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Death Toll Resches 94 as Teams Continue Searching Rubble; Wildfires Burn Area Four Times the Size of New York City; California Drought Leaves Some Without Running Water; Surrendering Afghan Commandos Gunned Down by Taliban; Military Deployed in South Africa as Ex-Leader Zuma Jailed and Looting Spreads; Racist Abuse Aimed at England Players After Final Loss. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 13, 2021 - 04:30   ET




LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well we know search teams have been able to get down into the garage area. And that's important because several engineers have told CNN and that according to what they have seen on the video of the collapse, it appears that the failures began in the structure's foundation. So getting into that garage could be very insightful for the investigation that is trying to answer what went wrong here.

Now regarding the teams, we know that they have sent home Virginia Task Force 1, so that is 80 people no longer assisting here on that debris pile. We have seen heavy machinery still at work pulling out cars and towing them away, so we know the work continues. And officials are promising that the work will continue here until every single victim is brought home to their loved ones. They are being very strategic and methodical and targeted in how they search even at times collecting personal belongings.

CHARLES BURKETT, SURFSIDE, FLORIDA MAYOR: When they found a business card in the debris that listed the occupation of the card older as an artist, they as a result of that clue began looking around and found paintings in the area of which they were able to pull out of the rubble and preserve for the family.

SANTIAGO: Now here's the thing about those personal belongings that have been collected, that is now evidence in the investigation. Again, collected, tagged and sent off for detectives to look through. So at this point it remains unclear as to when families may be able to see those cherished items again.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Surfside, Florida.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Authorities in Oregon are urging residents in some areas to evacuate immediately due to raging wildfires. Up and down the west coast firefighters are battling dozens of blazes, the boot leg fire in Oregon is burning out of control. And crews don't expect to have it contained until late November. Meanwhile, California wildfires have already burned more than three times as much land this year than in 2020 when the state recorded its worst fire season ever. Experts warn severe drought and human induced climate change is making the fire season even longer.

So for more on this, we want to turn to meteorologist Tyler Mauldin. He joins us now. So Tyler, one of those fires won't be contained until late November, that's just incredible. How much worse and all of this get?

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's pretty nuts isn't it. At the moment, Rosemary, we have 137 active large wildfires and throughout this year to date, we have seen nearly 2 million acres scorched. On average in the last ten years we typically see about three. So we're well on our way to surpassing that. Could we see another record wildfire season across parts of the west? Certainly possible.

94 percent of the west is under a drought at the moment. And we've had the record heat ongoing since about June 12. And since June 12, we have seen more than 6,000 daily records either tied or broken. We've also seen nearly 900 monthly records tied or broken. And we've also seen more than 300 all-time record temperatures set since June 12. So that drought plus the record heat, that's what's led to these fires just popping up all over the place out west.

Now, the heat is beginning to wane. It's still going to be hot. We have heat alerts up for parts of the West. Some areas it will feel like it is above 100, some other areas it will actually be 100 degrees if not warmer. How about 108 in Palm Springs. Salt lake city, you'll be at 100. But it does begin to cool down for you in Salt Lake City as we get to Thursday. Instead of topping out at 100 degrees, we'll be sitting at 96.

As the above average heat starts to wane here, it starts popping up above -- up here to the northern plains. So you'll start getting into the mix. What we could really use, not only a cooldown here, but also some rain. Unfortunately in Oregon and California, it doesn't look like we're going to get much in the way of rain anytime soon, Rosemary. The big storms are going to be set up over the four corner, we have the monsoon storms. And out towards the east coast of the U.S. today.

CHURCH: Unbelievable, isn't it. Tyler Mauldin keeping a very close eye on all of that weather activity, many thanks.

Well the oppressive heat mixed with an ongoing drought is leaving some in California without running water. CNN's Stephanie Elam visited one family whose water supply has quite literally dried up.


LAUREL BOYLAN, FAMILY'S WELL RAN DRY: There are seven of us living in the house and we've had no water for a month now.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the Boylan family, the drought is hitting home.


BOYLAN: We still walk over to brush our teeth and turn on the faucet. And then you realize, oh, yeah, there's no water.

ELAM (voice-over): The lack of running water makes the simplest of routines challenging, especially as temperatures rise above 100 degrees.

BOYLAN: Our neighbor who has a house across the street with no one living in it said we could use his hose out front to fill our water bucket.

ELAM (voice-over): All of this because the well at their Clovis, California, home, literally ran dry. The result of years of underwhelming precipitation in the region.

BOYLAN: It went from being sufficient to being gone overnight. Now, you can move those because there's no water in it.

ELAM (voice-over): By a stroke of luck, the Boylans came across Self- Help Enterprises which helps residents get the water they need.

MARLIEZ DIAZ, WATER SUSTAINABILITY MANAGER, SELF-HELP ENTERPRISES: It's a 2,500-gallon tank and then we haul weekly, and they can resume normal household activities.

