tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN August 29, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
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and welcome, everyone, to "cnn newsroom." appreciate your company. i'm michael holmes. it is a frightening night along the gulf coast of the united states. we're hours away from daylight and a better view of the destruction that hurricane ida has left behind. the storm made landfall as a powerful category 4 in louisiana sunday. the 16th anniversary of the devastating hurricane katrina. local officials predict ida's
damage could be even worse. at least one person has been killed by a falling tree, but of course it is dark and people have no way of finding out what is going on in the dark. the wind at times reaching 150 miles app hour. ripping off as you saw there the roof of a clinic. this is in larose in louisiana. the fierce winds tearing a billboard apart. this was in new orleans. people in some areas reporting flood waters reaching up to their chest in their homes and pleading for rescue. electricity eventually went out for the entire city of new orleans. more than a million customers without power now in louisiana and mississippi. >> the entirety of orleans parish went out. there's still isolated places with generators and the turbines are still working to operate the pumps. but the entire parish of orleans went out in terms of the power that's being provided there.
>> now, tracking this dangerous hurricane for us is meet'll rollogist pedram jaf h.e.r.ry. pedram, give us a sense of how this unfolded. the thing is it was so strong but also so slow moving. >> that's right. very little weakening too. since its initial landfall upwards of almost 12 hours ago speaks to the ferocity of the storm system, michael, when it came ashore. looking at this, looking at daya and we don't have data for hurricanes type the overnight hours but for tornadoes we know they're about twice as likely to be fatal in the overnight hours as when they occur during the daytime hours. with this particular storm still seeing sustained winds near the center of it as it moves across northern portions of the state of louisiana at this hour. essentially if you're in the path of it it is going to feel much the same as a fornd coming through with those winds sustained at over 100 miles per hour. that's the danger of this. we know how dangerous the flooding as peblth of it is. but put this on the ground into
the overnight hours certainly very little sleep going to be had across a lot of areas into the southern united states here as the system moves northward and we know it's already dark, it's already hot outside in some of these areas, so with upwards of almost a million customers without power it's going to make things that much more difficult and challenging as well. and of course a million customers, not a million people. generally three to four people per customer. you're talking as much as 4 million people sitting in the dark across the state of louisiana. but here we go. peak wind speeds as michael noted up to 150 miles per hour. at landfall with the storm system an incredible storm that comes in now tying last year's hurricane laura as the state's strongest hurricane to make landfall for louisiana. and no other state in u.s. history has had back-to-back years where a hurricane has come ashore with 150 miles per hour until this happened for the state of louisiana. of course today. and then a year ago with laura. but we look at the damage. and typically when you look at scales of hurricanes, michael, people often think it's a linear increase in damage impacts felt when you go, say, from a 1 to a
2. well, it's actually a log rhythmic increase. about a 10 x damage increase. that increase now 250 times higher than a category 1 at the point of landfall, michael. >> all right. pedram javaheri, a good point on the people without power too. that is just customers. thanks, pedram. we'll check in with you a bit later. cnn's darryl forges is live from the baon rouge, louisiana. tell us what you see, what's going on now. >> reporter: well, the conditions continue to deteriorate here in baton rouge, louisiana. but it's nothing compared to what we're seeing in new orleans as the storm continues to churn slowly but surely toward the north, losing storm as a category 2 storm but still some very scary wind speeds and heavy rain. we do now know, michael, that the osner health system in new orleans is evacuating some of their patients because of the issues with some of their buildings because of hurricane ida. we also know now that one person
has died because of this hurricane in a parish in between baton rouge and new orleans. and also, get this, people have been calling 911 hoping that first responders would get to them but we all know the first responders are not responding, being dispatched to calls right now because the conditions are just not safe at this point. and now, michael, many are actually second-guessing their decision whether or not to stay. >> i wish i would have evacuated. i kid you not. it's not worth it. it's not worth it. >> reporter: hurricane ida making landfall near port fourchon, louisiana just sigh of a category 4 storm. and with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour at landfall ida a stronger hurricane than katrina, which def state the state 16 years ago sunday. >> when you have mother nature throw at you a storm this strong with the surge, the wind, the rain that we're talking about with hurricane ida, there's going to be devastating impacts. >> reporter: the storm slowing down but increasing the flooding potential.
