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New Day Sunday

Nurses In Mississippi Battle Burnout, Staffing Shortages; Ida Intensifies Into Dangerous Category 4 Hurricane; U.S. Embassy: "Specific, Credible Threat" At Kabul Airport; Ida Strengthens Into A Category 4 Hurricane, Closes In On Louisiana; Thousands Evacuate As Hurricane Ida Barrels Toward Louisiana; Several Parishes Issue Mandatory Evacuation Orders Ahead Of Ida; U.S. Warns Of Possible New Attack In Kabul; Remembering U.S. Service Members Killed In Kabul Bombing; Biden: Another Attack On Kabul Airport Likely In 24-36 Hours. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 29, 2021 - 06:00   ET



MELISSA DAVIS, NURSE, SINGING RIVER PASCAGOULA: It's hard to see a 34- year-old, the family, not make it. You can't describe that.

NICHOLE ATHERTON, NURSE, SINGING RIVER OCEAN SPRINGS: To have friends, colleagues who understand that, it's the only way we're all getting through this is because we have each other.


PAUL: Hear that one nurse say that it's not heroic, but it really is. It's heroic to us. Thank you to CNN's Erica Hill reporting there. The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.

MATTINGLY: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Phil Mattingly.

PAUL: I'm Christi Paul. We're so glad to have you with us.

Two big stories that we're following for you this morning. First of all the breaking news is that Hurricane Ida has strengthened now into a dangerous Category 4 hurricane, taking direct aim at Louisiana. And the latest advisory just moments ago, the National Weather Service's warning of life-threatening storm surge and catastrophic damage. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is standing by with the very latest for us next.

MATTINGLY: Also developing this morning, the U.S. embassy in Kabul is warning of a -- quote -- "specific, credible threat" to U.S. citizens near the airport. This as President Biden warns another attack is highly likely. This special edition of NEW DAY weekend starts right now.

It's Sunday, August 29th. Thank you for joining us today. Christi, thanks for letting me tag along on another major news day.

PAUL: Always grateful to have you with us though. And thank you all for being with us.

As we talk about the growing threat right now from Hurricane Ida, it's zeroing in on communities along the Gulf Coast, of course.

MATTINGLY: Now, overnight Ida strengthened into a powerful Category 4 storm. It will make landfall sometime today bringing as much as 20 inches of rain to some areas with the potential for destructive storm surge and strong winds. Yesterday bumper-to-bumper traffic stretched for miles as people left their homes for safety.

Now, a strike today would fall exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina tore through the region. It's a coincidence that's not lost on many who've decided to leave their homes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Katrina was here, hey, I had to stay in the water and I slept on a bridge for two days. I'm not about to do that again.


PAUL: So, FEMA trucks and generators are in the area. The National Guard has been deployed as well. Experts warn the pandemic though could make emergency responses more difficult.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): We had four hurricanes last year during COVID, but we had a small fraction of the number of people in our hospitals that we currently have. Evacuating the hospitals is not going to be possible because there is nowhere to bring those patients to. There is no excess capacity anywhere else in the state or outside the state.


MATTINGLY: And I want to go straight to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. And, Allison, you have been getting real-time updates here. What's the very latest you're hearing?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We just got a new update just a few minutes ago because we are now at the point where the hurricane center is going to start doing hourly updates. So, at the top of every hour we're going to get a brand new update in.

Unfortunately, it's still strengthening. We're now seeing an increase of wind speeds even more. It's now up to 145 miles per hour sustained winds. That's up 5 miles per hour just from the previous hour. Gusting up to 165. The forward movement to the northwest at just about 15 miles per hour.

I want to emphasize to you, we talked about this yesterday, the rapid intensification was possible, but this happened very fast. Typically, in order to get rapid intensification it has to increase 35 miles per hour in less than 24 hours. We jumped 40 miles per hour in just six hours -- six hours. We did rapid intensification in six hours when you normally can do it in 24.

