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CONNECT THE WORLD
Flooding Escalates in Australia; Haiti One Year Later
Aired January 12, 2011 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: Australia is waking up to another day of nightmarish floods. With the story and what's being done about it, I'm Max Foster in London.
Also tonight, Hezbollah forces the collapse of Lebanon's government. It is a story that drags all of the Middle East into the turmoil.
A moment the world will never forget. This hour it will be exactly one year since Haiti's devastating earthquake. We'll look back.
And piracy on the high seas -- CONNECT THE WORLD'S exclusive series focuses tonight on what can be done to stop Somalia's pirates.
And that is CNN for the next 60 minutes.
It's just after 7:00 a.m. In Brisbane, and as residents of Australia's third largest city awake, they've been warned to expect scenes like they've never experienced before. Just three hours ago, the high tide in Brisbane sent floodwaters rising to almost four-and-a-half meters -- more than a meter lower than first feared, but high enough to submerge entire neighborhoods.
If early predictions are right, thousands of homes are now underwater. The normally tranquil Brisbane River has been transformed into a raging torrent, taking with it everything in its path.
This famous restaurant was no match for the force of the water. The pontoon was ripped away and sent crashing into a bridge. This motorway in nearby Ipswich is normally half a kilometer from the river. Now it sits in the middle of it.
And dozens are still missing after a wall of water tore through the own of Toowoomba.
Search and rescue teams are combing wrecked homes for signs of life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDY WARHURST, LOOKING FOR HUSBAND: My husband rang about quarter past two and said not to come home, that the Possum Creek Road and everything was underwater. And that was the last we heard. We don't know where he is. I doubt he wouldn't have got out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, minority parts of Queensland have been left devastated by the floods. But the state's premier believes the region will recover quickly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA BLIGH, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: I know in my bones that Queenslanders are up to this and that we can take it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Queensland has already faced some dark days. And there are dark days still ahead. And we will be there shoulder to shoulder, not only for the days ahead, but for the many months of recovery and rebuilding to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: So as dawn breaks across Brisbane, has the city been spared the worst?
Let's head straight there now and speak to CNN digital producer, Hilary Whiteman.
She joins me on the phone.
What can you see out there -- Hilary?
HILARY WHITEMAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Hi, Max.
We've got sunny skies again here today, which is really sort of quite -- quite a contrast to the devastation that is seen in the low lying areas of the city.
As you mentioned earlier, the flood level has -- the river levels have peaked this morning at about four-and-a-half meters. That's less than the level authorities were predicting yesterday and about a meter lower than the level set in 1974, the last major flood.
The water level this morning is said to be slowly dropping but they expect the water remain -- to remain significantly higher for the next 12 hours or so.
Around 20,000 homes are believed to have been flooded, but that figure could also change this morning, as people wake up and expect -- inspect the damage. Some 80,000 Brisbane homes are also without power this morning. The local energy company cut off power to a lot of homes. It is a precaution, really, against floodwaters reaching electricity supplies. And this morning, they're saying that the death toll has risen to 13, with one man reported dead in Ipswich.
FOSTER: And as far as health concerns are concerned, what's the state of play there?
WHITEMAN: People this morning are being urged not to go into the water. Sewage plants along the Brisbane River system have been inundated. And that's sending raw sewage into the Brisbane River.
At this stage, they're saying the drinking water is safe. So there's no problem there. But it's just the fear that if they walk in contaminated water, there's risk of illness.
There's also the threat of elec -- elec -- electrocution, as I mentioned earlier, with the water coming close to power supplies. And there's also a great deal of floating debris, particularly in the Brisbane River, with pontoons, boats, logs flowing very, very quickly down the swollen river this morning.
FOSTER: Hilary, thank you very much.
Good luck with the rest of the day.
Well, thousands have been evacuated from their homes. For those staying put, life is far from easy. Public transport is scarce. And in parts of the city, so is electricity, as Hilary was saying.
Greg Wilson is a photographer who's been documenting the rising waters.
He joins me on the phone from Brisbane.
What situation are you in right now?
GREG WILSON, BRISBANE RESIDENT: Well, I've been traveling around since about 4:00 this morning surveying areas. And there's just this massive amount of water everywhere in the city. And the peak caught up at 4:00 just -- just past the -- just past the (INAUDIBLE). And this is people bewildered. And there's a lot of people pitching in and helping neighbors and the best thing that I've seen coming out of all this so far is the community spirit that's been regenerated back in the city.
