tv Stephanie Ruhle Reports MSNBC August 31, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PDT
[triumphantly yells] [ding] don't get mad. get e*trade and take charge of your finances today. hi there. i am stephanie ruhle. it is tuesday, august 31st. mark your calendars. this morning, we are covering two major stories. louisiana reeling from hurricane ida. at least four people we know of are dead. officials fear the number could rise. more than a million people still without power. this could last for weeks. thousands rescued from flood waters. entire communities cut off in the storm. rescue crews are working tirelessly as the governor tells
residents do not go home. also, this morning, history. for the first time in 7,268 days, americans wake up without the country at war in afghanistan. this photo capturing army general chris donahue, the last soldier to leave afghanistan. the last flight carrying military personnel, taking off one minute before midnight, kabul time, marking the official end to america's longest war. but this morning, more questions than answers about what exactly comes next. that's where we begin. we begin with the taliban back in power after we drove them out in 2001. we went there to find osama bin laden and take out al qaeda training camps, with former president george w. bush making this pledge to the american people. >> we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series
of challenges with determination and will and purpose. we did not ask for this miss. >> this morning, the taliban telling nbc news they took control of the kabul airport after u.s. forces burnt their arms and ammunitions. they celebrated with gunfire ringing out across the night sky. here's the thing. it is unclear what happens to all of the people we left behind. who are they, why are they there. since july, the united states evacuated a total of 123,000 people, quite a mission. including 6,000 americans. between 1 and 200 are still there, and the state department is trying to get them out. >> the new chapter of america's engagement with afghanistan has gun. it is one in which we will lead with diplomacy. the military mission is over. a new diplomatic mission has
begun. >> president biden set to speak about this later today. i want to go straight to mike memoli at the white house. raf sanchez on the ground, and lieutenant douglas is also with us. and courtney kube. she has worked 24, 7 the last few weeks. i want to say thank you. the last troops are officially gone. obviously no one in this administration or the military is bold enough to say something like mission accomplished. but despite a rocky start a few weeks ago, does the pentagon senior this a successful withdrawal? >> reporter: they do. what was a success was to evacuate as many americans and afghans as possible and get people from the embassy out and remaining troops. they consider that mission to
evacuate people a success. we heard of candid sentiment from the commander of u.s. central command when he said they wanted to take more people out, wanted to get more afghans out. even with an extra ten days or weeks, still probably wouldn't get every afghan out that they wanted to. he talked about how they're heartbroken over some things that occurred during the course of this evacuation mission, particularly the deadly attack last thursday that took the lives of 13 u.s. service members and dozens of afghan civilians. so overall, yes, they consider this a successful mission to evacuate but most americans, as many americans as they could, and to get u.s. embassy staff out safely, steph. >> heartbroken over what happened in the last two weeks, also heartbroken over what happened the last 20 years. raf, took us two decades to get to this point. on paper, it looks like we are
back to where we began. the taliban says they're new and improved. are afghans buying that? >> reporter: stephanie, a taliban official telling nbc afghanistan its independence. as far as they're concerned, they have outlasted, out fought a major global super power as they did a few decades ago with the soviet union and they are once again indisputably in control of afghanistan as they were in october, 2001. as you said, they claim they have changed. they say some of the most repressive measures of the old regime are a thing of the past. they say women and girls will be allowed to go to school and university. they say women will no longer be forced to wear the burka. is that going to be translated into reality on the ground, and to what extent are the words by
