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CONNECT THE WORLD
Special Coverage Of Super Typhoon Haiyan Continues; U.S. Secretary Of State Urges Congress To Avoid Passing New Sanctions On Iran
Aired November 13, 2013 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: Desperate for supplies...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have food. None. Not now, not later.
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FOSTER: Aid is arriving in the Philippines, but it's still a waiting gave for those who need it most. And as they wait, anger builds as the dire situation they face.
Tonight, we're live in Cebu, the hub of the aid operation to find out what's being done.
Also this hour, opium cultivation reaches a record high in Afghanistan prompting urgent questions over the country's future.
And unlocking the mystery of British spies -- a British spy found locked in a bag.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
FOSTER: We begin in the Philippines where survivors of Typhoon Haiyan are facing an increasingly desperate situation. The death toll is rising. Nearly 2,300 people were killed. Leyte Province was hardest hit. Nearly 1,300 deaths confirmed in this area alone.
Samar Province to the north of Leyte has at least 200 confirmed deaths.
162 deaths in Eastern Samar with more than 600 injured, most from the town of Guiuan.
There have also been over 60 people killed in Cebu.
They are the official figures so far, but the death toll is climbing every day. Survivors need urgent help. And efforts have been slow.
Many tons of food and water have arrived, but debris means workers can't get it to the people.
Eight people were killed after a stampede broke out at a food warehouse. Starving residents took thousands of bags of rice.
It's now been five days since the typhoon hit and only today was there a significant increase in aid activity. U.S. Marines arrived at a Cebu air base with more helicopters.
We'll get the latest from Anna Coren who is there in a moment, but first a report this morning when the helicopters touched down.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For days this staging ground for the disaster relief operation here in the Philippines has been a surprisingly small operation. Well, that changed today when the Americans arrived.
(voice-over): Here at the Cebu air base, Ospreys flew in carrying U.S. Marines to coordinate the enormous aid mission that to date has been slow and ineffective. Planes from Australia and Taiwan also landed, transporting a makeshift hospital and much needed medical supplies.
With this operation finally shifting gears, as more supplies are sent in to the disaster zone, those who have escaped the carnage and misery shared their horrific stories.
This 53-year-old woman from Tacloban huddled with her 16-year-old daughter and elderly father when the typhoon hit. She tried to hold on to them as the waters rose, but she couldn't save them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I lost my daughter, my 16-year-old daughter. I told her during the evacuation go, go, Tin Tin (ph), go. Leave, leave me and your Lo Lo (ph), but my daughter said no, mama I can't leave you. I can't leave you and Lo Lo (ph). I can't leave you.
COREN: So many of these evacuees have lived through unimaginable horror. And while they tried to protect their children, these young survivors are deeply scared by what they've witnessed.
GIRL: I've seen dead people on the streets and the sidewalks.
GIRL: Me too.
COREN: And how did that make you feel?
GIRL: It made me feel scared.
GIRL: Me too.
COREN: Why do they make you feel scared?
GIRL: Because it was very creepy that there were dead people out on the streets.
FOSTER: Well, Anna joins us now from Cebu.
Anna, has there been any progress since you filed that report this morning?
COREN: Well, look, Max. I'd have to say that this is the first night that this air base has been functioning on a 24 hour basis. It certainly is a dramatic improvement than what we've seen in the last six days.
There are lots of planes on the tarmac. You can probably see a C-130 Hercules behind me that's being loaded with aid. Through in the last 12 hours we've had planes arrived from the United States, from Australia, from Taiwan, all delivering aid, medical supplies.
The Royal Australian Air Force has brought in a makeshift hospital, which they are setting up in Tacloban later today.
So this aid is coming in from around the world, desperately, desperately needed, Max.
We traveled to Guiuan in eastern Samar Province which was the first township hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan and the place was completely decimated. We landed on the tarmac. We were on the ground for all of 20 minutes distributing aid and the people you know who could race to the air base and they just said they are out of all supplies. They have nothing. They have no food, no fresh water. They're scavenging, you know, whatever they possibly can. And they were basically begging for help.
So he situation is dire on the ground, Max. And it's hoped that now that the international is (inaudible), they're present, they're here that things will start moving a lot quicker.
