tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN September 19, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
this is cnn breaking news. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. it's 11:00 p.m. here in los angeles. i'm john vause with breaking news. two massive natural disasters unfolding this hour. in mexico, the death toll continues to rise after a major earthquake and a category 5 hurricane maria about to strike puerto rico after bringing more destruction and misery to the already devastating caribbean region. at least 149 people are dead, dozens of buildings have collapsed. rescue workers are looking for signs of life. the mexican president says 22
>> schools throughout central mexico are closed. johan, just describe the scene around you. how much damage is there? how extensive is the destruction caused by this quake? >> reporter: so it's been devastating for the city. right behind me, you can see a building of six floors, which collapsed. it was a building of various businesses there. there was a language academy there, an accountant's office. there was an internet company. this happened, you know, right in the afternoon. so many people were there. i was talking to one woman whose sister was in the building. she was saying her office, an accountant's office, there's about 50 workers there. so in just this building, 50 people in one business, that all over there's hundreds of buildings that's collapsed. so the damage is catastrophic.
that death toll looks like it will be considerably higher than what we know so far. >> what have you seen of the government's response here, the emergency response to this disaster because we're also seeing a lot of people just civilians, ordinary everyday people using their bare hands to dig through this rubble to find anybody trapped underneath the debris. >> reporter: yeah, in mexico, there was a devastating earthquake back in 1985 on the same date. so that earthquake was really in people's collective memory and collective pain. everybody from mexico city, you could ask them what were they doing and that day and they remember that. it's been earthquake drills since then and many people with this idea of what to do if an earthquake happens. it's like a nightmare has come true, and it's a very powerful response. people are going out in the
thousands to these places helping with buckets, bringing in water with wheel barrels, and you can imagine with buildings like the ones behind me how much rubble you have to clear to reach the people. it is tons and tons of rubble. the government is helping organize these brigades, but it is so overwhelming that these people are really helping. >> so looking forward to the next 24 hours here, one of the biggest concerns that the authorities have right now, as they look to the next couple of days, trying to get some kind of normalcy back into place, trying to scare for survivors and clear away the debris, what are they worried about the most? >> reporter: so the first concern is the replicas. a lot of seismic activity, only ten days ago another earthquake hit. so this is very concerning. but also it's just basic facilities. the city has collapsed. there's no electricity in much of the city.
there's no traffic lights moving. traffic has collapsed. so basic getting water and food is a concern for people and the authorities. now, the authorities dealing with things like hospitals being damaged, schools have collapsed with children. prison facilities damaged. so there's just an overwhelming number of things they have to watch for 24 hours. there's also the concern about law and order breaking down and people looting. so far there's been more of a feeling of solidarity and people helping. not really a major problem of disorder that happens after some disasters like this. >> is there concern among many people in the city that they just don't want to go back into their buildings because they may not be safe at this point and that they could be damaged and quite often what will happen is many people will sleep outside to avoid the risk of going back into a building that may have been damaged? >> reporter: yeah, there's that happening.
you know, i'm talking to people who are saying i can't go home. i can't get into my home. they want to check the building and it's been cracked. there's a lot of gas leaks and gas all around the place that can cause explosions. so many people who say they want to sleep with relatives or in some cases sleep outside or leave the city and sleep in other places. >> okay. ioan, thank you forgiving us the latest from mexico city. this is a disaster on a scale that has not been seen for a while. thanks for being with us, ioan. >> reporter: thank you. pedram is live at the cnn international weather center for us, with more on the intensity of the quake, the magnitude. i guess how these after shocks are now playing out and they will be with us for some time. >> it's how it works with a quake of this magnitude. 32 miles deep, this is
considered a shallow quake here, and there's less buffering to absorb any energy from this earthquake, and it comes 70 miles south of mexico city, but the energy felt hundreds of miles away from the center. with a 7.1, there's one aftershock that would be one or less. so a 6.1 would be expected. we haven't seen that one yet. hundreds into the 4 scale, thousands into the 3 scale. this will continue for weeks, if not months. some 15 million people felt strong shaking this afternoon. i often talk about when is the worst time to have an earthquake? typically the overnight hour it is you're sleeping or the early afternoon hours, the kids are at school, you're at work. earthquakes don't kill people, it's buildings that kill people.
