bahamians. We're not going to stop until we get everybody.

OPPMANN: This is all volunteer. People are coming, they're bringing their jet skis. They're bringing their boats. They're going to get their neighbors, they say. Everyone says they know of people. They say it's very hard to navigate because there are, of course, no more streets, and yet they are doing it.

You don't see anybody from the government here. It is all a very ad hoc. People coming with what they have. The jet skis they have. They are dealing with horrible weather conditions.

It's not safe to be out in a boat right now. It the not safe to be out here at all, and yet they say they know there are people out there, there are people who have lost their lives out there, we are told. They've brought back at least one body and they say they will not stop until they get everybody. They have hours if not days of work ahead of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Incredible report from Patrick Oppmann there.

And Florida is now feeling the effects of Hurricane Dorian. This is what's coming toward the eastern part of the state. It is an outer band bringing heavy rain and storm surge along the coast.

Flooding is a major concern, of course. The National Guard is on standby. Thousands of members are in the southeast ready to assist when needed.

So, let's head back to Jensen Beach, Florida, and CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam is standing by there again. So, Derek, what is the scene on the coastline there this hour and what is expected in coming hours?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Rosemary, I was listening intently to you and the discussion you had with Pedram. He was talking about how there are hurricane force gusts along the East Coast of Florida.

We haven't experienced that here. We've had sustained tropical storm force winds in Martin County right near the Jensen Beach area where I'm located on the inner coastal, which is directly behind me. We've had driving rain today as well, when some of the outer rain bands make its way in.

And we've also seen surging seas as well. This is the inner coastal. You're looking at that. It's a mixture of ocean and fresh water from the St. Lucie River. And this is about two to three feet above where it should be right now with the average tides. And, you know, I think as I've talked to people and residents that

were here earlier today. Because we had to go check out the live shot location earlier this afternoon. Talked to some of the onlookers. And they were just breathing a sigh of relief because they recognize that the storm did finally make the right-hand turn. It is moving along the coastline, and we know that, but people here in Martin County, St. Lucie County, they understand that they were spared a direct hit from a monster of a hurricane that sat literally 80 miles offshore for days on end.

What we experienced weather-wise here is a far cry from what they experienced in the Grand Bahama as well as Abaco Islands. We recognize that. But it was still significant and still terrifying for some of the members here and the residents. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, totally understand that. Derek, many thanks. We'll check back in with you again very soon.

For more now on the possible impact of Hurricane Dorian, I want to turn to Joanne Magley, she's the director of community information at Volusia County and she joins me on the phone. Good to talk with you.

JOANNE MAGLEY, COMMUNITY INFORMATION DIRECTOR, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA: Hello, Rosemary. Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: Now, you're based in Daytona Beach. What's the situation on the ground there right now and how are you preparing for storm surges and flooding from Hurricane Dorian?

[03:09:59]

MAGLEY: Well, the one advantage of this slower-moving hurricane is that we have had a few extra days to prepare. Right now, currently we are experiencing the tropical storm force winds and the biggest impact we're going to get is going to come around 3 a.m., and it's going to last maybe until 9 a.m. for the biggest impacts, but we're expected to see about 17 to 24 hours of sustained winds.

So, we've been preparing for quite some time. This morning we did issue a mandatory evacuation order for residents on our barrier island and those who live in mobile homes and on the eastern portion of the county, and at the same time we issued the emergency curfew for the cities and the unincorporated parts of the county that are on the east side of the Halifax River.

And that curfew went into effect at 6 p.m. today, it runs through until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning, it kicks in again Wednesday, 6 p.m., and it will go through again Thursday at 6 a.m.

So, it's an order for protect the areas that were under the evacuation notice. So, their property and such is protected and to keep everybody safe from driving in and out of those areas.

CHURCH: And how bad do you think this will be? And do you feel ready and prepared for whatever the outcome might be? MAGLEY: Well, we're definitely prepared for -- we're preparing for

the -- what could be the worst part of the storm. If it were to come in a little more on the west, but we feel that people have been heeding the evacuation orders.