The hurricane hunters are out. They are still investigating this system, trying to determine, OK, is this storm going to continue to strengthen? What are the highest winds? Where is the center of the storm? These are all things that they'll continue to look at right up until landfall. And that's expected to be early this afternoon, so just a few hours from now. It is expected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm in Louisiana.

Now, we are already starting to see some of those storm surge numbers begin to tick up. This is not the peak number. I want to emphasize that. Most of these areas about two to three feet, but those numbers are going to continue to go up throughout the day.

We are starting to see those outer bands also begin to spread more into some of these areas, not just Louisiana, but also Mississippi, Alabama, even areas of Florida. But looking at New Orleans now, you are really starting to see some of these really heavy rain bands begin to push in with even additional lightning, too.

We showed those storm surge numbers of where they are now. This is where they are expected to peak. So, this pink area here, 12 to 16 feet right through here 8 to 12.


Now, some of these numbers have gone up about one to two feet from where they were just a few hours ago because the storm is stronger. So, keep that in mind some of these numbers may have changed from what they were when you went to bed last night.

The other thing, too, Phil and Christi, those winds. It's not just the storm surge but the winds, which is why power outages are expected to be such a widespread concern as well.

PAUL: Allison, thank you so much for the update. We appreciate it.

Let's go to CNN's Derek Van Dam. He is live in Houma, Louisiana. And help us understand what it's like there because according to the radar it looked like you would be feeling some of this right now. I think I hear some rain behind you. What do you see?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Definitely the first taste of major Hurricane Ida. You know, Christi, Phil, I used to tell my kids that monsters don't exist, but what we woke up to this morning is indeed a monster and it's only 100 miles from the coast of where I'm standing right now.

This storm, as Allison so aptly put it, does not stop at the coast. Anything that this touches, anywhere the water touches from the sky or from the ocean will be impacted by major Hurricane Ida as it makes its final approach.

Last-minute preps should be completed. There are mandatory curfews and evacuations in Terrebonne Parish, where I'm currently located, and the entire Louisiana National Guard has been initiated for this particular storm. A very sobering statement from the Louisiana governor yesterday. Take a listen.


EDWARDS: This will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit anywhere in Louisiana since at least the 1850s. We can also tell you that your window of time is closing. It is rapidly closing. And just like we said yesterday, by the time you go to bed tonight you need to be where you intend to ride this storm out.


VAN DAM: Unfortunately, this area is no stranger to strong hurricanes. They are very familiar, of course, benchmark storms being Katrina. But we can't forget about the year of 2020 where four named storms wreaked havoc on the state of Louisiana.

Remember that completely altered the natural barriers and defenses along the coastline of Louisiana. That makes more storm surge a threat, especially where I'm standing now. Where the water comes in, it really has nowhere to go but sit here and pond and flood. So that is our concern.

I am only standing at 10 feet above sea level. Of course, you can do the math there, Phil and Christi, a dangerous place to be. We have shelter and places to evacuate just so you know. Back to you.

MATTINGLY: Yes, no question. Derek Van Dam, you got a long day, probably days ahead. Stay safe and thanks for the reporting.

Now, at least seven parishes in Louisiana have ordered mandatory evacuations as Hurricane Ida barrels towards the coast as a Category 4 storm. Kirk Lepine, the president of Plaquemines Parish, joins us now on the phone. And in fact he's on the phone because he just lost power moments ago.

And, Kirk, thank you for taking the time. I guess I want to start with, you know, around midnight your parish put out a post online telling residents now is the time to evacuate saying the community could begin to see effects of Ida within hours. It seems like that's actually happening. Do you feel like the evacuation window has closed at this point?

KIRK LEPINE, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH (on the phone): Yes, it narrowed very shortly. The residents -- and we actually started Friday at 3:00 p.m. so we included another -- we moved up the mandatory evacuation up a little bit higher on Saturday morning. So we've asked our people to get out. We think we see a lot of people traveling north to get out, and heeded our warning. So we think that they listened and moved to higher ground.