a new and shaky government of afghanistan trying to reassure the international community that they can be part of the global order. stephanie, i will tell you there are many, many people on the ground in afghanistan this morning who are terrified and none more so than the many thousands of afghans that served alongside u.s. forces, allied forces for 20 years, people who qualified for those special immigrant visa to come to the united states, but were left behind in the course of the chaotic airlift. stephanie? >> ambassador, you directed afghan strategy for president bush and obama. we all looked at that photo last night of the last american soldier leaving afghanistan. when you look at the image, think of the last 20 years of your life, do you believe it was worth it or are we back where we started? >> no, we're not back where we started. 20 years ago in the wake of
9/11, we were very vulnerable. i think with 20 years hindsight, it is sort of easy to forget anxiety, uncertainty of those weeks after 9/11. and today, 20 years later, we are much different. we are much safer as americans. the 20 year investment in afghanistan, 20 years of sacrifice by american men and women has been worth it. why? because on offense, our ability to strike anywhere in the world today is much improved from 2001. on defense in america, we are a much harder terrorism target. 20 years were invested at great cost and sacrifice, in my view it was worth it. >> for those that live in places like new york city, and remembering 20 years ago, remembering 9/11, that's right around the corner, you feel like we are safer today? watching the withdrawal, knowing the clock is ticking and 9/11 is
around the corner has americans in a tense place. >> look, but most security assessments today rate threat of domestic terrorism greater than that of terrorism that comes from outside the country. and look, i was working in the pentagon on 9/11 myself. this is up close and personal. i worked on this project for nearly all of the 20 year period. when i think back how do you respond to young men and women that worked in afghanistan, committed years of their lives, some cases made the ultimate sacrifice, how do you respond to the question of was it worth it. my response is it was worth it in the sense of american security, the core reason we went in the first place. >> michael, president biden is going to be speaking to brave men and women today, he is going to be on the world stage talking
about this withdrawal. what can we expect to hear? these are serious remarks he is going to make. >> reporter: there are questions why we didn't hear from the president yesterday after the midnight deadline in kabul, late afternoon in washington. we heard from general mckenzie laying out technical aspects of final withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan. later heard from the secretary of state, tony blinken, getting into what is now a diplomatic effort under way to keep pressure on the taliban to continue to evacuate the few americans that remain and what our diplomacy looks like moving forward to keep pressure on the taliban. white house officials say that was deliberate. they wanted to get into the technical weeds of this yesterday with those officials so the president could speak to the nation at a much higher level, to talk about sacrifices made over 20 years, paid tribute to all those that served in this conflict, to layout why he believes this makes the country safer. why our national interests were
served by leaving afghanistan, enabling us to focus on what the president argued consistently should be focus for the new century on autocrisy versus democracy. and the terrorist threat we faced from afghanistan has now metastasized throughout the world, no longer being bogged down in afghanistan enables us to tackle these threats. i was struck as you played in the open there comments from president bush when he first announced going into afghanistan, talked about patience of multiple successes. that's what the president will speak to, the fact that the american people have indeed lost patience, weren't enough successes by the american standard here in terms of sacrifice we were continuing to make there. that's a real challenge for the president over a faithful decision to end this mission that will certainly be now one of the defining moments of his presidency, steph. >> ambassador, to michael's
point, it was secretary blinken that made that prime time address last night instead of president biden, since it is now a diplomatic mission. i'm a mere civilian. it blows my mind we are talking about diplomacy with the taliban. are we supposed to believe that's an actual reality? >> well look, the reality, what it might produce is unknown. i think secretary blinken made a strong point, we have to judge the taliban by actions, by their deeds, not by their promises, not by their rhetoric. they're saying many of the right things, many of the things they in fact know we want to hear, things that could cause the continuation of economic support to their regime in afghanistan. but actions have to speak louder than words here. so yeah, that's what diplomacy is all about. look, there's a long history of talking to your enemy while you're fighting.