ELAM (voice-over): The Boylans aren't the only ones in this predicament. Across the state's Central Valley, wells are drying out, drawing up demand. The family is on a nine-month waiting list to drill a new deeper well.

ELAM: How early during the year did the calls start to come in for the need for water?

DIAZ: Forty percent more calls in March, and then April, we were pretty much full.

ELAM (voice-over): In fact, California just recorded its lowest rainfall year since records began in 1895. And it's not just homeowners. Even towns are being forced to drill deeper to find water.

FRANK GALAVIZ, TEVISTON RESIDENT & COMMUNITY SERVICE DISTRICT BOARD MEMBER: We all just expect to go up to the faucet, turn it on and there's water. But when there isn't, it's just a shock.

ELAM (voice-over): Frank Galaviz lives in Teviston. He says in early June, 700 or so residents were left high and dry for about two weeks after the town's well failed. Now they are relying on these four massive above-ground tanks that get refilled daily. Each holds 10,000 gallons of crucial H2O, in a district where only one of three wells is now functional.

A quarter of America's food is produced here in the Central Valley with 80 percent of California's water supply going to agriculture. So with the lack of rain, growers are relying heavily on groundwater pumped from across the region to irrigate their crops. While some worry that increased pumping could impact smaller wells, Galaviz says the giant agriculture machine is a necessity.

GALAVIZ: We have to have food. We have to have the work for our farm workers.

ELAM (voice-over): And this much dryness so early in the summer doesn't bode well.

KAYLA VANDER SCHUUR, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST, SELF-HELP ENTERPRISES: We expect a lot more wells to go dry, both for communities and both for private wells.

ELAM (voice-over): As for Laurel Boylan, she was awash with emotions as the plumbers finally arrived with their tanks.

BOYLAN: The tank installer called this morning, I busted out bawling. You're telling me I'm going to have it today was a little overwhelming.

ELAM: What does that sound like to you?

BOYLAN: It sounds like heaven. I can't even imagine we're actually going to be able to shower tonight.

You take running water for granted. I'll never take it for granted again.

ELAM (voice-over): Stephanie Elam, CNN, in California's Central Valley.


CHURCH: And now to another environmental crisis in California, about 17 million gallons of sewage spilled into Santa Monica Bay on Sunday forcing nearby beaches to close due to health concerns. The Los Angeles Sanitation Department says a wastewater plant was inundated with overwhelming amounts of debris, that issue created a backup that forced the discharge of untreated sewage into the bay. City officials are investigating the cause of the incident.

Well a grim reality is taking shape off Florida's coast. Officials say more manatees have died in the first half of this year than ever before in state history. They say most of the animals likely died of starvation in the winter after a majority of their primary food source died off. While manatees were taken off the endangered species list several years ago, experts fear that if the current trend continues, the species will be near extinction once again.

Well the U.S. military takes another major step in its withdrawal from Afghanistan. Just ahead, the new evidence of Taliban atrocities that has the world worried about what happens next.

Plus looting is ramping up on the streets of South Africa. We'll have a live report from Johannesburg on the growing unrest. [04:40:00]


CHURCH: A Pentagon spokesman says it is clear that the Taliban intend to take over Afghanistan by force and rule the country. The militant Islamist group is steadily gaining ground since the U.S. sped up its pullout of troops. The Taliban now claim to control 85 percent of Afghan territory. The government denies that claim and Afghanistan's national security advisor insists that there will be no take over by the Taliban.


HAMDULLAH MOHIB, AFGHAN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: To achieve peace, there are two parties, the Afghan government and Afghan people are resolute in wanting to see a peaceful return to Afghanistan. And so that we can live peacefully among others. But if the Taliban wish to continue to fight this, then there will be no choice but to continue and defend our country and hopefully bring peace to war, which is not an ideal situation.


CHURCH: The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is stepping down as part of the U.S. withdrawal. And he is warning about the risk of civil war as he leaves his post.


GEN. AUSTIN SCOTT MILLER, FORMER COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN: One of the U.S. military officers who's had the opportunity to speak with the Taliban. And I've told them, I said it's important that the military sides set the conditions for a peaceful and political settlement in Afghanistan. We can all see the violence that is taking place across the country, but we know that with that violence, that what is very difficult to achieve is a political settlement.


CHURCH: Battlefield atrocities are another threat to a political settlement. Video obtained by CNN shows one horrific incident from June in northern Afghanistan and we warn you, our report from Anna Coren contains some graphic content.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After over two hours of heavy fighting, all ammunition spent, Afghan commandoes walk out with hands in the air.

"Surrender, Commander, surrender," yells a Taliban member.


COREN (voice-over): But the rules of war don't exist on this battlefield.


Seconds later, more than a dozen members of the elite special forces have been executed. The Red Cross confirmed the bodies of 22 commandoes were retrieved.

A villager pleads with the Taliban to stop shooting, asking, how are you Pashtun, and you're killing Afghans?

CNN has spoken to five eyewitnesses to this massacre, which occurred last month in Dawlat Abad, a district of Faryab province in northern Afghanistan. All confirm these events took place.

