tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC August 28, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. the intensifying hurricane taking aim at louisiana. the warning from the national weather service. some areas may be uninhabitable for weeks or months. tonight, ida rapidly gaining strength over the warm waters of the gulf. more than 6 million americans now under a hurricane warning. louisiana bracing for landfall as early as tomorrow, 16 years to the day after hurricane katrina. that storm hitting as a category three. ida expected to strike as an extremely dangerous category 4. the storm hammering cuba on its way to the u.s. parts of new orleans under evacuation orders. cars streaming out of the city. long lines at the airport. residents filling sandbags. windows boarded up. federal medical teams arriving. helping hospitals already under
siege from the delta variant. our team on the ground along the gulf coast. and rob marciano tracking the storm's path. also developing late tonight, the kabul airport under threat. president biden warning another attack is highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours. and overnight, the deadly u.s. drone strike against isis-k in afghanistan. the pentagon announcing two high-profile targets killed, another wounded. retaliation for that deadly suicide attack in kabul that killed 13 brave american service members. tonight, u.s. officials releasing the names of the fallen, including this marine seen cradling a baby at the airport days before. plus, the daring rescue mission in kabul. one of the largest airlift operations in history. thousands of afghan refugees arriving at ramstein air force base in germany. leaving their lives behind. our will reeve is there. news on the pandemic. pediatric hospitalizations skyrocketing. the new alarming record from the
deadly summer covid surge. more than 300 children admitted on average every day. and the raging wildfire threatening lake tahoe. the new critical stage in the battle against the flames. good evening. thanks for joining us on this very busy saturday. i'm whit johnson. several major stories as we come on the air. president biden warning that the situation for american forces in afghanistan is extremely dangerous, as we learn more about the u.s. drone strike against isis-k terrorists. team coverage still ahead, but we begin tonight here at home with the urgent evacuations in louisiana. hurricane ida expected to come ashore tomorrow 16 years to the day after hurricane katrina. millions in the danger zone. crowds packing the new orleans airport, and massive traffic jams on the roads. people heeding warnings to get
to higher ground. these live images you see here from the lake pontchartrain area. residents boarding up. forecasters saying the region could get up to 20 inches of rain in some areas. ida now gaining strength in the warm waters of the gulf of mexico, expecting to make landfall tomorrow as a category-4 tomorrow, bringing a dangerous storm surge, flooding rain, and powerful winds. rob marciano timing it out in just a moment, but first victor oquendo leads us off from louisiana. >> reporter: tonight, ida rapidly intensifying and closing in on the louisiana coast. more than 6 million americans now under a hurricane warning. ida already lashing parts of cuba with high winds and heavy rain. new orleans' mayor warning residents -- >> prepare yourselves. if you're going to leave, you need to do that now. >> reporter: many heeding that advice. large crowds at the airport. traffic jams across the storm zone as families evacuate. our trevor ault is on interstate 10 near the texas/louisiana
border. >> we're just crossing the state line into louisiana and look at all the traffic headed out of the state. we are 240 miles west of new orleans. all of these people trying to evacuate into texas. >> reporter: back in new orleans, we met izzy ezzo boarding up his business. telling me he's worried about flooding. >> we're just hoping that when monday morning comes, we're not calling insurance. >> reporter: hospitals here sheltering in place. ochsner health stocking up with at least ten days of supplies, including fuel for generators. >> with having so many covid patients, with having our hospitals full, it's going to be a real rough weekend. and hopefully, it's not as bad as we're anticipating. but once again, we've got to be prepared for the worst. >> reporter: ida set to make landfall 16 years to the day after hurricane katrina. >> covered in mud. covered in mud. two feet of sludge from lake pontchartrain and mold everywhere. >> reporter: cheryl gross lost
her house to katrina, she's now planning on riding out ida in the home she rebuilt. >> there'll be damage. but i don't think it will be -- i hope not as devastating. >> so many hoping for a different outcome this time around. victor oquendo joins us now from the 17th street canal on the edge of new orleans there that breached during hurricane katrina. victor, what are officials saying about the threat from ida now? >> reporter: new orleans upgraded its flood protection system after katrina, including the 17th street canal. governor john bel edwards saying this is not the same state it was 16 years ago, but it is going to be tested. whit? >> it sure will. victor, thank you. let's get right to abc's senior meteorologist rob marciano. rob, when do we expect the gulf coast will start to feel the impact? >> reporter: this is moving quickly at 16 miles an hour. tropical storm force winds in new orleans likely before sun-up, and it's rapidly intensifying now. you see it on the satellite picture. you see that eye is developing.
