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New Day Sunday
More Than 50 Million Under Threat As Hurricane Henri Closes In On Northeast; Biden Approves Emergency Declaration For Rhode Island Ahead Of Henri; Rev. Jesse Jackson And Wife Hospitalized With COVID- 19; Full FDA Approval Of Pfizer Vaccine "As Early As Monday"; Five South Florida Police Officers Died From COVID-19 This Week; Afghans Who Escaped Face New, Uncertain Futures. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired August 22, 2021 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Richards said, "My attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable," and he pledged to be a role model but the damage was done, "The Ringer" story hit on Wednesday. And Richards taped five episodes on Thursday, but Friday's shows were canceled.
Guest hosts take over again starting next week. But Sony says Richards will remain executive producer. And execs claim they didn't know about his old podcast which means the smartest game show on TV made a rookie mistake.
Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, welcome to your Sunday, August 22nd. We are so grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. We appreciate you waking up with us this morning.
And we have been following Hurricane Henri as more than 50 million Americans in the northeast are bracing for what could be the first hurricane to hit New England in more than 30 years. The outer bands of Henri are already moving onshore. Amtrak now canceling train services between New York and Boston.
PAUL: The storm has already brought record-breaking rain to New York, Central Park, seeing nearly 4.5 inches last night, but the big concern this morning is the storm's strong winds which could cause major power outages across several states and some dangerous storm surges on the coast. Utility companies, in fact, from across the country have sent more than 12,000 crews to assist with power restorations there when they happen. Listen to officials in Connecticut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE NOLAN, CEO, EVERSOURCE ENERGY: We have put out requests and they have been fulfilled for over 4,000 crews from around the country. I want to caution everybody to -- number one, to look out for their neighbor. If they are elderly, if they're senior citizens, check in on them.
Prepare for this. Flash lights, batteries, water, enough food to be able to get you through for a period of, say, three, four, five days. And we just ask all of our customers to be patient, that our workers are going to do everything they can to get the power on as fast as possible in the safest manner possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: CNN is covering the storm only the way that CNN can. Our team of correspondents is fanned out across the northeast and New England tracking the impacts of Hurricane Henri. We are going to be checking in with them throughout the morning.
PAUL: We want to get the latest on the forecast though for you so we can get the trajectory on this thing. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar in the weather center for us. What is the latest that you have heard, Allison?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All right. So good morning. The latest is we are now starting to get reports of tropical storm strength wind gusts already over areas of Block Island, which is Rhode Island. That's the one just to the east of Long Island for those that aren't familiar. But, again, very heavy rain has already been coming in from areas like Philadelphia, portions of New Jersey, New York as well and just now starting to see those bands begin to push even farther north.
Again, here's a look at the radar. Look, at this heavy rain. Really for areas of New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, some other rain bands starting to push in across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, even Long Island. And this is going to be the case as we go through the rest of the day.
Now, several inches have already fallen across portions of New Jersey. And, look, these bands just are not moving. This is the stuff we talked about where these areas are just going to get inundated with very heavy rain band after rain band after rain band.
Some of the lighter bands are off to the north. Now this is the stuff we're starting to see into Newport, the Hamptons and eventually in towards Providence as well as Hartford. That's why you have flash flood watches here in green and even the flash flood warning across areas of New Jersey in anticipation of additional rainfall coming in.
Now, some of these areas, they have already seen plenty of rain even if it were to stop now the problem is it isn't. Brooklyn, New York, has already picked up over six inches of rain. Prospect Park, New York, over five inches. Even Central Park picking up just about 4.5 inches of rain. And those numbers are expected to rise as more of that rain continues to come in as the storm pushes inland.
One thing to note, yes, obviously, you are going to get heavy rain on the coast but even inland areas, upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, likely to still get several inches of rain out of this also. Winds, we already talked about some of those wind gusts reaching tropical storm strength around Block Island.