FOSTER: As we look at some of your photographs, I mean it's a flooded city. We don't see many people.
So where are the people?
WILSON: On dry ground. Very much on dry ground. Most of the stuff I've been doing, I've been getting into the water and moving around and just photographing the scene. It's just absolute inundation in places that you -- you think water won't get and it has gotten. And like where we live at Windsor, we haven't had the power until 4:00 yesterday morning -- or yesterday afternoon. And last night, it was just eerie. It was like this quiet and eerie sound, like no cars. The only cars you saw were the police cars or (INAUDIBLE) cars with flashing lights going up and down the road all night.
And the road I live on, the Newmark Road, it normally this time of morning is bumper to bumper. There's not a single car on it.
FOSTER: There was some warning of this, wasn't there?
But are you getting a sense that an awful lot of damage has been done to Brisbane?
WILSON: Yes, a lot. I mean it's like today and yesterday have been first. Today, we've had some in the last 10 days (INAUDIBLE). And the amount of water that dropped in the previous 10 days is just unbelievable. You had to be here to see. You know, you get rain (INAUDIBLE) and they -- that stuff was just coming down in buckets. I mean (INAUDIBLE) time were like little mini rivers for days on end.
FOSTER: And as you travel around taking pictures and -- and speaking to people, how would you sum up the mood of people in Brisbane?
WILSON: Very somber. Very somber. And very optimistic. The big thing I've been pushing is that -- you know, getting -- if you're not -- if you're not affected, getting in to help your neighbor and -- and volunteer. And they've been overwhelmed with the amount of people willing to get in, give up time at work and come and help others.
FOSTER: OK, Greg Wilson.
Thank you very much for letting us use your photographs and for speaking to us on the phone.
Australia isn't the only country suffering from devastating floods, unfortunately. In Brill -- Brazil, at least 166 people are dead after heavy rain across Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. The majority were killed by a mudslide in a mountainous area north of Rio.
This river has clearly burst its banks in Sri Lanka. Police say 18 people have died there and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes in flooding and in mudslides. The government has deployed helicopters and planes to drop food and rescue marooned residents.
And more than 40 people are now dead in the Philippines following two weeks of heavy rain. Thirteen hundred homes have been destroyed and thousands remain in temporary shelters.
Now, the moment that changed everything, the year that made it so much worse. As Haiti marks the first anniversary of its devastating earthquake, we'll look back at 12 months of trials and the long road ahead.
And a flash point once more, Lebanon's government falls, raising fears of regional fallout.
FOSTER: Well, life doesn't get much more terrifying than this. One year ago to the hour, a massive earthquake plunged Haiti into a cycle of death, disease and destruction. More than 230,000 people died in the minutes, hours and days that followed. Haiti's prime minister now puts the toll well above 300,000.
FOSTER: Today, a nation still struggling to survive turned out to remember. A Catholic mass took place in the ruins of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.
January the 12th, 2010 was just the beginning for Haiti.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, this is crazy. You know, I just got here.
FOSTER: Scenes like this shocked the world, as the scale of the disaster became clear. Individual tragedies unfolded before our eyes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JANUARY 14, 2010)
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right behind me and you can hear a voice sometimes. There's an 11-year-old girl named Anika San Luis (ph). She's pinned underneath this rubble. And the -- and the volunteers here are snaking through a hose right now to give her some drinking water. She's about 10 feet away. And you can see the braids of this little girl's hair. I talked with her. She's wearing glasses. And she's crying. She's in a lot of pain right now and she's terribly scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JANUARY 16, 2010)
WATSON: The girl we talked about last night, Anika San Luis, 11 years old, trapped under the rubble of a house, very active, very afraid, in pain, but talking with us and with the rescuers, the volunteers that were trying to get her out. And, you know, you just -- your heart went out to this little girl. And -- and as we told you last night, she was cut free and being rushed to some kind of medical care.
Well, we talked to her uncle this evening and he gave us very sad news, that -- that shortly after she went through a first aid station, she passed away.
It's pretty heartbreaking. Her last words, the uncle says, were, "Maman, n'est me le pas mouria (ph)," which means, "Mother, don't let me die."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: It is a mountain too steep for an impoverished nation to climb. The watching world pledged millions of dollars in aid, but it couldn't come fast enough.
