tv Early Today NBC August 16, 2021 3:00am-3:30am PDT
breaking overnight afghan troops surrendering to taliban forces in kabul as western diplomats flee and more u.s. forces arrive to ensure their peaceful evacuation. hour richard engel is on the ground talking to desperate afghanis trying everything they can to get out of the city as panic falls over residents >> everyone showed up with their i.d. cards, pictures of their phone, other i.d.s, recommendation letters, employment contracts, and they're hoping that all 24 paperwork will be enough to get them a visa immediately so they
can get out of this country. >> richard's incredible account as the taliban took over to haiti, where saturday's def vastating earthquake has rescuers looking fororing. and the delta variant is overwhelming hospitals a busy monday ahead. "early today" starts right now glad you could with us i'm frances rivera after nearly 20 years, $1 trillion, and thousands of lives lost, american presence in afghanistan comes to a chaotic end. u.s. choppers evacuated embassy staff out of the city, as taliban fighters poured into the capital of kabul, sealing their control of the entire country. nbc's molly hunter joins us now from london. molly, good morning. it took ten days for the taliban to take over what is the state of the country now? >> reporter: hey, frances, good
morning. that's right, yesterday was the key day, the final day that we saw the country pass over into the hands of the taliban yesterday morning, and ouray started with the taliban basically waiting at the gates of kabul they were wait fing for a peacel transition of power. but we saw police and afghan security forces leave the city and the taliban going into the city now, all of this while panic and rumors were spreading, the city people were either fleeing to their houses, trying to go out into the streets, going to visa offices. absolute panic and evacuations started. so the other thing our team reported, there was a constant shuttle of helicopters, including from the u.s. embassy to the airport to get people out. by the late afternoon, president ashraf ghani had fled the country and by the end of last night, stunning images of taliban inside the presidential palace at the seat of power,
essentially their version of the oval office. they had taken control of the country. take a listen to secretary of state tony blinken on the path forward. >> ultimately, it's up to the afghans themselves, the taliban, to decide the way forward for the country, including kabul >> reporter: now, frances, what that looks like we may get an answer sooner rather than later. frances? >> let's talk about u.s. involvement here will there still be an american diplomatic presence in the country? >> reporter: that's one of the big questions, and certainly as tony blinken was pressed on that yesterday. overnight we got a statement from a state department spokesperson he says he can confirm the evacuation of all u.s. embassy personnel are now complete the airport perimeter is secured by the u.s. military apparently, they are working out of the airport while those e
evacuations are ongoing. exactly who qualifies, translator, people who worked tat embassy is not clear and who mae stay behind for a couple of days or weeks, w don't know >> it is heartbreaking to think how these live also be changed talk more about the people of afghan women and girls now >> reporter: yeah, and that, of course, has been making headlines, that's one of the big questions. we may learn the answer to their fate in the next couple of days. 21 years ago, of course, life under the taliban was very different. they couldn't go to school, they wouldn't become politicians. i want to play a quick bite from my colleague take a listen. >> women in afghanistan are the most at danger or at risk population of the country. by those who were upset with women becoming powerful in the last 20 years. >> reporter: now, one of the
other things, frances, that this human rights activist found hope in, there are a lot of women who only know the hope, the freedom, and the opportunity of the last 20 years hopefully those girls and women won't give it up even if forced. >> how difficult if that would be the case for all of them, thank you, molly hunter for us after the collapse of the afghan government, now it is a race to get out. the pentagon is sending a thousand more troops to help with evacuations, bringing the total of 6,000 military being rushed to kabul. and afghans are desperate wli trying to escape the country our richard engel has the latest >> reporter: the kabul airport is the only safe way out of afghanistan. and there was nearly a run on it afghans who could get visas rushed to foreign countries. for the united states, the airport is the staging ground to evacuate u.s. embassy personnel. helicopters and airports circled over kabul, shuttling between the embassy where sensitive
documents were burned and the airport and the taliban closed in the militants had already taken over every city except kabul u.s. trained afghan soldiers just melted away the taliban broke into the jail, freed thousands of prisoners and instantly added them to their ranks. afghans saw what was coming. the american evacuation does not apply to the vast majority of afghan citizens. i went to an office in a shopping mall packed with afghans struggling to fill out the state department's web page for visa requests. most people worked for the military in minor roles like cooks and cleaners afghans swarmed around me, thinking as an american i could help they showed me documents everyone showed one their i.d. cards, pictures of their phone, other i.d.s, recommendation letters, employment contracts, and they're hoping that all this