FOSTER: We've had these reports of stampedes centers where there's food. Have you got some sympathy for that? I mean, what's the motivation behind that? I mean, it sounds like survival.
COREN: Yeah, absolutely. I don't think there is a criminal element to this. I have no doubt that there are some people taking advantage of the situation, but this is a disaster zone. You know, people do not have the basic necessities that we live with every single day. They've been doing without. They are completely homeless. They've lost everything. They've had to, you know, erect a makeshift shelters and we've had, you know, torrential rain here in the last 24 hours. So things are better now. And apparently the forecast is for clearer skies.
But now we're talking about, you know, seriously hot temperatures. So I guess what I'm saying is those people who are taking drastic measure, you can sympathize with them, because, you know, in these sorts of times people need to do this, need to survive. So I think that's what we're seeing.
Certainly on that flight that we traveled with, the military, there were soldiers on board, police on board. And apart from, you know, taking part in the search and rescue mission, which I think is much more now a recovery operation, they are also there to help restore law and order -- Max.
FOSTER: The aid workers you're with, are they inevitably have to worry about their own security. That's the first thing they need to worry about. Are they concerned that they're going to have to slow down the aid operation, because of the sense of panic on the ground when they bring in these desperately needed supplies?
COREN: I think that now that we are seeing an international presence, there is a sense that things might start running the way that they should have been days ago.
You know, a great deal of frustration has been coming from local authorities, from those local communities who say, you know, we would have thought that aid would have reached us a long time ago, days ago.
But certainly as far as the aid organizations are concerned that we've been in touch with, they are still going ahead with their plans. Yes, there are security concerns, yes there are reports of people I guess hijacking cars filled with -- filled with aid and supplies, but once again, you know, Max, this is a dire situation. And I think we have to put it into context.
And if the international community can get in here, restore law and order, then I think that things will certainly help ease the suffering.
FOSTER: OK, Anna Coren in Cebu, thank you very much indeed.
CNN has a world class team of reporters across the Philippines: Anderson Cooper, Nick Paton Walsh, Andrew Stevens, Paula Hancocks, they're all in Tacloban. Kristie Lu Stout is in Manila where the government is coordinating aid efforts. And Ivan Watson and Anna Coren are in Cebu where relief efforts are being staged, as we've been hearing.
But don't miss any of our coverage from the Philippines. Everything is on our website. Go to CNN.com/international. We have all the latest updates for you on the story there plus behind the scenes pictures sent in from our reporters.
Do stay with us. Coming up, the typhoon has passed, but the rains continue. What's the next biggest threat to the typhoon ravaged Philippines? We'll speak with a doctor on the ground in Cebu.
Afghanistan's opium production hits a record high. Should foreign troops be staying in the country longer than the 2014 pullout date?
Plus, the U.S. secretary of state urges congress not to punish Iran with more sanctions. We'll get the latest from Washington.
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UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE (subtitles): We don't have food. None. Not now, not later. We don't have a place to stay, no water. All of it, we don't have. We don't even have our clothes. Nothing.
When the typhoon came, we all went to the school in Tubod. The coconut trees and debris were hitting and piling on the roof while we were underneath. We almost died because of the roof.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): That's true. That's true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): We're calling for all of you to please help us out. We're all suffering over here. There's really no hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): We took leftover rice from what was cooked, but even a dog probably wouldn't eat it because it was spoiled. We ate it anyway. Even the child that I just gave birth to had to eat it, too. I thought my kids were just being picky and bratty when they wouldn't eat it, but when I tried it the food really wasn't fit for human consumption.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): Even one pair of clothing is all right with me. I'm not asking for anything else. I want to thank God that for whatever reason this happened. I will keep in mind how this event might finally just change people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: You just heard there the anger from some of the millions of Filipinos desperate for aid after Typhoon Haiyan.
And as for their desperation, it grows, and so does the risk of disease. Now bear in mind that bodies have been left in temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius, or 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The World Health Organization says this isn't likely to lead to a dramatic increase in illness, provided food, water and basic medicines arrive quickly.
The WHO also warns the crowded living conditions and contaminated drinking water can spread infectious diseases. And as well as responding to injuries and trauma, the WHO has highlighted risks to pregnant woman and new mothers. They estimate that 12,000 babies will be born this month in areas affected by the storm.