But look at this as the forecast shows, again, other areas 50, 60, 70- mile-per-hour wind gusts not out of the question as we go through the day today. The concern there, Boris and Christi, is again just a 40 to 60-mile-per-hour wind gust is enough to bring down trees and power lines when the ground is saturated. And it's not just the rain they got today. Remember, a lot of the northeast got very heavy rain last week from the remnants of Fred.
SANCHEZ: Yes, some of those areas are going to be saturated and that could lead to a lot of headaches for crews and especially rescue workers that may have to go out there into the field. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.
Let's get tour CNN reporters who are out in the storm. Brian Todd is in Groton, Connecticut, and Shimon Prokupecz is in New York on Long Island.
Brian, let's start with you. Mandatory evacuations underway for several communities there in Connecticut. What's the latest that you are seeing?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris. They issued a mandatory evacuation for the neighborhood we are in in Groton, Connecticut, another neighborhood adjacent to this as well covering about 40 homes. Not clear how many people took that call and heeded the call and got out.
That covered about 40 homes. So you are talking about, you know, maybe 100 people who are under mandatory evacuation. They cannot force people out of their homes, so they did have police going and knocking on doors here and in another neighborhood and trying to get people to leave.
Part of the concern here, guys, is these are low-lying areas and some of these areas are surrounded on two or three sides by water. Here in Groton you have got the Thames River here that goes into Long Island sound right there, low-lying areas.
You've also got businesses, industries all along this river. You've got a Pfizer plant, just up the river from here. You've got a submarine manufacturing facility up the river and a U.S. naval submarine base. Then you've got your private boat owners like when we talked to an Old Saybrook, Connecticut, battening down the hatches.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hunkered down for all of the stuff that, you know, can blow away, we put it away. And my main concern was my boat. We tied it up nice for the storm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: So that storm surge is a real concern. Three to five feet worth of storm surge is going to hit here, we think. Plus, you have got two high tides that they're going to be dealing with, one at a little less than four hours from now at 9:50 a.m., one at 10:10 a.m.
Then you've got the added concern of a full moon cycle here which adds to the gravitational pull, of course, and adds -- makes that -- those tides even higher. So with the storm surge and the high tides this water here, we are told by the mayor, Keith Hedrick, is definitely going to push up from the Thames River up here and hit some of these neighborhoods here.
This is one of those areas where they ordered a mandatory evacuation. Again, police going around here knocking on doors yesterday, imploring people to get out. We talked to several people who said they are going to ride it out. But, again, we are expecting this street to be flooded within just a few hours, guys.
SANCHEZ: The tide an enormous concern there. We know you'll keep watching it for us. Brian Todd, thank you. Keep your crew safe.
PAUL: Let's go to CNN Shimon Prokupecz now who is in Long Island. Long Island, Shimon, I understand, already has a hurricane warning, storm surge warning there. What are you seeing? You're feeling it now?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, certainly feeling it. Look, it's not as bad as it's probably going to get, probably as it could get, but certainly when you look at these waves, Christi, take a look at -- look at the waves. You can understand why there is so much concern over the storm surge.
Just in the last 20 minutes that we've been out here you can see the water, the waves pushing closer and closer to the dunes here closer inland which is, of course, the big concern. These waves just within the last 20 minutes or so we have seen them rise. Of course, that the big concern that the storm surge anywhere from three to five feet is going to cause some severe flooding.
The winds so far not so bad and we have seen some of the outer bands as they start coming in, the rain gets heavier at times. But right now I would say that the story out here in Montauk, we're in Montauk, is the waves. And we are just about three hours away from high tide and we are already seeing the waves coming up here, getting closer and closer inland. They are coming up to the stairs here already. So that's really the story out here for now.
And we can feel like the wind start to pick up. And here is another wave come in. So it's going to get closer and closer to the edge. Certainly that is something that has many emergency officials here concerned. That's why there is already a state of emergency here on Long Island, the governor yesterday declaring that.
