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Jackson Lee to Houston Mayor "You Saved Lives"; FEMA: Over 30,000 In Shelters Across Texas; Homes Near Houston Reservoirs Face Weeks of Flooding. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired August 30, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, (D), TEXAS: I want to thank the United States Coast Guard who are working today as we speak, the Texas National Guard. There are 12,000 of them here. Marine unit that just came in that is going to continue to do some final sweeps. We have an ATV cooking truck. Maybe you can get some food in the back of the George R. Brown Convention Center. The faith community, the Muslim community, all of these folks have been helpful.
Let me thank the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You may have heard that they're going to wave the provisions and allow our children to have -- any child, three meals a day for the entire school year. That's what the federal government needs to do.
JACKSON LEE: And with the Senators' leadership -- I'm glad you said the Texas delegation. You have had an unblemished record in dealing with FEMA and dealing with the money.
Senator, I remember Senator Hutchinson in Hurricane Ike, we have $400 million here. We haven't heard a word about any inappropriate use of funds. I think that should be clear to the citizens of Harris County and Houston of the custodians, like the judge and all of you. So I'm not going to be shy about asking for up front funding, a waiver, a temporary waiver for up front funding, which I think is important.
Senator, I hope maybe we can help -- we try to stay in our lane. We're the federal government. But I hope we can help with a state law that's coming into effect on September 1. I hope we can pray and ask for a waiver, temporary stop, six months. I'm not in charge, but I'd like to collaborate, so that folks can get their applications in and be able to get what they are due. That is so very important. I hope that we can do that.
My last point is, is that, people need comforting. You've been the chief comforter. I encourage the faith community and folk who are a little more dry than others, hugs, love and expression that we're going to get through this. And I like the attitude of saying, we're still the greatest city. We've got -- you see that I'm a -- one of the new recruits in Rockets. I play basketball better than football or baseball. So we just need to make sure that we give that love and that comfort. As we try to make it back, I don't know whether we're hooking in on a private plane, I guess they will open it up for us to get back to Washington. We will be able do this. I have one point to say. I want to emphasize what the Senator did.
This is what the Senator said. This is a bipartisan effort. I've gotten calls from across the country from Republicans and Democrats. I want to thank the Democratic leadership for their calls. I think it's important -- I'm in the House -- to note that speaker Ryan has called. Has called me. I think the one point that he said that I want to make sure we all know that there will not be one light of difference -- we will have talking points, I'm sure -- but one light of difference on getting the funding that we need here in this area. So if you will --
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: You are listening to Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee there, together with Ted Cruz. She's underscoring there along with the Senator there saying this will be a bipartisan effort. You heard Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee say there that she is not going to be shy at all about asking for a temporary waiver, up-front funding. At the same time, she was applauding the dedication of the civil servants and police and fire departments, and also praising the mayor, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, saying, you saved lives.
Coming up for us, FEMA says 30,000 people escaping the flooding are now in shelters, and now floodwater has even overtaken one of the shelters in Texas. Details on that coming up.
[11:38:33] WHITFIELD: The human toll from Harvey is rising by the minute, both in terms of those killed and left homeless. Look at this video from an evacuation center in Port Arthur, Texas. People who had fled to the Bob Bower Civil Center had to evacuate again when floodwaters came rushing inside the building overnight. The person who shot this video says hundreds of people were there.
FEMA this morning reports more than 30,000 people are at shelters across Texas. That number is expected to rise. And two new mega shelters are open in devastated Houston to ease overcrowding at the largest emergency shelter, the George R. Brown Convention Center.
I want to get an update at conditions at that shelter. CNN's Rosa Flores is there.
Rosa, what's the situation there?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The headline here is that people are starting to leave, not so much to go to their homes, because a lot of the areas are still flooded. They're reuniting with their families. Remember, there were a lot of streets here in Houston that were blocked off. The water was too high. Even though people wanted to go with family rather than coming here to a shelter, they couldn't because the waters were so high. Today, after a lot of pain, after a lot of trauma, we are starting to see some smiles, some reunions. I talked to one woman who reunited with her family. She said that her birthday is tomorrow. She is hoping for some seafood and a Martini. She's going to be 66 years old. Imagine, just those --
[11:40:14] FLORES: Yes, those are the types of stories we're starting to hear today as people start reuniting with family. They are so grateful for the American Red Cross, for the city opening the shelter, for the rescue workers. They know it's a long road ahead. They know that they probably lost everything. They are so grateful to be alive.
