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Haiti Devastated by 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake; Sweeping Taliban Gains Follow 20-Year U.S. Mission; Indonesia's High Death Toll Leaves Undertakers Overwhelmed; Rescues Underway after Japan Mudslides; Some States Running Out of ICU Beds as COVID Cases Surge; Florida Teacher Speaks Out after Long Battle with COVID-19; Health Care Workers Feeling Exhausted, Overworked. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired August 15, 2021 - 00:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world, I'm Michael Holmes.

And coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, houses leveled, hundreds dead in a nation already in crisis. Haiti is grappling with a powerful earthquake.

Afghan civilians on the run as the Taliban tightens their control over Afghanistan.

And torrential rain triggers floods and mudslides in Japan. Millions of people are urged to seek shelter.


HOLMES: Hello, everyone.

We begin in Haiti, where a state of emergency has been declared, following a major earthquake that has left hundreds of people dead, thousands more injured. We'll show you the destruction now.

Huge chunks of debris lining the streets. And the buildings that once stood now reduced to rubble. At least 304 people were killed by the 7.2 magnitude quake that hit the nation on Saturday morning. It is feared that that number could rise much higher, possibly into the thousands.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, it struck about 125 kilometers west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The Caribbean nation is still recovering from the devastating earthquake back in 2010 that killed hundreds of thousands of people. The deadly earthquake is just another burden to be borne by Haiti, a nation already in crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

HOLMES (voice-over): A powerful earthquake rocks Haiti, some of the video circulating on social media showing just how devastating it was. This man saying he was lucky to be in a building that didn't collapse.

But with streets filled with dust and rubble scattered on the ground, others were not so fortunate.

For Haitian prime minister has declared a state of emergency. One hospital in the southern city of Jeremie said that it is overwhelmed with patients and has set up tents outside.

"When it comes to medical needs," said the prime minister, "this is our biggest urgency. We have started to send medications and medical personnel to the facilities that are affected. We have sent more personnel to help out."

The country's civil protection service says, so far, hundreds of people have died but experts say that death toll is expected to be much higher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to say at this point. The USGS is currently projecting that the number of fatalities will likely exceed 10,000, which is an incredible number.

HOLMES (voice-over): Saturday's quake registered a magnitude of 7.2, that's stronger than the 7.0 earthquake that struck in 2010, which left between 220,000 and 300,000 people dead.

One aid agency with a team on the ground near the epicenter says that it's a mainly rural area, already hit by poverty and food insecurity. They say people are already in need of assistance and they're going to need a lot more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're anticipating the needs, you know, to be around essentials, right?

Making sure people have the basics, water, electricity, food for the time being. But we are still trying to assess.

HOLMES (voice-over): Search and rescue teams will need to work quickly. A tropical storm is headed for Haiti that could bring strong winds, heavy rain and possible flooding.

The country already in crisis, a little more than a month ago the president assassinated. And it is struggling with challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and food insecurity, a punishing list of problems for Haiti.

But right now the biggest priority is to search out and help anyone who can be saved.


HOLMES: Colombia is sending a search and rescue team to help with those efforts. It is expected to arrive later today. Chile, Mexico, Panama and the U.S. are among several other nations that have vowed to send humanitarian aid.

Meanwhile, Haiti's former first lady, whose husband was assassinated last month, says her heart hurts for the victims of the quake.

She added, "My brothers and sisters, we have to put our shoulders together to come together to demonstrate our solidarity. It is our togetherness that makes up our strength and resilience. Courage, I will always be by your side."


HOLMES: Akim Kikonda is the Haiti country representative with Catholic Relief Services and joins me now.

Thanks so much.

How bad and how severe is the impact there in Haiti on people?

Most of all, the people but also damage to poor infrastructure.


AKIM KIKONDA, HAITI COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: The reports from my team on the ground are that there is a lot of damaged homes, schools and churches and hotels and, of course, our road infrastructure has also been impacted.

And as you can imagine, with such a level of destruction, there have been a lot of casualties and injuries. And the hospitals are overwhelmed as we speak now.

HOLMES: I'm sure. There are, of course, already needs that existed before this happened, from food security to COVID to the aftermath of the assassination of the president.

But with this latest tragedy for Haiti, what are the most pressing needs right now?

KIKONDA: I would say, from our perspective, the most pressing needs would be, first of all, shelter for those who have lost their houses. We would need to provide them with a place where they can temporarily stay because, as you may be aware, the country is expecting a tropical storm this coming week.