And also key is that they have prepositioned many of the emergency personnel around town just in case they need to start doing rescues. Of course, this is a beach community, so many people have left. But keep this in mind that during the pandemic many people stayed here throughout the year. Many people have been living here. So even though mostly this is a beach community but for the last year, year and a half, many people have been calling parts of Long Island, the Hamptons, and Montauk home. Some people have left. Many have stayed. So we will see how this develops through the day. But, of course, the storm surge, the waves as they continue to come in, as the high tide approaches, that is going to be certainly the concern out here in Montauk, guys.
PAUL: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, listen, you and your crew stay safe there as well. We appreciate it.
SANCHEZ: Thanks, Shimon.
PAUL: Now, President Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Rhode Island.
He did this before they ever saw any sign of Hurricane Henri, actually, coming towards them.
SANCHEZ: Yes, residents there are already preparing for the storm, boarding up windows and making sure they have enough food and supplies to last.
Joining us now is the police chief of Westerly, Rhode Island where a major storm surge is expected. Chief, thanks so much for spending part of your morning with us.
I wonder how your officers are assisting residents ahead of this storm. I know that you brought in additional resources in anticipation of Henri.
POLICE CHIEF SHAWN LACEY, WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND: Yes, we're going to 12-hour shifts starting at 8:00 a.m. this morning. The entire department is coming in. We canceled vacation times, leave time, and so forth.
So we are monitoring the beaches as the rain and bands are starting to come in now. There are people starting to leave as we have a voluntary evacuation going to effect at 9:00 a.m. this morning.
PAUL: So, I know that you had previously expected this storm to hit during low tide in the afternoon. Since that has shifted did you -- did it prompt any modification to you in terms of your plans and what you have in place there to try to make sure everybody is safe?
LACEY: Well, we basically increased our staffing levels. We have all the town equipment in all the beaches has been all removed, secured in different locations. Obviously, it changes the whole dynamic as far as the surge goes, hitting at high tide as opposed to low tide.
It looked like, like you said, it was low. But now it looks like something pretty close to high. And it is not this high tide we're worried about it's actually the next one at 9:00 tonight which is the one we are anticipating the heaviest surge. SANCHEZ: And, Chief, you have had some voluntary evacuations in Westerly. Has that changed at all? Do you have any mandatory evacuations? Are you urging folks to consider moving to higher ground?
LACEY: We are urging folks to consider moving to higher ground. We are going to have another briefing at 8:00 this morning and that will, in fact, we will decide if we are going to do any -- change the evacuation to a mandatory. Then we are going to determine what parts of the beach areas we are going to shut down.
Usually if we get any type of surging, it floods our streets which make them impassable. So we will have to block off areas. And if we start losing power, which we anticipate, then we will have to man all these different posts down the beach area to protect properties.
PAUL: Yes, we have gotten word this morning that the power company says the loss of power could last for days, possibly up to three weeks. I know that you are planning -- your planning is kind of one day at a time at this moment, but what is your greatest concern regarding after the storm passes?
LACEY: After is just the amount of damage and the loss of utilities. Obviously, there is businesses, there is hotels down in the beach area, if they -- some do not have backup generator power. What do they do? You have food concerns. You have looting you are worried about, people coming in. National Grid gases actually shutting off the gas service to the entire Misquamicut beach area this morning at 9:00.
So the gas service will be out until after the storm. They have in the past shut the power grid off going down there, if the damage starts occurring. They have not decided if they are doing that yet.
SANCHEZ: Chief Shawn Lacey, thank you so much for the time. We know it's going to be a challenge for you moving forward. Keep us updated on any new information that you want get out to the public and if there is anything we can do to assist with the operation.
LACEY: Thank you. Have a great day.
PAUL: You as well. Stay safe.
So Reverend Jesse Jackson and his wife are hospitalized because of the coronavirus. What we know about their condition.