1.5 million felt very strong shaking associated with this particular quake. of course, the significance of it, it's extremely rare. typically out of 2 million quakes on our planet, one is 8.0 or greater. we had one in mexico 15 days ago. for mexico city in particular, it has a long history of significant quakes and shaking. you go in for a closer perspective, this is what it looks like. about 700 years ago, this is now a dry lake bed. you can see it on google earth imagery. this make has all dried up at this point. this is where mexico city is situated. the shaking is intensified as a result of that. one to have worst areas you would want to build a structure is on top of a lake bed. of course, this was built there
over 700 years ago. that energy is not going to be absorbed with a topsoil hike this, a lake bed sentiment. so that can bring the water table up, and that's called lick which fact -- liquefaction. that's why you see so many buildings collapse there. when you look at this, the usgs is looking at the estimated economic losses based on historical data in this region. the highest likelihood, almost 40%, that this will have somewhere between $100 million to $1 billion in losses for the economic toll with the damage that's left in place now. so definitely a big story for a lot of folks across mexico. >> one thing which the experts at the u.s. geological survey
have pointed out this earthquake is not related to the one on september 7, a magnitude of 8.1. how is that important and how do they know? >> the eni center of that quake was further away. mexico is an active place for earthquakes. when you look at the ring of fire as it's known, the most earthquake prone areas on our planet, it goes along the coast of mexico and comes down to portions of south america, where 90% of the quakes occur. so the epicenter of that particular one farther away. people think was it that one that instigated this one? not necessarily how it works either. so this is independent of it on a different location. but again, you look at the numbers, only 15 or so quakes are 7.0 or up to 8.0. two have happened in the last 11 days. >> yeah. pedram, thank you for that. we'll turn now to hurricane maria. puerto rico is bracing for a
worst case scenario as the storm moves through the caribbean. it's battering st. croix with wind gusts and heavy rain. maria is a category 5 storm with sustained winds of 281 kilometers per hour. at least one person has been killed in guadeloupe and there's widespread damage in dominique. and now puerto rico just hours away from what could be a direct hit from mae roria. right now, meteorologist derek vandam in san juan, puerto rico joins us live. expecting this storm to make landfall as a category 5. is there any expectation that maybe the intensity will weaken a little? >> reporter: well, john, it's already fluctuated from the last national hurricane center update, winds were at 175. now the new 2:00 a.m., it's at 165. so with storms of this
magnitude, we're reaching the upper echelons of what's possible with hurricanes and mother nature. it's impossible for these storms to stay at that extremely intention category 5 status. so what we would typically see is the storms going through a rejuvenation cycle. it's almost like breathing as humans. of course, we want the storm to be inhaling when it makes landfall, not exhaling. typical for these storms to fluctuate from a category 4 to a 5. still, catastrophic damage possibility. homes destroyed, trees snapped like twigs. power lines brought down instantaneously. we've already seen just up the road from us here, we're in a protected sheltered area to keep our crews safe. just walking out into the elements underneath the garage that we're positioned in,
there's a wind tunnel there. we have all kinds of debris flying down the roadways there. this is exactly what we would expect to see with tropical storm force winds. but hurricane force winds will appear here in puerto rico by first light. then the worst of the storm we anticipate about 10:00 a.m. here locally. john? >> a couple of weeks ago, the concern was that irma hitting the power grid and knocking out power. when that didn't happen, they breathed a high of relief and thought they dodged a bullet. will they be so lucky this time? >> reporter: there's still 45,000 people without power from a direct cause of irma. this is over two weeks ago. talking to some of the locals here, they still don't have power within their homes and they're dealing with the cleanup efforts from irma. of course, they were breathing a sigh of relief, because that storm really did -- the wrath of irma was not really felt, because the eyewall went to the north of puerto rico. that is not going to take place
with hurricane maria. maria will make a direct handfahan landfall. we expect a cat 4, cat 5 over puerto rico and some of the more populated eastern sections of the territory. >> from what you've seen in terms of preparation, they have shelters which are open, which can house 60,000 people, maybe 130,000 in an emergency. with you just in terms of people preparing for themselves, the shelves are empty. there's so much water to be found. baby formula is in short supply, that kind of thing. i think we've lost derek. but he was giving us the update there on the storm. of course, one of the things that's happened over the last couple of days is people prepare for this storm, they stocked up on food and supplies, basic stuff like water. many of the stores are now empty. the concern that authorities have right now is anybody who