We have more than 1,000 people in our shelters. And we were out a little earlier today, and the streets are pretty bare, so we do feel that people are sheltering in place, those that did not need to evacuate the area.

You know, our staff also connected with all the assisted living facilities and the nursing homes, making sure that they are prepared to provide for all the residents in case there is power loss and they're all squared away there.

We've been really active in pushing out public information. We have a very robust emergency management Facebook page. We've done news conferences. Several days in a row, sometimes twice a day, just -- and we're streaming those live.

Just keeping the public informed of changes in the track, when the curfews are going into effect, the evacuation orders, what they need to do to be prepared before, during and after the hurricane. So, we feel that we've -- that we're ready and we feel our residents and citizens are taking the necessary actions as well.

CHURCH: Yes, certainly sounds like your preparations are all very well-considered and you've really thought about everything. But is there any concern at all that people will let their guard down and not take this as seriously as they should, perhaps, because some may have decided the hurricane just won't be as bad as initially thought.

MAGLEY: I think you always have that with hurricanes. Especially from people who have grown up in the area or have weathered through the storm for several different hurricanes and maybe didn't have damage or things like that, but we've been through Matthew and we've been through Irma, and both of those storms we received tropical storm winds that did create substantial damage to the area with downed trees and some flooding in areas.

So those hurricanes were not direct impact. Matthew is a similar path and track as Dorian is here. So, I think it's somewhat fresh in people's mind that even though you might not be getting a direct hit, you definitely are going to feel the effects of tropical storm winds, which, you know, which are strong and they're powerful.

CHURCH: All right. Joanne Magley, thank you so much for running down all of the things that you have prepared for there at Daytona Beach and we wish you all the best, you and all the citizens there. Many thanks.

MAGLEY: Thank you very much.

CHURCH: Well, believe it or not, the Brexit debate has just become even more complicated. We will sort it out, or try to at least, and recap the contentious and intense fight in parliament. Do stay with us.

[03:15:00]

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CHURCH: Well, we are tracking this year's most powerful storm. The edges of Hurricane Dorian are lapping the Florida coast as it moves up the United States.

Now, the killer storm devastated the Bahamas. At least seven people were dead, were killed there, and entire communities gutted. As Dorian moves north, Florida is seeing storm surge and high winds.

Georgia is also bracing for this, but the storm is not expected to make landfall there. But it's still dangerous. And it could threaten the Carolinas in the coming days. Probably landfall by Thursday. That's what we're hearing from our meteorologists.

Now, it's only day two of work for British M.P.s after the summer holidays, but they are headed for another showdown. In the coming hours, an opposition alliance will try to push through a bill. The next step in preventing a no-deal Brexit on October 31st. Well, it comes --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes to the right, 328. The nos to the left, 301. So, the ayes have it. The ayes have it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And it comes a day after lawmakers opposed the U.K. prime minister and voted that they would set the legislative agenda.

Boris Johnson then sacked 21 members of his own party who had backed the measure and made good on his threat to seek a general election even though he says it's not his first choice.

[03:20:08]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There are consequences of this vote tonight. I don't want an election. I don't want an election. We don't want an election. I don't think he wants an election, Mr. Speaker, by the way, as far as I can make it out. We don't want an election. We want to get the deal done.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: He isn't winning friends in Europe. He's losing friends at home. This is a government with no mandate, no morals, and as of today, no majority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And CNN's Nina Dos Santos is with us this hour from Brussels, but we begin with Max Foster who joins us on the phone from outside parliament.

So, Max, how big a blow was this for Boris Johnson? And, of course, what's expected to happen next with the vote today on stopping or an effort to stop the no-deal Brexit? What do the numbers look like?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very bad news for Boris Johnson. He's lost control. He's lost control of the parliamentary agenda so he's lost control of Brexit, at least for now. This bill will be brought to the House. It's probably going to get through. It will call for a no-deal exit from the European Union to be blocked.