SANCHEZ: Plus, hospitals across the country overwhelmed as COVID cases surge. Now FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine could be just one day away. What kind of difference will that make? Will it convince people to get vaccinated? We'll discuss after a quick break.
PAUL: So we are seeing the outer bands of Hurricane Henri now reaching parts of the northeast. Heavy rains have already swept the region this weekend and local officials are pleading with people to stay safe ahead of the expected storm surge which is really one of the things they are focusing on. There have been some evacuations as well, we should point out.
SANCHEZ: Yes. CNN's team of correspondents is ready to bring you the very latest. Let's start with meteorologist Derek Van Dam. He's in Newport, Rhode Island. Derek, an emergency declaration already approved for that state. What does it look like right now as the sun is rising where you are?
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, we have got the all too familiar sounds unfolding behind us as the winds bows and bends around some of the masts of the sailboats here. This is a very different Newport harbor than 24 hours ago.
Look, this was supposed to be a few days ago just a storm that stayed out into the Atlantic. Fish food, as meteorologists often refer to it as but that has changed. Now the storm is approaching our shoreline and conditions are deteriorating.
The first outsider bands starting to impact the southern New England coastline. I walked around Newport yesterday. Remember, this is high hurricane -- excuse me, high tourist season. There are a lot of people here. They walked about as if no hurricane was approaching. Seems as if the only people that were taking this storm seriously were the captains, some of the harbor masters of these big ships behind me. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I didn't think I was protected I'd already be gone. If those projectiles start coming at me, there is really not a lot I can do. And, you know, you got all these boats moored in the harbor.
I mean, I don't think they are all leaving. So if any of those come loose, wherever they end up, they end up. So, I mean, some things are just out of your control. You can just take as many precautions as possible and hope for the best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN DAM: Coastal roads in and around Rhode Island are reserved only for residents. So getting out and about is virtually impossible. It's obviously not recommended today as well.
This is going to be a long duration event with widespread power outages being one of the main concerns. Remember, the foliage here with the trees around the area allows for trees to get knocked over very easily. Downed trees means downed power lines. There are in fact 12,000 crews from over 30 states ready to act and restore power once Henri makes its final approach and moves through the New England coastline. Storm surge also a concern. We are moving through a high tide cycle right now. Low tide about 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. Authorities are more concerned about this evening's high tide at 8:00 p.m. that could coincide with the strongest push of water from the Atlantic Ocean.
Flooding rain inland and not only on the coastline. That is going to be a concern as we watch the exact landfall location. We are on the eastern side of the official track. That puts us on the dirty side of this hurricane, meaning spin-up tornados are also a possibility. So, we will watch all these potential hazards and threats from Newport, Rhode Island. But in the mean time we'll send it back to you in the studio.
PAUL: All right. Derek Van Dam, you all take good care there.
SANCHEZ: Let's get to Alison Kosik now. She's in Long Beach, New York. And, Allison, you are on the coast there. This isn't an area that frequently gets these kinds of storms. It hasn't been hit by a hurricane in more than 30 years.
So how are you seeing preparations? How are folks getting ready?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, good morning. This is actually a community that was devastated by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. So this is a community that although is cautiously watching this storm, we are not seeing any preparations happening. They are still watching to see where Henri will hit the hardest.
Obviously, this area, Long Beach, on the south shore of Long Island, not getting a direct hit, but we are beginning to feel some of the effects from Henri who is tapping at the door of Long Beach. You can see it right here with the ocean. It's getting bigger. It's moving closer to the inland area.
The water definitely getting closer, especially from last night. I was here last night. It was much further back. High tide expected here around 8:43.
The big concern here on Long Beach is flooding. And I'm going to show you why. Right behind here photographer Rick Hall, you see this apartment building just beyond those apartments are homes and the concern is just like what happened during Superstorm Sandy, flooding could be an issue, rain coming, obviously, not just from the storm but the water coming from a passable storm surge. Tens of millions of dollars in devastation happened to this community. So they are a little bit on edge even though, once again, I am not seeing many preps. Boris.