may still be living in a flimsy or wooden house, they've been told to leave those houses, head to shelter, because those structures are not safe. relief workers have been hit with the one-two punch of irma and maria, as well. allen marlin arrived on st. john in the u.s. virgin islands in the aftermath of irma and now to be caught in a second powerful storm. adam joins us now on the phone. adam, it was irma, jose and now maria is posing a real threat. what precautions have you taken? what are conditions like there right now? >> so right now, we're experiencing a very high level of rainfall. the winds that we're experiencing right now were out in our vehicles staged at three location. it's pushing our jeep wranglers
around on the broaroad, even wh stationary. we're getting storm surge on the eastern side of the island and several of the roofs that were damaged and blown off have pushed into the roadways here on st. john' hurricane irma knocke the basic infrastructure there. how will this mild cope with another blow with something as powerful or more powerful? >> i think it's going to be incredibly limited here. the one clinic that is on the island has a compromised roof. we were able to pull the majority of the tiles out to avoid mold. a significant population of the island has already evacuated, but there are several people who wanted to sit this storm out and we have significant concerns about tonight.
>> there's 4,000 people on st. john, 2,000 left over the last week or so. so there's a considerable number still on that island. and many are taking shelter in what's left of their homes? >> exactly. for the people that are still here, a majority are living in compromised homes. very few have been able to -- with the rain that they're experiencing here, it's going to be -- they're going to get several inches of water inside these homes that they're trying to shelter in tonight. >> wow. adam, thank you for being with us. we appreciate the update. many hurricane victims need shelter and assistance. if you can help, logon to our website to donate to one of the charities that we have vetted or you can volunteer your time.
a short break. when we come back, evacuate or die. a dire warning from officials in puerto rico about the dangers of hurricane maria. mom, i just saved a lot of money on my car insurance by switching to geico. i should take a closer look at geico... you know, geico can help you save money on your homeowners insurance too? great! geico can help insure our mountain chalet! how long have we been sawing this log? um, one hundred and fourteen years. man i thought my arm would be a lot more jacked by now. i'm not even sure this is real wood. there's no butter in this churn. do my tris look okay? take a closer look at geico. great savings. and a whole lot more.
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earthquake. what we're seeing is essentially neighbors helping neighbors. they're forming these human chains to remove the debris, passing slabs of rubble and concrete from one to the other, to get to the people who are trapped underneath that concrete in one of the many collapsed buildings across mexico's capital right now. this is happening across mexico city. they're using whatever they can. there you can see they're using a trolly, a shopping cart to try and move this debris out of the way. this earthquake happened 32 years to the day after a devastating earthquake back in 1985, which left thousands dead. and since then, mexico has held these drills. that's what we're seeing play out there. in fact, in the morning before the earthquake struck, schoolchildren were conducting earthquake drills. and then just an hour or so later, the real thing happened. we move on now with
hurricane maria bairreling towards puerto rico. the hurricane has winds of 165 miles per hour. puerto rico, which escaped the brunt of hurricane irma, is expecting a direct hit from maria in the hours ahead. our correspondents are across puerto rico and the region covering this storm. let's go to nick valencia live in san martin. how have conditions changed there since we last spoke? >> reporter: what we're experiencing here on this side of the parking structure is nothing, john, with what's going on right now about 100 yards away from us. the beach is just behind our camera. and within the last 30 minutes, power was lost on that street. our hotel briefly lost power before the generator kicked in. we're about eight hours away from the worst of the storm. you're talking about the ominous warnings from the officials, the governor taking a much different
tone than he did during hurricane irma. the tone of anxiety and nervousness among those local officials here, giving those warnings that they need to evacuate or face death. one of the things that he was reiterating was the concern about flooding, and how that is the cause of death after storms make impact here on an island territory like puerto rico. the last time they felt a storm like this was nearly 100 years ago. there's certainly a lot more people here on the island, causing concern for officials. they did stress to evacuate from the areas that are in flood zones. as a matter of fact, we are in one of those flood zones. during a normal rain event, we're told by locals, they flood. what we're going to experience in about six to eight hours from now is going to be anything but normal. people here obviously preparing for the worst, and they are preparing with the precautions being given to them by local
