Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

Flooding Disaster in Libya; Dangerously Low Water Levels of the Panama Canal; How Firefighters Are Using Artificial Intelligence To Get Ahead Of The Flames. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired September 19, 2023 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, lovely people. I`m Coy. This is CNN 10. You are awesome. And we have places to go and things to learn from Africa

to Alaska and few stops in between. Welcome to the best 10 minutes in news.

We start in Libya, the country at the top of Africa. If you`re looking at a map right between Tunisia and Egypt next to the Mediterranean sea. Last

Sunday, Libya was hit by a rare type of storm called a Medicane, a combination of the words Mediterranean and hurricane. And the deadly storm

dumped record setting rain on Libya with more than 16 inches in some places over a 24-hour span. The rain strained two aging dams near the Eastern city

of Derna, which has a population roughly the size of Bend, Oregon, Abilene, Texas, or Allentown, Pennsylvania, both dams burst last week, and water

overwhelmed, entire districts of Derna destroying homes and businesses sweeping them away, or even burying them with mud.

As of this Sunday, the death toll across Libya was all over the place with outlets reporting anywhere from 4,000 to 20,000 people. And that`s because

the damage has been so severe and widespread. And whatever that number is, thousands more are still missing. This is the deadliest flood to hit any

African country in more than a century. Our International Correspondent, Larry Madowo has been following the story and is learning for us the

factors and scale of this disaster.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Eastern Libya city of Derna, might never be the same, even with the best of efforts to rebuild

the U.N. warning that the catastrophic flooding led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis there. We will never know the exact number of people

that were killed when Storm Daniel dumped unprecedented levels of water here, busting to dams and entire neighborhoods washing into the sea, into

the Mediterranean.

In the absence of any proper coordination between Libya`s two rival governments, ordinary Libyans have been doing what they can, including

donating blood. And they`re also aware of the divided country that they live in.

MUSTATA RAJABANI, BLOOD DONOR (through translator): We feel sorry for those who lost their lives. And we ask God almighty that he take pity on

the others. Unfortunately, we hate to admit that this catastrophe has highlighted the fact that we do not have a state capable of dealing with a

crisis of this scale.

MADOWO: Even though rescue efforts continue. It`s been a week since the flooding happened. So the chances of finding survivors alive is very

limited. Libyan State Media say 891 buildings are completely destroyed there. Another 211 buildings are partially damaged and 398 others

submerged. So this brings to almost 15% of buildings in Derna that were affected by this flooding.

The African Union Chairperson is calling on other African member states, the international community to offer more support because that`s what so

many people need here. At the same time. The U.N. warning that about 40,000 people have been displaced. And as they`re on the move, they are exposed to

landmines and explosive ordinances of war after more than a decade of conflict in the country. So it`s just a mixture of the most terrible

conditions possible. Larry Madowo, CNN Nairobi.


WIRE: Let`s move now to Central America in the country of Panama, where there`s not enough water in the Panama Canal, the iconic waterway, and

that`s due to an ongoing drought. The canal was built more than 100 years ago and it connects the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic ocean. It`s a

valuable shipping route that saves vessels a lot of time and a long, more dangerous journey down around the Southern tip of south America.

Let`s go to our CNN International Correspondent, Patrick Oppmann, who explains how we might all be affected by the water levels on this 50-mile




PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Panama Canal is running low on water. A persistent drought caused in part by the El Nino

weather pattern has left water levels dangerously depleted. Now, the global supply chain is under threat as the holiday season approaches.

The 80-kilometer waterway connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and is a vital route for transporting goods, handling an estimated 5% of world

trade. The canal was completed in 1914, revolutionizing how goods were used to supply goods could be transported and further expanded in 2016 to meet

the skyrocketing demands of global commerce. But over the last 20 years, decreasing rainfall has reduced the water level of Panama`s Lake Gatun from

27 meters above sea level to 24 meters.