So we want to make sure that people are not sleeping outside when that hits the country.

And the second most pressing and urgent need would be for water and other hygiene items to prevent the emergence of water borne illnesses, like cholera.

HOLMES: Yes, and I imagine, with those infrastructure issues, it's difficult to even get to some of these places. And speaking of infrastructure, much of Haiti still has not been rebuilt after the last earthquake in 2010.

What is life like for Haitians, even before this?

KIKONDA: You know, life has been really tough here. Let me just take the past two months, not even going back to what happened in 2010.

Just this month of July, the country has dealt with the crisis of people who are displaced internally due to gang violence in and around Port-au-Prince. And you mentioned the assassination of the president.

And we had tropical storm Elsa last month. And COVID, of course. And now here we are with the earthquake, we had the storm last -- I mean, this week actually, on Tuesday. And we are expecting another one next week. So life has really been tough for Haitians and, yes, people have struggled to keep up.

HOLMES: It really has been a tragic -- years really, for Haiti and for Haitians. And thank goodness, organizations like yours are there and we hope we are getting what you need. Akim Kikonda, thank you so much for your time.

KIKONDA: I really appreciate you having me on, Michael. Thank you.


HOLMES: Now as we were discussing there, as if Haiti didn't have enough to deal with, tropical storm Grace could bring heavy wind, rain and possibly landslides to an already devastated nation as soon as Monday. And that, of course, could complicate relief efforts.



HOLMES: The U.S. President, Joe Biden, has authorized sending 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan. That's on top of 4,000 already cleared for deployment. They are meant to get U.S. personnel and their allies out of the country as a blistering Taliban offensive rolls on.

Sources say the militants have captured another major city, Mazar-i- Sharif, in the north of the country. Its fall means the Taliban is holding at least 22 of Afghanistan's 34 provincial capitals, with the national capital, Kabul, one of the only major cities still in government hands.

Thousands of people trying to escape the Taliban have fled to Kabul and that is putting even more pressure on a weakened government surrounded by enemies. Afghan president Ashraf Ghani had this message for his country.


ASHRAF GHANI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Though I know that you are concerned about your present and future, I assure you that, as your president, my focus is on preventing further instability, violence and displacement of my people.


HOLMES: CNN's Cyril Vanier has reported from Afghanistan for the latest tracking events for us from London. Good to see you, Cyril. The apparent fall of Mazar-i-Sharif, that is a

key commercial hub, a major prize for the Taliban as this march, this takeover continues.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But, Michael, when we spoke yesterday, the Taliban controlled half of the provincial capitals, now it's two thirds.

The speed at which this is all happening is nothing short of stunning. You're right; they took Mazar-i-Sharif, the biggest city in the north. And each time they take these provincial capitals, it's more weapons and equipment that fall into their hands.

On multiple occasions they opened the doors of the jails releasing all the prisoners. They didn't fight for all of these capitals. Some of them, quite a few in fact, were surrendered to them after negotiations or after the local authorities simply fled the city, abandoning the civilians in those cities.

And in Mazar-i-Sharif that is partly what happened. The security forces just fled and made a beeline for the bridge leading to neighboring Uzbekistan, trying to cross into a different country.

There isn't a worse signal that the security forces could be sending right now, as far as their ability to hold territory. And the reason this is so symbolic, on top of everything else we have said, is just a week ago the president Ashraf Ghani was in Mazar-i-Sharif, calling on people to join a popular insurrection -- beg your pardon -- popular resistance against the Taliban.

Not only did that not happen but the center's own security forces, as I said, fled the scene of the battle.

HOLMES: Yes, literally days ago he was there, that's crazy, isn't it?

Real quick, the north of the country is traditionally anti Taliban territory.

What does that mean for the civilians there, potentially?

VANIER: We are trying to get a good picture of what it's like now to live under Taliban rule, not just in the north but across the country. We did manage to speak to some people in Kunduz and Herat, which have fallen to the insurgents.

What we're learning is that some women in some parts of the country have now been asked to wear the burqa again. That's something we were monitoring closely, because of course the Taliban are known to be particularly repressive against women and girls, especially during their last stint in power.