now that our fighting is done, it is only natural we revert to diplomacy. again, diplomacy based on taliban actions. >> courtney, can you give us a sense when we talk about americans left behind, 100 to 200, are these people desperately trying to get out, trying to get to the airport or people that are actually just living there? >> reporter: it is a combination of both. there are some, one category, i don't think gets a lot of attention, are people that are american citizens, dual afghan, american citizens with family members that are afghan and don't have any american citizenship at all. we heard anecdotal cases of people that have come to the airport, they have access, were allowed to get in with the blue american passport, but family members couldn't. they had to make a difficult decision, many times right there on the spot to leave without their family members or stay behind. we are hearing a lot of cases of
individuals like that. we don't have any numbers on that. it is something that, believe me, we have been asking for numbers for several weeks and don't have a good sense of it. there's also a number of americans who aren't inside kabul, and as we have been watching the taliban over the course of several weeks take over parts of the country, surround and encircle kabul, there were americans that were caught behind the lines there, behind enemy lines and weren't able to get out. those are among the ones the state department is going to have the most difficult time in coming weeks and months trying to extricate because they are firmly in taliban territory, couldn't get to kabul airport, and the diplomacy, that's where that will be called into question. they have to try to work with the taliban to get the americans out. >> and this is where we find out exactly who the new taliban is. thank you all so much. i appreciate you joining us. coming up, at least four
dead after louisiana bears the brunt of hurricane ida. hear from one rescue working pulling people from flood waters. hospitals that were already overwhelmed with covid now damaged and running on generators as officials worry the storm will cause a surge in covid cases. we'll speak to a doctor dealing with the fallout, another american hero. with the floalut, american hero. onal thinking meas we see things differently, so you can focus on what matters most. that's how we've become the leader in 5g. #1 in customer satisfaction. and a partner who includes 5g in every plan, so you get it all. you're clearly someone who takes care of yourself. so why wait to screen for colon cancer? because when caught in early stages, it's more treatable. i'm cologuard. i'm noninvasive and detect altered dna in your stool to find 92% of colon cancers even in early stages. tell me more. it's for people 45 plus at average risk for colon cancer, not high risk. false positive and negative results may occur.
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now to the catastrophe continuing to unfold in the state of louisiana. two days after hurricane ida made landfall as a category four storm, this morning we get a better look at devastating damage left behind. at this hour, ida is blamed for at least four deaths. the louisiana governor warns that number is expected to rise with more than a million without power. rescue efforts ongoing with desperate effort to reach the hardest-hit communities, many of which are absolutely cut off. >> we saw slow water coming in under the door, then it progressively got, i was mopping, it progressively got worse. it was ankles, knees, almost chest levels. >> it was bad. it was worst thing ever. it was worst thing ever. i got my baby out though. i wasn't going to stop until i get my baby out. she all right. safe and sound. >> good to see that baby out.
we have our reporters covering every angle of this across the region. want to start with sam brock. 24 hours ago you and i were talking about hundreds of people trapped, needing to be rescued. please tell me they're safe. >> reporter: largely from what we can gather they are, stephanie, amazingly. you said the name of the town correctly. laplace, la feet, two areas that saw so many rescues going on. we got mixed signals whether there needs to be hundreds of folks rescued, then we saw it with our own eyes that there were high water vehicles coming through communities. this spot, the big issue is when. the power lines are strewn in the yard. this is a microcosm of what you'll see on highway 61. there are power poles turned like this, 45 degree angles, barely hovering above the
ground. communication continues to be an issue. they said we think rescue efforts are over now, however, because communication is spotty, many can't reach loved ones. that's the biggest x factor. looking around me, there are trailers tipped over into homes. there's one literally over my shoulder. energy now certainly an issue. you have 780,000 people in the state of louisiana, customers. multiply it by two, three, four, that have no power. the city is running on generators. it is end of summer. temperatures feel like 100 degrees. these are difficult factors coming together. as you said, at the very least, everybody appears to be rescued that was in danger, hiding in attics, waiting for help to arrive. >> holy cow. looking at the damage behind you. it is stunning.