But for doctors, the putrid conditions and desperation for supplies presents a big problem.
Earlier I spoke to Dr. Natasha Reyes with aid groups Medecins Sans Frontieres. She says that if a disease takes hold, it could quickly spiral out of control.
DR. NATASHA REYES, EMERGENCY COORDINATOR, MSF: Right now, we are looking at people who have been (inaudible) many have not received any treatment and it's been days already. They are getting infections. We're afraid of tetanus. We would like to deliver the medical care to them.
As well have people who have illnesses not related to what happened during Typhoon Haiyan who also need the medical care.
We have pregnant women. We would really like to give care to these people. This is our priority.
FOSTER: Lots of concern about the threat of disease in the disaster zone. What diseases are you looking at? What evidence is there that they're spreading already?
REYES: Right now what you would expect, a direct effect of the typhoon would be injuries like they could just be minor injuries, but what I said earlier you can have infections and they can become serious.
Tetanus after such injuries is also a possibility so that's something we have to worry about as well.
Of course, when the water system is disrupted you would think about water born diseases. And if people are exposed to the elements, you have respiratory tract infections also.
FOSTER: What's your -- what is the most immediate threat? Is it the fact that there are bodies lying around or the sanitation or the fact that hospitals are so damaged?
REYES: Dead bodies themselves are not the threat right now. Yes, I agree the hospitals that are damaged, they really need support. So that is what is the concern, plus the poor water and sanitation, because you are thinking of water born diseases which can affect quite a large population.
We heard news of people having diarrhea. I can't confirm it. We were not there.
So medical need, definitely, and then you can go beyond that. I mean anything -- shelter, food, water. We're hearing reports all those needs as well in these unreached areas.
FOSTER: You mentioned diarrhea there. That's the sort of thing that you're most concerned about, I presume right now, because something like that starts happening and it spreads very quickly and that becomes an almost unmanageable crisis.
REYES: It can be. And if you have a population who haven't had food in a long time, who haven't had the proper living conditions, their immune systems could be weakened so they can be more prone to such diseases.
FOSTER: In terms of the spread of disease, are you happy that you're managing to keep it in control so far?
REYES: We have very little information right now on the public health status of the people. So I can't say I'm happy. I'm worried. I'm still worried.
FOSTER: And do you think the death toll is likely to rise because of some of the injuries and infections that people have sustained?
REYES: You would have complications, definitely. If you don't give care to these people you would have complications and death is one of them.
FOSTER: And in terms of other disasters and the comparison there, how bad is this one in terms of the work that you've been doing?
REYES: Personally, this is the worst I've seen. And I think it is quite bad. The needs are enormous. And I'm Filipino. And I've seen storms before. And this is really the worst I've seen.
FOSTER: Natasha Reyes there speaking to us from Cebu.
As well as the urgent need for supplies, survivors are also having to come to terms with a massive emotional impact of this disaster. For many, even finding out what happened to their loved ones is a huge challenge.
Anderson Cooper has more from Tacloban.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Tacloban, the misery is beyond meaning.
This is your home?
"The first, the first" she says, "our house was one of the firsts to come down." Juvelyn Taniega (ph) sought shelter from the storm surge in this bus with her husband and six children. She survived. They were swept away.
And has anyone come to help you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
COOPER: "I really want to see them," she says, "even if it's just their bodies." She has found the body of her husband and shows us the bodies of three of her children. Now, she searches for her three other children. She doesn't believe they survived the storm.
Where will you sleep tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here in the street. Anywhere. I don't know where I go.
COOPER: In Tacloban, there isn't any place to go. Juanito Martinez (ph) is living in a makeshift shelter. His wife, Gina, and daughter are covered with sacks nearby.
"I really want someone to collect their bodies," he says. "I want to know where they're taken so then I can light a candle for them."
Juanito cooks some rice and noodles for his neighbors. One of the men tells us he wants to call his mother in Manila. He's desperate to tell her that he and his daughter survived, but his wife and two other children are dead. We dial her number on our satellite phone.
"They're gone, they're all gone," he says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mama!
COOPER: "I don't know why this happened to me."
You won't find answers here in Tacloban, you'll only find loss. You'll only find misery. With so little help that has just not gone away.