calls for residents needing help streaming into emergency centers as night falls. >> the water is rising. people are in their homes and we're getting reports of people with water up to their chest. they're asking to be rescued. so very, very dire situation and we just can't get out yet. >> reporter: louisiana's coastal parishes now pummeled for hours by ida. the size of the storm's devastating force felt across the state. homes and businesses throughout the state without power. new orleans losing power sunday night. the only electricity coming from generators. president joe biden pledging federal assistance to help get the gulf region back on its feet. >> to the people of the gulf coast i want you to know that we're praying for the best and planning, prepared for the worst. >> reporter: and michael, close to a million customers in the state of louisiana losing power and also more people in the state of mississippi also losing power as well, michael. and get this. i've been reading tweets for the past couple hours now from
laplace, louisiana. people are trying to get in contact with their loved ones after reports that some people are trapped in their attics because of how high the water is in laplace, louisiana. one woman tweeting out saying, "we lost contact with my aunt in laplace, louisiana. the last thing she told my dad was the water is getting high fast. she's alone with two small dogs." and again, 911 cannot be dispatched to these areas, michael because it is just unsafe. the conditions are not ideal for those to respond. but governor john bel says as soon as the conditions are okay they will be out to those places as soon as they possibly can. michael? >> yes, some harrowing stories starting to emerge. darryl forges, thanks so much, appreciate it. all right. let's bring in retired lieutenant general russell honore in batton rung. he's best known for coordinating military relief efforts after hurricane katrina. sir, thanks for being with us.
what is your read on the impact of ida from what we know and how has it differed from katrina, which you were so involved with? >> well, this storm didn't have the circumference. katrina was bigger and moved faster once it got to landfall, moving at 12 miles an hour. this storm was fast at sea, then got to landfall and then went down to 4 to 5 miles an hour in terms of forward movement. the fact that it was smaller and packed more wind and state longer at a category 2 and category 3 than katrina did, which caused a lot of damage going up from the coast, from houma up toward new orleans and through jefferson parish, i think that is where we're going to see a lot of the damage, wind damage. and it just about liberated the power grid as the major supply
lines of communications from the power grid is now destroyed. a lot of the big heavy power lines that come into the city are down. we won't know until the morning but the initial reports we hear coming in on the radio and social media, that the energy grid took a major hit from the wind. which has impacted pumping the water from the sewer system as well as pumping the water out of the city. it's always could have been a lot worse. the city did not flood as it did during katrina when the levees broke where 80% of the city was underwater. that's good. but this power grid being down, us being in the covid situation is going to make it a lot harder to get the recovery, the search and rescue done. >> we've been hearing a lot of harrowing stories of people, you know, in flooded areas already. you have unique experience in answering this question. what do you see so far from what
you know will be the immediate needs as the storm passes through? what do you fear daylight will reveal? >> well, to do level 1 search, which means you have to go to every house now in that area that flooded to make sure if there's anybody there or if they need help. with the power grid being down you've got to assume that somebody in every house and you need to go check them to make sure there's no one stuck in the house that need help. so the first search is a knock on the door. so all those homes are going to have to be searched in that area where it's believed to have been flooded. that will have to be done initially. then you've got to wait till the wind cooperate so you can get in and clear the roads to do that. so tomorrow's going to be a hard day. but our parish officials and our state folks trained on this quite often, we've had a lot of practice, but it's still going to be very hard tomorrow with so many trees that are down that's going to disrupt the road
