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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  August 21, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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abc 7 news at 5:00. we will see you back here in just 30 minutes. breaking news as we come on the air. hurricane henri picking up speed heading towards the northeast. new york and connecticut declaring states of emergency. hurricane and tropical storm warnings in effect from new jersey to massachusetts. the category 1 hurricane with winds up to 75 miles per hour set to make landfall on long island on sunday. voluntary evacuations under way in some areas. beaches closed to swimmers. businesses shutting down. people boarding ferries ahead of the storm. warnings tonight about possible power outages and a life-threatening storm surge. rob marciano with the timing and the track. deadly chaos in kabul. at least seven people killed, crushed in the crowd of people trying to flee. 3,800 airlifted out in the last 24 hours.
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the pentagon reporting 17,000 people evacuated in the last week. the u.s. embassy in kabul warning americans to avoid the airport until instructed because of potential threats. the president canceling his trip to wilmington, remaining at the white house. and tonight, the exclusive interview -- martha raddatz one-on-one with defense secretary lloyd austin. back here at home, news tonight about the pandemic. the u.s. averaging about 132,000 new cases per day. six states in the south with icus at or near capacity. pediatric hospital admissions at their highest point in the pandemic amid the heated battle over school mask mandates. vaccinations topping 1 million doses for a third straight day. and tonight, thousands of vaccinated people turning out for a massive concert celebrating new york's comeback. the possible new twist in the mystery deaths involving a family of three found dead while hiking in california. what authorities are now saying. an alarming story out of
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texas. a man shot dead yesterday while driving. his young children taking control of the vehicle. the latest on the investigation. and images coming in tonight of two toxic fires forcing evacuations in the u.s. good evening. thanks for joining us on a busy saturday night. i'm whit johnson. several major stories we're following right now. we have late word of deadly chaos in kabul. several people killed in a crush outside of the airport gates, and a new warning for americans still in afghanistan. but we begin right here at home and the urgent preparations under way for hurricane henri. the category 1 storm rapidly bearing down on the east coast, with winds up with 75 miles per hour, 55 million people now on alert. parts of new york and connecticut could take direct hits. their governors today declaring states of emergency.
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coastal residents urged to leave. these images from fire island, new york, people trying to protect their property, boarding up. many store shelves now empty. the fast-moving storm giving residents little time to prepare. president biden holding a call just hours ago with governors. the northeast not used to storm of this magnitude. rob marciano is standing by with the timing and track in just a moment, but we start with abc's trevor ault leading us off from montauk, new york. >> reporter: tonight, 55 million people bracing for impact as hurricane henri takes aim. states of emergency declared in parts of the northeast, including connecticut and new york. residents stocking up on sandbags, gas, and essential supplies. >> i hope people take this very seriously. >> reporter: voluntary evacuation orders issued on fire island. visitors there fleeing on ferries. >> think back to superstorm sandy and what areas got flooded and what homes were damaged, and
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i would use that in these areas as a predictor of what could happen. >> reporter: 500 new york national guard members deploying, and fema preparations under way. >> we have moved equipment in. we've moved resources in. we've talked to our state partners about what their preparedness levels are. >> reporter: and new england expecting to be hit hard. boaters in massachusetts pulling their boats from marinas. officials warning of destructive winds, flooding rain, and widespread power outages. >> get yourself a little extra gasoline. make sure you have your phones all charged. make sure you have three, four, five days' worth of food. >> trying to get residents prepared. trevor ault joins us on the east end of new york's long island. one of the places that could get a direct hit. trevor, how are officials there on the ground preparing for the storm right now? >> reporter: they've announced plans to shut down ferry services and even some trains as the storm approaches. they want to help everyone who's choosing to evacuate through the rest of the night, but after