Anderson Cooper, Tacloban, Philippines.
FOSTER: You can be part of helping those affected by this disaster. Head to CNN.com/impact. You'll find details about charities working in the Philippines and different ways to make donations. That's CNN.com/impact.
FOSTER: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.
Now John Kerry has been urging members of congress to hold off on any new sanctions on Iran in a bid to save hopes of a deal on the country's nuclear program. The secretary of state has held private meetings with senators in Washington today.
After failing to reach an interim agreement with Iran in Geneva last week, some U.S. lawmakers are calling for a new wave of sanctions.
More on this, we're joined by world affairs reporter Elise Labott in Washington.
So, it feels like he's on to something here.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He may be onto something, Max, but he has a real tough road ahead of him not only because of skeptical lawmakers, but because of Israel that's really trying to make sure that this agreement doesn't go forward.
But today Secretary Kerry on the Hill talking to the senate banking committee. Let's take a listen to what he just said moments ago.
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JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Germany, France, Great Britain, China, and Russia and the United States are all agreed on the proposal that we have laid down. That is not insignificant. And our hope is now that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that if they are it could be viewed as bad faith by our -- by the people we're negotiating with, it could destroy the ability to get agreement and it could actually wind up setting us back in dialog that's taken 30 years to be able to achieve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: And as we speak, Max, Senator -- Secretary Kerry not just alone with Vice President Biden and a team of sanctions experts and policy experts on Iran talking to the Senate leadership saying let's give diplomacy a chance. We can always put on more sanctions down the line if the agreement doesn't go through, but right now they need that flexibility with the Iranians to make sure that they have every chance for diplomacy to succeed.
FOSTER: OK, Elise, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
Now the case here of the British spy found dead in a padlock bag just got even more mysterious. When the body of MI6 codebreaker Gareth Williams was found decomposed in a locked bag in a bath tub in his London apartment, the coroner said he was probably killed by someone else. But now London police are saying it's likely he locked himself in the bag.
Erin McLaughlin has more.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just how and why Gareth Williams ended up dead in a locked duffel bag is a mystery. Police say they may never know for sure.
In this video, a court appointed expert climbs in and tries to zip it shut. Scotland Yard now says that this is most likely how Williams died.
MARTIN HEWITT, DEPUTY ASST. COMMISSIONER, LONDON METRO. POLICE: I'm not saying that it would be easy and I'm not saying that everybody could do it, but really the line you have to get to is that theoretically this is possible to do.
MCLAUGHLIN: The MI6 agent's naked body was found badly decomposed inside his bath tub. The bag was padlocked, the key inside. His London apartment showed no signs of struggle or forced entry.
HEWITT: I think it is more probably that Gareth was on his own at the time of his death, but that does not fundamentally overturn what the...
FOSTER: Apologies for coming out of that report early.
Now in other world news, the Palestinian negotiating team has quit the latest round of peace talks with the Israelis. The spokesman for the Palestinian mission to the UN told CNN it was due to the Israeli illegal practices, especially settlement activities. Israel on Tuesday canceled plans to build further settlements on the West Bank.
The U.S. State Department is adding the Nigerian group Boko Haram to its list of foreign terrorist organizations. The armed groups seeks to impose a strict version of Sharia law across northeastern Nigeria. Human rights groups say Boko Haram has killed more than 3,000 people. The move means Washington can freeze Boko Haram's assets and impose travel bans.
The mayor of Toronto has insisted he's not going anywhere. Facing his council for the first time since admitted to smoke crack, Rob Ford refused to step down. Ford had said he expected the session to be, quote, a rumble in the jungle. And it didn't take long for things to heat up as the counsel pressed the mayor to take a leave of absence. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIORGIO MAMMOLITI, TORONTO CITY COUNCILLOR: Now I ask these questions of you because I care.
Mr. Mayor, do you think you have an addiction problem with alcohol?
ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: Absolutely not.
MAMMOLITI: Mr. Mayor, do you think you have an addiction problem with substance abuse and illicit drugs.
FORD: Absolutely not.
MAMMOLITI: Will you get help?
FORD: I'm not an addict of any sort. So I'm not quite sure why you're saying I need help. I have spoken with professionals. I have talked to my family. We are moving forward in a positive direction.