MATTINGLY: Now, there was another concerning message last night that the Plaquemines sheriff warned some levees will likely overtop and breach as the 10 to 15-foot storm surge moves in. What are you specifically doing? What can you do to prepare for something like that? LEPINE: Well, we got our preparations in place and, you know, there are two different things. There is a river levee. That's the levee of the Mississippi River. We are not concerned on that. We are concerned with our back -- what we consider our back levee that protects the marshes. And some of those levees are smaller. And with the protected 10 to 15-foot storm surge we are concerned about some of those levees getting breached and inundating our highway.

We have Highway 23 on our west bank of our parish, that's our only way in and out. And then Highway 39 on our east bank of our parish is the only way out. So, those waters inundate those highways, it gives us grave concern.


MATTINGLY: Now, if something like that happens, what is the -- you know, what are the options for an emergency response should people still have not heeded the evacuation warnings?

LEPINE: Well, by then we have rocked the levees that will allow us to get emergency vehicles to transport on, which is the river levee. So, we feel confident that we will be able to handle that.

The water that is coming in, you know, we all -- we can almost count on it, but the problem is if this storm stalls we'll have more trouble. But if it continues on its forward path that we think it is, we may catch a break in the window and that water can recede.

MATTINGLY: Now, Louisiana governor said this could be one of the strongest storms to hit the state since at least the 1850s. Your parish would know more about that than any other, I think, in the entire state. Since 1851 more storms have hit Plaquemines than any other part of Louisiana. You can look at the map and see how exposed the community is to the water.

I guess one of the questions I have, after last year do you feel like you guys have recovered? Do you feel like you are prepared for what's coming?

LEPINE: We did. Actually, we prepared for eight storms last year and Zeta came right over at 100 plus mile an hour winds. But it was moving very quickly. Ironically, this is the anniversary of Katrina. Today is the anniversary of Katrina. So that's fresh. That was a direct hit in the southern end of our parish.

So it's going to be very strong. We have warned our people that it's going to be after this comes ashore, be prepared to be without power for weeks. And we want our residents to know it's going to be hot and it's going to be -- we are going to be in recovery mode. So just we ask, if you left -- I mean, if you stay, sorry, that you, you know, prepare to be where you are going to be for, you know, a good bit of time.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Absolutely. Kirk Lepine, I know you have a lot on your plate right now but you guys know how to deal with these things better than just about anybody. Thanks so much for your time. Please stay safe.

LEPINE: Thank you, guys.

MATTINGLY: All right. Just ahead, warnings about a new threat around the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. Why the U.S. embassy is telling Americans to leave the area?

PAUL: And later the United Cajun Navy is already standing by outside Baton Rouge, ready to give aid to anybody who needs it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what we need. We need help. We need volunteers. We need trucks on standby tomorrow to be able to get this out. And as you can see --


PAUL: So grateful for them. We are checking in on their preparations just ahead.



PAUL: We want to give you a live look at New Orleans. There it is. Empty streets, very wet streets, and it's only just going to get worse as the day goes on. Those are the outer bands already hitting the area there. It looks like it might be Bourbon Street. I'm not sure.

But we learned a short time ago Ida has strengthened yet again. It is a powerful Category 4 hurricane. It is being described as having a storm surge that is unsurvivable in some places. We're keeping a close eye on the storm's track. We're going to give you an update in just a few minutes.

MATTINGLY: Yes, we'll certainly be getting back to that. But right now we turn to Afghanistan.

The military has released the names of all 13 U.S. service members killed in the suicide bomb attack outside the Kabul airport. President Biden says the U.S. will continue to hunt down those responsible for the attack. And he says the strike on an ISIS-K target will not be the last.

PAUL: This, of course, the names of the men and women who died making sure that we can have our freedom. White House correspondent Arlette Saenz is with us now.

The president also warning, Arlette, another attack on the Kabul airport is -- quote -- "highly likely" soon. With that said, what is the president saying about evacuations?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Phil, officials here at the White House are bracing for an incredibly dangerous period over the course of these next two days as that evacuation mission and the military drawdown are entering the final stages.