We're seeing a little bit of that. So in Kunduz, we spoke to a 41- year-old shopkeeper, who actually told us that life was getting back to normal, number one. And that some people welcomed the Taliban takeover of the city, number 2 because that meant that fighting was over. They no longer heard the sound of bullets. But beyond that, he said, people were going back to the office. Some

women were starting their daily lives again, albeit in a burqa Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, a lot of changes coming from Afghanistan. Cyril Vanier, in London, appreciate it.


HOLMES: For the U.S. troops, the rapid takeover is a disappointing if unsurprising coda to the 20year mission in Afghanistan. Retired U.S. Army Colonel Steve Miska is the author of the "Baghdad Underground Railroad."

He also served 3 combat tours in Iraq. And he worked with the White House National Security Council. He joins me now from San Clemente in California.

Good to see you again, Steve; $83 billion in weapons, equipment and training and, in the end, it led to this. We see the Taliban overrunning unmotivated Afghan troops, neglected by their government.

As a former commander, what goes through your mind when you see the enemy driving Humvees and MRAPs?

COL. STEVE MISKA, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Thanks for having me, Michael. The psychology of combat, which is something that all commanders focus on, is more important, in many cases, than the weapons of war and the training.

And as a commander, I focused on that, just as much if not more than the other aspects. With American soldiers as well as local nationals.

So we've seen that, you know, the withdrawal just really undermined the morale and had a huge psychological impact on not just our Afghan partners but also on our NATO partners, who also turned toward the door and left and that compounded the crisis for the Afghans.


How upset are veterans -- and you are in touch with a lot of them -- about the waste, the ultimate failure of the mission?

And also how emotional is it for those who served to see what is happening there?

MISKA: We are animated, Michael. But what I would say most is -- and you saw the letter, as did the White House, that we sent last week signed by 16 veteran organizations that represent over 3 million veterans.

And it basically called on this evacuation. It called on us to allow us to live up to our ethos and get our Afghan -- not just special immigrant visa recipients but other vulnerable refugees out so that we could honor that commitment we made to them. HOLMES: And to that point, we are seeing the collapse of the Afghan

military that those veterans trained, of course. Veterans like you personally know people, they worked with, in some cases they have saved lives and they are likely to die because of bad planning in a rush to the exit.

There does finally seem to be some urgency to get U.S. allies out. And that's great. But I mean, it's months late and there will be people left behind.

MISKA: Absolutely. And, you know, you and I started talking about this four months ago. We've got days left though. And what I would like to say, is that the coming days are vital. And this commitment to 5,000 troops is extremely important.

And I'm grateful that the president made the decision because that not only is going to facilitate us to begin this evacuation, which will be vital, but it will give a little bit more leverage to our diplomacy.

And maybe we can buy some time for Kabul and the Afghan government. But it's -- there's going to be a lot of people left behind, Michael, you're absolutely right.

HOLMES: And before we finish, what is happening in Afghanistan, it was pretty predictable, once the West left. What wasn't predictable was the speed.

Do you think that ultimately that the U.S. should have left a force, perhaps 2,000 or 3000 troops on the ground, to deter the Taliban, allow for targeted operations, things that can't be done without forces out of the country?

MISKA: You know, that small force that we had on the ground in April, when we made the decision to withdraw, it was only 2,500. We got double that going back in now.

But the importance of that force was the critical mix of capabilities. It was the special operators. It was the combat air controllers, the intelligence people that could direct drones in; the air assets that were based in country versus over the horizon.

Now you know, if you've got planes coming from seed bases or land bases out there, they've got a long response time to get there. They've got much less loiter time on target and it's a much harder problem set now.

So I agree. A small force could have not only kept us there and the Afghans there in the fight but it could have kept our NATO partners there and bolstered the Afghans with training.

HOLMES: Yes. Well, I know you're going to keep up the fight for those translators and others, who are stuck there, mired in this dreadful bureaucracy. Colonel Steve Miska, good to see you my friend.

MISKA: Thanks Michael.



HOLMES: Still to come on CNN, how the pandemic driven demand for undertakers has led to shortages in one Asian country. That's on CNN NEWSROOM. We will be right back.




HOLMES: Welcome back.

The Australian state of New South Wales is in the midst of a lockdown in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. This comes after the state announced a record high number of new, locally transmitted cases, on Saturday.

The premier of New South Wales, calling Saturday, quote, "the most concerning day of the pandemic," saying that the state is throwing everything at the virus to try and control the spread.