And if a deal can't be reached in the European Union, then they'll have to request -- the government will be forced to request a delay from the European Union, probably until the end of January.

Boris Johnson's side have tabled a motion today to follow that if the bill gets through, which will call for an early election, but Labour have confirmed this morning that they won't be backing that. So, they'll effectively -- the opposition will effectively block an early election.

That takes us in to completely uncharted stories because that's meant to be the nuclear option for any government, and the opposition would be expected support it in ordinary times. But these aren't ordinary times, Rosemary. We literally don't know what's going to happen if that election is voted down.

CHURCH: They are most certainly not ordinary times. Max Foster, thanks for that. Let's turn to Nina now in Brussels. So, what's been the reaction there to all of this drama and how will the E.U. likely respond?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, so far over the last two days there's been no reaction, Rosemary, and that is particularly telling here because sometimes the E.U. leaders do take to Twitter to comment on these kind of issues to try to steer the discussion, if you like, to help steer a prime minister in one direction or another in terms of these negotiating positions that they've been having for the last three years over Brexit, but silence from the E.U.

There's a reason for that. It's because obviously this is a very fluid situation in Westminster. Now that Boris Johnson's lost his majority in the House of Commons yesterday in such spectacular fashion with one of his own M.P.s defecting to one of the pro-remain parties, anti no deal parties, the E.U. essentially doesn't really know how strong a hand Boris Johnson would have in any future negotiations.

Not to mention the fact that as Max is pointing out we now have the prospect of a minority government here in the house of parliament with a split parliament now having taken control of the agenda.

This is really difficult stuff for the partners of the E.U. to have to negotiate with because essentially as of today they will resume those negotiations with the U.K.'s diplomatic team, the U.K.'s chief David Frost is arriving here in Brussels to have this continued meetings with his E.U. counterparts, but, really, what are they going to be discussing?

The U.K. side according to U.K. diplomats will continue to press for this idea of re-opening the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May, scrapping that unpopular idea of the Irish backstop. That's a red line for the E.U.

They've already made it very clear that if it were to come to having to choose between a no-deal exit for the U.K. ad protecting the single market, they would go for the single market every single time.

What we've got going on later on today which is one of the reasons why we've seen the E.U. by this time and hold its tongue is the council of commissioners. So, the big E.U. commissions that reside in this building behind me in the European commission who set the E.U.'s laws, they've got a big meeting taking place in about an hour or so's time.

What they're going to be discussing is no-deal preparations and that could also include unlocking emergency relief funds that are normally designed to help countries out when they've had natural disasters in the event of there being a no-deal Brexit. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. We'll see what comes of that. Nina Dos Santos joining us from Brussels, our Max Foster on the line from London. Many thanks to both of you.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, the incredible devastation left behind. How the people in the Bahamas are surviving in the aftermath of the Hurricane Dorian. Back in a moment.

[03:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Hurricane Dorian is on the move after obliterating parts of the Bahamas. Cars, homes and even airports are underwater. It's the most powerful storm ever to hit the islands. Houses have been smashed to piles of rubble.

At least seven people have been killed and that number is likely to rise.

Hurricane Dorian's path of destruction isn't done yet. It's now moving along the East Coast of Florida through -- though the storm remains offshore. Forecasters predict Dorian could make landfall in South Carolina later this week.

[03:30:03]

So, let's get more on all of this from our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri who joins us again. Let's go over that path of what people can expect on the way through. And, of course, once that landfall is made.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, Rosemary, we're 11 days into tracking the storm system. Of course reaches that category five in the past couple of days. Stalls over portions of the Grand Bahama Island. And of course, you take a look at what is left of this storm system, an incredible scope of the system that spans some 500 miles from its western periphery all the way towards its eastern periphery. And it sits about 80 miles off the coast of East Coast of Florida right now.