From out of the devastation came the looters. As foreign aid convoys clogged up the ports and airports, Haiti's hungry became desperate. Several people were reported killed as the violence escalated. And by early February, there was another enemy -- Haiti's annual rainy season. Mud and garbage piled up in tent camps, adding to the misery of the hundreds of thousands of homeless.
First the rain, then Hurricane Tomas smashed the island, setting off another deadly cycle.
Disease -- cholera struck Haiti in mid-October -- and it struck big. So far, more than 3,500 people have died from a disease that just clean water and soap might have prevented.
And amid all that chaos, Haitians turned out to elect a new president.
Here's Ivan Watson the day after.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM NOVEMBER 29, 2010)
WATSON: We were trying to just move through town. And we started to see lots of people running and kind of joyously clapping their hands and waving their arms in the air. And take a look at the what unfolded.
WATSON: All right, so some of the security forces -- oh, this is starting to hurt -- have just fired tear gas or pepper gas to disperse the crowd. Haiti is in the midst of a political crisis right now. There's not mut else -- much else you can call it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, many would argue little good has come out of these 12 hellish months. Take a look at these before and after scenes from Haiti.
This first picture is from January 16th of last year. Here, people walk by several collapsed buildings in Port-au-Prince.
Now, here's the same spot almost one year later. Some, not all, the rubble has been removed.
Another shot from January 17 of 2010 -- suspected looters take what they can from this destroyed building. Now here's what's left of that same building a year later.
January 16th last year, traffic tries to move past. More damage in the Haitian capital. Here's the same road a few days ago. The rubble has gone and traffic is back to normal.
One more shot from last year shows quake survivors washing in a stream next to several flattened homes. A year later, the scene looks remarkably the same, with the same -- well, with rubble still not cleared and with residents still using the stream to wash.
This is still an urgent situation. Aid group Oxfam is warning of a crippling lack of progress in Haiti's recovery brought on by a year of indecision.
Let's bring in Julie Schindall.
She's a spokesperson for Oxfam over there in Port-au-Prince for more on Haiti's position going into the new year.
How do you sum up the progress since the earthquake?
JULIE SCHINDALL, OXFAM SPOKESWOMAN: Well, unfortunately, since last January 12th, we've seen a lot of progress in terms of emergency aid. But what we're seeing one year on and what many people are seeing one year on is that not a lot of progress in terms of the long-term reconstruction has been made.
We were never going to be done with the process by now, but we would have had -- hoped to have seen more progress to start the process.
FOSTER: You talk about emergency aid. You're talking there about the -- the tent cities that we've got as a result of what happened immediately?
SCHINDALL: Emergency aid is that -- emergency food, water, sanitation, medical care that was so urgent. And, yes, it's -- it led to the -- these tent cities that we all hoped would be temporary. And yet in -- this has been prolonged. And nearly one year on, we have about a million people or so still living under tents and tarpaulins. And this is obviously the big problem staring us in the face, that we have to get out and get people back into communities and homes, safe places, so they can restart their lives.
FOSTER: Aren't we getting here to the fundamental problem, the damage wouldn't have been as bad if the buildings originally were pretty strong and could wither -- could have withstood more than they did?
And they're not being rebuilt, these buildings.
So the situation is as bad as it was?
SCHINDALL: Indeed, the way that those buildings that all just went down on the 12th of January last year, they were very poorly built, not built according to any kind of seismic code. I'm from Southern California. We have earthquakes. And yet to see the damage here is unbelievable to me because of the weakness of the structures.
And most of the rebuilding that has been done by ordinary people of their own homes is not very well done. So what is going back is not necessarily safe. Obviously, Haiti is prone to earthquakes. And so rebuilding needs to be done very, very carefully, given the vulnerabilities of this land and the people living on it.
FOSTER: There's a bit of a blame game going on here, though, isn't there?
Because everyone's admitting progress hasn't been as good as it could be and various groups are blaming each other. But, also, aid agencies have been come in -- come in for a bit of a grilling, at least from local people, who are wondering why you're not doing more to help them.
Why aren't you doing more to help them?
You're a massive aid organization.
Why aren't you providing more for these people?