Meanwhile, Indonesia reporting a drop in cases in recent weeks but it still has the world's highest daily death toll at the moment, about 1,500 compared to 342, for instance, here in the United States. The crisis in Indonesia is overwhelming hospitals and forcing some families to make unthinkable choices. CNN's Paula Hancocks explains.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A deadly second wave of COVID-19 left 42-year-old Fakhri with an impossible choice: pick a family member with the highest odds of survival.

FAKHRI YUSUF, SON-IN-LAW OF COVID-19 VICTIM (through translator): My father-in-law worked as a driver. When his boss tested positive, he did, too.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Within that week, Fakhri's mother and two sisters-in-law also tested positive. Overwhelmed hospitals in Jakarta were already turning patients away. Fakhri's family secured a single hospital bed and a heartbreaking decision.

YUSUF (through translator): All hospitals and isolation centers were full. We managed to find one bed so we decided to send my sister-in- law.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): His father-in-law died five days later at home, deprived of a hospital bed in sickness and of undertakers in death. Desperate, Fakhri turned to volunteer undertakers.

YUSUF (through translator): In about an hour, the volunteer team arrived and worked efficiently to bury my father-in-law in a COVID cemetery. HANCOCKS (voice-over): Fakhri's father-in-law's story is all too

common in Indonesia. The world's fourth most populous country has been ravaged by the highly contagious Delta variant. Cases have jumped sevenfold since June and hospital beds are limited. TAUFIQ HIDAYAT, THE NATIONAL BOARD OF ZAKAT (through translator): The

worst is when the bodies are left at home for hours and hours after death, with no one to perform the last rites because they are scared.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Taufiq Hidayat (ph) has seen the situation deteriorate rapidly at close quarters. He's on the front lines as a COVID volunteer with the National Board of Zakat, a government-run organization funded by local charity funds that's been helping provide last rites.

HIDAYAT (through translator): We've collected and buried more than 60 victims of COVID-19 over the past month. This is just unprecedented.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Taufiq's (ph) phone has not stopped ringing in a month and every call poses a new challenge.

HIDAYAT (through translator): It's really tough on us. We have to wear full hazmat suits.


HIDAYAT (through translator): It gets hot. Some bodies are located in very small alleys or small houses. It's very difficult for us.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Faith keeps him going. His day starts with a prayer for their safety and ends with another, seeking peace for the deceased.

HIDAYAT (through translator): My family fear that I will get infected and bring home the virus. They pray for me. I always try and assure them of my safety.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Taufiq's account bears a grim reality, one that Fariz of LaporCOVID19 has been bearing witness to and documenting. His online platform has a digital repository of sorts with crowdsourced information on all things COVID.

FARIZ IBAN, LAPORCOVID19 (through translator): We found that nearly 3,000 patients have died in isolation in their homes. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg and it's not represented in the overall death toll.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): It's not just dying alone; self-isolation also carries other risks.

IBAN (through translator): Self-isolation is dangerous. With the contagious Delta variant, they can easily infect others in their home.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): But with numbers still rising in Asia's outbreak epicenter, patients have little choice but to self-isolate and face the threat of perishing at home, relying solely on the selfless services of undertakers like Taufiq to lay them to rest -- Paula Hancocks, CNN.


HOLMES: At least 20 people are dead after an explosion of a fuel tanker, in Lebanon. The Red Cross says the blast happened in the northern Akkar province, on Sunday. Leaving at least 7 people injured.

No word on the cause, as yet. But investigation is underway and the Red Cross says its teams have been dispatched to the area and they have been working to transport victims to hospitals.

We will take a quick break, when we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, the latest on the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti. We have a live report, when we come back.




HOLMES: Welcome back everyone, I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Appreciate your company.

Returning out to Haiti, the deadly earthquake that has rocked that already troubled nation. The death toll stands at 304, that number certain to rise. Thousands of other people are injured.

Haiti's prime minister says the country is in urgent need of medical supplies and personnel. The 7.2 quake struck Saturday morning at about 125 kilometers from the capital.

This latest crisis comes just over a month after Haiti's president was assassinated, plunging the nation into political turmoil. For more on this, let's bring in CNN's Rafael Romo.


HOLMES: Rafi, what more can Haiti endure?

Things were desperate in Haiti even before this crisis.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: You are absolutely right, Michael. Let's begin by saying that Haiti is the poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. And it's also at the very bottom of the list when it comes to the world ranking, according to the World Bank.