system. and until the winds go down where they can get the helicopters up. >> the prepositioning of assets, and you're a military man, is vital in a situation like this to ensure quick response in the daylight hours once the storm has moved on. what sorts of assets are we talking about? what would be the priority actions when it comes to the authorities? >> well, the fact we've got issues with electricity, that means we have problems with water. and while we can live without our cell phones a little while, we can't live too long without water. so getting a sufficient amount of water distributed in the city, drinking water for people to consume, could be a problem. let alone a problem with the sewer system and the pumps to pump the water out. we'll still be taking rain tomorrow on the back side of this storm. so that's going to be a continuing issue. that'll be a big challenge to do
the search and rescue and find people who need to be evacuated. and then where do we take them? because all of of our shelters now will only hold about 25% of their capacity because of covid rules because so many people in our state did not take the covid shot. so we've got a compounding problems here on our hands right now to get sorted out in the morning. >> i understand. it's been a long day for you and many people there in louisiana. lieutenant general russel honore, thanks so much. >> good evening. >> now, we've been following this breaking news out of kabul, where a u.s. official tells cnn as many as five rockets were fired at the airport. we're told a defense system engaged with the rockets. there have been no reports of any casualties or significant damage. but this comes one day after the u.s. said an airstrike took out what they called an imminent threat to the kabul airport. the video you're seeing there from social media showing people
gathered at the aftermath of sunday's airstrike. a u.s. official says the vehicle targeted contained at least one, perhaps more suicide bombers. but the u.s. military says secondary explosions from the vehicle may also have caused civilian casualties and a number of civilian casualties were reported by locals. cnn's anna coren following developments for us from hong kong. so tell us more about the strike, what more we know about it and at this late point, you know, what's going on with these rocket attacks as well. what are you hearing? >> well, michael, i think we can expect more of these attacks in the coming hours. about five rockets were fired shortly after 6:30 a.m. in kabul, local time. this is several hours ago. now from a vehicle aimed towards hamid karzai international airport, which is obviously where those u.s. forces are still located.
now, the c-ram, which is a counterrocket artillery and mortar system, this defensive shield if you like, it was activated. it's automated. and it returned fire. it takes out those mortars, artilleries, rockets and before they hit the target and clearly were effective. but as i say, michael, this is something that we can expect in the coming hours as the u.s. forces will pull out by the 31st of august. that is tomorrow. will they fly out tonight? will they leave it to it tomorrow? we don't have those details. but we do know that they are no longer evacuating any more afghans. we believe there are about 250 u.s. citizens who they are still trying to get out. some are remaining at the airport waiting to board those last few flights. there are about 280 u.s. citizens who are remaining to stay in afghanistan. i think it's also important to
note, michael, that the united states says it's received assurances from the taliban as have 97 other countries around the world that the taliban will allow afghans with visas to those countries to leave once u.s. forces depart. can we trust the taliban? i guess time will only tell. certainly they haven't been able to be trusted in the past. but we know the united states is working with the taliban in these final days. to get those u.s. forces out, michael. >> yeah. well, we'll see if they're true to their word. as you point out, that often is not the case. anna coren, appreciate it. thanks so much. well, hurricane ida is making its way across louisiana, leaving devastation in its wake. we'll talk to one expert about how this powerful storm compares to other recent hurricanes. that's when we come back. ♪
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category 1 storm down from category 2. but it is still battering the state with powerful winds, catastrophic storm surges and flash flooding as it continues to churn its way inland. now, ida's grip on louisiana continues well into the night, knocking out power to large areas, making conditions too dangerous for rescue crews. louisiana's governor says the emergency teams will be deployed as soon as conditions allow. here's the governor speaking with my colleague, pamela brown, just a short time ago. >> we're up to getting close to 800,000 outages. not unexpected when you have winds that come in at 150 miles per hour. so this storm as you mentioned is everything that was advertised in terms of the wind, in terms of the storm surge, and quite frankly the rain that's falling as well. so this is a very devastating storm. >> yeah.