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that, everybody who's still here needs to find shelter and stay put. whit? >> we can see that surf picking up there. trevor, thank you. let's get to abc's senior meteorologist rob marciano in connecticut. rob, time this out for us as the storm approaches. rain will actually hit new e - jersey overnight tonight, and the wind and rain will arrive in long island by sunrise tomorrow, and shortly after that, full force here on the connecticut coastline. right now at about 340 miles to our south, strengthened to a category 1 storm and accelerating north over 10 miles an hour. it's not perfect, but growing in size. we expect landfall early tomorrow afternoon at or near hurricane strength and driving in through new england. here's our computer model. you see the rain in new jersey. that comes in tonight. rain bands come into long island, connecticut, and newport, where winds could gust easily over 75 miles per hour. heavy rain to our west. storm surge five feet as well, damaging winds. flash flooding across seven
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states. could see four to eight inches o rainfall. with saturated ground and wind, trees will come down. and i think we'll see widespread power outages with this storm. whit? >> rob, thank you. we'll check back and get another update later in this broadcast. thanks. we move on to afghanistan and the new warning for americans to avoid the airport unless they receive specific instruction to make their way there. this as we're seeing disturbing images from outside the airport gates. several people killed in the chaos. american and british troops amid the crush of people offering water and assistance. our own martha raddatz pressing defense secretary lloyd austin on american operations there. tens of thousands still desperate to get out of the country. flights resuming today under heavy security. u.s. officials saying 3,800 evacuees removed in afghanistan in 24 hours. 17,000 in the last week. here's abc's julia macfarlane with the fast-moving developments. >> reporter: tonight, chaos in kabul. scenes outside the airport reaching breaking point.
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the uk ministry of defense confirming that seven afghan civilians were killed today in the crowds. heartbreaking images showing bodies covered in white tarps. soldiers struggling to keep the terrified crowds calm and hydrated in the brutal heat. [ crying ] >> reporter: desperation growing as thousands more arrive each day. nato troops trying to keep the airport secure. >> stay there! stay there! >> reporter: the u.s. embassy warning u.s. citizens not to make the hazardous journey to kabul airport unless they have individual instructions from a u.s. government representative. on thursday, three u.s. chinook helicopters airlifting americans directly from a nearby hotel to the airport after a large crowd prevented them from walking there. president biden telling abc news this week, there was anything between 10,000 and 15,000 u.s. citizens in afghanistan. today, the pentagon says 2,500 u.s. citizens have been evacuated so far. and despite the administration
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insisting it is ramping up efforts for evacuation, approximately 3,800 people in total were airlifted out today, far fewer than the 5,700 the previous 24 hours. accounting for the delay, the joint u.s. air base in doha reaching max capacity. the base unable to accept any more afghans. earlier today, our martha raddatz speaking exclusively to secretary of defense lloyd austin. >> why aren't american troops able to go out into kabul and help those americans, help those afghans who helped americans, get to the airport? >> we have been out. you saw evidence of an operation the other day where we flew a couple of helicopters over to -- that was a very short distance. >> about a thousand yards, right? >> yeah, but certainly it helped 169 american citizens get into the gate without issues. >> but further out into kabul,
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there are people desperate to get in there, with the most capable military in the world. >> we are, and that most capable military in the world is going to make sure that that airfield remains secure and safe. we're going to look at every way, every means possible to get american citizens, third-country nationals, special immigrant visa applicants into the airfield. >> reporter: and tonight, an extraordinary story of goodwill emerging. groups of u.s. veterans around the world coordinating with contacts on the ground to assist and rescue afghans who have served the u.s. >> we couldn't stand by and just watch people we know fall to a very, very certain fate. >> reporter: russell worth parker is a former marine and part of task force dunkirk. having done multiple tours of duty in afghanistan and iraq, worth parker says he is duty-bound to help. >> i don't know that i could live with myself if i didn't do something to just get one more
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afghan out. and after we get him or her out, we want to get just one more. >> that former marine and others going above and beyond there. julia macfarlane joins us now. julia, with that air base in qatar reaching max capacity, you're learning the biden administration is now exploring other options to fly out evacuees? >> reporter: right, whit. the white house, they're still finalizing agreements with countries even just to land the planes full of evacuees. and tonight, u.s. airlines have now been put on notice that the civil reserve air fleet could be activated, meaning commercial airlines could be compelled to assist evacuation efforts. the planes won't be flying into kabul, but to air bases around the world where evacuees are being taken. whit? >> still a massive task ahead. julia macfarlane, thank you. meantime in washington, president biden with a last-minute change of plans, staying at the white house, canceling his weekend trip to his home in delaware. the president meeting with his national security team. the administration under fire