officials. local officials have done a good enough job so far in the last 24, 48 hours to stress to the residents here how dangerous and monster of a storm that we're expecting here to make landfall here in san juan. john? >> you know it's not normal when you measure rain in feet instead of inches. nick, thank you. back to mexico after the break. volunteers are searching for their neighbors, some using only their bare hands. also, donald trump puts world leaders on notice at the united nations. north korea tops his list of evil nations. (honking) (beeping) we're on to you, diabetes. time's up, insufficient prenatal care. and administrative paperwork, your days of drowning people are numbered. same goes for you, budget overruns. and rising costs, wipe that smile off your face. we're coming for you too. at optum, we're partnering across the health system
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dozens of buildings just like that one were toppled by the 7.1 tremor. and this cnn exclusive video shows residents joining the search for survivors. some are digging through the rubble with their bare hands. victims including children, have been pulled from buildings and rescue efforts are continuing throughout the night. joining us now, patrick timmens, on the line from mexico city. what's the latest in mexico city in terms of search and rescue and treating the wounded? >> so the rescue efforts are ongoing. there are about 50 buildings which have come down in mexico city. you run in a line from north to south. there are reports of children being pulled out of a collapsed college in central mexico city. there are reports of hospitals
having to move all of their patients because of structural damage and patients are being moved around the city. the city right now, some eight hours after the earthquake, is rather calm in some parts. the traffic is completely sort of quietened down after the huge exodus of people from their workplaces this afternoon trying to get home. that meant that city was saturated, making it difficult for the civil protection people and ambulances to get through. and reports of buildings and people being trapped in rubble, still communicating with friends. we lost telephone and internet for much of the day. so they're trying to pull people
out from the rubble. the red cross is not actually asking for more volunteers, and there are a lot of places that seems to be covered with substantial groups of people digging through the rubble. >> it's been remarkable the number of ordinary civilians who have come out to dig through the rubble. can you describe what it was like when the quake happened and the reaction from those around you? was there panic? how did it play out? >> well, i've been in about five quakes now from japan to california to mexico. you feel like you're taking a deep breath, but this started with a gentle rumbling. and then it became a violent shaking, side to side and up to down. i was on the first floor of a six-story building.
it was kind of like the reverse of a -- [ inaudible ] like when you're able to bounce up and down, so once out of the building and most people seemed to get out of the building, the quake lasted for 70 seconds, which is astonishing. it took me all of that time to get down from the five-story building. then you come out on the road and everybody is in the road. really it was a fright. looking at the utility poles is the most remarkable thing. people really remained outside for much of the rest of the afternoon. >> a lot of focus right now on mexico city. but the epicenter was about 75 miles to the southeast. >> right. >> do we know what the situation is there? >> i was spending a little
time -- one of the ways we've been staying in much, because websites have been down, was radio. so radio, correspondents were coming in. the highe between acapulco and mexico city, one bridge was down just 50 minutes away from mexico city by car. there are lots of reports of roads being damaged, and when i checked a couple of hours ago, this is one of the states where 50 people have died. there are reports of tremors
being felt as far away -- particularly worrying of what's going on here. >> very quickly, do you get a sense that the government has a hand on the response to this or is it overwhelmed at this point? >> as i said, the mexican red cross is no longer asking for volunteers to help. it seems as though mexican society is well organized. lots of people contributing food and making sure there are supplies. there are places for people to go. i know that's true for mexico
city. and i'm watching my facebook feed of people offering their rooms for people to sleep the night if they don't want to go home. i should add in my building, which has about 15 families in it, i think there are only three apartments occupied tonight. so there has been an exodus from mexico city. it seems to me the government has been fairly well prepared. we just have to see what happens with the rising death toll. >> yeah. and it does continue to rise. patrick, thank you for being with us and giving us an update there from mexico city. of course, this is only just the very beginning of what will be a huge rescue and recovery effort for the authorities there. patrick timmens, thank you, sir. >> thank you, john. and we'll continue to follow the situation in mexico, as well as the caribbean with hurricane maria. we'll take a short break.