MAMMOLITI: So is the answer you're getting professional help?
FORD: I can't -- anyways, councillor, I've just answered your questions.
MAMMOLITI: Is there some way that you can explain to us why you don't want to take a leave of absence?
FORD: There is no need for me to take a leave of absence. I'm returning my calls. I'm going to committees. I'm watching every single dime that's being spent here. I've done it for 13 years. And I'm going to continue doing it for another five years.
FOSTER: Now, a painting by the British artist Francis Bacon has become the most expensive ever sold at auction. Christie's auction house says Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" was sold for more than $142 million. The three paneled piece known as triptych chose different views of Bacon's friend and fellow painter sitting on a chair.
The previous record for a work of art sold at auction was Evard Munch's "The Scream." That sold for more than $119 million in 200 -- in 2012.
Now the latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, we'll be live in Cebu with more on the international community's aid efforts to typhoon struck communities.
Afghanistan's opium defendants just keeps getting worse. So why haven't international efforts to curb the crisis helped?
And after years of growth based around oil, we get a glimpse of where one of the world's biggest emerging economies is looking now. Coming up, Russia's trade transformation.
FOSTER: Returning now to our top story. The Philippines is facing major challenges in aid distribution and security. There's still no coordinated relief effort in the devastated island chain as survivors of Typhoon Haiyan are increasingly desperate and frustrated. Some have gone days without food and water. Let's rejoin Anna Coren, who is in Cebu tonight. What can you tell us, Anna?
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, there is a lot of activity here at the Cebu air base, and it's the first time that we have seen that in six days. This has now turned into a 24-hour operation of getting food, aid, those desperately-needed supplies on these C130 Hercules that you can see behind me and flying them off to those remote and very hard-hit areas.
They have been identified, these major centers, but then there are so many other towns and villages that have also been affected that so desperately need those supplies. We've seen planes coming in from the United States, from Australia, from Taiwan. They're bringing in medical supplies, makeshift hospitals, and this is all very much needed on the ground.
A huge problem, Max, has been a lack of resources. A lack of planes, a lack of helicopters. Let's now listen to what Valerie Amos, the UN emergency relief coordinator had to say about he situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIE AMOS, UN EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR: Things are beginning to move now, but we still have people who are hungry, who haven't had water. I'm very pleased that a field hospital is being set up, I hope by the latest, tomorrow morning.
We're bringing in a lot more, but we need vehicles, we need a lot of vehicles to come in from Manila so we can get out to the outlying areas. We now have more C130 aircraft, but we need more of those. We need more helicopters.
But we need things like waste management, so that the bodies on the side of the road can be moved, and we have to move the dead debris. Yes, the roads are now open because the debris has been pushed aside, but we have some issues. This is a major operation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: So, authorities certainly acknowledging that the situation has been slow and ineffective, and that has been hurting so many people on the ground. These people are homeless, Max. They have lost absolutely everything.
The people of the Philippines knew that this typhoon was coming, they thought they had prepared. They thought they had taken preventative measures, moving to these evacuation centers, schools, churches. But no one really could fully understand, comprehend the ferocity of Super Typhoon Haiyan, and that is why it's just left so much devastation and so many people homeless.
FOSTER: You've been working closely with the aid operation there. Have you got the sense that at least things are getting better? Will things look better tomorrow than they were today?
COREN: Look, I'd have to say that now that the international community is involved, that they're here on the ground, things have certainly ramped up, and that definitely is encouraging.
We've been speaking to local aid agencies that are heading out into the far-flung places that really haven't received any media attention. Obviously, the focus has very much been on Tacloban because of the massive death toll. But there are so many other places that have been hit just as hard.
Security is obviously becoming a problem. People are taking desperate measures. There are obviously talks of violence and of looting, but I think at the end of the day, Max, as we were discussing a bit earlier in the show, these people are trying to survive.
So if people are breaking into warehouses, if they're breaking into shops taking food, I think it's because they don't have those basic necessities. This is a country that is hurting, this is a country that desperately needs help. And finally, it has arrived.
FOSTER: Anna, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Cebu. We'll have more on the story coming up a little later, including --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't worry. We're OK here. We need your help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: The desperate messages from survivors to their loved ones, miraculously reaching them via scribbled notes.
