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Hurricane Dorian Claims 43 Lives in Bahamas; Robert Mugabe Dies at 95; U.S. Woman Arrested At Manila Airport with Baby Hidden in Bag; U.K. House of Lords Passes Bill to Outlaw No-Deal. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired September 7, 2019 - 03:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Destruction and devastation in the Bahamas. The humanitarian emergency there is just now coming into sharper focus after Hurricane Dorian.

Also the U.S. House Judiciary Committee takes a major step, one that could lay out the procedures for an impeachment investigation of the U.S. president.

And later, the complicated legacy of Zimbabwe's founding father. We will go live to the capital following the death of Robert Mugabe.

We are live from CNN Center in Atlanta. Hello, everyone, I am Natalie Allen, thank you for being with us, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

ALLEN: Dorian's wrath is not over yet, the hurricane is now speeding northeastward in the Atlantic heading towards the Canadian Maritimes. Forecasters warned that severe winds and large waves will have major impacts especially flooding.

In the meantime back where it began, in the Bahamas, many parts of the country have been decimated and the stench of death is everywhere. The official death toll has now risen to 43 but even government officials acknowledge it will go much higher.

Hundreds if not thousands are still missing. Aid is coming in but it has been slow to reach many who need it and survivors are sharing their stories of what it was like to go through one of the most powerful hurricanes in history.


GERMAINE SMITH, DORIAN SURVIVOR: Next thing I look, I see its roof just flying off and it came toward me when I was inside my bedroom. And I ducked. Thank goodness, I ducked. And I moved. A big tree came. I don't know why, I just moved it from it and just missed it, just like that.

And the rain just started pouring in, my roof started lifting. So I run inside the bathroom for cover in the tub because they say it's always a safe haven. And that is what saved me. And I was just praying to God just to save my life because I was scared. Literally I didn't think that I was going to make it. I just holding on to that. But I was scared.


ALLEN: So many people have described what it was like to understand that their houses were coming apart. The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued 239 people since the storm smashed the Bahamas. CNN's Gary Tuchman joined the American team members on the ground as they canvassed one area looking for potential survivors.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're in a section of Marsh Harbour called Mud and Peas. It's described to us as a largely Haitian community.

I've been covering hurricanes for about 37 years now. I've never seen a decimation like this that we're seeing here on the Abacos, in this town of Marsh Island, in Mud and Peas.

Right now, we are accompanying the U.S. Coast Guard, as we're looking for the possibility of any survivors. You can see them over here, searching through the rubble.

And this gives you an idea of why it's impossible now to have a firm death toll. For example, you can see this home right here, it's clear no one has gone inside this home. These Coast Guardsmen are about to go in this home and other homes here to see if there's anyone inside.

A short time ago -- and we'll give you a look at what they're doing right now as they're trying to plot out the next couple of hours, which direction they to head -- it's important to point out that U.S. Coast Guards men and women, their job is to protect the United States, go on drug interdictions but it's also to help other people.

And we have spent the day on a carrier with 25 Coast Guard men and women and also two members of fire rescue from the Miami Fire Department, who are here as paramedics, looking for people who still may need help.

But you can see, as this camera goes around in a circle, just the widespread decimation here in this section of Marsh Harbour.

People are shell-shocked. They don't know what to do. We saw more than 200 people lined up on a port, hoping to get on a ship to get out of here. Every one of them have lost their homes. And we're not just talking about damage. We're talking about utter devastation.

We can't see anything in eyesight here that is standing without damage and most of it is completely gone as far as we can see.

So there is still a lot to do in determining how many people died, how many people were hurt and what the survivors here are going to do with their lives.


ALLEN: Many have questioned why the official death toll in the Bahamas is still so low as we said, it stands at 43. It is expected to go much higher. One government official said it is about accuracy and respect.


JOY JIBRILU, BAHAMAS MINISTRY OF TOURISM: Until we can get confirmation of the death toll we are cautious in what we say.


JIBRILU: So we have all heard the stories. Yes, we expect the death toll to rise but I think it is out of respect for family members and for verification. And you hope that will be sooner rather than later to assist people.

And it's a question that's been posed more and more so we want to be responsible and want to give real answers as soon as possible. But it's still totally unknown.