that's frightening for all of us, and it's moving towards the northwest. the forecast track has not changed very much at all. there's high confidence this could land as a category 4 storm tomorrow afternoon, and still a hurricane early monday morning as it cruises through baton rouge. we're going to see a tremendous amount of storm surge. outside the levee system, it's going to be an inundation, 10 to 15 feet. but the winds with this will be destructive. look at some of the estimates. over 120 in grand isle. homer, i'm afraid for you. new orleans, you're going to be in the eye wall as well. this will be like a big tornado coming through this area, and baton rouge will get slammed, too. big time heat content in the ocean, gulf of mexico. climate change playing a part in the strength of this storm. whit? >> we'll all be following it very closely. rob, our thanks to you tonight. now to the other story, the race to evacuate in afghanistan. u.s. launching a drone strike overnight, and the pentagon now confirming two high-profile isis-k targets, who may have been planning future attacks, were killed. another wounded. scenes of chaos near the kabul airport's main gate. we know at least 350 americans
are still desperate to get out. dozens of flights leaving today. 6,800 people evacuated in the prior 24 hours, and we now know the names and faces of all 13 service members killed at the kabul airport. 11 marines, 1 soldier, and 1 navy hospital corpsman, most in their early 20s. president biden today issuing that dire warning, saying the threat of another attack on the airport remains highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours. here's abc's julia mcfarlane. >> reporter: tonight, kabul airport on high alert. gunfire and smoke seen near the main gates. with u.s. troops moving out, president biden now warning another attack is, quote, highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours. >> the threats are still very real, they're very dynamic, and we are monitoring them literally in real time. >> reporter: the pentagon announcing two high-profile members of the terrorist group isis-k were killed in a u.s. drone strike.
the first retaliation for that deadly suicide bombing at abbey gate. killing 170 afghan civilians and 13 u.s. service members. president biden had vowed retribution. >> we will not forgive. we will hunt you down and make you pay. >> reporter: overnight, an unmanned drone entered afghanistan's nangarhar province, conducting a single air strike, taking down an isis-k planner, a facilitator, and injuring a third fighter according to u.s. officials, who say they are not aware of any civilian casualties. >> the fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the earth, that's a good thing. it's a good thing for the people of afghanistan, and it's a good thing for our troops and our forces at that airfield. >> reporter: the president meeting his national security team in the situation room today, promising this strike would not be the last. tonight, the pentagon releasing the names of the fallen.