in fact, last hour i spoke with the president of jefferson pairish and she told me that people are reporting water up to their chest inside their homes. what is your reaction to that? >> yeah, well, it's a very serious event. the good news is you're looking for good news where you can find it. our levee systems are holding up remarkably well. the hurricane risk reduction system that provides protection to the most populated portions of orleans and jefferson parish on both sides of the river, it is held up. there's not been any overtopping. most of the levees south in labusch np terrabonne parishes have held up very well. you mentioned plaquemine's parish on the east bank. that area around braithwaite, that happens quite frequently with storms. so that one was not unexpected. and that had been under a mandatory evacuation order since thursday. but this is a very serious
storm. i'm not sure where the president was referring to in terms of the house with water up to someone's chest, but i'll try to call -- i'll try to call her and figure that out after i get out of this program. >> on that note what about rescue operations? you have residents calling in. what's going on on that front? >> well, quite frankly, when you are at the height of a hurricane you can't get first responders out because it's just simply too dangerous. the wind speeds don't allow for that. and the other hazards associated with the hurricane. but just as soon as we possibly can we will be engaged in very robust search and rescue operations. you know, the entire national guard is activated. we've got search and rescue assess staged across 14 parishes just with the national guard. 195 high water vehicles, 73 boats. we've got 34 helicopters ready to fly in the morning.
but our urban search and rescue, we've got over 900 additional people there with 21 teams that actually are comprised of teams coming from 15 different states. so just as soon as the weather will allow we're going to get out and do search and rescue but this is why we tell people that they need to be prepared to ride out the storm and be able to make it for the first 72 hours if at all possible just to make sure they can do that while we engage in our search and rescue. and of course we're very optimistic that no one's going to have to wait 72 hours for someone to respond to the call. but we won't know more about the situation really, at least not as much as we want to know, until tomorrow morning when the sun comes up. >> hurricane ida hitting louisiana before the state of course has fully recovered from its last hurricane encounter. why these extreme weather events
a frightening look here at just how quickly hurricane ida inundated parts of louisiana. this is security footage from st. bernard parish capturing the storm surge that occurred in just one hour. you can see the water just rising up there. it's an incredible amount of water in that period of time. there's another example of it. right now the power is out. the water rising in much of southern louisiana as hurricane
ida churns deeper into the state. now a category 1 storm. some good news there. it slammed ashore sunday as a category 4 and proving to be every bit as devastating as feared. going to show you some images now. they show the eye of the storm as it hit port fourchon. the first death from this storm has been reported. this was near baton rouge. amit hurricane force winds, heavy rain and flash flooding. more than 1 million customers statewide are without power. that could mean three or even four million people. and people in jefferson parish say the water in their homes is up to their chests. here's some of what the sheriff of la forge parish told cnn. >> we're still getting a lot of wind gusts and we still are not able to be able to respond to any calls for service. even if we would want to every road is impassable. during the brief reprieve of the eye i was able to travel a couple of miles.
i had to zig-zag through downed power lines and trees and debris and roofs and there's no way at night with the parish completely dark that we could get on the highway and safely respond. >> ida officially ties for the strongest storm ever to make landfall in louisiana. meteorologist pedram javaheri is back with me now. it's just been extraordinary to see how slow this moved and how it held together so far after it crossed the coast. >> yeah. that is what's most impressive to me, michael. and you know, when you think about these storms often in the caribbean, for example, across the island of hispaniola tropical systems come ashore and within just a matter of a couple of hours they look like a shell of their former selves. the mountains, the landscape break these systems apart, weaken them rather significantly and quickly. when it comes to this storm system, as impressive as it gets, 12 hours later after landfall and mainly because the southern coast there of louisiana along the bayous, the
waterways into this region, the marshland, all of it, as conducive as it gets for what is known as the brown ocean effect. it's a phenomenon here where the system makes landfall but is able to maintain intensity over land because of that worm moist environment and of course the waterways across this region and the bayous certainly help with these tropical systems maintain that intensity. but i've never seen one go from a strong category 4 to still being a category 4 by 6:00 p.m. eastern tonight, which is more than five hours after landfall. so this storm certainly packed a punch and it still does as a strong category 1 based on the latest advisory coming in here. special statement there bringing that wind speed down to 95 miles per hour. now, with that said we do expect the systems to continue gradually weakening into the overnight hours but produce as much as eight to maybe ten inches of additional rainfall with those sustained winds near the center close to 100 miles per hour. yes, successive rainfall risk in place, excessive flooding already a concern and keep in mind louisiana and new orleans