President Biden spoke to the threats at the Kabul airport after a national security team meeting yesterday. He released a statement saying, "The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours."

Now, the administration officials and military officials as well are also trying to find those terrorists responsible for that attack at the Kabul airport on Thursday as well as preventing future attacks. We saw an airstrike that killed two ISIS-K operatives on Friday, and President Biden is vowing that that will not be the last.

There is also the evacuation mission that is still underway. Yesterday during a 12-hour period about 2,000 individuals were evacuated from the Kabul airport. That is significantly lower than some of the figures we have seen earlier in the week, and that is attributed to the fact that the military is now beginning that retrograde process.

The military officials have said that they are starting to dismantle the military operations. That includes taking equipments out of the country as that drawdown is expected to take place on Tuesday.

These are all factors that are playing into the very precarious security situation on the ground in Afghanistan, something that this White House is monitoring very closely. A little bit later today the president will be meeting with his national security team once again to receive the latest updates as that drawdown is now just two days away.


MATTINGLY: Arlette, those complicated dynamics, they have not lessened. As the days have moved on they have only grown with those risks. Arlette Saenz, at the White House, thanks so much.

Now, the terror threat involving the Kabul airport comes as the U.S. races to meet that Tuesday, August 31st deadline to get out of Afghanistan. Afghan citizens who were able to leave the country, they are arriving in the U.S. where they undergo thorough screening and vetting before and after they are allowed into the country.

PAUL: I want to get an update on the evacuations though from this standpoint. Atika Shubert, she is live for us from Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Talk to us. We heard what the plan is but talk to us about the pace of the operation at this point with just 48 hours to go before we hit the deadline.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, the pace has been pretty incredible. For a while, the last few days you have been seeing planes coming in and out almost every hour or an hour and a half. In fact, more than 20,000 evacuees have come through Ramstein Air Base.

Now having said that, in the last 24 hours or so we've definitely seen a decrease in the number of flights arriving here. And as was pointed out in the other report there, you know, the numbers going out of Kabul airport seem to be going down. There is what they describe here as a strategic pause. But it could be also a tapering down of those evacuation flights.

Now, we will have to see if more flights come in today. But departing flights continue and those are the commercial flights that are bringing evacuees from Ramstein Air Base to Dulles Airport in Virginia.

Now, while the evacuation process is continuing Ramstein Air Base is also where they evacuated some of those servicemen who were wounded in that suicide attack on Kabul airport. They were brought directly to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. And I had a chance to speak with Brigadier General Josh Olson yesterday to get an update on their condition. Take a listen to what he said.


BRIG. GEN. JOSHUA M. OLSON, RAMSTEIN AIR BASE COMMANDER: Again, like all marines, God bless them. They're -- they are -- they're doing well. Their spirits are high. And, you know, they are glad to be together and, again, in great care by Landstuhl team and the Wounded Warrior team. So look forward to getting them home soon.


SHUBERT: Now, we could well see some of those marines heading back to the U.S. in the next 24 hours or so. In the meantime, as I said, the evacuation does continue. We'll be looking to see how many more flights arrive and depart today. Back to you guys.

PAUL: Atika Shubert, we so appreciate it. Thank you so much.

CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem with us now. Juliette, I want to ask you, first of all, as we hear President Biden saying he believes an ISIS-K attack is highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours and that the U.S. will act accordingly. What does that mean to you and what is the value of a warning that the U.S. will react? We have reacted already. Does it really slow or change the plans of ISIS?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It could. And I think that you are seeing the White House sort of use both a short-term and long-term strategy. The short term is to let the terrorists know that we probably have some transparency on what they are doing. That's good. It might delay them or get them paranoid about each other because we do have this very intense, you know, sort of 48 -- 36 -- 48-hour period right now.

The other is to get top leadership -- they didn't say that these were the organizers, simply because that will delay planning. Once again we're just in the can we delay any attacks as long as possible as we try to clear the airport. And then finally the long-term effort.