SANCHEZ: Alison Kosik, keep you and your crew safe. Thank you so much for the reporting.
PAUL: So sources tell CNN full approval for the coronavirus vaccine could come as soon as tomorrow. Is that what it's going to take, a lot of people are wondering, to convince skeptics to get vaccinated? We will talk about it.
PAUL: All right. Take a look at a lot of soggy weather there in Sag Harbor, New York. There is a truck. Though people are, hopefully, getting hunkered down as we watch Henri coming up. We know that -- we know that the storm surge is of utmost concern, particularly the one that's going to happen tonight.
So some areas have declared states of emergency already. Local officials are urging people in the path to stay off the roads and prepare for the worst. We're going to bring you live pictures and reports throughout the day as we watch Henri make its way closer to the East Coast there.
SANCHEZ: We're also following some really important stories this morning, including civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and his wife Jacqueline having to be hospitalized after testing positive for COVID- 19. Reverend Jackson's group the Rainbow PUSH Coalition says that doctors have been monitoring their conditions, but they have not released any further information. We know that Reverend Jackson received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine back in January.
PAUL: And we could possibly be a day away from the FDA fully approving the Pfizer vaccine. A source tells CNN full approval could happen as soon as tomorrow in fact. CNN's Nadia Romero is live for us in Miami. Nadia, good morning to you. What are you hearing?
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Christi and Boris. Well, this is one of the states, Florida, one of 24 states that has fully vaccinated at least half of its eligible population, and we are seeing about 1 million COVID-19 vaccination doses happening for a single day for the third day in a row according to the CDC.
Now, we are hearing from a former CDC director who says that getting this FDA approval could put more people over the hump that are just waiting, that are still hesitant, finally having FDA approval could get more people vaccinated.
ROMERO (voice-over): A federal official telling CNN full FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine could happen as soon as Monday.
DR. TAISON BELL, DIRECTOR, MEDICAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT AT UVA HEALTH: Really open up the ability for businesses, colleges, and universities to really require the vaccine.
ROMERO: But the virus continues to take a toll on first responders. At least five south Florida law enforcement officers died from COVID-19 in a week's time according to their respective departments.
And with COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths increasing, some Mobile, Alabama funeral homes and morgues reporting a spike in their grim business.
DR. RENDI MURPHREE, MOBILE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT: It is no joke that we have seen the most deaths reported to us in one day, right? It is happening. It is as bad as it has been.
ROMERO: A strong warning for Mississippi health officials after the state reports an increasing number of calls to poison control from people trying to treat themselves for COVID-19 with a livestock dewormer. In Kentucky, a local health department asking schools to help with contact tracing.
SCOTT LOCKARD, PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR, KENTUCKY DISTRICT HEALTH DEPARTMENT: As we've seen cases grow, it's just become overwhelming for the health department to manage the number of cases especially in our schools.
ROMERO: After a fiery debate, Florida's largest school district set to begin class on Monday with a mask mandating place for Miami Dade County Public Schools despite the governor's threats.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The parent really needs to be the one that is making the decision. And I think that that's the better way to do it.
ROMERO: But Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards supporting the science.
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): You cannot keep schools open and children safe today without mask.
ROMERO: All right, so tomorrow morning, Miami Dade County Public Schools back in the classroom with a mask mandate despite the threats that we've heard from Governor Ron DeSantis saying that he will pull funding or salaries away from those superintendents even if we have full FDA approval that could come as soon as tomorrow. There's still those who are 12 and younger who are ineligible to get the vaccine. Boris, Christi?
PAUL: Nadia Romero, we appreciate it so much. Thank you. CNN contributor Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is with us now. He's an epidemiologist and former city health director for Detroit. Good morning to you Dr. it's so good to see you. I want to ask you about the full FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine. As we said, it could happen as early as tomorrow. Talk to us about the significance of that.