now on their final journey home. among them, u.s. marine rylee mccollum, 20 years old, about to become a dad in just three weeks. he was a baby himself when the war began, enlisting on his 18th birthday. >> he loved his family. he loved his wife. he was a wrestler. he knew he was going to be a marine his whole life. >> reporter: lance corporal kareem nikoui, his devastated mother writing, no mother, no parent should ever have to hear their child is gone. this is my hero. i will never get to hug him again. lance corporal david lee espinoza of texas joined the marines right after high school. >> as a mother, you know, it's hard, but he did serve. he did do what he wanted, but it's hard. >> reporter: and marine sergeant nicole gee of california, just days ago posting this picture from the chaos of kabul airport, comforting an afghan baby,
writing, "i love my job." >> those heart-wrenching images of our american heroes, and it's important that we remember all of them. let's bring in julia mcfarlane. julia, the pentagon confirming the 5,000 u.s. troops still at the airport have begun their withdrawal today, and officials are warning these final three days before that august 31st deadline could be the most dangerous? >> reporter: absolutely, whit. president biden says he's instructed his commanders to take all possible measures to protect the troops. they are still of course securing kabul airport, facilitating the last of those evacuations of americans and others still desperate to escape. whit? >> a massive task ahead. julia, thank you. tonight, that daring rescue mission in kabul. thousands of afghan refugees arriving at the american air force base in ramstein, germany. abc's will reeve is there. >> reporter: tonight, thousands of afghans desperate to escape the taliban here at ramstein air base, unsure of what their future holds. the base a critical transfer point in one of the largest u.s.
air lift operations in history. since the mission began, over 111,000 people have been evacuated from afghanistan, including 5,400 americans. over 20,000 afghans have come through ramstein, many fleeing their homeland with whatever they could carry. >> we had no other choice. we had to leave because our life was in danger. >> reporter: families, young children, even newborns. buses bring them to this processing center. after they've been processed, the afghan evacuees come here, to the temporary living facility. there are over 440 of these tents. the afghans you see walking through the rows here, waiting until they can get on a flight to the u.s. the base nearly at capacity. the airmen stationed here pushed to the brink, grappling with an immeasurable humanitarian crisis and the carnage of war. within minutes of that catastrophic attack on kabul's airport, an air force c-17 departed ramstein with
lifesaving medical crews and equipment. and quickly returned, carrying 22 of the most critically wounded service members and afghan civilians to germany for treatment. what's the emotional impact on you? >> it's a heavy burden seeing those soldiers come off that air medical evacuation airplane. it's a heavy burden seeing little babies that are, you know, tired, that are crying, that are hungry, that are weary. and that's a heavy burden because each and every single one of those are my responsibility. >> reporter: whit, this is an enormous military and civilian operation. there have been so far at least 5,000 afghan evacuees moved out of ramstein on civilian planes, united and delta sitting on the tarmac next to the c-17s they came here on. whit? >> will reeve really giving us a scope of the mission. thank you. let's bring in our white house correspondent maryalice parks. maryalice, some afghans we saw in will's report will soon be on their way here to the u.s.
this presents another challenge for president biden and the administration. >> reporter: the pentagon emphasizing today it is working quickly to ramp up capacity to care for thousands of refugees now arriving in the u.s. at military bases around the country. the virginia governor said yesterday that as of yesterday, 14,000 evacuees have come through the dulles airport. philadelphia, too, starting to receive flights just this weekend. of course, the government has programs for resettling refugees, but it will be a challenge to care for so many families so quickly. whit? >> no question about that. maryalice, thank you. and be sure to watch "this week" tomorrow morning. martha raddatz interviews secretary of state antony blinken about the race to evacuate americans and allies from afghanistan before that august 31st deadline. we do turn now to the pandemic and the growing crisis facing hospitals in some parts of the country. pediatric covid admissions, those 17 and under, reaching record highs.
overall, hospitalizations jumping 541% in just two months nationwide. and deaths now surging. the u.s. losing an average of more than 900 people per day, up more than 173% in the past month. here's abc's elwyn lopez from atlanta. >> reporter: tonight, the wave of young patients struggling to breathe battling covid in the hospital now at its highest point in the pandemic. >> we walk in the hospital, and it feels like the world is on fire. seeing younger patients fall this sick and die, is -- has been awful on all of us. >> reporter: on average, more than 300 children are landing in hospitals across the country every day. >> we took her to the emergency room, and they admitted her. she couldn't even walk in. she couldn't breathe. >> reporter: in south carolina, misty goodwin speaking to us from her 12-year-old daughter's hospital bed. amari, fighting for her life. >> i'm just glad right now, because they did take her out of the medically induced coma.