But we're beginning to see the impacts right on the immediate coast. Now we are getting some tropical storm force winds with certainly some hurricane force gusts. But when you take a look at what the storm has been able to accomplish at a category five a couple of days ago and of course, you compare it to just the last few years.

Since 2016, this is the fifth category five systems across the Atlantic base and on into the Gulf of Mexico as well and an incredible run of such storms, but the damage significant to say the least. And trying to get in the first satellite images to compare the before and after perspective across the Grand Bahama Island here in.

And you notice some of the low-lying areas on the northern fringe of the island just submerged here with a storm surge that was estimated to be around 22 feet high. Of course much of this island does not even exceed those elevations. So, once you have a storm surge of that magnitude, you know devastation is going to be widespread across the region.

And now the storm sits just offshore the state of Florida. It is just a couple of miles per hour shy of what would be a major hurricane or a category three system. But here we go over the next 24 hours. We're going to begin to see a shift here towards the north and east. But at that point, the storm should still be a category two. And we think somewhere on the coast of say, the Carolinas here, the highest likelihood for an impact with Dorian here.

So you take a look, tropical storm force winds will impact just about every single local community there on the eastern-southeastern seaboard. And then, once we get in towards, say, Thursday morning we'll begin to see a potential impact period there between Charleston on into Myrtle Beach, potentially Wilmington, even the Hatteras region there for the highest likelihood areas of landfall as a category two system. Of course, hurricane watches and warnings have been issued across this region.

Model guidance also pretty consistent here on trying to skirt the storm away from the state of Georgia, potentially even moving away from the state of South Carolina, but it looks like North Carolina has the highest likelihood here for landfall, and, of course, the storm surge threat is going to be significant here as we go in from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, potentially as high as 7 feet across the Charleston area and as you approach areas around Cape Hatteras.

So, certainly a story worth following as we go into this weekend with historic flooding possible in those areas.

CHURCH: Yes, most definitely. Pedram Javaheri, many thanks. JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: My next guest has spent most of Tuesday trying to rescue people in the aftermath of the devastation brought by hurricane Dorian. Kevin Tomlinson, joins me now via Skype from Freeport. Thank you so much for being with us and for doing all you can along with the team of other people, of course, to help rescue those in need. How many people were you able to find and bring to safety and what were some of the circumstances you found those people in?

KEVIN TOMLINSON, BAHAMAS RESIDENT: Well, numerous people, we were able to find. It was -- we had persons who were stuck in their ceiling. We had persons who were struggling walking through water up to their shoulder level. We have -- you know, there are so many different situations, I mean that we experienced throughout that movement of the storm and it was something that we've never experience before.

You know, this is something new to Freeport. A category five hurricane and the amount of destructive damage that it did with the homes. The shelter that I was at, we went from 25 persons to about 400 persons in less than two hours. You know, that should show you how people are running scared for their lives. And, I mean, the fact that they ran out, left everything, they brought nothing with them.

CHURCH: Yes.

TOMLINSON: So it's something we really unsurely -- we have never experienced before. In 2004 when we had hurricane Francis, yes, we were locked in for two days, but at the end of the day, the destructive path that this -- Dorian has created, we didn't have that for Francis. And we had more with the aftermath. Yes, there were some things to deal with for a few months.

CHURCH: Right.

TOMLINSON: But this here is a totally different situation altogether.

CHURCH: And, of course, everyone's facing major challenges right now, including access to food, water and shelter. What is available to people right now? And what's the government doing to help?

TOMLINSON: Well, the government was waiting for the all clear. Now, if you understand the Bahama Islands, we are -- ma'am, we have different islands that make up the Bahamas. So Freeport is a part of Grand Bahama. Our central government sits on the island of New Providence. So it was difficult for planes to come in while they were having all of that wind gusts and everything.

[03:35:13]

So after the all clear, the central government, the units and so forth and also persons who assist from Florida with the U.S. Coast Guard will be coming in to bring assistance and everything. So we look forward to that because there is a food shortage. There is a water shortage. Because, like I said, persons left their homes and came to the shelters and they didn't have time to go pick up their food and all that stuff and everything. They just ran for their life, you know?