itself the second wettest year on record prior to ida coming ashore they'd seep 62 inches of rainfall so far in 2021. and of course this system passes we expect it to push 2021 into the wettest year of all time for the city. an incredible amount of moisture already locked into the soil. that's why the flood warnings here are really populating this renal. the estimated rainfall that have come down in the 24-hour period, some areas estimated as much as 10 to 12 inches already on the ground in 12 hours. you do the math here we're talking one to two inches per hour in some spots continuing for a good part of, say, eight to twelve hours. it is going to be a very dangerous night across southern areas and central areas of louisiana. >> all right. thanks for your coverage on this, pedram. appreciate it. pedram javaheri there. now, hurricane ida made landfall in an area still recovering from two major hurricanes last year. joining me is a system professor of civil and economic efrnlgi ig
engineering at louisiana state university. comes to me now from baton rouge, louisiana. have to do it on the phone because of the storm. professor, five named storms in fact struck louisiana in 2020. what is the toll that these back-to-back storms have taken not just on the residents of the region but the infrastructure? >> on the infrastructure side we have had severe damage because of these hurricanes, especially the power infrastructure. we had parts of -- they lost power for several weeks. now in new orleans the transmission lines are down. so we expect the power to be out for a lot of time. so this not only has specific damage to the infrastructure but also it affects people and their livelihoods. that's the bigger part of the picture here is that the livelihoods are completely affected and it will take a while for people to get back their lives to normal at this point. >> i'm curious your thoughts. as weather patterns change do
you as an engineering expert believe we need to rethink longer term where we live, whether the rebuild costs aren't more long term than relocation costs? >> absolutely. i mean, just as a fact, you know, all locations in the united states have multiple hazards, one or more hazards. there's no place that does not have a hazard. so at this point we need to sit together and plan better and think about mitigation strategy so that we are covering our risks and managing our risks really well. and one of these strategies could be to take a step back and retreat. and that has to be considered based upon the resources available to the community and the priorities of the community. so definitely we need to rethink where we are, can we manage the risks at that spot and do we have the resources to do that. >> because i guess the costs, and we saw the costs after katrina, billions and billions
and billions of dollars. and the reality is with climate change we're just going to see more and more idas, aren't we? >> i mean, climate change i can certainly say the effect of these hurricanes is going to be worsened because for example sea level rise is going to increase because of climate change and that has severe consequences on the impacts of these hurricanes. not only that, we have barrier islands, we have marshes, we have buffer zones that are getting destroyed because of climbed change which otherwise would have reduced the impact of these hurricanes. so without them we are exposed way more than we would have been if not for climate change. so we are more exposed, more vulnerable than ever before. so these hurricanes are going to happen. they've happened in the past. they're going to happen in the future. but the impact is going to be much, much more worse because of climate change and we as engineers i definitely believe we need to consider these impacts as we design our future infrastructure. >> and you are a civil i will. civil and economic engineer. what would you in an ideal
world, what mitigation strategies would you say we need to be looking at in a place like louisiana? >> i think there are several mitigation strategies that we should think of. one as you mentioned earlier is to retreat. is it worth it? but sometimes it is not always feasible for multiple reasons. in that case we need to think about what is the most possible solution. resilience is a key concept that residents starting from 2001 have suggested. in that sense we have to stick together as a community. all the infrastructure partners, for example, transportation, electricity, water, everyone has to sit together on a table and discuss the potential outcomes and plan before the hurricanes even happen. right now we do this planning, the planning happens to some extent before as well but it is not holistic. it is not integrated. we need to sit together. we need to plan as a whole, as a unit so that we can manage these
hazards in a more resilient manner. >> these are really important issues going forward. the big picture with climate change, the costs of repair versus mitigation, this is a conversation the world needs to have. really appreciate you joining us today. >> thank you so much. a u.s. air base in germany now a temporary home for thousands of afghan evacuees hoping for a new life in the u.s. we'll take you inside the massive operation at ramstein air base when we come back.