when we come back, donald trump uses his first address to the united nations to taunt and threaten the rocket man of north korea. usaa to me means peace of mind. we had a power outage for five days total. we lost a lot of food. we actually filed a claim with usaa to replace that spoiled food. and we really appreciated that. we're the webber family and we are usaa members for life. for tech advice. dell small business advisor with one phone call, i get products that suit my needs
using fiery language, president trump sent an apocalyptic warning to north korea, pushing his america first message to the united nations. he referred to u.s. sovereignty 21 times, insisting strong nations rather than international institutions, are the key to a peaceful future. but in that address to the united nations general assembly, that will be remembered for president trump's threat to north korea. >> the united states has great strength and patience. but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself, and for his regime. >> after the speech, the president tweeted, a great and
important day at the united nations. met with leaders of many nations who agree with much or all of what i stated in my speech. joining us now for more on this, ian lee live in seoul, south korea. and here in los angeles, political analyst peter matthews. ian, clearly the president was trying to belittle kim jong-il. north koreans don't usually take well to this. given this was a whole new level by the president in front of the united nations, how is pyongyang expected to react? >> well, we're expecting them to up their rhetoric, as well, with their own fiery brand that we've seen time after time again. and you wouldn't be surprised if we see a missile test or some sort of action from the north as a response, something that they've done in the past to show that they are serious about this. you know, the interesting thing too was the reaction from the
south koreans to that. the south korean president's spokesman came out and praised it as being unprecedented long, showing that the united states was serious about north korea. they also said that de-nuclearization is the only path and that strong sanctions and pressure is the way to get there. also said that there's close collaboration between the two countries. and the one thing that was missing from their statement is any mention of war or military option. the only time we've heard about a military option really is in passing. yesterday, we heard from the defense minister who said that they want diplomacy and dialogue, and that a military option is just a supporting element, john. >> yeah, i thought that statement from -- on behalf of the south korean president, i thought they chose their words very carefully with that statement. peter, to you, to be fair, donald trump is not the first person who's used the term
"rocket man." back in 2006, the economist magazine used it to refer to kim jong-il's father, kim jong-un. but it is one thing for a magazine to use the term rocket man. but it's another thing all together when it's the president of the united states addressing a world body. >> it's totally against convention, and it can be -- it's very provocative and demeaning. in front of a world body, to call the leader of a country, whether he's a dictator or not, to call him rocket man after a rock 'n' roll song by elton john. that's demeaning. >> this is a leader who seems insecure, young. >> right, right. he's 32 years old. approximately early 30s. here's donald trump, 70 years old, never been in politics before and he's acting very unexperienced and in front of the united nations it was uncalled for.
>> ian, back to you. the u.s. president also slammed the iran nuclear deal. he hinted he would rip it up. the french president, emmanuel macron, told cnn that's not a good idea, especially when it comes to dealing with north korea. i want to play an interview that christiane amanpour did with emmanuel macron. listen to this. >> i think it would be a big mistake. i think if president trump -- i don't think that this iran deal, this nuclear deal with iran is -- of everything about how to deal with iran. if president trump considers it's not sufficient, i do agree with that. we have this deal. i think that the outcome of this deal is that now we have the monetarying process. with the international agency forming the situation, and i think it's better than nothing, okay? why? because if we stop with this, if
we just stop with the nuclear agreement, so we will enter into a situation very similar to the korean -- north korean situation before what happened this summer. so i think it would be a big mistake. now this deal has to be completed, and probably i will try to convince president trump that the best way to address his concerns regarding iran is to work in that direction. first, we have to work in order to have a monitoring process on ballistic missiles and ballistic activity of iran. that's a concern. that's a concern for the whole region. we have to work on it and we need a new agreement. and we can work on sanctions and agreements on the ballistic side. second, we have to complete the 2015 nuclear agreement with iran for the post 2025. because this agreement just