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, good morning, Christi. Well, first and foremost, when it comes to the FDA, there are really two ways that the FDA approval I think could make real headway. The first is that you do have a group of people who are truly vaccine-hesitant. I think we sort of lump a lot of people in that term vaccine-hesitant, but there are people who are truly hesitant.
They're also folks who, for ideological reasons that I can't understand, are resistant to the vaccine. But for those hesitant people, one more gold stop, an FDA full approval beyond the emergency use authorization that has right now could make a difference. The second piece, though, is mechanical through policies from very -- from employers. A lot of legal experts will tell you that full FDA approval opens the door for vaccine mandates in workplaces and even for customers. And so, in that respect, when people see that they're going to have to be vaccinated to get access to a workplace or a place that they enjoy partaking in, that they may make a choice to finally get vaccinated and move on.
You saw that in France when they had a large vaccine mandate. 1.7 million people the next day signed up to get vaccinated, and that can happen here.
PAUL: OK, so, what is the impact, if you could prognosticate this, the impact of this potential full approval to the potential of some sort of vaccine for kids 12 and under?
EL-SAYED: I don't think they're connected, right? Right now, the science is still out when it comes to children 12 and under. We have to study this just like we studied it in adults. And when it comes to kids in particular, right, we want to be particularly careful both -- because we don't ever want anything that slipped through those studies to be figured out only after kids are being vaccinated en masse. You know, the science works for a reason. And, you know, those who would oppose the science don't trust that process, but I do. And so we got to let it play out.
And then the second piece is that it -- I think clearing the way through this full FDA approval, I think will give a lot of parents some repose when it comes to thinking about vaccinating their kids 12 and up, right, because there is a group of kids who are 12 to 18 who have a very low vaccination rate right now. And I think parents are a little bit hesitant.
So, for those kids, yes, I do think it's going to bump up vaccines, but we're going to have to wait and see for children 12 and under.
PAUL: All right, talk to me about boosters. There's some confusion about exactly what it -- what that shot is going to be and when it's going to be needed.
EL-SAYED: Well, from what we understand, it's just going to be a third dose of exactly what you already got after eight months now. This is based on a set of studies that have shown waning protection against infection, not hospitalization and symptomatic illness, but waning protection against infection.
So, for folks who want super deluxe vaccination, they can get their third -- their third dose of the same vaccine that they got if they got Pfizer or Moderna that is. We're still waiting for more studies when it comes to Johnson and Johnson. But they get that third dose and it should happen about eight months after the second shot.
PAUL: OK, and real quickly you recently wrote a piece about the COVID- 19 booster. You said the science is there, so is the opportunity for big pharma to make billions. So, your concerns go beyond it seems the health arena. What do you -- what is your biggest concern in that regard?
EL-SAYED: Well, they're still very much in the health arena, but recognizing that this is a global pandemic. And when we think about where we are right now in the pandemic, it's because of Delta. Delta was a variant that emerged in India during a very strong outbreak. In the context where very few people were vaccinated.
When we think about the fact that right now, we don't have all the vaccine we need to vaccinate everybody in the globe when we're asking about 100 to 200 million vaccines that are now going to be repurposed for boosters.
I think it makes more sense right now to make sure that people around the world are getting vaccinated so that they're protected first and foremost, but also, so that they're no longer a place where the virus can continue to evolve and potentially whip around the globe again, one more variant that is more transmissible and puts us all back, you know, a couple of steps in the fight against the pandemic.
And so, it's not that I don't believe that boosters are right, it's that I know that right now, Pfizer and Moderna would rather sell their vaccine into the U.S. market to make more money and I don't think that's the best thing for taking on a global pandemic.
PAUL: Alrighty. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, we always appreciate your expertise. Thank you, sir.
EL-SAYED: Thanks for having me.