I think people are mistaken about thinking of the deadline as, OK, you know, there is a before and after. The United States' presence will be very, very different, but its interests will continue, and that interest will be both in, I think, covert operations to get people still out. So Americans who remain, who could not get to the airport will still -- there will still be attempts to get them out. And then, of course, the longer-term counterterrorism effort, which is clearly going to be sort of a drone -- I think a drone strategy at this stage to try to disrupt them. So, there's a lot going on.

PAUL: But we know that the State Department says they are in direct contact with about 500 people.


PAUL: Americans who are still there. First of all, give me the accuracy of that number. Secondly, give us a real picture, Juliette, of what life is like for Americans 48 hours from now who are in Afghanistan.

KAYYEM: OK. So -- I'm so glad you asked this question because I think there is a lot of concern that we're sort of abandoning them. I'll just, you know, in terms of how did these extractions work.

So, the bulk of it occurred over the last two weeks. We just get as many people out as possible. There are going to be people left behind -- people rightfully who should be able to leave who won't be able to.


Afghanistan doesn't disappear after the 31st and the Taliban has no interest in sort of, you know, shutting everything down. They are already talking to the Turks about running the airport. The Turks, I think, are going to agree to that if they haven't already, and that means that there will be a working airport. So -- then you just go into a second stage of the extractions which will involve third parties like Turkey, India and other countries that will help us get Americans to their consulates and to the airport.

So, the extractions will continue. It's going to be scary for the Americans there, but there is no reason to believe that the extractions and those Americans are just left there because we have done this before. It's just going to look different because we got to get our military out.

PAUL: What is the real national security threat to the U.S. in all of this? I mean, especially with the loss of intel.

KAYYEM: It's real. And it's a real challenge. So -- I mean, clearly the terror threat has increased, not just with ISIS, and we have a common -- Taliban and U.S. have a common enemy against ISIS. And then, of course, just given history, we do worry about al Qaeda and the Taliban's relationship with them. So that -- the threat has increased.

Meanwhile, our capabilities have decrease the. It's just different not to have boots on the ground in terms of our intelligence capacity and others.

The question of the extent of both of those is just not clear right now. Anyone who will tell you we're back to 9/11 threats, they are just trying to scare you. We just simply don't know at this stage what the Taliban -- in other words, they are horrible, but they are a rational group that is going to try to run a country, the extent to which this is Taliban 2.0 or something different and we don't know the extent of our capabilities or ally capabilities in the future. So --

PAUL: So if --

KAYYEM: -- the threat is real --


PAUL: If I'm -- yes. If I'm hearing you correctly what you're saying is the Taliban will be more concentrated and focused on what they can build in terms of a state right now as opposed to another 9/11 attack to us. And what is so -- what is so striking about this is that we're two weeks away from 9/11.

And I heard one analyst yesterday but I heard one analyst predicting on 9/11 we may see the Taliban flag flying on top of the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan.


PAUL: We may see the Taliban parading U.S. equipment and tanks that didn't get out along the streets of Afghanistan. Talk to us quickly about the image, the imprint of that image on 9/11.

KAYYEM: It's going to -- it's going to be devastating. I mean, in other words, when we started in 2001 we had a very focused counterterrorism effort in the war in Afghanistan. We strayed from that and the irony and tragedy 20 years later is we are returning to that.

I think it's a -- it's a just mission to the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan. It's just a lot of damage in the 20 years. And so I would anticipate that the Taliban using it, but on the other hand just remember also they have an interest, like we do, in stopping at least the ISIS threat for the short term because they have to assert control over their country. And the attacks that we are seeing around the airport look like the Taliban is not in charge. So it's a really -- it's sort of a, you know, mind-bending period right now where our interests align with the Taliban's.