paperwork will be enough to get them a visa immediately so they can get out of this country. others came here because they're terrified of the taliban and didn't know where else to go she doesn't have any connections to the u.s she's just here out of desperation. she's saying, please, do something. take my son. they were right to be worried. the taliban made a brief incursion into kabul, probing. they met no resistance kabul would be a walkover. just hours later, seeing the writing on the wall, and likely saving his life, president ashraf ghani escaped the country. he was game over kabul is falling now we've just left our office, hour long-time home in afghanistan and heading to a safer location. we hope a safer location already, we've seen some gunman, looked like taliban on the streets. and all of the checkpoints, the police, the soldiers, they're
gone it was done. after 20 years, the taliban took kabul and afghanistan almost effortlessly the taliban seized the presipresiden ial palace al jazeera broadcast them in afghan's equivalent of the oval office, while the united states scrambled to evacuate, and a glorious end to a 20-year war. >> thanks to richard engel for that report. joe biden is facing sharp criticism over the decision to pull u.s. forces from afghanistan. he consulted with his national security team from camp david as he monitoring the deteriorating situation. here's nbc's monica alba >> reporter: as afghanistan falls to taliban control, the biden administration stands by its plan to leave. >> that is the hard decision the president made >> reporter: secretary of state antony blinken insist thing's not much more the united states can do >> it's up to the afghan government, it's up to the taliban to decide the way
forward for the country. >> reporter: now conceding the taliban's advances have been far faster than even he forecasted in june. >> i don't think it's going to be something that happens from a friday to a monday >> reporter: placing blame on the afghan security forces >> tragically, they have not been able to defend the country. i think that explains why this has moved as quickly as it's moved. >> reporter: and pointing at the trump administration's deal to withdraw american forces by may of this year >> the idea that we could have maintained the status quo beyond may 1st if the president decided to stay i think is a fiction >> reporter: joe biden promised to bring troops home, and guaranteed last month there would be no airlifts from the embassy in kabul, saying it was not analogous to the messy exit from vietnam fourdecades ago >> this is manifestly not saigon >> reporter: still, helicopters evacuated americans and afghan allies to the airport throughout the day.
an optical comparison republicans have seized on, as they continue to blast the president's foreign policy strategy >> this is going to be a stain on this president and his presidency and i think he's going to have blood on his hands for what they did. >> this has been an epic failure across the board >> thanks to monica alba for that report. now another major story this morning. the crisis unfolding in haiti. a virginia search and rescue team arrived to help with the recovery effort. as the death toll from saturday's earthquake climbs to nearly 1300. gabe gutierrez is in hate wi the latest >> reporter: it is a desperate situation here in haiti, as the country awaits the landfall of a tropical storm, just days after a powerful earthquake, some of the survivors now being flown here to the country's capital to be treated after a harrowing experience
a frantic search for survivors is under way after the earthquake that ravaged haiti. the race against time is even more urgent, with tropical storm grace barreling towards the country. >> a lot of damages. a lot of dead and injured people and for the moment, you know, it's really hard for the haitian people >> reporter: the death toll here, more than tripled, skyrocketing to more than a thousand at least 3,000 people were injured. u.s. search and rescue teams and the coast guard are rushing in supplies, as the haitian government declares a state of emergency. a lot of help is needed, this aid worker says, as he flies out victims. haiti was already reeling from the assassination of its president last month, intensifying gang violence and a spiraling economic crisis. the 7.2 magnitude quake saturday morning was stronger than the 7.0 quake that struck haiti in 2010, killing an estimated 250,000 people but this one's epicenter was not
as close to the capital, the most populated area. still, there have been 17 confirmed after shocks and there are fears the death toll could keep rising. >> it was unbelievable and then people just started screaming everywhere on the streets and just out of, you know, panic and fear >> reporter: betty lives in jeremy near the epicenter. with an impending tropical storm, the situation is growing more dire. >> for people that have limited resources, have houses that aren't well constructed, and knowing full well that there was a tropical storm coming in the next three days. >> reporter: the biden administration has just placed usaid administrator samantha powers in charge of coordinating the u.s. response. she's deployed a 65-member search and rescue team with specialized equipment to help with the search for survivors. >> let's turn now to
meteorologist janessa webb, who is dealing with a triple threat on a monday morning. good morning >> hi, good morning. you know, i want to get right into this, because we have one tropical storm in the gulf, one tropical depression in the caribbean, and one that has just formed tropical depression eight across bermuda this is tropical storm fred, southwest louisiana, dealing with the bulk of this moisture there's that's trajectory, it's going to head more north for landfall this evening. right now, we do have it 165 miles south-southwest of florida. 50-mile-per-hour winds right now going to continue to pick up across panama city with tropical storm warnings that are going to be in place. the problem with fred is that it's going to be prolonged moisture across the southeast and then start to make its way into the mid-atlantic. for tropical depression grace, it's starting to interact with some land for puerto rico.