In 2020, Haiti was in the 170th place out of 189 ranked nations ranked on the human development index. Let's remember, Michael, that the small Caribbean nation has yet to recover from effects of the 2010 earthquake, that left as many as 330,000 dead and about 1.5 million displaced people.

It's very prone to natural disasters, as you know. It was hit hard by hurricane Matthew in 2016. If you add to the current political crisis, after the assassination of president Jovenel Moise last month, the fact that it has some of the lowest levels of COVID-19 vaccination in the region and the current disaster, you get a very clear picture of how bad the situation currently is in Haiti, Michael.

HOLMES: And then there's gangs, there is COVID. There's all sorts of other challenges.

What can the international community do right now to help?

ROMO: That's very good question. The international community has had a presence in Haiti for decades. But the help hasn't gone far enough for several reasons.

I just mentioned hurricane Matthew in 2016; it caused losses and damages estimated at 32 percent of 2015 GDP, according to the World Bank.

What happened after the 2010 earthquake, well, GDP was decimated, 120 percent. Then instability, political turmoil and corruption have not helped, either. The good news right now, Michael, especially given the circumstances, is that multiple countries, including the United States, Chile, Mexico, Panama and Colombia, have promised to help.

There's one more problem, a reporter in Port-au-Prince told CNN that armed gang violence has cut off some areas affected by the earthquake so getting aid to those who most need it right now is going to be a logistical nightmare -- Michael?

HOLMES: And Haiti will be hoping that the aid promised will arrive. It didn't, in many cases, after 2010. A lot of it was promised that did not all get there. Rafael Romo, appreciate it, thanks.

The U.S. rushing to protect Americans and allies in Kabul as the Taliban continues its dizzying offensive in Afghanistan. Sources say that the militants have now broken the defenses of another major city, Mazar-i-Sharif, in the north.

The Taliban have taken at least 22 of Afghanistan's 34 provincial capitals now. Meanwhile, U.S. troops have already started arriving in Kabul, one of the last major cities that is still under government control.

And helicopters are continuously moving American diplomats and personnel from the U.S. embassy to the airport. On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden authorized sending 1,000 additional troops to help with the drawdown of American and allied personnel. That is on top of 4,000 already cleared for deployment.

And as the Taliban tide sweeps across Afghanistan, one question is, how do they stage that comeback?

Five years ago, they were divided after using losing their leader and disagreeing over who should pick up the mantle. But as Nic Robertson reports, the militant group knew how to rebuild.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Twenty years after being driven from Kabul, the Taliban are poised to re-enter Afghanistan's capital once again.

In many ways, they've changed little; a rural movement led by deeply conservative clerics. But the Taliban have shown themselves smarter on the battlefield, adept at the negotiating table, as they've seized one province after another.

They've deployed a slick PR campaign to trumpet their victories, coaxing footsoldiers to hand over their arms and equipment, then sending them home. But as CNN has reported, also executing commandoes, assassinating air force pilots and other selected officials.

In just a week, they've executed the swiftest land grab in the nation's history, seizing more than half of Afghanistan's provincial capitals. Five years ago, the picture looked very different.

The group was split over a new leader, after Mullah Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike. The leadership settled on a quiet religious scholar, Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, who is rarely heard from or seen, cloaked in secrecy. His two deputies set about building the Taliban in all of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): The Taliban's military commanders were convinced that they should join peace talks, one prize being the release of thousands of veteran fighters from Afghan prisons.

Sensing the U.S. was exhausted by the Afghan conflict, the Taliban simply waited and planned. They joked, Americans had the watches; it had the time. It raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

A recent U.N. report said that, last year, the Taliban likely earned over $400 million from the mining sector and similar revenues from opium crops. It also profited from highway taxes and extortion.

It acquired weapons, such as drones and magnetic mines. With these weapons, it began targeting highways and local militias and building up a presence around provincial capitals.

All the while, its delegates were turning up for stuttering peace negotiations in Doha but making few concessions. The U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said, in 2018, he was cautiously optimistic that a peace deal would be reached.

The Taliban's chief negotiator, Mullah Baradar, had other ideas. Any peace deal would be on the Taliban's terms. There would be no space for the puppet government in Kabul.

Now the Doha process is superfluous.

The question is, when and how the newly strengthened Taliban reach Kabul, by force or through some transitional arrangement? Whether they will be any better at governing than the last time or more merciful is still very doubtful -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Lewes, Delaware.