CHURCH: Yes, totally.

TOMLINSON: So coming into the shelters and the shelters you're talking about 400 persons in the shelter I was in last night. This shelter I'm in too now is one of the shelters that is being -- it's the old hotel -- the hotel that -- one of the hotels of the island, sorry. And they have the generator up so it has power.

CHURCH: Right.

TOMLINSON: You're talking about shortage in water and shortage in food. People are hungry.

CHURCH: Yes, and that is going to get worse over the next few days. So, Kevin, I did want to ask you, when you look around at all the devastation and the changed landscape of the Bahamas, what are your thoughts?

TOMLINSON: Well, these are my thoughts. We will rebuild. You know, we've experienced devastation before. In many different -- with hurricanes before from 1929 until now. In fact, in 1929, people thought that was the end of the Bahamas on how destructive that storm was, but we rebuild.

You know, there is something about the Bahamas and the Bahamian people that the world will get a chance to see. We're not just a place of sun, sand, sea and fun, but we're also a place that is filled with a lot of creative minds and genius people and persons who are builders. So we're going to rebuild this island. Abaco is going to be rebuilt. And you're going to see it begin to change over a period of time.

However, we cannot, you know, give back the lives that we've lost. In Abaco we lost some lives as well as we lost some lives here in Grand Bahama. That will be -- it's unconfirmed now, but it will be talked about a bit later. But, you know, at the end of the day, the spirit of the Bahamian people is still alive. The Bahamian people still feel -- I was talking with the 400 proud last night. I got up and gave a talk last night to everybody and I said, you know what, yes, you felt it when your homes were destroyed. Yes, you felt it when you just -- you lost everything, but guess what?

These are material things that can be replaced. And once this is all over, we're going to -- we're going to get right to work. We're going to roll up our sleeves. We're going to get busy and start to build the Bahamas that the world knows about.

CHURCH: Thank you so much for being with us. Good luck.

TOMLINSON: Thank you. Have a good evening.

CHURCH: What an extraordinary man just there. And if you would like to help in any way the victims of hurricane Dorian, you can head to our website. You'll find a list of vetted charities and ways that you can contribute. That is at CNN.com/impact. Do take a look.

Well, thousands of fires are far from contained. Still to come, the grim update on the spreading destruction of the Amazon rain forest.

[03:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The Prime Minister of the Bahamas says his country is in the midst of the greatest national crisis in its history. After hurricane Dorian, residents are starting to emerge, some wading through chest-deep water. At least seven people have been killed, and that toll is likely to rise.

Hurricane Dorian is picking up speed as it moves along the U.S. coast, but it's hardly the same storm, s little less intense and a lot bigger. It's still bringing dangerous rain and wind as menacing bands roll by Florida and continue north towards the Carolinas.

Well, another disaster continues to unfold in South America. Wildfires are spreading in the Amazon while firefighters struggle to contain them. Shasta Darlington has more on the growing threat to the world's largest rain forest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is yet no end in sight to the thousands of wildfires raging in the Amazon. Data from the global fire emissions database shows that more than 2,000 fires have started over the weekend alone. And they've been tearing through the Amazon, destroying wildlife, natural vegetation and threatening the way of life of the indigenous people who call the Amazon home.

AURELIO TENHARIN, TENHARIN TRIBE LEADERSHIP (through translator): It's sad. The forest is on fire haphazardly. This is the result of a lack of supervision, lack of commitment from the government. Here's the result. The animals are dying here and many things are dying.

DARLINGTON: While most of the fires are in Brazil, neighboring countries like Bolivia are also impacted. Here animal remains litter the scorched landscape in some areas. Volunteers are rescuing animals and taking them to temporary shelters. These Bolivian firefighters have spent more than a week battling the fires. Here they get check by medical team before heading back to the frontlines.