PAUL: We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Among the agencies mobilized to help respond to Hurricane Henri, the Coast Guard is helping with preparations as the storm approaches. Joining us now is Coast Guard Captain Eva Van Camp. She is the commander of the sector Long Island Sound. She's with us from New Haven Connecticut.
Captain, thank you so much for spending part of your weekend with us. You grew up in the New England area and your area of command includes areas of Connecticut and Long Island that are in the path of the storm right now. So, I'm wondering how the Coast Guard helps to prepare for these types of storms.
EVA VAN CAMP, COMMANDER, U.S. COAST GUARD SECTOR LONG ISLAND SOUND: Good morning. Thank you very much for having me this morning. The Coast Guard prepares to respond at all times. We have boats and aircraft that are ready to respond. However, rescue assistance may not be available at all times, especially at the height of the storm, which is why boaters and mariners should heed hurricane warnings to take early action to stay safe. SANCHEZ: And Captain, you know, this is an area, part of the country where boating is a huge industry not just for, you know, commercial fishing but also for personal purposes. Are you aware of people taking their boats out as the storm hits? Is that something that frequently happens?
VAN CAMP: Yes, it is. We are encouraged mariners and boaters to stay off the water. That includes being prepared. We want voters to take their vessels out of the water if they're able to be trailered. We also want the larger vessels to move inland and to add additional lines to their boats to ensure that they're secure for the weather coming in. We also want boaters to take off their EPIRBs, their life jackets, their life ring,s and other loose items that may become objects that float out in the water and the Coast Guard would have to respond to these type of items.
SANCHEZ: And, Captain, one of the big concerns with experts that we've been talking to and officials throughout the morning is the storm surge. They're more worried about that than they are even the 75 plus mile an hour winds. I'm wondering how that storm surge affects areas along the coastline especially close to marinas.
VAN CAMP: So, storm surge is definitely a serious piece that we have to take into account. And when we look at storm surge along marinas, this can cause some boats to rise higher than the piers and they can also be brought on to shore if we're not secured properly.
And also, along the shore, when we have swimmers or others going out to the water, we have serious rip currents. These records can reach speeds of up to one to two feet per second. That makes the rip currents especially dangerous for swimmers or other people that are on the beach. And even the strongest swimmers out there can often be swept out to sea.
SANCHEZ: Captain, I should tell you, I'm from Florida and people often don't blink unless it's a category four or five hurricane in that area. I hope that it's different in the northeast, but have you had any experiences with folks that are in low-lying areas that are hesitant to evacuate? What's your message to them?
VAN CAMP: So, I also responded to a couple of major hurricanes in New Orleans when I was cheaper waterways there in sector New Orleans and it's the same thing down there. People know and understand hurricanes. But up here in New England, it's been about 30 years since a major hurricane has hit this area. So, we have seen some people still going to the water even as late as last night. We had some rain events that were going on. And -- but however, most people are listening to the Coast Guard and are taking their boats in and staying off the water.
SANCHEZ: We're glad to hear that. Captain Eva Van Camp, thank you so much for the time. We're hoping for the best keep us updated if there's any information you want to get out to the public.
VAN CAMP: Right. Thank you very much.
SANCHEZ: Of course. PAUL: Much more head on NEW DAY. First though, here's a look at
tonight's new episode of Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My hope is that one day things will resolve themselves in Palestine and Israel and we will be in a place where we live side by side and can visit Jerusalem together and learn from each other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But at the end of the day, it's about real people living real lives. And that's where the focus ought to be. It's not my God is better than your God. It's really about how we treat each other on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jerusalem was supposed to be the city of peace and of cooperation between all nations all over the world. This was supposed to be the basic idea of Jerusalem that there is a no enormous gap between reality and the vision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Don't miss Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury tonight at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
SANCHEZ: U.S. officials say more than 26,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover one week ago.