SCHINDALL: Well, Oxfam is currently reaching over one million people with clean water, sanitation and hygiene in three different parts of the country, both to respond to the earthquake and to respond to the national outbreak of cholera. I don't think we're not doing anything.
I think what people are discouraged about and frustrated, as are we, is that more progress in terms of long-term recovery has not been made.
Sometimes that's the responsibility of the aid agency. We certainly play a role to say how are our programs sustainable and giving Haitians the skills they need to provide for themselves. But furthermore, there are major issues we face in terms of the fundamental weakness of the state and long-term poverty that is not the responsibility of one agency to address, but, rather, we need national approaches to this, led by the government, supported by donors. And aid agencies can help to fill the gaps and do what we can in our pockets and areas of work.
FOSTER: And has that annoyed you that lots of countries promised aid which hasn't actually arrived?
SCHINDALL: Indeed, one thing that Oxfam has highlighted, when you're on in our -- in a major report we put out is that donors promised lots and lots of money at last year's U.N. donor conference and yet by the end of the year, the number at the end of the year was about 40 percent of those funds for 2010 had been dispersed, as to -- according to the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton.
Now, there are new figures out saying it was 63 percent, actually, that was dispersed.
Those are very, very -- those funds went to very large scale projects and whatever, it's 43 or 63 percent, donors need to follow through on their promises. These funds are needed for major national scale reconstruction projects. And we certainly hope that more progress will be seen in 2011.
FOSTER: And we are shortly going to mark the moment where -- which marks one year since this terrible tragedy, the -- the earthquake.
What are your thoughts going into the next half hour?
OK. Well, we've lost the signal there, I think.
But that was Julie Schindall there from Oxfam.
We'll be back in Haiti in the next hour, as we mark one year since that terrible tragedy.
All right, if there's another thing that the last year has shown us, it's the -- that Haiti will need many more -- much more to recovery. But it still needs a lot of help. And you can help. To find out where to donate, do go to our Impact Your World site, CNN.com/impact is the place to go to.
Now, tonight on Back Story, do hear CNN correspondents talk about everything that's gone on in Haiti and what they remember most from their time on the ground there. That's in around 40 minutes from now, immediately following CONNECT THE WORLD.
You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
I'm Max Foster.
We are 30 minutes away from the exact moment that marks a year from when the earthquake struck Haiti. We'll be live in Port-au-Prince to mark it.
For now, though, we'll be back.
FOSTER: Well, as the top U.S. diplomat, Hillary Clinton is no stranger to treading carefully, at least when it comes to diplomacy. But when it came to a recent trip, she got off to a bit of a bad start.
And it got our Jeanne Moos thinking, as well.
Take a look.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it was a foreign trip with a little too much tripping. Her aides say she was OK, unlike the last time she tripped, while walking to the White House, and broke her elbow. She cited that injury when dismissing talk that her role in shaping foreign policy was being diminished.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I broke my elbow, not my larynx.
MOOS: She's had a lot of practice boarding and exiting planes.
(on camera): Steps are tricky enough, but imagine having a camera trained on your every arrival and departure.
(voice-over) Presidents develop their own style. President Obama prefers to jog. Bill Clinton was more leisurely. And George Bush occasionally clutched the railings -- something Gerald Ford should have done. His fall while deplaning in Austria has been embellished with sound effects and lives eternally on YouTube. President Ford even stumbled going up the steps.
(on camera): And it's not just American officials who slip on the airplane stairs while everyone is staring.
(voice-over): French President Nicolas Sarkozy managed to stay on his feet, but just barely.
So far, President Obama hasn't lost his footing, but he has lost his BlackBerry while jogging up the stairs. And he bonked his head while boarding the presidential chopper.
But then, so did President Bush -- more than once. And Michelle Obama has banged her head on Air Force One.
(on camera): Even presidential pets know better than to trust those airport steps.
(voice-over): President Bush had to give Barney a push to get him to go up. And he had to nudge Spot to get her to go down.
As we learned in a Jimmy Kimmel bit, the only thing more treacherous than using the stairs is having them go nowhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE," COURTESY ABC/YOUTUBE)
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST: The president was surprised when Air Force One pulled away without him. He suffered only minor bruising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: Those are videos they just don't want to watch again, aren't they?