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casualties or any appreciable damage. now, the airport of course was the site of that deadly attack on thursday. the bodies of 13 u.s. service members killed in that bombing returned to the u.s. on sunday. u.s. president joe biden traveling to dover air force base in delaware to pay his respects. this was his first time watching the return of fallen u.s. troops since becoming commander in chief. and with the evacuations in kabul in their final phase the u.s. military says it took out what they call an imminent threat to the airport on sunday. they acknowledge reports of civilian casualties in that strike and say they might have been caused by explosives in the vehicle that was hit, secondary explosions. sam kylee with more on that from doha. >> reporter: the pentagon has confirmed that it has conducted its second strike against isis-k in afghanistan, this one in the city of kabul.
it says against either a vehicle that was itself a bomb or suicide bombers or a bomber inside a vehicle. either way, they say it was intent on attacking kabul international airport, where evacuations of civilians has continued apace with 2,900 in the previous 24-hour reporting period. a lower number over the recent hours as the united states and its coalition partners continue their rapid drawdown of the whole operation based at kabul international airport. 1,000 british forces have been now withdrawn entirely, returned to the united kingdom. and there continues to be talk and negotiation involving turkey in particular and the taliban and other nations on the ground over the future of the airport and a commitment that has been made and repeatedly so to the international community by the taliban to allow the continued evacuation of people with the right paperwork either by land
or by air once the airport has been opened. so the strategic future of this airport remains unresolved at a time when it is at its most vulnerable in terms of the u.s. forces there withdrawing and the continued threat, an ongoing threat coming from isis-k. sam kiley, cnn, in doha. for thousands of afghan evacuees who have made it out, one of their first stops has been ramstein air base in germany. tens of thousands of evacuees have passed through the u.s. air base in the last few weeks. thousands of others are living in tents set up around the base waiting for the next step in their journey. attica schubert takes us inside. >> reporter: as we get into his car brigadier general joshua olson, commander of the 86th air wing grapples with the sheer number of new arrivals. >> this is now my family.
at least until they get off our air patch and we're able to put them somewhere else. but it's my family and i have to figure out how to protect them. >> reporter: more than 20,000 men, women and children have passed through here since august 20th. fleeing afghanistan after the taliban took over. that's more than double the population of the german municipality that holds the base. and so many children. olson says about 6,000, including at least three born on the base. something never encountered here before. >> we had airplanes stacked up and they're like we don't have enough diapers, we don't have enough -- and i'm like oh my gosh, who would have thought that, right? >> reporter: ramstein air base has always been a gateway for those in uniform, a place to heal for wounded service members, to prepare for what the military calls a dignified transfer for those who gave their lives. now olson wants the base to provide the warmest welcome it can. an army of civilian volunteer is also helping out sorting donations from the wider community. >> you know, it's the kid that
puts the ball back over. it's the kid that plays the ukulele. it's it the -- you know, when you get out of the way and we watch the pure humanity and love of people and the connection to little kids and kinder. >> reporter: but as we pass more and more tents it's clear the numbers coming in from kabul far outpace the number flying out and the strain is showing. >> did you think it would get this big? >> never. not even close. and i knew what we could build. and i knew we're like okay, when we thought it through. but the chaos and the mayhem of -- we were like we can get to ten right away and we've had that capability. but when we were at 10 there was 15 coming in and we're like that math doesn't work out so well. >> reporter: the delays are frustrating to all. olson says he wants to get this new family off to a fresh start as soon as possible. >> you think about our parents
and grandparents that got on a boat and came across and went to america for that and all the things that they sacrificed. you look at all the things. and we've forgotten that in a lot of ways. and the sacrifices not only for the last 20 years that the military has borne for a lot of these new afghan americans' freedom. >> reporter: that freedom will have to wait a few more days. until then olson says he's doing the best he can. atika shubert for cnn at ramstein air base in germany. hurricane ida losing strength now, but it will leave plenty of damage behind. coming up, the latest on the path the storm is taking. battery is even more powerful.r the stronger, lasts-longer energizer max. if you're 55 and up, t-mobile has plans built just for you