Let's move on to another big story making world headlines, and it's been revealed that opium poppy production in Afghanistan has hit an all- time high. It rose by more than a third this year. That's according to a survey by the Untied Nations Office on drugs and crime, and it's painting a dire picture of the situation in the country.
Let's take a look at the details. The poppy cultivation increased -- by a massive 36 percent. More than 200,000 hectares of poppies were harvested in the past year. This outstripped the previous 2007 record. Opium production rose to 5,500 tons. That's an increase of 49 percent during 2012. And the increase in supply means the price of opium dropped by 12 percent.
So, major efforts to combat Afghanistan's opium trade appear to have failed. All of this comes as international forces prepare to withdraw from the country by next year.
Let's go back briefly to 2001. As foreign forces were planning to invade the country, British prime minister Tony Blair justified the decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: The biggest drugs hoard in the world is in Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban. Ninety percent of the heroine on British streets originates in Afghanistan. The arms the Taliban are buying today are paid for with the lives of young British people buying their drugs on British streets. That is another part of their regime we should seek to destroy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: CNN's Nic Robertson has been covering this story for many years, and he's joining us live from New York. We're also joined by Angela Me from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Angela, we'll start with you. The figures are extraordinary. Can you explain why they've gone up so much?
ANGELA ME, UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME: Well, there are mainly two reasons. One is the price of opium, that even if it decreased recently, it remains quite attractive to farmers for cultivating opium instead of other listed crops that remain less lucrative.
But there is one major cause that we see, that is basically the sense of uncertainty that there is in Afghanistan. And so what may have led farmers to increase the cultivation of opium was particularly to think about this uncertainty and to see how they could even store opium for future profits.
FOSTER: And we can show a graph on the screen that's from your report, actually, showing the steady rise in opium production in the past 20 years. Nic, this is a complete failure, isn't it?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What it is is a statement. It's a statement of the outlook by most Afghans on the future of their country. They're seeing a more insecure future. That's why they're growing opium. The profits on it are big.
Looking at that graph, you see there, actually, 2001 was the only year where Afghanistan didn't produce opium. That was under an edict by the Taliban to eradicate opium, something they put in place over a couple of years.
I witnessed that myself. I've been following the drugs and poppy growth in Afghanistan for the past decade and a half, visited the farmers, seen the markets, seen the eradication efforts.
There is corruption at senior levels, but one of the key reasons that eradication -- forced eradication doesn't work on the ground is that the people are actually employed to do the eradication live in those local communities, they don't have security from the farmers or the drug lords there, and they are therefore intimidated into stopping.
But the real essence of this comes from the fact that farmers want to secure their future and they can best do that by growing poppies. And of course, the knock-on effect is that the street price of heroine will fall, which will make places like the United States see an almost doubling in the past six years of its heroine addiction. It's going to see, likely, further increases in that, Max.
FOSTER: There's going to be a disaster impending if we do look at that, the price of heroine, Angela. Can you just give us a sense of what level of corruption there is in this. Nic's described the feeling on the ground for the farmers, why they're motivated. But is that playing into the higher levels? How much corruption is there?
ME: Well, any kind of drug business needs corruption to oil the machine for first of all producing the opium, so translated opium into heroine morphine, than to transport the heroine morphine abroad and then cross all of those countries before reaching the consumer markets in Europe, but also in some parts of Asia.
So, naturally, corruption plays the biggest part at all levels of a drug business everywhere, and particularly in Afghanistan, being Afghanistan is the major producer of opium in the world. Definitely you need in a way more corruption, more oil to translate this into global trade.
FOSTER: Nic, it's extraordinary, isn't it, when you consider that we could potentially come out of this period of a conflict with a bigger heroine problem coming out of Afghanistan?
ROBERTSON: Well, absolutely. Look at the figures going back to the 1990s. The opium output now has increased -- or the area's growth and increase sort of at least fourfold -- at least fourfold.
Look at some of the areas. Take Kandahar as an example. There was a troop surge there, NATO troop surge, 2009, 2011. It was designed to bring security and stability to that area. I went there, I saw how some of that had been achieved.