Canal officials have imposed draft restrictions, forcing ships to lighten their load. A ship`s draft limit is the minimum depth of water it can

safely navigate. And if a ship is carrying too much cargo, it risks getting trapped in the canal. Since May, ships have had to reduce their cargo by as

much as 25%. The Panama Canal Authority has also limited the number of vessels authorized to enter the canal each day. Creating a bottleneck with

some ships waiting as long as 14 days to get through. As of Tuesday, 116 vessels were waiting to pass.

The canal`s administrator warns the number of authorized vessels could decrease further when the drought continues into next year. This has led to

rising freight costs which are likely to continue in the months leading up to both Christmas and the Chinese New Year. The Canal`s administrator has

said the drought could wipe away $200 million in revenue in 2024. And he says they may need to build a new dam or connect the canal to another

nearby lake to keep water flowing.


WIRE: Ten second trivia.

Can you name the third largest U.S. state with the state motto, Eureka? Is it Texas, Alaska, California, or Montana?

California is your answer here. And Eureka means, I found it. Eureka. The state motto might be used by firefighters in California, quite often now

they fight thousands of wildfires across the state every year. And now thanks to artificial intelligence they might have a better way of finding

those fires before they get out of control. CNN Stephanie Elam has more.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In California where wildfires are a constant threat, firefighters want every advantage they can get on a blaze

before it becomes an inferno.

SCOTT SLUMPFF, CAL FIRE BATTALION CHIEF: While I was asleep in bed, my phone dinged.

ELAM: Cal Fire Scott Slumpff got that leg up while testing new technology in July, when he got a text message with a link to this. Video of a fire

that started in the middle of the night, deep in the California wilderness.

SLUMPFF: The dispatch center there was not aware of the fire.

ELAM: But something else was, artificial intelligence. Cal Fire in partnership with U.C. San Diego`s alert, California program and its network

of more than 1000 cameras across the state is using the technology to recognize a fire early on.

STAFF CHIEF PHILIP, FIRE INTELLIGENCE, CAL FIRE: The next morning that fire would`ve been a fire of significance.

ELAM: Instead, firefighters were dispatched immediately knocking the blaze down before it did major damage.

PHILIP: So the fires that you don`t hear about in the news is the greatest success of this.

ELAM: These cameras are the new eyes for firefighters. These two position more than 5,000 feet above sea level can see across this massive Southern

California valley. And they`re really adding precision to the spotting of wildfires compared to more traditional ways like this lookout station,

where I`m standing with this new AI technology, they can often spot wildfires more quickly than the human eye can.

(Voice-over): Here`s how it works. Look at this image. Could you spot a fire? Probably not. But notice that red box on the right side, that`s where

artificial intelligence has detected a faint column of smoke. The pilot program works so well that Cal Fire recently expanded it to all 21 of its

dispatch centers where an official will validate the imagery to make sure it is not just dust or clouds.

PHILIP: Our goal as an agency is to keep 95% of our fires at 10 acres or less. So this tool increases our ability to ensure that we`re keeping those

fires small.

ELAM: And the AI is constantly learning, each time a human confirms or corrects what a detects the technology adapts.

(On camera): Do you think that it`s making a difference and how you`re able to protect the population?

SLUMPFF: Absolutely.

ELAM: This technology won`t replace people, Cal Fire says.

SLUMPFF: Nothing can take the place of the -- the boots on the ground.

ELAM: But can help first responders stop fires before they explode.

SLUMPFF: In my opinion, save lives in property.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, Riverside County, California


WIRE: For today`s 10 out of 10, we finish in Muldoon Alaska where a family of bears had a Eureka moment of their own. They stumbled upon an unattended

crispy cream donut delivery van with a door wide open. So mama bear and her cub went donut diving, 26 packages of donuts getting dominated, despite

workers trying to scare them away. Some advice for you do not try to prevent any bearglaries like this if you see one going down.

Now, it`s time for me to be the bearer of good news for some folks in Moorhead, Minnesota. Today`s shout out, goes to Horizon Middle School, you

rock. Thanks for subscribing and commenting on our CNN 10 YouTube channel. Let`s all go out and do something to make this world a bit of a better

place today. Even if it`s just making someone`s smile today. I`m Coy and I`ll see you right back here tomorrow.