miguel almaguer in baton rouge, talk about communities that have been completely cut off. what's the plan to reach them? >> reporter: well, it is going to take some time. you can see the crews working behind me. this is what they're doing across louisiana. so many roads covered by downed trees, power lines, some were underwater. reaching hard hit communities, those that first hit by the hurricane remains incredibly difficult. late yesterday we were near the community of grand isle. 12 miles away. there's one road that leads in and out, it is submerged, the road buckled in many places. reaching those people is a top priority. dozens rode out storms. the fire chief says many were forced to run from homes during the height of the hurricane to the local fire department which has a four to five buildings where they were able to survive the cat four hurricane as it
rolled through. unfortunately, they still can't get out. good news, nearly everyone in that community appears to have survived the storm. >> ran for their lives and fortunately survived. i want to bring in the president of the parish, a fleet captain from louisiana cajun navy. two leaders, heroes. archie, your parish took a direct hit from the hurricane. help us understand the extent of injuries and people who are needing rescue in your area. >> yeah, guys, good morning. luckily no storm related fatalities that we can get to now. there are a couple of sierra leone operations from a few collapsed buildings, but we were able to get in, grand isle still a challenge to get there with the road that's washed out and high water. but we have roads going in,
crews going to residential streets with power companies getting power poles and trees out of the way to get assets in there, people need water, mres, tarps, ice. we are working hard to make it happen. >> you're still in rescue mode, archie. when you assess this, how long will it take to recover? >> it is going to be months. it will be months before we get power back on. luckily we had our water system slowly come back online in the southern part of the parish. at least people can be home and have sanitary services. this is a catastrophic event. saw everything of 160 miles per hour winds in the deep southern part of the parish. heavy roof damage. buildings no longer there, all the way to the northern tip. it is something we'll be reeling
the effects for some time. >> f.i.r., thank you for all that you do, men and women you work with. how bad is it? >> bad and probably worse than looks like on tv. that's just a little snapshot. microcosm of what it is and how widespread effects are, some of the worst things, can't get pictures or video of because of how hard it was hit. >> are there still people needing rescued that are still trapped? >> not that i know of or heard of. where i was focused, i worked with law enforcement there, water receded overnight, sunday night into monday morning. high water vehicles were able to get to them. now anybody that might seem to be trapped is something like buildings collapsing or trees blocking entry to a home,
through a roof, things like that. instead of having boat rescues going on, we have people out with chain saws, equipment, companies like lakeview demolition, they have bobcats and are cutting through things for us. >> what do you think your mission will look like in days and weeks ahead? >> starting this morning, i'm about to be in laplace in a secure location. we have donations from around the country. some stuff that we have on hand year-round to be the initial push for events like this. we're asking for donations. we'll set up a spot, when everything is ready, start serving hot meals daily, between 1,000 and 1500 meals a day we serve, water, nonperishables. all the necessities people need and lost to give a sense of normalcy. that will stretch out for the course of weeks as long as we
have donations, we'll be there doing that. >> how do people make donations? >> louisiana cn.com. cajun navy facebook page. donate there, we will post updates, live videos, things of that nature with immediate needs. they constantly change. we try to keep everybody posted via social media teams. >> thank you for communicating and for everything you do. thank you both. when you see rescue missions, it is reminder. on a normal day, you talk about how divided the country is, how much infighting. in a time of crisis, amazing to see americans come together, support one another. coming up, the end of america's longest war, prompting very big questions. what can we learn from the last
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most expensive, the human toll, more than 2400 u.s. service members killed and five days ago, 13 killed in a terror attack in kabul. there were 18 more service members injured. now they're back safely in the u.s. first, made a stop at a hospital in germany. matt bradley is outside that hospital now. matt, you got to speak to some of the german hospitals. what did they tell you. >> reporter: this is an american hospital, largest u.s. hospital outside of u.s. borders. it has been the destination for wounded warriors from afghanistan to iraq for the last 20 years. that period of time, now the war on terror now appears to have finally kind of closed up and that was real indication of how long this has been. we heard from some of these people, some administrators, some doctors, all of them in uniform. they described how everyone rushed to the scene because they were desperate to help when the wounded people, 31 people coming
from the suicide bombing last thursday. about 20 of them serviceman. 10 of them around that were afghan civilians caught up in the terrible blast. we heard from one of the head nurses. she had tours of duty before this, it made her so emotional seeing this once again, more wounded and dead coming from theater of battle. >> there's a lot of compassion. we wouldn't do this if we didn't have that. whenever someone is in time of need, we do what we can to make sure they feel safe, that they're well taken care of. and we do that in any sort of situation. >> reporter: but you know, stephanie, i want to tell you, i want to end off by telling you amidst this talk of defeat and
tragedy we also heard something today that was interesting. with all of the hundreds of thousands of afghan evacuees moving through places like ramstein air base, there were nine babies born. that was one of the processing centers since the crisis began. nine babies born to afghan evacuees looking forward to a new future in america, new futures that these 13 men and women gave their lives to ensure. stephanie? >> my goodness, matt, thank you. joining me to discuss even further, a man that knows the region, marine veteran that served in afghanistan, jake auchincloss. democrat from massachusetts. this has to be an emotional day for you. you were an infantry commander there. we all looked at that image of the last u.s. soldier leaving the country. how does all this make you feel this morning?