Up next, the world headlines. And months of international negotiations couldn't prevent what many feared was coming, and that's the collapse of Lebanon's government. Coming up, we'll see why Hezbollah and its allies resigned and why the whole region is concerned about what might happen next.
FOSTER: Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, a political crisis in Lebanon, but what impact will it have on the entire region?
Plus, we'll take to the seas to find out what's being done to tackle Somalia's pirates.
(Inaudible) as we return to Haiti to mark the moment of deadly earthquake struck one year ago.
All those stories ahead in the show for you, but first let's check the headlines this hour.
Authorities predict that up to 20,000 in Brisbane, Australia could seem to be completely flooded. They've urged people out of town. Much of the city has no electricity. The disaster has killed 13 people this week. Dozens of others are missing.
Tunisia's government has imposed a curfew in the capital of Tunis to control violent demonstrations. The government says 21 people died in the clashes, but foreign media reports higher death toll. Protesters are angry over high unemployment and poor living conditions.
Independence referendum in Southern Sudan is not over, but election officials say they've reached the magic number needed to make the vote valid. They say they hit the required 60 percent votes turn out threshold to three days into the referendum.
Now, to new worries about the stability of Lebanon after its unity government collapsed. Hezbollah and his allies withdrew from the government of Saad Hariri today over his refusal to reject a special U.N. investigation into the assassination of his father.
Reports suggest the U.N. tribunal will implicate senior members of Hezbollah in the 2005 car bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly said he won't stand for that.
He says the U.N. Tribunal is part of a U.S.-Israeli plot to undermine Hezbollah's authority. Syria and Saudi Arabia tried for months to mediate the standoff, but those talks broke down on Tuesday night. This is Lebanon's worst crisis since 2008.
You may remember what happened back then, more than 80 people were killed in street clashes when the government tried to curbed Hezbollah's power. No one is sure how the crisis will play out on official (inaudible). The prime minister says Hezbollah, "I think its power play will work, but Saad Hariri won't bend."
Let's get an update from ground. CNN contributor and former managing editor of "Daily Star," Marc Sirois is in Beirut. The timing of this was unexpected, wasn't it, Marc?
MARC SIROIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Not entirely, no. I wouldn't say it was unexpected. The move had been threatened for quite some time and I think that - that with the fact that Hariri was meeting with President Bush and indictment is expected any day, that's why they went with the timing now. They didn't want to wait any longer.
FOSTER: OK, what do we know about Hariri's movements right now?
SIROIS: My understanding is that he has headed to Paris for consultations with another supporter of his government, which is the French government of Nicolas Sarkozy. And he's consulting with them to see what to do next.
When he was in the (inaudible) met with another supporter, which is the king of Saudi Arabia who's there for - for medical treatment and so he's trying to decide where to go next. But, you know, the balls already been set in motion back home. His government has collapsed.
FOSTER: Yes, and so - it's been a fragile state for some time, of course, so what are people making of all of the goings on at the political level?
SIROIS: I'm not - I'm sorry I didn't hear your question.
FOSTER: I'm just wondering how people are reacting to all of this?
SIROIS: Yes. Well, you know, the Lebanese don't panic very easily. They're accustomed to all sorts of different kinds of problems from domestic political strife and a really bloody war with Israel a few years ago.
But on the other hand, people are tired too. They're tired of not knowing what's going to happen next. They're never sure whether any of the process - even paper work with the government has been paralyzed for quite some time. They really want to get pass this.
Nobody's quite sure how to get that done, but people are just tired of having these two sides of each other's throat all the time.
FOSTER: OK, Marc Sirois, thank you very much indeed for joining us from Beirut. Well, as news broke that Saad Hariri's government was collapsing, he was just sitting down with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington.
An ally of the prime minister says that was no coincidence suggesting Hezbollah timed this withdrawal to deal a moral blow to the United States. The U.S. is a strong supporter of Saad Hariri as his regional heavy weight Saudi Arabia.
Hezbollah on the other hand is backed by Syria and Iran. As we mentioned, Syria and Saudi Arabia reached across the divide and try to help the two camps find common ground to no avail. The U.S. is also being seeking the help of Egypt, Qatar and France in resolving the crisis.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is actually on his way to France as we were hearing right now after leaving Washington. Clearly, many countries have an interest in seeing Lebanon remain stable.