covers until 2025 situation. >> so ian, the point is, why would the north koreans agree to a diplomatic solution with the united states if there's this risk that it gets torn up like the iranians? some have speculated that this speech at the u.n. by the president will only force the north koreans to step up the development of their nuclear and missile program. is that a view shared in the region? >> heersre's the thing. north korea has said that their nuclear and missile program is designed to protect the regime and protect them against the united states, who they see as a threat. and they look at countries like iraq under saddam hussein and libya under gadhafi, those countries, those leaders ousted by the united states, gave up their weapons of mass destruction. so they look at iran. iran came to the negotiating table. they negotiated with the united
states, the other members of the u.n. security council, and germany, to come up with this deal. and if the united states backs out of this deal without any reason, strong concrete reason and if other countries stick with this deal, then it brings into question the word of the united states and their credibility. so the north koreans will point oh that as well as reasons they don't want to go to the negotiating table with the americans, because they'll say they can't be trusted. so the north koreans yesterday were watching that part of the speech also very closely to see if the americans will stick to a deal they already signed to. >> peter, just one thing that the democrat senator barbara feinstein said. she was one of many people critical of this address by the president. the goals of the united nations are to foster peace and promote global cooperation. the president used it as a stage to threaten war. it seems that the world was waiting for u.s. president
donald trump to turn up on that stage, but they got candidate donald trump from last year's campaign. this is very much about it was for the base. >> it was. it's unfortunate, because this is a golden opportunity for donald trump to be a states person, to actually reduce the tensions by offering something to the world and to north korea saying we're willing to work with this and to redouuce tensis and prevent any car. he didn't do it. he took that attitude, campaigning again, appealing to his america first gbase, which s out of whack with what the world feels. golden opportunity missed. intentionally. >> it's almost as if steve bannon wrote the speech. peter, thank you for being with us. ian, thanks to you, as well. and with that, we'll take a quick break.
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11:53 here in los angeles. officials in mexico have revised the death toll, lowering it to 216 after that powerful 7.1 magnitude quake. in the meantime, rescue efforts continue at this hour. dozens of buildings in mexico city and surrounding states have collapsed. nearly 5 million homes and businesses are without electricity. other breaking news. hurricane maria is barreling through the caribbean on a path for a direct hit with puerto rico. right now, though, the virgin islands have been bearing the brunt of this category 5 storm. heavy rain and sustained winds of about 165 miles, 265 kilometers per hour. meteorologist pedram javaheri back with us now for the latest on maria's track. before we finish this hour, pedram, bring us up to date. >> the storm system has not weakened much in the past several days and we're talking about still sitting at a healthy category 5. it is skirting just south of st. croix into the virgin islands. that is one element of good news. when you look at the radar imagery here, you see the eyewall just push south of st. croix region. but of course this puts it on a
beeline right toward eastern puerto rico. and just some background on puerto rico. when you bring a category 5 ashore, we know the country -- the island in the midst of a severe recession. some $70 billion in debt. it is poorer than the poorest u.s. states. when you look at the numbers across this region. that is according to the u.s. census bureau. and of course you bring a storm of this magnitude, category 5 across this region, widespread power outages going to be expected across this region for almost the entire four-plus million population across the islands at that magnitude. notice rainfall amounts. another element of this storm that is going to be catastrophic on top of of course having complete devastation on the ground would be on the order of 10 to 15 inches. some areas nearly 20 inches of rainfall in the higher elevations. the track takes it in across the most densely populated corner of the island there for about 2/3 of the island's population there living on the eastern half of the island and san juan of course being the most populated region. we're expecting this to cross either as a strong category 4 or potentially a category 5 right over san juan and then beyond
that heads in toward the turks and caicos. so this is certainly a story that's going to be evolving the next couple of days with significant ramifications for puerto rico. >> category 4, category 5 seems a distinction without a difference right now. pedram, thank you. appreciate it. you've been watching "cnn newsroom" live from los angeles. i'm john vause. the news continues with rosemary church after a short break. [ engines revving ] when you drop a 603-horsepower v8 biturbo engine into one of mercedes-benz's finest luxury sedans, what do you get? [ engine stalls ] you get the (bleep) out of the way. 0-to-60 in 3.3 seconds. the mercedes-amg e63 s sedan.
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. hello and welcome to our viewers here in the united states and of course all around the world. i'm rosemary church. we are following two major natural disasters right now. another powerful hurricane churning through the caribbean and a deadly earthquake in mexico. at least 216 people are dead