>> good to be with you, stephanie. that last u.s. soldier was not a private, wasn't a lieutenant bringing up the rear. that was the commanding general of the 82nd airborne division. did a final police of the compound, ensured all soldiers and equipment was accounted for and then was last boots on the ground for the united states. similarly on a briefing with the white house yesterday, we heard the u.s. ambassador to afghanistan was the last foreign or civil service officer on the airplane, carrying the u.s. flag, properly folded, pressed against his heart. that personal accountability to the mission is what joe biden exemplified as well when he took office, in a war defined by commanders in chief passing the buck to their successors, the buck stopped with joe biden. he made the call to hand over afghanistan to the afghans because the united states could not win this war, we could not justify the sacrifice of u.s.
service members any longer. >> not just about biden from here, it is also about you. you don't just know what it is like to serve, you're in position to make changes happen in congress. what tangible things can lawmakers do now learning from the war, learning from the last 20 years? >> congress needs to look backwards and forwards. we have to do an investigation, bipartisan, of the entire scope of the war in afghanistan, from invasion through withdrawal, need to declassify decision making around national security so we can understand what put more time, troops, behind a counter insurgency that couldn't succeed, but we also need to look forward. we need to revamp war powers act to give congress its constitutional responsibility back to reign in the commander in chief making decision on war, so you have to look backwards and forwards. as a young veteran in congress,
i feel a special responsibility making sure we don't wander into more forever wars. >> you're a young veteran, talk about younger people. you have a three week old daughter, a young son. they're too little to understand anything about afghanistan. if you talk to young people today, teenagers this morning, talk about the war being over, they might say what war. many don't realize what happened in afghanistan over the last 20 years. what do you want people to know, young people, about your time in the service and our country's time in afghanistan? >> two things, and that's a great point, stephanie. one is a democracy should not be able to wage war on the periphery. in world war ii, it was all hands on deck, on the domestic front and overseas. the united states invested itself winning a war that was worth fighting. it should be a marker to us we can forget about a war halfway across the world for two
decades. that should be a clarion call for better congressional oversight how we send troops into harm's way. but second, i would want to emphasize the legacy in afghanistan is complicated. i know there's going to be a rush to judgment from twitter strategists about this was a failure, a success. it is more nuanced. yes, we lost the counter insurgency, yes, the taliban are in control. 10 million kids are in school in afghanistan, 4 million are girls. the taliban are taking over a country that made substantial progress in 20 years, and there's hope for advancement. >> i want to ask you about one particular person in harm's way in the last week. a woman from your home state that was one of the 13 service members killed in kabul last week. what is your message to her loved ones? >> she died pulling others to freedom, more than 120,000 afghans have a chance at a better life because of the
sacrifice that marine made and this war in afghanistan is going to end the way it began, bringing terrorists to justice. those that architected this atrocity will be hunted down and killed. >> that's quite a message. congressman, thank you. i want people to remember, she was just one of those service members that sacrificed everything to get americans and allies out of kabul safely the last few weeks. this morning, we want to honor, we should every day, especially today, honor all those victims, the heroism they showed on the ground in afghanistan. many of them were babies when the war began 20 years ago, infants. 20-year-old david espinoza from texas, his mother said he always dreamed of being a marine and helping others. 23-year-old nicole gee, seen in this photo taking care of a baby
during the chaotic evacuation at the kabul airport. before she was killed, she posted this with the caption i love my job. her dad remembering her as a warrior. >> she was very compassionate, very caring, loving. >> rylee mccollum was just 20 from jackson, wyoming, got married in february before deploying and this past april. dylan dreamt of being an engineer. hoover from utah went by his middle name taylor, a fun, goofy kid and natural leader. >> helping those less fortunate that can't help themselves. >> while we are not laughing
today, i want to tell you about humberto gonzales. he was known for making people laugh. remembering the funny things he said. maxton soviak was 22 from ohio. the only member of the navy killed in the attack. his family said he planned to make a career in the navy. 23-year-old ryan knauss who served in afghanistan once before in 2017 and deployed again to help the rapid evacuation effort. >> for him, it is the ultimate honor he could give back to his country. >> the ultimate sacrifice. 20-year-old jared schmitz from missouri, his dad said he was called back to afghanistan specifically to help with the evacuation mission. kareem nikoui, 20 years old from california.