ALLEN: Some of the hardest hit parts of the Bahamas are also the hardest to reach, one of those pieces is High Rock on the southern side of Grand Bahama Island. Our Patrick Oppmann made it there and spoke with a pastor who has a harrowing tale of survival.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reaching the hard- hit areas of Grand Bahama Island means driving through still flooded streets and streets that are no longer streets.

This area in the east of the island has until now been inaccessible since the storm. Little to no help has arrived. The force of the hurricane threw cars through buildings. The storm stalled out here, a Category 5, leveling whole towns.

Many rode out the storm in their homes. Many did not survive.

Pastor Joey Saunders was on the third floor of his home with his son when the storm surge crashed.

JOEY SAUNDERS, PASTOR: We started make out to the second floor of the house. And within about 10 minutes and it started to flow up to the third floor. And the water flow up to our head. And we felt this strong current trying to break lose everything in the cracks.

OPPMANN (on camera): And this was in the middle of the night?

SAUNDERS: One thirty in the morning.

And then the current was so strong, then the roof started to lift. And next thing I remember, I was underneath the water. My son is standing in it and I noticed he had the searchlight. And he was just -- he just disappeared with the searchlight.

And I heard him screaming, "Daddy, daddy, daddy."

OPPMANN: He was in the water at that point, right?

SAUNDERS: He was already gone.

And minutes ago, when I came from underneath the water, I threw my hand. I caught on to the truss. The roof carried me away. So, we were like about 600 feet away from each other for over two days. And we caught up into the pine tree of 32 feet high.

OPPMANN: So, the water carried you into a pine tree in the middle of the night. Your son was a ways away from you.

What was going through your mind?

You must have been terrified.

SAUNDERS: Yes, I was hoping that he was alive. And he thought I had died also. It wasn't until two days later that we saw one another. He was on the trailer right there. And that's when we saw one another again, yes.

OPPMANN (voice-over): The Bahamian government has warned people the death count could spike.

In places like High Rock, where everyone knows of dead or missing family and neighbors, that news is no surprise. Even though this is one of the hardest-hit areas helicopter, from the government is yet to arrive.

SAUNDERS: I think the government is on its way, but it's going to take a bit of time because there are other settlements. But they're doing their thing gradually, you know?

OPPMANN (on camera): Do you wish they were moving quicker?

SAUNDERS: Yes, I wish they could move a little quicker than they're moving.

OPPMANN (voice-over): People desperately need food and water before time runs out.

SAUNDERS: A lot of people have lost most of their clothes, water. Need food, stuff like that, basic stuff right now.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Patrick Oppmann, Grand Rock on Grand Bahama Island.


ALLEN: Allaya Hagigal is coordinating rescue teams in the Bahamas, she joins us now from Nassau.

Thank you so much for taking the time because we know you are very busy. I am sure coordinating helped areas that had been decimated by this hurricane. It is a very huge job, it's a monumental task, you are volunteering, is that right?

ALLAYA HAGIGAL, RESCUE VOLUNTEER: Yes I am. It just started when I was sitting on the couch with my mom. And then it evolved into me helping right now on Friday around 800 or so (INAUDIBLE).

ALLEN: That's amazing, so has your mom done work like this before or did she just say, you know what, we have to do something?

HAGIGAL: Both of us, we have never done work like this before, we have never had a total catastrophe like this before in our history. So this is the first time any of us -- or both of us -- were put into action in this way.

ALLEN: So I see the supplies behind you, how are you getting supplies in. Who is donating and how are you putting out the call?

HAGIGAL: So these are all supplies donated to the foundation I have been working with them today, both myself and my mom and we were assisting in organizing the donated clothes and stocking up the care packages. So we did over 112, which is awesome, 112 households that have food and some clothes and basic necessities. Because these people have lost everything.


ALLEN: Absolutely, so the next step is how you get it there.

What is that process like?

HAGIGAL: The process is that the survivors will get to the airport and the foundation just provides the goods, they will bring them by truck and then they are also going to be doing that by plane as well to the affected islands in Grand Bahama and Abaco.

ALLEN: What are you seeing as far as people like yourself and your mom who are pulling together to help those affected?

I was talking to someone yesterday who said, if it weren't for people helping people, the Bahamas looking out for each other, a lot of people would be going without food, water, help.