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as events continue to unfold. abc's maryalice parks is at the white house tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the west wing scrambling. president biden canceling plans to go home to wilmington, meeting with his national security team at the white house on the quote, massive logistical operation to evacuate americans and afghan partners. frustration and desperation mounting in washington. the pentagon today emphasizing evacuation flights have resumed. but trying to cut through the confusion over that embassy security alert warning americans to avoid the airport unless instructed. >> if you're an american and you're at a gate, you will be let in that gate. the state department's doing the best job they can to advise americans who still haven't made it to the airport. >> reporter: chaos and danger on the ground increasing calls for u.s. forces to conduct special operations to extract those trapped. the administration saying all
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options are on the table but careful not to make promises with any troop movement outside the airport extremely dangerous. >> i just want to stress that the military mission that we are executing now is a noncombatant evacuation operation. >> reporter: lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanding answers. working hard now, too, to try to contact those in need. minority leader mitch mcconnell saying the situation was avoidable -- our retreat has laid ground work for a massive humanitarian crisis under taliban rule and a global terrorist resurgence under al qaeda leadership. and whit, it's not just republicans. we have heard criticism from some leaders in the uk and europe, too, and i'm hearing that the sense of chaos and lack of coordination has just shocked some administration officials and employees here in washington. whit? >> maryalice, thank you. be sure to watch "this week" tomorrow morning. martha raddatz will have more of her exclusive interview with defense secretary lloyd austin about the ongoing evacuation
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effort in afghanistan. now to the pandemic and the worsening crisis in hospitals in some parts of the country. several southern states with icus at or near capacity. and growing concern about children. pediatric admissions at their highest point since the start of the pandemic, a nearly 450% increase since july. this as vaccinations are picking up once again. the u.s. recording three days straight of 1 million plus shots in arms. more than 70% of those 12 and older with at least one dose, and 60% now fully vaccinated. abc's elwyn lopez reporting tonight from atlanta. >> reporter: tonight, the number of children landing in hospitals across the u.s. sick with covid-19 soaring to its highest point in the pandemic. pediatric admissions up nearly 450% since july 4th. in tulsa, oklahoma, 3-year-old aurora struggling to breathe. clutching her plush unicorn. her mother, a vaccinated e.r.
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nurse, says she caught covid at work, then spread it to the toddler. >> i know how things can turn out in this kind of situation. i've seen it happen. so there's the guilt and there's the fear. >> reporter: tonight, aurora's health improving. casesd driven by the delta variant straining hospitals across the south. mississippi with one of the nation's lowest vaccination rates, now leading the country in new covid infections. the state opening two field hospitals within just days of each other. >> we're still early in the delta surge and we're a little bit at the front edge of it, so we might be seeing things before it's realized across the rest of the country. >> reporter: the state now ordering those diagnosed with the virus to isolate immediately, even if they are fully vaccinated, or face up to a $5,000 fine and possible jail time. icus in six states at over 90% capacity. and across the country, health officials in portland, oregon, also sounding the alarm after a patient died in one hospital's
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e.r. while waiting for an icu bed. >> we're so full that we can't accept other patients that need care, and it's really alarming to think about if something did happen, that our icu wouldn't be able to accept anyone else because we are so full of covid. >> reporter: tonight marking the third consecutive day of more than 1 million vaccine doses reported administered in over two months. new york city, once the epicenter of the pandemic, now roaring back. welcoming tens of thousands of people to its outdoor homecoming concert. those in attendance must show proof of vaccination if eligible or a negative covid test. this as the pace of vaccinations is expected to ramp up. "the new york times" now reporting the fda is working to get full approval for the pfizer vaccine, possibly by next week. >> many think that could make a difference in getting more people vaccinated. elwyn lopez joining us from atlanta where a number of hospitals are nearing capacity. there's also news from the cdc for travelers considering taking a cruise?