The commanders called for air and ground support, but none came, says this local resident. Then they surrendered, but the Taliban just shot them.

Among the dead, 32-year-old commando, Sohrab Azimi, the son of a retired Afghan general. This born leader did his military training in the United States and was due to marry his American fiancee next month.

His father said Sohrab tried to call in air support during the attack, but it never came.

"Anyone would be angry if that happened to their son," he tells me. "Why didn't they support the operation, and why did someone tell the Taliban they were coming?"

Ever since the U.S. announced its withdrawal, an emboldened Taliban has launched offensives across the country. The militants have gone to great lengths to show they're accepting the surrender of Afghan troops, but that P.R. effort is contradicted by the commando execution.

A week before the massacre, this video was taken of Afghan special forces in the same district, attempting a clearing operation. When that mission proved unsuccessful, Sohrab's unit was called in.

The Taliban said, when foreigners lead, they will stop fighting and make peace. How long will they continue killing our brothers in this country?

Eyewitnesses say they did not understand the language spoken by the militants, evidence the fighters weren't local, or that some may have come from outside Afghanistan.

And just last week, the Red Cross says they collectively released two dozen more bodies of Afghan commandoes from Faryab, the result of new fighting.

COREN: U.S. President Biden says he believes in the capability of the Afghan forces, despite the mass casualties. But when U.S.-trained soldiers, like the commandoes, are dying in such high numbers, many people in this traumatized country are questioning if the military can defeat the Taliban on its own.

COREN (voice-over): These young Afghan warriors stretched thin and dying at an alarming rate. And now, the next line of national defense. Without U.S. troop support or intelligence, they alone are fighting for this country's survival.

Anna Coren, CNN, Kabul.


CHURCH: New details on the violence and looting in South Africa, the country's military has been deployed after days of protests sparked by former president Jacob Zuma's imprisonment. CNN's David McKenzie joins us live now from Soweto. So David, earlier when we spoke, looting was going on behind you with no police or military presence. So what is the situation right now?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, as you can see right behind me, there is a group of South African soldiers patrolling the streets here is Soweto. This area where we are now has been looted extensively. The military was deployed by South Africa's president because he said that there needs to be calm restored.

But as we saw earlier, extensive looting going on, no police in sight. People just acting with impunity. You can see there the police and military are in this area now. So some level of calm restored here. But it's quite striking to see military out on the streets here in South Africa trying to restore public order. South Africa's president has said that they need to act decisively, but the evidence hasn't been there this morning in terms of widespread looting in several parts of this country. And the destruction, at least a dozen people killed in two different provinces.

It all stemmed originally from the arrest of a former president Jacob Zuma. But you clearly get a sense that people have taken advantage of the chaos. This country has the widest wealth gap on the planet. And you can see that really it took very little to light the spark to have general chaos through major cities in South Africa.

And you know, there are people trying to pick up the pieces this morning, but this is not over.


There is still looting going on in parts of Durban, the capital near the coastline. And here in Johannesburg, we've witnessed it in several parts of the city. Whether the military that you see behind me can actually make some impact remains to be seen. They boss of the security just said they mustn't be made a mockery of. Well frankly, that's already been happening -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Incredible pictures there. David McKenzie joining us from Soweto, part of Johannesburg, appreciate it.

Well time now for a short break. When we come back, how England is responding to the ugly incidents of racism after their loss in the Euro 2020 final.


CHURCH: The Euro 2020 winners parade through the streets of Rome, but there's an ugly side to the football final. Here is Patrick Snell with a minute in sports -- Patrick.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well we start with the continuing fallout from the despicable online racial abuse suffered by a trio of footballers. This following the three lines defeat in the Euro 2020 final against Italy Sunday.


One of the three Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford learning Monday that a mural honoring him had been defaced, this after his penalty miss in the spot kick shootout that decided the final. Police investigating the matter.

But then later that same day an outpouring of love and support displayed on that very same mural, the 23-year-old though tweeting: I can take critique of my performance all day long. My penalty was not good enough. It should have gone in but I will never apologize for who I am and where I came from.

Meantime, tournament winners Italy enjoying a scaled down parade in Rome Monday. Thousands of fans still able to get out and cheer on their heroes who are celebrating their second Euro title.

And the normally formidable Olympic U.S. men's basketball team losing again following defeat to Nigeria over the weekend. The Americans beaten this time by Australia. The U.S.A. play Argentina tonight hoping to avoid a third straight loss. That is the latest this Tuesday. Back to you.


CHURCH: Thanks for that Patrick.

Well fans of Naomi Osaka can now have their own barbie doll modeled after the tennis star. Toymaker Mattel is working to make the iconic dolls more diverse as part of his Barbie role model series. The Osaka doll has a Nike outfit that matches one she wore at last year's Australian Open. In a tweet about the newer doll, Osaka said, I hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything. Great message there.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN, have yourselves a wonderful day.