HAGIGAL: Absolutely what the Bahamian people need right now is help. And we are our brother's keeper. And we believe that we should look out for one another at the end of the day.

It has not been easy. But it is something we have been doing the past five days. And we will continue to do so. I think it's been a joint effort. Our BBF, the RBBFR, our royal police force and our defense force. But it has been a lot of volunteer work. A lot of blood sweat and tears going into the donations. And making sure the people have shelter, water, the basic necessities they need to get by and survive.

ALLEN: So I would imagine, at the end of the day, this feels good to you to, be involved like this. HAGIGAL: It doesn't feel good, I am just grateful. I am grateful and I am humbled. These are people who have said have lost everything, their homes and sometimes their loved ones are taken away by this awful hurricane.

It is up to us who have access to these things that we take for granted, snacks, food, water, a roof over our heads and a bed that we sleep in. We can wake up in the morning and sit on the couch, go on our phone, maybe browse the Internet.

These people cannot do these things anymore. So it is just up to us to ensure that they get the help they need.

That's very humbling.

ALLEN: Well, very well said. I have to ask you how old are you?

HAGIGAL: I am 20.

ALLEN: I was going to say you seem very young and very put together. I just wish you and your mom all the best for what you are doing. I'm sure that people will be so thankful for what you are doing. Thank you. We wish you the best.

HAGIGAL: Thank you.



ALLEN: The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is planning a vote next week to formalize its impeachment investigation of the Trump administration. CNN's Manu Raju discussed the details earlier on CNN.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What they're essentially saying here is that Jerry Nadler will have the authority going forward to say we want to look into potential campaign finance violations involving this president as it relates to those hush money payments that occurred in 2016.

That's going to be in connection to this impeachment probe. They will call a hearing, saying that it ties to impeach this impeachment deliberation. Also they could say, for instance, that the president in an effort to pitch his Miami golf resort as an location for the G7 summit in 2020, that can be a violation of the emoluments clause in the Constitution which limits foreign influence on a president, tries to limit the president's ability to enrich himself in office.

They could take that as also part of the impeachment probe. They are trying to make it very clear the different things that they are doing in the committee, tie it all back to impeachment and then ultimately make the decision that they can vote after the (INAUDIBLE) after this hearings will be to decide whether to vote to actually impeach the president. And that would occur at the committee level and then a full House

would have to vote.


ALLEN: The move to formalize the investigation comes as former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and two former White House aides are about to testify before the committee.

The people of Zimbabwe remember their founding father. Some say he was a hero; others say he was a brutal dictator. We will be live from the nation's capital with more about his legacy.

Also an American woman has been accused of trying to steal a child from the Philippines. We will tell you how she was caught at the airport ahead here.




ALLEN: Zimbabwe's president has declared the country in mourning after the death of long-time leader Robert Mugabe. He died at a hospital in Singapore. He was 95.

Some remember him as a national hero who led Zimbabwe to independence. Others, though, say he was ruthless, consumed with power and drove the country into ruin. CNN's David McKenzie has covered the life and presidency of Robert Mugabe for many years; now he is in the capital, Harare, to cover his death and reaction to it.

Hello, David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Natalie, yes, I'm here in a suburb outside of Harare. It is quite striking, people are just going on their daily lives.


MCKENZIE: We passed by Heroes Acre, where the liberation heroes of Zimbabwe are buried. The flag there was at half staff because Zimbabwe is going through these days of mourning until the icon of liberation, Robert Mugabe, with his complex legacy, is buried.

But there is a sense here, as I've said, of people just going about their business. If they talk about Mugabe at all, it is not certainly in large groups. We have been asking people about his legacy; very mixed, some saying he brought education, brought pride to this country.

Many others blame him for the economic collapse and also the legacy of violence of his regime. in places like this, it has been at times opposition strongholds, where people have really felt the brunt of the security forces over the years. ALLEN: Many have said he just got caught up in his own ego after what he did for Zimbabwe and led the country down a wrong path.

and you have said repeatedly in your reporting over the years that the people of Zimbabwe, they want something so much better and they deserve it. and it doesn't even seem that now than, in 2019 under new leadership, they are going to get that.