that's why it's been downgraded to a tropical depression the problem is, with this storm system, it will produce a heavy forecastinrainfall across haiti, we're in the lower 80s across the northeast. and then we still have tropical depression eight we'll talk about that coming up. >> wow, what a start to the week still ahead, today many businesses and schools are returning to predelta restrictions, as more and more hospitals are reaching capacity, and emergency staff are running thin keep it right here on "early today. a whole lot more? cool. so what are you waiting for? mckayla maroney to get your frisbee off the roof? i'll get it. ♪ (upbeat music) ♪
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daily covid infections are up, and so are virus death rates hospitals are at capacities in states with low covid vaccination rates. some are even running out of icu beds >> reporter: back at the breaking point for some u.s. hospitals. >> we're pretty much on the -- you know, at a collapse. >> reporter: as covid cases spike, more than 75% nationwide. in texas, hospitals are facing a double crisis. soaring patient loads and reduced staff. some smaller facilities temporarily closing to reallocate medical workers >> you go into the hospital today, you're in a worse situation no matter what disease you have >> reporter: this parking structure in mississippi, converted to a care unit, all icu beds are full. florida is seeing more than 21,000 cases per day >> three educators here passed away earlier this week from covid, and none of the three
were vaccinated. >> reporter: only about half of americans are fully vaccinated, as some businesses and municipalities like tucson, arizona moved to man personal health, it unjustly exposes others to the risk of illness. >> reporter: the cdc is recommending a third dose for some 7 million immunocompromised americans, getting more shots in arms as covid cases climb. still to come, the gift of life the unforgettable surprise for a man in need of a kidney donation and ree "fguy," the weekend haul for the new ryan reynolds movie. ♪♪ just follow your nose! mmmm! part of a complete breakfast.
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when you l'eggo with eggo. a life-saving surprise caught on camera peter alexander spoke with a man set to receive the kidney donation he needs. along with the donor peter, good morning. >> frances, this is a powerful story about a selfless act, and one man's gratitude after learning that he was going to receive the kidney donation he desperately needs. kerry kimble had a surprise. she snuck into the backyard of an extended family member and waited >> oh, my god!
>> reporter: this is the moment bob scarborough learned kerry is going to save his life >> oh, my god! i love you >> reporter: bob, a new hampshire retiree, has battled kidney disease since his 20s how hard has it been for you dealing with this kidney disease? >> it's been very hard i take 12 pills in the morning and 5 at night >> reporter: last year, doctors told him he needed a donor fast. >> i'm about to tell bob i'm his kidney donor i just said, well, i'll get tested no doubt in my mind whatsoever >> reporter: in simple terms for you, this was a no brainer >> it was, and it still is >> reporter: she wanted a big reveal to know announce she would be his donor
>> reporter: that video now seen more than 10 million times the surgery, expected in the next couple of months. it's okay, he can come hug you if he likes. >> oh, boy >> what does that hug feel like? >> it's amazing. that's what i want people to have i want them to know they're doing something good to help somebody live. >> reporter: bob, at a loss for words then, but not now. in that moment you said to kerry you don't know what this means to me. tell me now, what does this mean to you >> it means life that's the only wayky put it it means life. >> reporter: the pair, forever bonded thanks to an incredibly selfless act. >> so happy for bob and kerry. what a difference a donor can make >> peter, thank you.
breaking overnight at this hour, the taliban's strangle hold on power continues to solidify. while more u.s. military forces arrive in kabul to evacuate our d diplomatic corps as quickly as possible after afghan forces failed to put up much of a fight against the taliban. >> we invested over 20 years, billions of dollars in these forces 300,000 of them, with an air force. something the taliban didn't have, with the most modern sophisticate
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