we still have a long road to go. >> reporter: the u.s. now averaging more than 900 deaths each day, up a staggering 173% in the last month. in central florida, 14 portable morgues like this one, set to arrive as early as today. >> this is our unvaccinated population is who's dying. >> reporter: lisa steadman says she and her husband were holding off on getting the vaccine when they both caught the virus. lisa coming home from the hospital this week, only to find her husband had died from complications due to covid-19. >> remember, you are not promised tomorrow, so you better make sure you tell your loved ones you love them. >> reporter: whit, a study out of the uk estimates that highly contagious delta variant doubles the risk of hospitalization. whit? >> another concern with that delta variant. elwyn, thank you. tonight, thousands marching through the streets of washington, d.c., on the 58th anniversary of martin luther king jr.'s historic "i have a dream" speech, now with an urgent call for congress to act
on voting legislation. >> the torch is being passed to us, and it's time for our generation to wake up the world so we can stop talking about the dream and start living the dream! >> reporter: tonight, a new generation marching the streets of washington. this time with an urgent call for congress to stop what they call the assault on voter access to the ballot box. >> we are narrowly focused on the outcome -- not the process, not the performance of events, but the outcome, and the outcome is adopting voting right protections. >> reporter: the texas house of representatives passing sb-1, its election bill that bans several voting changes introduced during the pandemic, like 24-hour polling places and drive-through voting. that happened despite several democratic lawmakers literally fleeing texas to halt the house vote. >> we need federal laws right now to help save many vulnerable texans. >> reporter: earlier this week, the house passing the john lewis
voting rights advancement act. the bill now moves to the senate where it faces many hurdles. reverend al sharpton, marching side-by-side with thousands, now saying it's up to the president to act in order to secure the right to vote for millions. >> it's what we want to see, people to march all over the country. >> reporter: passing voting rights legislation would require changing the 60-vote rule in the senate, which is a long shot. whit. >> ike, thank you. there is much more ahead on "world news tonight" this saturday. the new setback for crews battling the raging wildfire near lake tahoe. then i learned, my mop could be loaded with bacteria. that means i gotta clean my mop too? ugh. so i got a swiffer wetjet to get a cleaner, clean! i stick on a fresh pad. boom! it's ready to go. the spray breaks down dirt. and the pad absorbs it deep inside. unlike my mop that can spread it around. and wetjet's even safe on wood! all this? buh-bye. it's so simple! i get a cleaner clean every day. try wejet with a money back guarantee.
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>> caldor fire is 12 miles away from south lake tahoe. the city on the heels of evacuation warnings. we are live in el dorado county. >> without fire comes the choking smoke and a heat wave this weekend in the bay area. when are we getting some relief? new developments out of afghanistan. the united states striking back following the deadly attack at the airport in kabul. abc 7 news at 5:00 is next. -- 6:00 starts right now. >> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. kumasi: a raging wildfire in the sierra, smoke spilling into the bay area, clogging up the air. a searing heat wave. it is a rough weekend with no immediate relief in sight. good evening. thank you for joining us. you are watching abc 7 news at 6:00, live on abc 7, hulu live, and wherever you stream. containment has gone up on the caldor fire.
the flames are headed east. there are concerns the weather is going to take a turn for the worst tomorrow and because the -- and because -- and because the fire to explode in size, threatening more communities. smoke from the wildfire is blanketing the bay area, making for unhealthy air. then you add in the searing heat in many cities, it is a nasty start to the weekend. it is a triple threat between the wildfires, the smoke, and the heat. we have team coverage for you. cornell barnard looking at how this is impacting the bay area. drew tuma monitoring the conditions. we start with stephanie sierra who spent the day on the fire lines. reporter: we spent most of our time with crews who have been tirelessly working along the highway 50 corridor in the community of strawberry, where fire is on both sides of the highway moving northeast in this direction. all of that smoke is coming here to south lake tahoe.