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>> reporter: that's right. the cdc is warning older adults and pregnant women and others at high risk of severe complications from covid-19 to avoid cruises even if fully vaccinated. the cdc saying that the risk of getting covid-19 on those ships is high. whit? >> elwyn, thank you. now to the tragic mystery in california. the bodies of a family of three and their dog found near yosemite national park. officials searching for answers, with autopsies revealing few clues as to how they died. here's zohreen shah. >> reporter: tonight, the growing mystery of how this family suddenly died along the sierra national forest hiking trail. authorities say a family friend reported ellen chung, her husband john, and their 1-year-old baby girl missing after they didn't return from a hike. >> we have a healthy family, including their canine, you know, deceased, and so we're looking for answers. >> reporter: they say one possibility is toxic algae blooms. officials telling us the trail
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they were on had a sierra national forest warning poster to stay away because of the toxic bacteria. the epa saying warmer weather due to climate change might make harmful algae more dangerous. >> in many water bodies around the country, not just in california, we're reaching a tipping point. >> reporter: investigators say another possibility, carbon monoxide poisoning from nearby old mines. >> i've never seen an incident like this where there's zero explanation. >> reporter: the sheriff's department says there was no visible trauma. they hope toxicology tests reveal answers. whit? >> zohreen shah, thanks to you tonight. there's much more ahead on "world news tonight" this saturday. the deadly freeway shooting in houston. a father shot and killed while driving. his young children grabbing hold of the wheel. the latest on the search for the gunman. and news about two toxic fires burning in the u.s. and forcing evacuations. stay with us. now, we all know progressive offers 24/7 protection, but we also bundle outdoor vehicles
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next tonight, an alarming story out of texas. a man shot dead yesterday while driving on a houston freeway. his two boys, 6 and 8, taking control of the suv, safely steering it off the road and stopping before running for help. authorities tonight searching for the shooter. no word on a possible motive. two toxic fires raging in the u.s. tonight. crews battling flames at a cold storage facility in pierce county, washington. police evacuating anyone within a mile of the site. authorities warning about possible explosions and air quality. and in hockley, texas, a fire overwhelming a recycling plant there. residents within a half mile of the site evacuated. when we come back, remembering a country music legend. to be a thriver with metastatic breast cancer means... grabbing a hold of what matters. asking for what we want. and need. and we need more time. so, we want kisqali. living longer is possible and proven with kisqali when taken with fulvestrant or a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor in hr+,
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now to the "index." moving vans rolling into albany before outgoing new york governor andrew cuomo's last day on monday. workers seen hauling away boxes and art. lieutenant governor kathy hochul to become the first female governor of new york on tuesday. a passing to note tonight. country music legend tom t. hall has died. the singer/songwriter best known for songs including "harper valley pta". he also sang about life's simple joys. tom t. hall was 85. when we come back here, hurricane warnings in the northeast. rob is back with the track. ♪ ♪
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finally tonight, let's go back to rob marciano with the latest on hurricane henri and when it's expected to make landfall. rob. >> reporter: whit, henri is really starting to pick up speed. as it heads north, we expect landfall early tomorrow afternoon and driving into new england potentially as a category 1 hurricane. we're on long island sound, which doesn't have big waves but we are susceptible to surge. significant surge in some cases, three to five feet. surge along new jersey as well. but up to five feet all the way around nantucket, and we're talking about astronomical high tides as well. significant coastal flooding. we've got hurricane and tropical storm warnings across a highly populated area. that means to you need to rush completions for the storm tonight, and everyone should be prepared for power outages. whit? >> i know you'll be tracking it all on "gma" in the morning. i'll see you then. thank you so much. we appreciate it. and linsey davis will be right back here tomorrow night. have a great night.
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anchor: next rolling up their sleeves again. the new push in the bay area to get those who are most vulnerable a kobe booster shot. american stuck in afghanistan, the rest to get them safely out of the country and date mystery in mariposa county, a family and their dog found dead on their trail, no signs of foul play. when investigators are looking into as the cause. >> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions. >> i am responsible for other people around that i do not want to endanger them. anchor: a big line today as third charts officially became available in one bay area community. good evening and thank you f