To talk about the implications this crisis, let's bring the Washington Bureau Chief, Al-Arabiya Hisham Melhem. He's also a correspondent for the Lebanese Daily. Thank you so much, sir, for joining us. What did you make of the timing of Hezbollah's pull out?
HISHAM MELHEM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, AL-ARABIYA: Obviously, the timing was designed to humiliate Saad Hariri a few minutes before he entered to the White House to meet with President Obama to seek his support in the current crisis.
And Hezbollah and their allies in Lebanon and in the region including Syria and Iran are claiming or have been claiming that for the - in the last few days, the French, the Americans, the Saudis and Saad Hariri were kind of collaborating against Hezbollah and pushing harder for the international tribunal to continue its work.
So the timing was designed to weaken Saad Hariri and humiliate him just before his meeting with President Obama. So the crisis or the timing was not really that surprising. We've seen an escalating pressure from Hezbollah in particular to force Saad Hariri to - to undermine the international tribunal, which is investigating the murder of his father. Essentially, they have the goal - to ask Saad Hariri to be an accomplice in the killing of his own father, to forget about it.
And as you all know, for more than 30 years, we witnessed in Lebanon the assassinations of political figures, religious figures, intellectuals, journalists and in 2005, two of my own friends and colleagues were murdered and there was no accountability.
We've seen impunity and I think, you know, the Lebanese, not only Saad Hariri and those who were assassinated after his father in 2005 deserved a sense of justice.
FOSTER: But at the same time, Hezbollah and many other supporters across the Middle East and around the world would be arguing that this investigation was a setup. So they don't want to be any part of it. Who's winning the argument in that region?
MELHEM: Look, from the moment Hariri was assassinated, Hezbollah tried to undermine every kind of investigation. Be it Lebanese, local or international and that raises the question as to why they have been doing this.
And in fact, every move taken by Hezbollah since 2005 including the war in 2006 taken over west Beirut, the (inaudible), which is the government (inaudible) and then in 2008, turning their guns against fellow Lebanese.
Everything tells you that Hezbollah has been trying to undermine the tribunal and is trying to impose its own will on Lebanon. They are telling that - telling the Lebanese that you have essentially to make a cruel choice. It's a (inaudible) choice between stability or justice, but you cannot have both stability and justice.
If you seek justice through the international tribunal, we are going to burn the house. So therefore, accept stability and accept the fact that there was impunity for political murder and assassination in the country.
The problem now is that this crisis is taking place against the background of mounting tension between the (inaudible) not only in Lebanon, but in Iraq and throughout the countries in the region where they have (inaudible).
It's taking place against the background of sectarian and religious persecution of the Christian communities in Iraq and in Egypt. It's taking place against the background of a (inaudible) of leadership in the Arab world. A crisis of governance throughout the Arab world, you'll see it from Algeria to Tunisia to Yemen and to Sudan. Just to mention a few.
So that's why the situation has always been combustible in Lebanon. Today, it's more so than ever and that's why this move today tells you that there are - that many people in the Lebanese political class are as reckless as can be and as corrupt as can be and they are willing to collaborate with the devil to pursue their own narrow sectarian ends.
And because Hezbollah, Hezbollah does not act alone. Hezbollah is linked to a regime in Damascus and a theocracy and a backward theocracy in Tehran. And it's doing the bidding for those two regimes.
FOSTER: OK, Hisham Melhem, thank you very much for your perspective on that. So many perspectives on this -- we'll reflect them continually as this situation in Middle East really does - think it's worst politically speaking.
Still to come on the CONNECT THE WORLD, catching pirates. They are a prolific bunch of high sea outlaws attacking at least one ship a day. Find out what's being done to abort modern day piracy up next.
FOSTER: So they are growing menace. Some high seas pirates according to the International Maritime Bureau hijacked more than 50 ships worldwide in the past year. At the moment, 27 ships were in the custody of pirates and 625 crew members remain hostages.
On this week, CONNECT THE WORLD, we're investigating modern day piracy. So far, we've met a real pirate, a Somalian man who told becoming a high seas bandit was his best career option.
Now we've looked to the business of piracy following the money trail in what has become a highly organized crime. Tonight, Zain Verjee shows us what's being done to (inaudible) piracy. A growth industry is costing shipping owners around the world millions of dollars in ransoms and in security.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The hope is this can ward off pirates. It may seem laughable, but mannequins posing as guards in the dead of night could fool pirates and force them to plea.