But I want to just make it clear, especially to people who lost people on 9/11, this wasn't for naught. I mean, there has not been a major U.S. attack since 9/11, and that is because of the troops that fought and the counterterrorism effort that was so successful. And I think it's important for Americans to remember that, that the -- that the loss that we see in the last couple of weeks does not describe the last 20 years.

I have been in this for a long time, well before 9/11. If you told me there would be no major attack after 9/11, I would have said, yes, yes, you know, I would have doubted that, and it's been -- and in that regard, it's been a success.

PAUL: Millions of reasons to be so grateful for the men and women who serve this country. Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much.

KAYYEM: Exactly.

PAUL: Really appreciate you.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: All right. These are the folks that step up during disasters. Now, a group of volunteer firefighters and first responders known as the Cajun Navy is preparing for the worst ahead of Ida. We'll talk to that group's president coming up next.



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Category 4 Hurricane Ida is strengthening, yes, still this morning. Now, has sustained winds of 145 miles per hour. You see the radar on your screen on your left. On the right, I believe that is the current shot of New Orleans. Winds, they expect to get much worse in the coming hours ahead of the storm making landfall in Louisiana later today. And we know that people they're running out of time to evacuate.

The outer bands, you can see them on the -- on the screen there to your right, they're already reaching the coast. And there's heavy rainfall. There's potential flash floods and life-threatening storm surges up to 15 feet.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Christi, as that hurricane approaches, the Cajun Navy organization has mobilized its army of first responders and volunteers to South Louisiana in preparation for what is expected to be a major disaster.

And joining me now is Todd Terrell. He's the president of the United Cajun Navy. And Todd, you got people coming from more than a dozen states coming with boats to assist with water and search and rescue missions. I guess my number one question given the work that you guys do, do you feel like you have adequate resources given the scale of what we think is coming?

TODD TERRELL, PRESIDENT, UNITED CAJUN NAVY: Well, for the first time, I'm worried myself. We have resources coming from 13 states currently. We have guys from Tennessee, North Carolina, you know, Florida, Georgia, all over the country. We need that. Even though in Louisiana we do have our own boats and stuff, a lot of people are going to be devastated here.

This is something that I'm worried about myself. You know going back to Katrina, today's anniversary of Katrina, and many of us lost a lot back then. I think that when this is over with, we're going to see mass destruction. And, you know, hopefully, there won't be any casualties, but in this one here, we were looking at that that might not be the case.

[06:35:24] MATTINGLY: You know, you mentioned Katrina. And obviously, that's what a lot of us became very aware of kind of how you guys operated. One of the questions coming into when you're looking at a storm coming in like this is what's your game plan? You know, no storm is a monolith. You never know exactly how things are going to end up. But how are you mapping out while you're in the staging area, how your response is going to be in the coming hours and days?

TERRELL: You know, we're deeply rooted in Louisiana. So, that is a different animal. We have foot gates and different areas that if you don't get out, you're not going to make it. So, right now, we're mobilized in Denham Springs, Louisiana, which historically has flooded here going back to 2016. And from here, we can kind of mobilize. We can go east into the North Shore. We can go south into New Orleans.

Right now, we're kind of in a wait-and-see mode. We have a cruise in New Orleans right now. We're kind of waiting to see around 8:00 or 9:00 before we make a call. We don't want to put anybody in harm's way. We have some companies and some big nursing homes and stuff that right now we're waiting to see what they're going to do. We're on standby with them to evacuate.

We have four buses on standby that were loaned to us. Right now, we're in a wait-and-see. This is going to be a beast. And you know, with 140 mile an hour winds, you know, possibly our guys going into harm's way of 120, 130 mile an hour winds. We're going to wait and kind of see.

I know the government and I know different people are telling them, if you're not out right now, don't expect to be evacuated or don't expect to have any help for the next 24 hours or 48 hours. We're just hoping that we can keep our guys safe, you know, and get in there once the weather clears.

MATTINGLY: Can I -- can I just ask you, Todd, real quick before we have to go? You know, you mentioned the storms making landfall 16 years after Hurricane Katrina. So many of your members were there for that hurricane. What lessons did you learn from that -- in the wake of that, that you can apply, that you plan to apply over the course of the coming days?