hunter lopez planned to work in law enforcement after his deployment. and 23-year-old daegan page whose family described him as a die hard chicago blackhawks fan and animal lover. those great american heroes were just the last of more than 2400 service members who were killed protecting you and i. this morning, we remember all those heroes that ran toward danger to help others as our longest war ends. we'll be right back. longest war ends we'll be right back. vicks sinex. instantly clear everyday congestion. and try vicks sinex children's saline. safe and gentle relief for children's noses. so then i said to him, you oughta customize your car insurance with liberty mutual, so you only pay for what you need. hot dog or... chicken? only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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developing this morning, louisiana hospitals dealing with a major dilemma, trying to cope with surge of new patients following hurricane ida while they're already full with covid patients. at the same time, we are learning about a truly heroic group of new orleans nurses who volunteered to stay behind during the hurricane to care for some of the most vulnerable patients, babies. >> 39 babies, each with a nicu camera on them, so parents could still feel close to newborns. nurses calming lots of frazzled nerves as they look out the window, saw a category four hurricane rocking their city. >> it is about trust and them feeling comfortable with nurses and staff taking care of their babies. they knew their babies were going to be well taken care of, loved on while they couldn't be
here. >> simon, a mother of four, knows what it is like to worry about her family who she hasn't been able to see since the storm hit. she sacrificed her time, worked through the night so new mothers could get a chance to hold their own children. >> you haven't been able to talk to your kids, see your kids? >> uh-uh. >> what's that been like? >> stressful. >> it is hard? >> it is hard, yeah. my kids i know are safe. i have three kids, the house is strong, we're good. >> talk about national treasures and heroes. joining us, morgan chesky, live outside a new orleans hospital, and dr. mark klein, the physician and chief at children's hospital in new orleans. morgan, hospitals were already at capacity with covid patients. tell us what the situation is like today. >> reporter: yeah, well it is touch and go, steph. i can tell you they're keeping a steady eye on the power
situation. this is the main campus. this is one of the largest hospital systems in the state. they're running on generators. they have a storm plan in place, but when you hear them say they don't have a definite timeline of when to restore power, it makes them highly concerned. they're already discussing potential contingency plans. as for staff that rode out the storm, we were in morgan city, homa, they went into lockdown well in advance of ida's arrival. there were doctors and nurses that saw roofs ripped off hospitals in low lying areas. we witnessed the transfer from homa hospital yesterday to clinics and hospitals that still had room. icu patients, covid patients, and anyone who was deemed no longer safe to stay at the campus since it is leaking and power is intermittent due to generator problems there as well. as it stands now, this is a touch and go situation, not just
in new orleans, but especially in harder hit southern communities, some of which have roads underwater, impassable by debris. in new orleans, because we have a larger population, they have more resources here. the question is how much more will they need before the lights finally come back on, steph? >> dr. klein, i want to start by saying thank you for all you do. what has it been like at your hospital the last five days? >> thanks for having me, stephanie. it's been a lot of work. it has been tough on doctors and nurses who as morgan said are separated from their families. some of them actually drove their spouses and children out of harm's way as far away as birmingham and atlanta and then came back to provide coverage in the hospital for other people's children. it's really an inspiring story to think these young doctors would do that, show that kind of
selflessness. we have been without power for a couple of days now, at least main power. we have auxiliary power, six generators working to keep all of the patient care areas lighted and medical equipment going. nonessential parts of the hospital are dark, unair conditioned. we had minor damage to the building but no structural damage. the best thing i can tell you all of the children remain safe and sound inside the hospital throughout the hurricane and so things are going well for our patients. that's of course why we're all here. >> can we go back to heroism a second? as you unfortunately know, it seems in this country we made full-time jobs out of criticizing one another. in the last week, speak to us again in more detail about doctors and nurses, many of whom haven't seen their homes, haven't seen their families, but have been hunkered down at the