There are other tactics as one NATO commander tells me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barbwire perhaps around their - their ship. They have extra look outs posted to look for Somali pirates. They have a routine where they can find fire flares, water hoses, et cetera.
VERJEE: Warships try to stop pirates before they hit major shipping lanes like the Gulf of Aden.
(on camera): The captain would have seen the (inaudible) out there and then ordered out the Marines to go and deal with the pirates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We take away their equipment. We take away their mother ships, which is damaging to them and then send them back to shore.
VERJEE (voice-over): In Mombasa, Kenya, the Greek commander of this warship supports operations around Somalia for the European Naval Force, EU NAVFOR. He tells me what's tough.
CAPTAIN VASILEIOS EFSTATHIOU, EU NAVAL FORCE SOMALIA: The area is really huge. The area of operation is equal about the size of the United States.
VERJEE (on camera): Just compare the size here. A powerful warship like this one (inaudible) with weapons and technology is chasing around boats smaller than the size of this one out on the Indian Ocean.
(voice-over): Deep in a building in central London, one private Maritime security firm has got a bird's eye view. They're watching feeds, tracking vessels and weather passings.
RAURI DOWDS, MARITIME UNDERWATER SECURITY CONSULTANCY: We analyze them. We try and create a picture of what's real and what's not.
VERJEE: They help stir ships in real time sometimes to rough waters where small pirates can't operate.
DOWDS: We consider factors such as rainfall and most importantly wind.
VERJEE (on camera): While I work on the story, pirates attacks are up. I got this e-mail from a Maritime security consultant, Tim Hart, who says the guys works are pretty swamp. Huge number of attacks over the past few days.
(voice-over): A team at a Malaysian radar centers monitoring the straits of Malica, pirates attacks there are now almost zero.
(on camera): If you take a look at this piece of video, there's a patrol boat that's been sent to investigate what they thought could have been a suspicious boat.
CAPTAIN WAN AFFANDI BIN WAN AHMAD, MALAYSIAN MARITIME ENFORCEMENT AGENCY: You check on its papers and what it's doing on the sea.
VERJEE (voice-over): Everyone I speak to tells me there's only one real solution for Somalia. That's not on the sea, but on the shore where only a government that works can control its people.
For now as Somali pirates plan attacks, real men and let's call them reinforcements patrol the high seas hoping ships pass safely. Zain Verjee, CNN, London.
FOSTER: Tomorrow night, ransom demands and payments. Zain speaks to a former hostage who explains how it works.
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COLIN DARCH, FORMER HOSTAGE: I had to use the ship's satellite telephone and the main purpose was for me to relay the ransom demands and the threats.
They were very casual with these guns. It was a bit scary because they were sort of wild and irresponsible and drugged up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: That is part four in our Pirate series tomorrow. You can find out what else we've done in this week long special in our web site and Facebook page. There you'll also find a daily blog from Zain. Do head to our web site cnn.com/connect or Facebook page, facebook.com/cnnconnect.
Up next, one year on. We head to Haiti for live coverage as the devastated nation forces to remember the very moment the quake hit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER (voice-over): A day of reflection and hope for a better future in Haiti as people remember those few terrifying seconds that would change their lives forever.
You're looking at live pictures of the Shantimar, the main park in Port-Au-Prince. The nation will soon pause for a moment of silence at about the exact time an earthquake struck one year ago today.
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FOSTER: Two of our reporters who are there at that time and are there now are Gary Tuchman and Ivan Watson. What's getting through your minds right now guys?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think kind of curious to see how Haitians will observe what the government has called for a moment of silence. We've seen the different ways of celebrating, of commemorating this tragic day. Huge prayer ceremonies in stadiums and then very quiet gatherings of families by the tombs of their loved ones on a day when schools have been closed and this have been declared a national holiday.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a very emotional time for us. When we arrived here 14 hours after the quake struck and we were standing here on January 13, 2010 looking across here at the park of Shantimar and there's nobody there.
We saw homeless people starting to stream in and all of a sudden became more and more crowded and ever since then, this has been a permanent homeless camp. There are still, Max, up to one million homeless people in this country.