TERRELL: Well, you know, for many of us, myself personally, we experienced a huge loss. I've had nightmares in the last few nights. And right now, technology is a little bit better. We have better cell phone service. You know, we have a, you know, WiFi. We have social media. So, right now there's more technology to get the word out faster to be able to help people.

But it's still don't preclude the fact that when you have a disaster, it's hard to get people. Right now, we just asked for prayers. You know, everybody has got to come together. I've always said this. Sometimes I think this is God's way of bringing the country together. But right now, we just need all the prayers we can get, you know.

And if you know somebody, you know somebody in harm's way, either tell them to get out or stay in touch with him. Call your neighbor, call your family and ask them how they're doing. MATTINGLY: Yes, well, you certainly have the prayers. Todd Terrell, please stay safe. I appreciate the work you do. Thank you very much.

TERRELL: All right, thank you.

PAUL: You might be wondering, what do we know about the terror group ISIS-K? How's it connected to the Taliban? We're going to take a look next.



MATTINGLY: The terrorist group ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing attack outside the Kabul airport last week.

PAUL: And U.S. officials say more attacks from the group could be imminent. So, you might be wondering, who exactly is ISIS-K? Here's CNN's Brian Todd. BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Phil and Christi, we have new

information now on ISIS-K, its origins, its background, where its fighters came from, its ideology. It's a group considered to be an arch-enemy of the Taliban but even more vicious.


TODD: Carnage and slaughter in Kabul. The claim of responsibility coming from ISIS K, a group claiming to be a branch of the main ISIS network which swept through Syria and Iraq in 2014. A terror force with the means and motive to launch attacks like this.

DAVEED GARTENSTEIN-ROSS, CEO AND TERRORISM ANALYST, VALENS GLOBAL: ISIS-K is known for attacks that are able to slaughter a large number of civilians. This includes suicide bombings. They've had for some time an attack network that operates within Kabul.

TODD: Analysts say ISIS-K has had no qualms about murdering innocence in their pursuit of a caliphate in Afghanistan. In May of this year, they attacked a school for girls in Kabul, killing at least 85 people according to Afghan officials, most of them girls.

In June, an ISIS-K attack on a British American demining charity killed at least 10 people. But even then, they weren't beginners.

GARTENSTEIN-ROSS: Back in November, an hour's long assault of Kabul University that killed 22, a suicide bombing and Education Center in October that killed 24, and a gun attack on a hospital maternity ward back in May of 2020 that also resulted in 24 fatalities. All of that shows a capable military network.

TODD: But there are other terror networks in Afghanistan as well. Experts say extremist movements allied with al-Qaeda and the Taliban and other cells which pose a threat inside Afghanistan and beyond.

TOM LISTER, CNN PRODUCER: One of them, for example, is there a Uyghur extremist group that has been very active in Syria. A lot of them have moved back to eastern Afghanistan. And that little part of Afghanistan up in the northeastern corner shares a border with China. And the Chinese are very concerned.


TODD: But ISIS-K remains a prominent threat, official say. A top U.S. military official saying there are imminent threats from ISIS ranging from rocket strikes to vehicle-borne suicide attacks. And with the latest attack in Kabul killing scores of civilians and U.S. service members, experts say ISIS-K ramps up its profile in jihadist circles, which could bring the group more money, weapons and other assets.

GARTENSTEIN-ROSS: They hope that this will benefit them directly via other military factions and other potential recruits and others who could help them within the country.

TODD: Another concern, experts say the Taliban, a sworn enemy of ISIS- K have little control over the areas where ISIS-K and other groups operate, and an insufficient security force to go after them. As for the U.S. intelligence footprint in Afghanistan going forward --

LISTER: Even the Joint Chiefs of Staff have said quite clearly, our capabilities are not going to be what they were because we don't have a presence on the ground. Everything has to be done remotely.