WHITFIELD: Rosa, you know, while so many people are there at that convention center, part of the problem for some of the relief items was actually getting in to the convention center, in terms of food, diapers, supplies. Have many of those trucks been able to make their way through those impassable roads to finally get some of the relief there?
FLORES: The American Red Cross told me this morning that when they saw blue skies and the sun rise, they knew that this was definitely going to be a better day for supplies. You probably remember, there was 5,000 cots here to start off with. There were 10,000 people. A lot of people sleeping on the floor. Those cots did arrive, I'm told. Now there are extra cots. Of course, you see people behind me leave as well. That helps. The American Red Cross explained to me that now, because a lot of the major roadways are open, because some of the water receded, they know now they're going to have supplies they need. They will get more blankets and cots and food to make sure everybody can get warm meals. That's the silver lining today, the fact that some of the water has receded. My team and I were around town earlier today. We were able -- some roads are still closed. You are able to maneuver around the city in better condition than a few days ago. When it comes to bringing supplies to people who need it, that's the blessing today.
WHITFIELD: A little light at the end of the tunnel.
Rosa Flores, thank you so much in Houston.
If you would like to help those impacted, go to CNN.com/impact to find out how you can help.
[11:46:43] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. A day after visiting Corpus Christi and Austin, Texas, President Trump there getting off Marine One. He is at Andrews Air Force Base, soon to get on to Air Force One. He will be taking off and heading towards Springfield, Missouri. There he will be holding a tax reform rally and speech there. We will bring those comments to you live later on. Missouri Senator Blunt joining him, as well as we understand the first lady, Ivanka Trump (sic). Soon to be boarding Air Force One there. And then on the way to Missouri. This weekend, the president is expected to return to the flood zone in Texas and possibly Louisiana. We will keep you posted.
"It is a storm that never seems to end" -- those words, I'm quoting from the mayor of Beaumont, Texas. The city facing the worst Tropical Storm Harvey right now. As it makes another landfall this morning, flooding expanding to east of Houston. Some spots getting 26 inches of rain in 24 hours. These people taking shelter in Port Arthur, Texas, they were forced to evacuate the shelter after it began filling in with floodwater in the middle of the night.
In Houston, county officials deliver grim news to people living near the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Their homes will main flooded for several weeks. They won't be allowed back during that time.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is live now in the Addicks Reservoir area.
Miguel, what are you finding?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The water is rising here, unfortunately. It doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon. The problem is, is the reservoir itself has flowed over. They are doing controlled releases, which are -- keep the water filling into the area. There are thousands of homes in the Addicks Reservoir area. You can see people out there who are walking in trying to find people and trying to help. The smaller boats, like personal watercraft, air boats we see go in and out.
I want to show you what's happening here. They have tons of resources. You can see dump trucks they can pull in there to pull boats out. There are several. I count one, two, three personal boats that are in line right now to go in. The number of rescues has gone down dramatically. At this point, they're talking about doing recovery and get into houses to figure out if there are people in there or if perhaps there are people who have expired in some of the houses in this area. Watch your back.
There is concern for this huge armada, this navy of individuals across Houston that have come in. Overnight, there were three people swept in their boat not too far from where we are. Two were missing as of a couple hours ago. One of them clung to a tree. It's very dangerous. The currents -- while it doesn't look it in this area, but the currents could be very, very -- they could rush very, very fast. The air boats have a hard time operating in that. The bigger boats have a hard time operating in this stuff because it's also very, very shallow in many of the areas. We were in a boat the last couple of days. This morning we were on a boat in a different neighborhood. By the time, within a few hours, it was almost too shallow for that boat to operate so we had get back on his trailer and get it out before it was too late for that. So just -- you know, the sun is shining. We're seeing a little blue sky, so that is the big headlines for people here. But it is the light at the end of the tunnel. And they have a very, very way to go -- Fred?
[11:50:30] WHITFIELD: It's a long tunnel.
All right, Miguel Marquez, thank you so much.
New video just in to CNN. A baby plucked from the waters in Texas. More details on that amazing moment when we come right back.
[11:55:11] WHITFIELD: Every day, for five days now, unbelievable, pictures, stories, video. And look at this. This is a rescue, the New York Air National Guard, the 106th Rescue Wing, and in that basket a little boy and a baby just 1-month-old, plucked from the waters there, plucked from the rising waters there in Houston. You can see this little guy is OK, thanks to the Air National Guard, the rescue here, this heroic moment. There are many of those moments many times over throughout south Texas. And now the floodwaters are ravaging Louisiana on the western portions as well along the Texas-Louisiana border. We'll continue to show you pictures and rescues like this all day long.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for being with me. I'll be back tomorrow. And we'll have much more straight ahead.