[03:45:06]

Back in Brazil, soldiers arrive in a small Amazonian town of Apui, part of a 43,000 strong contingent promised by President Jair Bolsonaro to fight the fires.

The colonel leading the contingent said apart from physically working to contain the blazes, the soldiers will also be involved in an environmental awareness campaigns. Bolsonaro ordered the military to help contain the fires after being widely criticized for his initial response. Critics also say Bolsonaro's policy encouraged people to exploit the Amazon rain forest, creating conditions for some of the fires that are currently raging. The Brazilian leader called a summit of South American countries to

discuss the situation. In the meantime, the fires rage on. Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: The United Nations says Britain, France and the United States may be complicit in war crimes for supplying weapons in Yemen to support a Saudi led coalition that may be starving civilians as a war tactic. U.N. investigators are calling for all nations to impose a ban on arms transfers.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The U.N. report comes days after the Saudi-led coalition conducted its deadliest attack this year. At least 110 people were killed in Sunday's air strike.

Thirty-four people trapped in a boat after it caught fire off the coast of California are now presumed dead. The U.S. Coast Guard has called off its search for survivors. Only five people, the captain and four members of the crew were found alive. So far 20 bodies have been recovered. Most of the passengers were below deck when the fire broke out. Officials say it could take months to find out what caused it.

And we are getting our first look at the devastation after hurricane Dorian slams the Bahamas, but the storm's path of destruction isn't over yet. We'll have the latest for you when we come back.

[03:50:00]

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CHURCH: Florida's East Coast is getting drenched by hurricane Dorian, but it won't be as bad as the Bahamas. Dorian destroyed some areas, battering the islands for days. Entire neighborhoods are completely underwater. And since then Dorian has lessened somewhat in intensity. It's still expected to bring dangerous wind gusts and storm surge as it moves along the U.S. staying just offshore.

So let's head back to Jensen Beach, Florida and CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Good to see you, again, Derek, so what is the situation on the ground this hour and what are the major concerns in the hours ahead for that region?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Rosemary. You know, the ocean is still surging. And I was just checking on one of the NOAA websites. There is a buoy located in the northeastern eye of hurricane Dorian, which is just off the Atlantic coastline, and there are 30- foot waves being measured on this particular weather data buoy. I mean, that is incredible.

So the ocean is still very churned up in and around hurricane Dorian, as one would imagine. And we're feeling the impacts of that as well. This is a break wall here that you can see just to my right. And we saw the same location about midday today, and the water wasn't topping over the break wall like it is now. So we're still getting that surging effect.

So the immediate coastline of the barrier islands here in Martin County where I'm located, they still have the potential for coastal erosion as the storm continues to ride along the East Coast of Florida. We are on the back side of the storm, so the wind direction has changed, and really the threats will start to diminish slowly exactly where I'm standing here for the next several hours.

But then we just focus our attention on the space coast, the Georgia coastline, into the coastline of the Carolinas as well. We've had a lot of rain here as well and still getting the gusty breezes, tropical storm force gusts at times, so it's very easy to take over some smaller trees perhaps. That is a possibility going into the overnight periods and the early morning hours. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Derek Van Dam, you're doing a great job out there. Do take care. We'll talk to you later.

VAN DAM: Thank you.

CHURCH: Many thanks.

Well, it's not just humans who have been affected by hurricane Dorian. One woman in the Bahamas is protecting 97 dogs from the storm. Chela Phillips, posted on Facebook that 79 of them are in her bedroom. She runs a rescue shelter for abandoned dogs, but the hurricane has made things especially tough. Her home flooded and she had to use buckets to bail the water out when the pumps failed. Despite it all, though, Phillips says all of the dogs are doing OK and a fund-raiser to help her has raised almost $170,000. And that is just so far. So we'll keep an eye on that.

I want to thank you for keeping us company here.

[03:55:00]

I'm Rosemary Church. "Early Start" is next with more of our special coverage of hurricane Dorian. Do stay with us.

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