TODD: Is ISIS Kay a threat to wage broader war against or even overthrow the Taliban? The terrorism experts we spoke to don't think so. The Taliban have far greater numbers of fighters, they say. ISIS-K could be a violent nuisance to the Taliban conducting IED attacks, hit and runs, suicide bombings, according to experts. But they say that ISIS-K is not going away without a fight. Phil and Christi?

MATTINGLY: Yes, Brian Todd, no question about that. Thank you very much.

The pandemic will continue next month. There is no question about that. But jobless benefits, those will not. So, what's the plan for millions of people relying on those funds to get by? We'll take a look coming up next.



PAUL: 51 minutes pass the hour right now. You know, we're two weeks away, less than really, from more than seven million people being cut off from unemployment benefits.

MATTINGLY: And for many, those expanded emergency benefits have been a lifeline during the pandemic. Now, they're facing an uncertain future. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has more.




MICHAEL KITTLE, LOSING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT: That's been one thing that's constantly gave me anxiety.


YURKEVICH: One date, September 5, will change the lives of these Americans and seven and a half million more. Federal pandemic unemployment benefits which helped many survive in unprecedented economic crisis are ending. For Gustavo Maria, the timing couldn't be worse.

MARIA: My daughter is a couple of weeks from being born.

YURKEVICH: In the last year, Maria says he lost two jobs, broke a bone in his leg, and sold a family car repossessed. And in less than two weeks, he will lose all unemployment benefits.

MARIA: My inner voice is me yelling and screaming, trying to like, you know, like what am I going to do? What am I going to do?

YURKEVICH: It's a question millions of Americans will have to answer. For Maria, his injury makes his previous $15 an hour jobs working in warehouses painful.

MARIA: I've got a scar in here.

YURKEVICH: While out of work, he's been teaching himself about computers, hoping he can land a desk job. But those I'm going to be in a warehouse every day. So, I'm trying to better myself.

YURKEVICH: There are record 10 million job openings in the U.S. with millions still looking for work.

KITTLE: It's frustrating, because, yes, there are any number of jobs that I could go in and do, but not all of them can support me.

YURKEVICH: Michael Kittle, a Broadway graphic designer has been out of work since last year. He says he applies to 50 jobs a week but still waiting for a callback.

KITTLE: It's been rough.

YURKEVICH: If he still doesn't have a graphic design job come September 5th, he says he'll pick up shifts at a restaurant.

Why have you not chosen to do that before?

KITTLE: Because we're still in a pandemic. The idea of being close to hundreds of strangers a day even while being vaccinated, it's not something that appeals to me in any way.

YURKEVICH: Cutting aid doesn't necessarily mean people going back to work. Between April and July, states that ended unemployment benefits early saw a nearly one percent jump in overall job growth. But those states that kept them in place saw job gains of a half a percent more.

MANZANO: My dad, my mom upstairs, I have, you know, my sister.

YURKEVICH: Giselle Manzano provides for her large family. Since she lost her banking job earlier this year, savings and unemployment has kept the family afloat. She's about to lose a crucial extra $300 a week in benefits.

MANZANO: I thought I had everything covered. And then, savings are gone. There's no retirement money. My life insurance policies set up for the kids as well as myself, it's gone.

MARIA: Slowly.


YURKEVICH: Despite the physical pain of working on his feet eight hours a day, Maria says the financial pain without unemployment is worse.

Would you go back to a job, like a warehouse job, just to be able to provide?


MARIA: I will do any kind of -- type of job that I need to do along with providing for my family.

YURKEVICH: Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN.


PAUL: Also this morning, watching Hurricane Ida. We are expecting an update any minute. And we know that this is a storm that has been described as the storm surge as unsurvivable. You see it on the left hand side of your screen there, the outer bands hitting as you can see on the right hand side in New Orleans. We have the very latest in a moment. Stay close.


PAUL: I'm so grateful to have you with us here. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Christi Paul.

MATTINGLY: And I'm Phil Mattingly. We are watching two major stories this morning.