Yet, this past year, we've seen a doubling in the area that's been turned over to poppy growth. So even despite on the surface seeing some increased security, really, that's not translating into the farmers' own views and beliefs and trust in that limited security that NATO bought. And you can read that as being NATO is leaving and they fear what's coming.
Nangarhar province is another one the same. I've seen eradication in Kandahar and Nangarhar. Nangarhar 2008, eradication just about cleaned out the poppy production there. Now, it's back up 400 percent. It was an area where there was a strong NATO US presence.
Even sometimes the poppies growing up almost to the walls of some of the NATO bases there. Again, the troops are leaving. The belief of the farmers is secure their future, poppy growth up massively again.
FOSTER: Angela, this is going to come back to bite a lot of Western countries, isn't it? Because inevitably, the product of all of this will end up in those countries. Do you think there's a sense in the international community that they have got a big problem coming their way?
ME: Well, yes, they have a big problem. The first problem -- two kinds of problems. One is the need to help Afghanistan, to relieve Afghanistan from this big weight of opium.
And particularly what is dangerous of this opium economy is that the opium has a very high percentage of the overall economy in Afghanistan. So addressing any kind of development policy or development -- social and economic development in Afghanistan has to address the issue of counter narcotics.
The problem is yes, indeed, it can be translated into an increase of supply to Europe, but also to Asia. In Europe, the situation of the heroine market is actually stabilizing, and we see that who is using heroine in Europe today is more of the old generation.
So we haven't seen a surge in the heroine use. But definitely the increase of supply and as was said earlier the decrease of the price that we may experience both in Afghanistan and throughout all the world and Europe may, indeed, increase also the use of heroine.
FOSTER: Nic, a lot of money was invested, wasn't it, in finding alternative sources of income for these farmers working with them? A lot of money went into that from the Western nations. Did none of those options appeal to them, or was it just purely because these poppies are going to produce more money?
ROBERTSON: Saffron was one of the products that actually achieved a very good price in the market for farmers. It's not something that caught on widely. It's not clear why that happened.
But obviously the market forces behind opium are often the case that the farmers have borrowed money from the seed suppliers in the previous year, they need to grow that poppy crop from those seeds to pay off those debts essentially back to the drug lords. And it's a cycle they get caught in.
Clearly it's more than this cycle that's at stake here. But the fact that they haven't been able to translate into some of these other efforts, such as saffron, is an indication that whatever approach has been tried hasn't been the adequate approach.
And of course, there's a huge social cost here for Afghanistan. Opiate addiction is on the increase in the country. There are estimated by the UN to be about a million addicts inside Afghanistan, a country with a population of about 25 million or so, perhaps a few more. That's a huge addiction problem. There are psychological problems that the country will have to deal with that in the long term.
But the head of the UN drug mission there told me a couple of years ago that when you get into an addiction problem of that scale, you will get associated with it needle-type infections, HIV-AIDS being one of them, other issues surfacing, that haven't been present significantly in the country until now.
All of these things in a very, very poor nation that's ill-equipped to deal with its basic needs, never mind the treatment of what's estimated to be a million addicts.
FOSTER: Nic Robertson, Angela Me, thank you both very much, indeed, for joining us on that extraordinary story and the figures behind it. We want to hear your thoughts on the story. Should foreign forces stay in Afghanistan to keep fighting against the opium trade? Do get in touch at facebook.com/CNNconnect or tweet me your thoughts @MaxFosterCNN.
Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, tourism, treasures, and trade at the other side of one of Russia's most historic cities.
FOSTER: It enjoyed years of economic growth fueled by oil, but now Russia's economy is facing tougher times. So to try to boost more trade, the Russian government is demanding major new investments in infrastructure. These include increasing the capacity of its ports, like at St. Petersburg. Becky explains.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sitting at the mouth of the River Neva, St. Petersburg is Russia's window on the Baltic Sea.
ANDERSON (on camera): St. Petersburg servers as a vital gateway to the west of the country, where 80 percent of consumption is concentrated. The port is home to the largest container terminal, handling 50 percent of the country's container traffic.,
ANDERSON (voice-over): Each year, half a million people travel via its cruise terminal, while all types of cargo are funneled through the city's main port.
EGOR GOVORUKHIN, MARKETING VP, NCC: This is by far the most important gateway for containers into Russia and out of Russia. Russia as a whole has to grow in containers because last year, the whole container market for Russia was 5 million CU. This is very little for such a vast country like ours, because we have 145 million people. So, there is a way to go.