There are only 10 million people who lived in Haiti, that's one out of every 10 people homeless, 220,000 people killed. They're still discovering bodies and now we're 30 seconds away from the exact moment one year ago when this earthquake changed Haiti forever.
We don't know how people behind us are going to react. They don't have TVs or radios. A lot of them probably have heard about this moment, but it is a national moment of silence in this country. And we're anxious to see how people react. I mean, just a short time ago, we saw somebody attacked the U.N. vehicle.
I mean, people are mad at the United Nations and in fact, (inaudible) a calm day, but now we're five seconds away from the moment of silence. Let's listen and look and see what happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN (voice-over): We could see there are some people who are standing at attention, but other people going about their daily routes, their daily business trying to survive. And it certainly is the priority, surviving right now in this country.
WATSON: Gary, it's interesting there to say a young woman I talked to at the stadium where there's a big prayer service that's underway now and she said if I want to give one message to the world about Haitians, it's that we're survivors and they've certainly been tested over the course of the past year.
In addition to this catastrophic earthquake, close to a quarter million people killed and we can still see rabble in the streets. You have a cholera epidemic. The first in a century that has hit this country and has really put additional pressure on a society that's been pushed to the limits, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
Death toll of 3,600 and growing and then a political crisis where we've been seen fighting in these very streets amid the homeless make shift camps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: And a power vacuum right now with nobody clear who the next president will be or when the current president will step down and that has just made an overwhelming difficult reconstruction process that much harder.
TUCHMAN: The thing is with the cholera. Not only have you had more in 3,600 people killed. The death toll was 3,400 last week. It's gone up by 200 in just one week, but there are more than 170,000 people infected with the cholera virus.
Then you put this all together with the 220,000 people killed in the earthquake a year ago today, 170,000 people affected that's 390,000 people killed, infected by cholera. I mean, the despair in this country is just unbelievable and perhaps it was a bit naive of me when I was here a year ago.
I thought, well, you know, we thought about the anniversary. We cover anniversaries all the time whether it's Katrina or whether it's 9/11 and you see improvements. I mean, Katrina, the great example in the United States where a year later there's no problem, but there's a lot of improvement.
Here there's no improvement. I mean, there's as many as homeless people. You have the cholera. You have the political violence and that was one of the points of (inaudible) that Haitian leaders pointed that we haven't had a civil disorder. We haven't had disease and it was wonderful to be able to report that. And now we've had both and that's what so sad about the situation.
WATSON: It's sad and I think you hear often Haitians denouncing their own political elite, their own leaders saying they haven't been doing the job. But we've also seen an evolution where Haitians have started cast blame as well as you've mentioned earlier on international organizations like the United Nations, on foreign governments and on the aid organizations that are on the ground here in large numbers.
Because they're saying well, we've heard that billions of dollars have pledged, but how come my life hasn't gotten any better. How come I don't feel like I have any hope and we've also heard harsh words of criticism from an organization like "Doctors without Borders."
Their president writing in and saying the fact that thousands of people died from an easily treatable disease cholera when so many thousands of aid organizations were on the ground here and the cholera epidemic broke out some nine months after the earthquake, that is a failure on the part of the system of international aid.
TUCHMAN: When we think about cholera, there hasn't been any cholera here in generations and there are many people including different scientists who think it was inadvertently caused by U.N. troops from Nepal who dumped their waste in a river an hour and a half north of here.
The U.N. is investigating it, but that's why there's some attacks towards United Nations. It's a very sad anniversary the moment the earthquake struck a year ago. Max -
FOSTER: All right, Gary, just - and Ivan, just quickly, what you make a fact that people are just going about their everyday business and ignoring the moment of silence. Is that a sense of resignation amongst Haitians?
WATSON: It might be a suggestion that people have to go their own way in this country. There's not really a strong rule of law. The government is as weak as it perhaps ever been and people have to survive on their own and make do their own and make their own way and perhaps break the rules of a government appeal for a moment of silence.
TUCHMAN: In all fairness, a lot people probably don't know about it. These people here most don't have televisions or radios and they don't read newspapers.
FOSTER: Gary Tuchman, Ivan Watson. You're there a year ago and you're there now. Thank you so much for your reporting on Haiti.
I'm Max Foster. That is your CONNECT TO THE WORLD headlines and back story are next. But for now, we'll leave you with a pitch of tribute of Haiti one year on.