PAUL: Yes. And for some of those evacuation flights, the destination is now Ramstein, Germany. CNN Senior International Correspondent Atika Shubert has more.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Plane after plane carrying men, women and children, evacuees who are part of the chaotic scramble to airlift people out of Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover now safe at the Ramstein US Air Base in Germany, one of the biggest outside of the United States, soon capable of taking in up to 7500 people from this unprecedented airlift, explains 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing Commander Colonel Adrienne Williams.
ADRIENNE WILLIAMS, WING COMMANDER, 521ST AIR MOBILITY OPERATIONS: It's an enormous because it is such a huge humanitarian mission. But I can tell you, on each one of those C-17s, we've gone from 75 passengers on board all the way up to 400.
SHUBERT: So, as you can see behind me there, that's a C-17 Globemaster. And these are the flights that have been coming in and out of Ramstein Air Base bringing passengers. One just landed. And what happens is, passengers disembarked. They're brought here by bus. And the first person they meet is a U.S. imam. They were given a welcome to Germany, to the Ramstein Air Base, and then they proceed through medical checks as well as security checks.
Then, they're brought to a holding area where their IDs are checked. Then finally, they'll be able to get to their temporary living quarters here on the base.
This is an all-hands-on-deck effort between the U.S. Air Force, Army, as well as more than 1500 civilian volunteers including the Red Cross. But safety and security is the priority here. That includes rigorous ID checks, fingerprints, and Iris scans to screen for anyone flagged by federal databases says Brigadier General Joshua Olson 86 Airlift Wing and Installation Commander.
BRG. GEN JOSHUA OLSON, COMMANDER, 86 AIRLIFT WING AND INSTALLATION: First and foremost is the security. And so we focus heavily on the security and then from making sure we take care of all of their health needs. COVID checking, and so making sure that they don't have any symptoms. And then also, we do a very robust check with the Department of State and also all of our federal agencies.
SHUBERT: This is their home for the next two or three days hastily assembled cots for beds and 40 people to a tent. Women and children are inside the cavernous airplane hangar, men sleep in the tent city outside with a small area in between for families to meet, none are allowed to leave yet.
These are the temporary living facilities. The capacity here at the moment is 5000. They're hoping to get that up to 7500. But there is a flight arriving here almost every hour and a half and it's filling up fast.
On our way out, we meet Haseeb Kemal. He says he's a U.S. citizen from Virginia and had flown to Afghanistan to visit family and got married there last week.
HASEEB KAMAL, EVACUEE: So, I just like rushed like everybody else. And the only people that I could get in it was my dad and my sister. U.S. forces were shooting fires at Taliban and also like Afghan forces do at the gate. So, people were getting hurt left and right and it was really bad situation.
SHUBERT: I mean, that's an incredibly traumatic. Would -- have you been able to speak to your family since you were separated from them at all?
KAMAL: Only this morning for two minutes. That's it?
SHUBERT: What did they say?
KAMAL: They're in shock. They were worried about us and we were worried about them. And they're said, what's going to happen to them? And I was like, I don't know. SHUBERT: But this is only a temporary reprieve. There are still so many questions about where they will go and what will happen to family still trapped in Afghanistan. Many here looking to the U.S. for answers.
SHUBERT: Now, there is tremendous capacity and capability at this airbase. In the first 24 hours, 17 -- more than 17 planes landed here. Another 14 are scheduled today. There are now more than 5000 evacuees who have landed here. And a really good example of just how well- prepare the air bases is what happened yesterday. The 86 Medical Group was able to safely deliver a baby when a mother went into labor on one of these evacuation flights, a C-17.
As soon as the plane landed, that medical team was able to get on board and help her safely deliver that baby. There's pictures of that. And fortunately, both baby and mother are now safe at the Landstuhl hospital.
SANCHEZ: An incredible story and a noble and yet incredibly complicated mission. Atika Shubert, thank you so much.
So, millions of people in the northeast could face days without power after Hurricane Henri moves through. We're tracking the path of this massive storm throughout the day. The next hour of NEW DAY starts after a quick break.