ANDERSON: Container ships come in laden with foreign imports. Russian raw materials, like iron ore, timber, and crude oil, go out. But getting goods into the city by sea is not so straightforward. A flood control dam limits access into the port to a single narrow channel. The progress of all ships has to be strictly monitored.
IVAN GOTOVCHITS, HEAD OF REGIONAL VESSEL TRAFFIC (through translator): In terms of navigation, the area of the port of St. Petersburg is the most challenging of all the ports in the Gulf of Finland. The hardest part of our job is to prevent accidents along the main channel. If a vessel runs aground or runs onto the edge of the channel, it fully blocks the traffic into the port.
ANDERSON: Harbor master Peter Parinov has worked at sea for 20 years, experiencing firsthand the rapid changes at St. Petersburg port.
PETER PARINOV, HARBOR MASTER: The channel was complete in 1895. That time, the ships were smaller. But now, the ships are bigger. The bigger ships that go through our port are possibly 320 meters. That's quite a huge one. But the channel that's leading to the harbor is still the same.
ANDERSON: While the port is strategically placed to serve the city, its close proximity leaves little room for expansion. So this historic port is now facing competition.
VIKTOR OLERSKIY, DEPUTY TRANSPORT MINISTER: We can see a few ports in this area. The main one historically was St. Petersburg. The second- biggest one is Ust-Luga, but I believe in the next couple of years it will take over the port of St. Petersburg by volume.
The idea is to move our terminals out of the cities because historically, most of the ports have been placed inside cities like St. Petersburg.
ANDERSON: As it has done for centuries, the port of St. Petersburg will maintain its status as one of Russia's most vital gateways, but ramping up port infrastructure elsewhere in the region may be key to maintaining Russia's position on these busy Baltic waters.
FOSTER: Well, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, we'll have more on the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. With no phone lines or internet, how are families finding their loved ones?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Uncle Verhilio (ph) and Auntie Guada (ph) died in the tidal wave. The house was destroyed. There will be a mass burial."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Please don't worry. We're OK here. We need your help. We need money to buy food and water."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Those the heartbreaking messages of survivors of the super typhoon in the Philippines. With communications networks still down across much of the country, for many, these scribbled notes offer the only hope of getting word to their loved ones.
A reporter, Jiggy Manicad, from GMA News Network, or Network News, collected some of these messages and shared them online. Earlier, he spoke to CNN's Kristie Lu Stout.
JIGGY MANICAD, GMA NETWORK NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We've walked from Tacloban for about six hours just to get to the satellite setup in Palo, Leyte. And while we were walking, we were documenting everything, filming whatever messages the victims would want to convey on camera.
But when I arrived in Palo, Leyte, our people started giving me these pieces of paper. Hundreds of people swarmed around me just to get their messages out of Palo, of Leyte, to make their relatives know that they are all alive.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is what I find is amazing about this story, that in the immediate aftermath -- we're talking hours after the storm made landfall, one of the first things, the priorities in their minds, is to somehow tell their relatives and their family members that they're OK.
Like this note here, this is from a Judith Zabala saying 11 members in the family did not survive, only a few, and putting down her phone number here.
MANICAD: Mobile phone number, yes.
STOUT: These are just absolutely touching. And these are scraps of paper, packaging --
STOUT: -- whatever they could find to give to you.
MANICAD: Whatever they could. I have here a small carton which says in local dialect, "Buhi kami tanan," which says "We're all alive" from Palacio family.
This note, actually, I got feedback on Twitter, my Twitter account, that says, it says here, "We're all OK." How many families? One, two, three, four, five, six -- eight families --
MANICAD: -- compressed in one note saying they're all OK. And I got a Twitter message that says "This is the only proof of life that they've got, and they're hanging onto it."
FOSTER: If you are in the Philippines searching for a family member or know someone who's been affected by the typhoon, do get in touch with CNN.
Our iReporters continue to send us compelling and unique content that helps us tell the story better. Everything you need can be found at ireport.cnn.com. There you'll find assignments as well as the chance to upload your videos, your photos, and your stories. That is ireport.cnn.com.
I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.