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welcome back. hurricane ida is slowly weakening as it turns northward over louisiana. but the flash flooding, the storm surge, damaging winds and widespread power outages are all still major concerns. it is now a category 1 storm but still has sustaines of 95 miles an hour. forecasters say the rainfall for the region could reach up to
24 inches in some areas, nearly two meters. tornadoes also a threat through monday on the gulf coast and into mississippi and also alabama. and we will have more updates on that for you next hour. and parts of the southern u.s. dealing with storms on two fronts. hurricane ida as we've been reporting but also skyrocketing covid cases. oxygen supplies running low in some of the worst-hit areas for covid, and the hurricane and hospitals can't keep up. the jump in covid cases has been credited to the unvaccinated as slightly more than 52% of people in the u.s. have gotten their shots. not so much in the south of the country, however. the rates are lower there. and with the full approval of the pfizer/biontech vaccine, many are calling now for vaccine mandates, especially in schools once children under 12 become eligible the same as vaccines are for other things like polio
and smallpox. a top u.s. disease expert agrees. here is dr. anthony fauci speaking to cnn's jake tapper. >> i believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea. and remember, jake, this is not something new. we have mandates in many places in schools, particularly public schools, that if in fact you want a child to come in, we've done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis. so this would not be something new, requiring vaccinations for children to come to school. >> now, a new report from the u.n.'s nuclear watchdog agency says north korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor which had been inactive for years. cnn's will ripley has reported extensively from inside north korea, joins me now from hong kong. so, will, what is the significance or potential significance of this?
>> reporter: well, michael, as if there's not enough else happening in the world, we now are talking once again about north korea expanding its nuclear arsenal. and the step that they have taken, according to the international atomic energy agency, is to restart their experimental reactor at the yongby i don't know nuclear site which had been inactive since december of 2018. that's the site that kim jong-un offered up to former president trump at that summit back in 2019, saying they would begin the process of dismantling that known nuclear reactor in exchange for sanctions relief and steps toward denuclearization. trump's team walked out of those talks. north korea resumed activity at their nuclear sites. they've actually been operating a radio chemical lab since early february in the same area as this nuclear reactor. but now the fact that they've restarted the reactor seems to be an indication that they're going to start producing more plutonium. more plutonium means more warheads. so obviously this is a
development that the iaea is calling a cause for serious concern, deeply troubling. i would say, michael, the fact that they're doing it deliberately, somewhat out in the open, shows that north korea wants the united states to see this. sources are telling us the north koreans are frustrated because they think that they are not high enough on the priority list of president biden's administration, which of course is dealing with the crisis in afghanistan, the stalled iran nuclear deal, not too much escalating conflict with china. north korea wants to be higher up on the list, and yet according to a source speaking to cnn, north korea has actually not responded to several emails sent by the biden administration saying that the emails were not specific enough, that the u.s. didn't list agenda items to try to move the conversation forward from the one deal that was signed between former president trump and kim in singapore. and so certainly a complex diplomatic web to untangle just adding to president biden's list, michael. >> all right.
will ripley. winds are still at 95 miles an hour, and this was a much more powerful hurricane, of course, category 4 when it made landfall near new orleans on sunday and continued to power on, holding its shape well inland. highly unusual and moving slowly, which created a lot of havoc. well over a million customers have lost power, including all of orleans parish. and storm surges, flash flooding, and tornadoes all concerns as it continues to move inland. thanks for spending part of your day with me. i'm michael holmes. you can follow me on twitter and instagram @ho@holmescnn.
a 4-week trial plus postage and a digital scale go to stamps.com/try and never go to the post office again welcome to our viewers here in the united states and all around the world. thanks for joining me. live from atlanta, i'm robyn curnow. at this hour, we're following breaking news out of louisiana. u.s. president joe biden has declared hurricane ida a major disaster and ordered federal aid to help with recovery efforts. and right now, this monster storm, though, is weakening after making landfall as one of the strongest storms to ever hit the state. but as the night progresses, the damage from the hurricane is becoming clearer. the levees have been