hospital. can you tell us more about that? >> stephanie, we went on lockdown early sunday morning at about 6:00 a.m. and brought in a cadre of young doctors mostly across all of the medical and surgical specialties, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists as well as housekeeping staff, security staff, and a number of others. everyone who is needed to make a hospital run. and as 7:00 a.m. sunday, the doors were locked and we've all been here ever since. and i have not heard a single complaint. people are working happily and cheerfully and doing everything they can possibly do to take care of all of the children as well as number of mothers and fathers here in lockdown with their children and as you indicated, many of the folks haven't seen their homes, don't know that their homes are still
standing or perhaps inundated with water. some cases they have pets at home unattended. some cases they're separated from their families because they're mostly a young group, many of them have young children and those children and their spouses for the most part have been evacuated to safer areas, but i think that, you know, anyone who thinks that young professionals today don't show the same dedication or aren't willing to work as hard as they once were should come and take a look at these people who are working here at children's hospital, new orleans. for me, as a more senior physician, it has been nothing less than inspiring, and i've never been prouder to be a pediatrician. >> well, this week isn't the first crisis. you or all of your doctors and nurses have been dealing with. the last year and a half has been covid 24/7. how much more difficult does that make things for you right
now? >> it compounds it, to be honest. all of these professionals who are in the hospital taking care of kids today post-hurricane are the same individuals who are physically and emotionally exhausted after the past several months with rsv, a different kind of respiratory virus. we had a very big epidemic of that here in new orleans and that filled up our hospital and then covid-19. july was actually the busiest month in the 66-year history of our hospital in terms of the number of children admitted to the hospital, the number in our intensive care units, and the number in our emergency department, and so everyone was just working at 100% capacity going in, and the last thing in the world we needed was a category 4 hurricane, but it chose to come at this particular time and everyone has stepped up and done everything they can to
keep providing first rate care to the kids who need us. >> well then doctor, right now, i am hoping a major philanthropist, a hotel chain, someone who can offer some relief, some appreciation, some treat for all of those workers at your hospital, because they certainly need a break. i can't imagine how exhausting this all must be for you. thank you for everything that you do. i really appreciate it, and morgan, thank you for being there. coming up, thousands forced to flee in california as a raging wildfire is closing in. that's next.
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contained. steve patterson is on the ground in california with the latest. >> reporter: good morning. state of emergency for south lake tahoe and intense moments for firefighters currently on the front lines engaged in a desperate battle to not mince words, to save south lake tahoe, the eastern edge of the caldor fire currently spreading rapidly spreading, currently expanding out 20,000 acres again overnight but pushing that eastern front into the path of homes that are in south lake tahoe. officials estimate there's currently 20,000 to 22,000 homes in the path of flames. again, the mission from firefighters shipped in from different corners of the state and the country, the number one priority is to save that town. right now they're dealing with fresh red flag winds, new warnings that may push into wednesday, including steep terrain, extreme heat during the day and this dry brush which
covered the state because of the drought, because of the climate has caused the drought that caused so much cause for concern especially not only in the front lines but in several national forests across the state, officials have made the decision to close down national forests because they're so focused on these key major fires, 13 of them burning across the state, including the largest the dixie fire, and of course the caldor fire now nearing 200,000 acres burning for more than two weeks, only 15% contained at this point. firefighters are doing all they can. they have to push back against every ember because of how dry the brush is and how much fuel there is between this patch of the fire and these next set of houses, which may push over into the next 24 to 48 hours. that is the time window that firefighters really have to get a hold of this thing or it may spread on even into nevada. stephanie, back to you. >> that is the time window and it is running out. wow.
a fire, a hurricane, a pandemic, and a war. that's what we just covered in this hour. if you are feeling stressed, panic, anxiety on high, you are not alone. take a deep breath. we're going to get through this together. thank you for watching. that wraps up this hour. i'm stephanie ruehl. hallie jackson picks up coverage on the other side of the break. the journey is why they ride. when the road is all you need, there is no destination. uh, i-i'm actually just going to get an iced coffee. well, she may have a destination this one time, but usually -- no, i-i usually have a destination. yeah, but most of the time, her destination is freedom. nope, just the coffee shop. announcer: no matter why you ride, progressive has you covered with protection starting at $79 a year. voiceover: 'cause she's a biker... please don't follow me in.
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