“The storm of a lifetime.” That’s how one National Weather Service meteorologist is describing the massive Category 4 Hurricane Florence currently barreling toward the coast of the Carolinas, slated to make landfall on Friday. The National Hurricane Center is warning of a “life-threatening storm surge,” as well as massive flooding and highly destructive winds. This is North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
Gov. Roy Cooper: “This storm is a monster. It’s big, and it’s vicious. It is an extremely dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane. That’s why I’m ordering a mandatory state evacuation for our barrier islands, and I’m directing the people of North Carolina to obey local evacuation orders that have already been issued and will be issued along our coast.”
More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia as Hurricane Florence approaches. Yet prison officials say they will not evacuate nearly 1,000 prisoners at the Ridgeland Correctional Institution in Jasper County, South Carolina.
In Virginia, Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the site of the construction of a controversial gas pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, threatening to further pollute pristine waterways with erosion. Meanwhile, in neighboring North Carolina, experts are warning that Hurricane Florence could kill thousands of farm animals and trigger catastrophic waste spills from sewage treatment plants, toxic coal ash ponds, hog waste lagoons and chicken farms. Many of the factory hog farms in North Carolina store their waste by spraying it on nearby fields and neighborhoods or by depositing it in lagoons, which can overflow during hurricanes, causing the toxic pig manure to pour into nearby waterways.
North Carolina is bracing for the climate change-supercharged storm six years after passing legislation prohibiting state and local agencies from making planning decisions based on the latest climate science about sea level rise. Now the state is facing the threat of a life-threatening storm surge, which could cause billions of dollars in damage.
On Tuesday, during an Oval Office briefing on Hurricane Florence, President Trump tried to celebrate his administration’s response last year to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which killed up to 3,000 people—if not more—making it the deadliest storm in U.S. history.
President Donald Trump: “The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor, in Puerto Rico, I think, was tremendous. I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success.”
Meanwhile, BuzzFeed is reporting that FEMA has approved only 3 percent of requests for funeral assistance from Puerto Ricans who lost their loved ones during Hurricane Maria.
As Hurricane Florence bears down on the East Coast, Senator Jeff Merkley has released documents showing the Trump administration took nearly $10 million from FEMA—that’s the Federal Emergency Management Agency—and gave it to ICE—the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency—to build more detention centers. This is Senator Jeff Merkley speaking with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Sen. Jeff Merkley: “The administration is working hard to find funds for additional detention camps. And, of course, this is all part of the child separation policy, and that’s how this information came into my hands, because of my work on this issue of trying to stop the child separations. But, in fact—so, $10 million comes out of FEMA when we’re facing a hurricane season, knowing what happened last year.”
The Health and Human Services Department says it will triple the size of the tent camp where migrant children are imprisoned in the desert outside El Paso, Texas. The Trump administration established the tent camp in Tornillo in June as a temporary shelter amid the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which included forcibly separating children from their parents. Officials say they are now expanding it to contain 3,800 beds for migrant children.
The former rabbi of White House adviser Stephen Miller—the architect of the family separation policy—condemned Miller during a fiery speech during services for Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year. Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels of Beth Shir Shalom in Santa Monica, California, said, “From the Jewish perspective, the parent-child relationship is sacrosanct. Disrupting it is cruel. Mr. Miller, the policy you helped to conceive and put into practice is cruel.”
Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled the northwest province of Idlib—the last major rebel-held territory in Syria—amid fears the Syrian government will launch a full-out ground offensive. The United Nations has warned an offensive could lead to the worst loss of life in 21st century. This is Ali al-Mheymid, who fled from Idlib to the Turkish border.
Ali al-Mheymid: “What happened was destruction all over, burning, something you can’t describe. It was strange. Military planes, rocket propellers, everything, they did not differentiate between civilians and others. There are no bases, nothing. They want to target civilians.”
In Afghanistan, the death toll from Tuesday’s suicide bombing in the eastern province of Nangarhar has risen to 68 people, with 165 more wounded. The attack came during a protest against a local police commander. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
In Brazil, jailed former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has officially pulled out of the presidential race next month, after a Supreme Court judge rejected his latest appeal and said he could not run from prison. Lula announced Tuesday he was stepping aside to allow his running mate, Fernando Haddad, to stand in his place. Click here to see our full interview with former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
In Spain, up to a million people took to the streets of Barcelona Tuesday to celebrate Catalonia’s “National Day” and to demand Catalonia’s independence from Spain. Last October, the Spanish government seized control of Catalonia after its leaders held a banned independence referendum.
And in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea have reopened the border after 20 years, following the two countries’ signing of a historic peace deal in July. Hundreds of people have gathered at the two reopened border crossings to reunite with their friends and family members separated for two decades by the war.