MCKENZIE: Certainly Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president who helped oust Mugabe during that coup, who was his right-hand man for many decades, is glossing over that conflict they had, calling him a teacher, mentor and icon of the nation.

He is sort of ignoring that troubling history because he is so intertwined with it. You had a similar attitude from African leaders from across the continent and liberation movements, saying all positive things about this man.

One human rights lawyer I spoke to here in Zimbabwe said he is angered by the forgetting of Mugabe's violent legacy, saying that it's time Zimbabweans and others call a spade a spade but frankly it is a complicated legacy. and so much of this country is linked to the man who passed away in Singapore.

in the coming days, certainly I think people will just be going up on with their daily lives. Had he died while in power, it would've been a very tense moment. But here you feel the heaviness of his legacy but not necessarily a huge amount of emotion at this stage about his passing.

ALLEN: They are back to reality, David McKenzie, thank you very much.

An American woman faces charges of human trafficking in the Philippines. Police say she tried to smuggle a 6-day-old baby out of the country, hiding him in her bags. Nick Watt has our story.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The exact details are still emerging but what we know is a 43-year-old American woman from Utah is now facing human trafficking charges in the Philippines. She was apprehended at Manila airport by Delta Airlines security staff allegedly with a baby in her carryon luggage, a 6-day-old boy in a bag.

Now Delta informed local authorities and this woman was taken into custody. She said that the baby was born of a young unmarried single mother. She was carrying, according to CNN Philippines, an affidavit of adoption. But that had not been signed by the mother.

Philippine authorities have tracked that woman down and she is being charged; the exact charges, unclear at this point. Now the woman's name is Jennifer Talbot. As I said she is from Utah.

Now another person involved is a Delta employee because there Talbot was traveling on a Delta employee standby privilege ticket. That Delta employee, we are told by the airline, has been suspended pending an investigation. And the 6-day-old baby has been taken into care -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


ALLEN: We turn now to Brexit, U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson's hopes for an early election have all but vanished. On Monday the House of Commons will debate it again even though it was rejected just days ago. The opposition says it will not support an early election, meaning any vote will likely fail.

But as CNN's Bianca Nobilo tells us, this is not the only setback for the prime minister.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Boris Johnson sustained a fresh political blow on Friday, as a bill, which was to block him from pursuing a no-deal Brexit, passed through the House of Lords. It is set to become an act.


NOBILO: It just needs royal assent and would prevent Boris Johnson from employing his key negotiating strategy with the European Union, to threaten walking away from talks and leaving without a deal. Boris Johnson for his part remains adamant that Britain can leave the European Union on the 31st of October.


QUESTION: Do you accept that Brexit may not happen?

BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: No, I don't. We are going to go out.


NOBILO: after spending the first part of his week and at the queen's residence in Balmoral, Johnson will then return to strategizing because next week in Westminster it looks set to be just as turbulent as this one.

with Parliament blocking Johnson's key negotiating tactic of a no-deal Brexit and also likely to reject his second call for an early election, the prime minister is left with precious few options.

Will he call for a no confidence vote? Will he reinstate the MPs whose whip he removed?

Will he even resign?

a suggestion that's been put forward in some quarters after the prime minister said dramatically on Thursday that he would be rather be dead in a ditch than ask for a Brexit extension. as ever with Brexit, but even more pronounced at the end of this week, the future is impossible to predict -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


ALLEN: Finally here, a mystery that has captivated the world for the better part of a century. Scotland's Loch Ness monster, there he is or there she is. This famous photo from 1934 was a hoax. But many people believe there actually is a monster in the lake.

Now scientists say Nessie may be a giant eel. Researchers took 250 DNA samples from the lake to study its biodiversity. They confirmed there are no reptiles living there.


NEIL GEMMELL, UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO: There is absolutely no evidence of any reptilian sequences in our samples. So I think we can be fairly sure that there is probably not a giant scaly reptile swimming around in Loch Ness.

There is one idea that remains plausible although (INAUDIBLE). There is large amounts of eel DNA in Loch Ness Eels are very plentiful in Loch Ness, with eel DNA found at pretty much every location sampled.


ALLEN: So while scientists say Nessie may exist in the famous loch in some way, they found nothing.

I say the mystery goes on.

I'll be right back with our top stories, thanks for watching NEWSROOM.