HOLMES: We're getting a clearer look at the devastate from Turkey's floods. After the break, we'll see the damage done in just one town as the country struggles to recover.

All still to come, first responders also on the scene in Japan after rainfall described as unprecedented triggered mudslides. We'll have the latest in a live report from Tokyo after the break.




HOLMES: Welcome back.

Authorities in Japan saying at least 4 people are presumed dead, 2 others missing, after heavy rain triggered devastating mudslides. Hundreds of troops and first responders, are deployed on rescue operations.

Parts of Japan, receiving unprecedented amounts of rainfall. Public broadcaster, NHK, reporting some areas have been hit by more 3 times the average monthly rainfall since Wednesday. And it's not over yet. Our Selina Wang, joins me live from Tokyo.

So Selina, what do we know about the flood and also, the search and rescue operations?


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, this unprecedented level of rain hitting Japan is triggering these devastating floods and landslides in Nagasaki's prefecture official confirmed that a 59 year old woman was killed when her house was swept under by a mudslide. More than 330 people are now, there working on search and rescue operations.

Meanwhile in Nagano, there are at least 3 people presumed dead and 2 are missing. In the videos, in the hardest hit areas, you can see towns inundated with floodwater. People wading through water, that is going past their waist. Cars, streets submerged, mudslide damaged areas with search and rescue operations, trying to rescue and pull people out.

Officials had asked more than 5 million people on Saturday to evacuate their homes and are warning residents, there could be more and worse to come. Asking people to be alert for more flooding and landslides.

Weather officials say that this heavy rain is expected to stay across Japan for about a week and gradually continue to move eastward, potentially leading to devastating rainfall in eastern Japan.

Now this country is very prone to floods and landslides. Experts say half of the Japanese population, actually, lives in flood prone areas and the country has seen, on average, annually, about up to 1,500 landslides, annually. In the past decade.

But this torrential rain, it is getting much worse, Michael, because of what scientists say is climate change increasing the frequency, the risk, of this torrential rain. And we are seeing this trend play out globally. For instance, there have been deadly floods this summer around the world, in Germany, Nigeria and China and Turkey.

Here in Japan, just last month, torrential rain caused devastation in its resort town of Altani, where more than 20 people, died and several people, still are missing. A huge devastation in Japan in 2018, with more than 200 people died from floods in western Japan.

And a really interesting study to bring up from "Nature," that found that the number of people, at risk of extreme flooding has increased, around 10 times, since 2000, 10 times more than these previous estimates. This is a level of risk that has been magnified, over the past several decades -- Michael?

HOLMES: And it will continue to be. Selina, thank you, in Tokyo for us.

Now Turkish rescue teams are still looking for those who were missing in flash floods that swept through the Black Sea region. The death toll, now climbing to 44. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh, showing us the destruction left by the Russian waters.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: By daylight, the extent of the damage is captured by a drone, flying over the frames of flooded out buildings, in one town, in Turkey. The floods began earlier this week, heavy rain causing rivers to breach their banks, sweeping away cars, debris, even the foundations of houses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The cars were all around. The floodwater, coming along with knee-deep mud. I told my neighbors, everyone, run, save your lives. The mud took over the town immediately.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Many people did not escape the rush of water. The health minister, saying that dozens died in the floods and emergency crews are searching through demolished buildings for the missing as families endure the anguish of waiting for any sign of their loved ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My aunt is missing. Her husband is missing. Her twin grandchildren are missing. The wife of our building manager is missing, along with their 2 children.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, recently visiting one of the worst flooded places and declared the regions disaster areas.

The devastation comes as another part of Turkey has been battling wildfires along the country's southern coast, the majority of, which are now under control. A country with extreme conditions on two fronts, each, bringing their own share of suffering and destruction -- Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


HOLMES: Extraordinary images.

Now climate change, of course, having a devastating effect on many things, including emperor penguins. A new study by the journal, "Global Change Biology," found nearly all emperor penguins could be extinct in less than 80 years if climate change continues at its current rate.

Scientists saying two thirds of the penguin colonies will become quasi-extinct by the middle of the century. Emperor penguins, depend on sea ice for breeding and raising their young. The U.S. is in the process of listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Coming up, the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is so bad, hospitals are having to turn people away.


HOLMES: We'll tell you why it's so desperate -- after the break.




HOLMES: Across the United States, hospitals are filling up with coronavirus patients. Doctors describe intensive care units that are bursting at the seams. And it's all because of that Delta variant, which is spreading like wildfire in the U.S.

In Jackson, Mississippi, a hospital parking garage is now a field unit for COVID-19 patients.

In Tennessee, a fire chief told residents, if they call for an ambulance, there may not be one available.

And in Dallas, Texas, a judge says, if your child needs to go to the ICU, there won't be space until someone else's child dies first.

Getting enough Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus is still an uphill battle. Right now, just more than 50 percent of eligible people have received both shots, well below what experts believe is needed for herd immunity.

Some Americans who are seriously ill are sharing their stories to urge people to get lifesaving vaccines. CNN's Rosa Flores reports.



ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Terry Greear, an athletic Orlando elementary school P.E. teacher, who loves the students who nicknamed him "Coach Beard," his two boys and his wife, Stephanie.

TERRY GREEAR, COVID-19 PATIENT: I am extremely lucky, I'm extremely blessed.

FLORES (voice-over): Blessed to be alive, after surviving a 72-day battle to with COVID-19 that started in mid-January.

When vaccines in Florida were not available for people in their 40s, Greear says he went from being healthy, taking precautions to prevent COVID-19, to, in a matter of days, developing a fever, his fingers turning blue, passing out and getting rushed to the emergency room.

STEPHANIE GREEAR, WIFE OF COVID-19 PATIENT: And I do remember, as we sat in the ER, I kept thinking, oh, my God, what if this is the last time they saw their dad, like what if that was it?

FLORES (voice-over): Greear took this selfie from his hospital bed on day one, knowing he had no pre-existing conditions. And yet there he was, with COVID and pneumonia.

T. GREEAR: I was extremely scared. I'm like, what's going on?

This does not happen to me.

FLORES (voice-over): He doesn't remember many details because his condition deteriorated quickly. But Stephanie says he was moved to the intensive care unit.



FLORES (voice-over): He was intubated and placed in a medically induced coma.

S. GREEAR: It was the worst phone call I've ever received in my life. I couldn't believe it happened. I asked the doctors and nurses if he could hear me.

And she said, go talk to him. He may be able to hear you, we don't know.

I talked to him. I prayed over him. I asked God to please save him.

FLORES (voice-over): Students decorated his office. P.E. teachers designed these Coach Beard T-shirts and his wife filled his hospital room with pictures of friends and family. T. GREEAR: So whenever I was coming to or awake, I would see

pictures. And the first picture I would see was this heart that says, "We love you."

FLORES (voice-over): This is what Coach Beard looked like. His iconic beard was gone. He lost 50 pounds.


FLORES (voice-over): His lungs collapsed twice. He was placed on a ventilator, a feeding tube and a lung bypass machine.

S. GREEAR: The worst part was telling my children that their father may not come home and thinking that they didn't even really get to say goodbye to him. It was hard. He is my partner in life, it was unimaginable for me to think about going through life without him.


T. GREEAR: My wife told me, you got to do this. Just something kicked in where I had to start fighting and I fought hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because once we got him in the fight, he likes to win.

FLORES (voice-over): After two months, he turned a corner, entering intensive rehabilitation, having to re-learn how to do basic tasks.

T. GREEAR: Trying to put a sock on with two hands was impossible. My brain is saying, this is what you are supposed to do. But my body is saying, no, you can't.

FLORES (voice-over): Coach Beard still can't run like he used to. But he starts teaching today for the first time in months. And he has a lesson for everyone: get vaccinated, just like he did, after beating COVID.

T. GREEAR: I don't want anyone else's family to have to go through what my family went through. No one's wife or husband needs to tell their kids that Mom or Dad may not come home.

FLORES (voice-over): Wise words from a man with a big beard and a big heart.


HOLMES: Chavi Eve Karkowsky is a doctor in New York City, who has worked with pregnant COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic. She's also an author of "High Risk: Stories of Pregnancy, Birth and the Unexpected."

Doctor, it's great to have you on. You wrote this article in "The Atlantic" about how the suffering in hospitals seems, quote, "different because it is avoidable, optional, a choice."

After months and months of caring for people who have no control over their infection, what is the level of frustration among your colleagues, that those filling the beds now chose for whatever reason not to be vaccinated?

DR. CHAVI EVE KARKOWSKY, HIGH-RISK OB-GYN PHYSICIAN: I'm hearing from colleagues all over the country and these are some of the best people I know, people that trained for 20 years to take care of patients.

And then hearing them say things like, maybe people who are unvaccinated stronghold go back to the end of the line in the emergency room or shouldn't be allowed to be on the lung transplant list.

And I think that what I'm really hearing is just tremendous exhaustion and anger from a group of people who have gone through a really traumatic experience and feel like they're being asked to go through it again.

HOLMES: You also wrote about -- and this was more on a personal level for you -- you wrote about being, quote, "afraid of bringing the disease home, of infecting our spouses, of leaving our children parentless. For about three months, I didn't kiss my children."

That's heartbreaking.

What toll has the virus taken on you and those you work with?

KARKOWSKY: I don't know if this is something that people know but, in the beginning, especially when we were unclear about how the virus was spread and how best to protect ourselves, especially here in the United States, we did not have adequate PPE for the first month, I'd say, I have a lot of colleagues who left their homes.

They moved out, leaving young children behind so that they could continue to serve in their medical centers. I personally did not leave home. That's what my husband and I decided.

But it was really terrifying. Everybody I know updated their will, made sure they had a plan for their kids if both partners were to get sick. And that level of planning and still going to work is a devotion that I think we can ask. But we have to ask if we are part of a team, we have to all do this together.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly. I saw a report this week, about a man who needed lifesaving melanoma cancer surgery but it was put off because there were no beds available, beds filled with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

I'm just curious, as a medical professional, what do you think when you see cases like that?

And there are many.

KARKOWSKY: You know, it's really hard, because on the one hand, I treat the patient I front of me and I'm always going to do that. So whether you're vaccinated or not, I believe you deserve all the care I have to give. But I also see in front of me suffering that's preventable, right. And

that's something that, as someone who is also interested in public health, it just seems like a shame. I think that we can get to the point where we don't have to do this anymore.

And for a lot of my patients, I really feel like that point was maybe a month or two ago. And all this was avoidable.

HOLMES: You cast your mind back and, in the middle of the pandemic, health care workers, they were feted, they were held up as superheroes. But as the months have passed, that praise sort of has waned, I guess.


HOLMES: How are you seeing those health workers struggle to cope with what has been endless stress and horror, particularly having to care for people who had a decision that led to them being in the hospital?

What's been the damage to the morale?

KARKOWSKY: I want to say that I think that health care is sort of treated like the electricity grid or maybe the sewer pipes, I think almost treated like a utility. And I want to remind everyone that we are people. Health care is made up of people. We can probably talk about whether the sewers and the electricity is also (INAUDIBLE) by people at some level because it's in everything.

But what I see is that people are getting depleted. I know that, across the country, people also left medicine. So I don't just mean emotionally depleted. I mean that the staff in front of me is probably working more frequently for longer hours because other people have left.

HOLMES: I was just going to ask you about that, actually, a lot of people have left the industry altogether.

And who knows how many were considering a career in health care and decided not to go ahead?

What's the impact of that?

KARKOWSKY: I don't have numbers for you and I'm really interested in seeing what those numbers are like maybe in the next quarter or two. But my experience is that everyone I know is hiring, (INAUDIBLE) short on every level -- doctors, nurses, clerical levels, administrative staff, managers.

I think that the message that we got was that the 7 pm applause is lovely but actually, for many people, they felt like they were being treated like they didn't matter and people heard that and left.

Ultimately, people are still working, they're still devoted but burnt out. They're feeling exhausted, maybe a little angry. They're not bringing the level of compassion that this job really does require. HOLMES: Well, we are grateful to you and your colleagues and what you

do. A terrific and powerful article in "The Atlantic," people should check it out. Dr. Chavi Eve Karkowsky, thanks so much, really appreciate it.

KARKOWSKY: Thank you.


HOLMES: And finally the street artist known as Banksy has struck again, this time posting this video on his Instagram page, confirming that he is behind several murals that recently popped up in British coastal towns.

He dubbed the project "A great British spraycation." The murals show Banksy's quirky sense of humor, depicting a rat lounging on a beach or a painted seagull eating from a real trash can.

Banksy is, of course, famous for stunts like this but he always keeps his identity under wraps. And he's very clever.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me, I'm Michael Holmes, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HolmesCNN. Stay with us, though, the news continues after the break.