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UNICEF's Response to the Destruction Caused by Recent Hurricanes in the Caribbean; Crisis in Myanmar: Report From Refugee Camp in Bangladesh. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired September 12, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight the Caribbean in crisis, the island struggled to cope in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma,
and on the eve of an urgent U.N. to address what it calls ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, we bring you a visceral report from one of the refugee camps in
Good evening everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Nima Elbagir in for Christiane Amanpour. Homes destroyed, lives in ruin, but worse could be
succumbed for people in the Caribbean unless more is done to help them after the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma.
We will take you to the Virgin Islands where we're going to be speaking to the Primier (ph) -- sorry excuse me, I see what we need to tell you about
is UNICEF and their response to this. It has been unequivocal; the international community they say must step up to the plate.
Warning that the US, the U.K., the Netherlands and France which control territories in the region can't be relied on to respond to the disaster
alone; it says deliveries of water, food, and shelter are desperately needed, and more action taken to stop the spread disease and to protect
vulnerable women and children.
Today France's President and Britain's Foreign Minister visited the Caribbean themselves to survey the damage following the Dutch King's
arrival on Monday. France says it's carrying out the biggest air lift operation to the main lands since the second World War.
The British Virgin Islands were particularly hard hit, Orlando Smith is the Premier of that U.K. territory and he now does join me on the phone, as his
government grapples with the devastated infrastructure. Mr. Smith, thank you so much for joining us.
ORLANDO SMITH, PREMIER OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: I thank you. I'm --
ELBAGIR: I want to start by asking you what -- I mean we keep hearing these descriptions of just utter devastation, what does he look like where you
SMITH: Thank you. As you know we've been hit by the worse -- the hurricane ever in the Caribbean in recent history. Hurricane Irma as you
showed them yet Category 5 hurricane, as they showed (ph) them that about 70 people chained up or house in stock and being she did the damage or
Because of that we've also had the lost of communication, so most for the past several days.
ELBAGIR: So you're battling against falling down infrastructure, the inability to actually even assess because of the communications network
being down to actually even credibly assess what those needs are.
And yet we understand from the U.N. that the -- the -- the international community's response has been severely lacking so we want to hear from you
Mr. Smith what is it you need in the bluntest of times?
What do you want to see from the world right now for your islands?
SMITH: OK fine. The -- the committee has been responded to ministries, and some of the islands the committee has organized and carried, and I do
not in must to restore different communication.
OK the ruins et cetera and has been quite a significant a number that is coming in, in terms of aid, in terms of water, and food, and shelter. But
we will continue to need more attention in terms of aid.
We also continue to need more assistance in terms of cash for the long- term, more long-term rebuilding efforts. We now are at the point where the foreign company that begin with the open up again, a rotation (ph) will be
docket ranked today.
And so our communication) will begin, I will be able to let the people in the territory know where we are and what the government is doing. It's
imperative (ph) their house and stock now that's imperative (ph) food and water supply.
ELBAGIR: As we understand it Sir, this is -- is a devastation that has never before been seen in the islands in terms of that -- terms of the
impact of the hurricane and I know that we all wish you well as you attempt to respond to that. Thank you so much for joining us Sir.
SMITH: Thank you.
ELBAGIR: Now well the immediate needs of hurricane survivors, food, water, shelter, and security, they can seem overwhelming, but crucial action taken
right now will determine their quality of life for years to come.
If the global community though fails to step, could those hit hardest by Irma face a longer term crisis. Jeffrey Sachs is one of the world's
leading development in economics; he joins me now from New York.
Mr. Sachs thank you so much for joining us. I want to just -- I want you to listen to a -- an interview that we did a little earlier with the UNICEF
representative for the Eastern Caribbean what -- when she describes I suppose the only way to put it is the lack of an effective international
response. Take a listen to this Sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KHIN-SANDI LWIN, UNICEF REPRESENTATIVE: Well, we've sent out an appeal for $2.37 million, 2 $2,370,000 US dollars for now, we have not had any
(END VIDEO CLEP)
ELBAGIR: So they are essentially using their program funding, they've had no emergency funding coming at all, and you've spoken about this in the
past -- past, but just to contextualize for us now.
It's been almost a week, so we are losing that initial response window, how crucial is it to get in within that initial response window?
JEFFREY SACHS, ECONOMIST, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: First let me say that it's shocking because the UNICEF representative is talking about millions where
the United States is about to vote more than $10 billion of response for Houston, and in the end the U.S. Congress will provide more than a $100
billion perhaps $200 billion for Houston and Florida.
What's going to happen in the Caribbean? Remember these are U.S. territories, British overseas territories, French, Dutch, it -- it's
unbelievable if there can't be an immediate response to a call for such a small amount of money.
And let me add another point which is we saw the British Virgin Islands for example, this the playground if I might say so of some the richest people
in the world. The hedge fund industry and so forth, where are they in stepping up right now?
This is basics and there's one more point to Nima that I would add even at the start which is that the Caribbean is vulnerable to the rising
devastation that is coming from global warming.
And whether it's denied or not the science is not denying it the science is making clear the growing dangers that has been caused by the rich
countries, it's being visited upon the poor countries; this is a matter not of aid but of basic compensation for damage done.
So we have to start getting serious about all of this because we're going to have a real tragedy here and we're going to see more, and more of these,
and the rich countries have to stop their irresponsibility.
ELBAGIR: Well, to that point this is really the first global natural disaster in that post "Make America Great" posts climate change, we think
it's a thing we're not -- we don't really don't want really commit to it being a thing world.
So not only are we seeing an America that's having to deal with catastrophe, a disaster at home, but we're also seeing an America that is
increasingly saying we are going to make sure that we prioritize ourselves first and foremost.
What impact do you think that's going to have in terms of America's contribution to the post Irma reconstruction that so sorely needed?
SACHS: America has to step up right now, failure to do so would be a disgrace and a violation of basic international principles. This is not
charily, this responsibility.
Mr. Trump it was claimed actually knows about climate change so if he denies the aid it's a kind of vicious action. So this is not something
that one can walk away from. America being great means America being morale and responsible, that's what it means.
And America has not been responsible on the case of climate change and it has not been responsible on helping countries to rebuild from damages that
have been increased by America's own action. It's a basic matter of justice we're talking about.
ELBAGIR: This is of course the first real kind of live scale hurricane that we've seen since the hurricane that hit Haiti last year, and in theory we
were suppose to have learnt lessons from that. What would you like to see be done differently now?
SMITH: Well, first of all lessons learned are not the same thing as lessons applied, because to apply lessons requires financing. For example,
infrastructure to make buildings more resistant, and resilient, as well as barriers for flooding, as well as the fact that let's face it we will never
get ahead of nature unless we stop the damage that we're doing to nature by raising global temperatures.
So Mr. Trump needs to come back and say I thought it over again, we're going to stay in the Paris Agreement because we face on of the greatest
urgencies on our planet, and the United States can help absent itself an agreement that 192 other countries have reached.
So the real response when Mr. Trump shows up at the United Nations next week is to stay -- say the United States is staying in Paris and it's going
to fulfill it's obligations as the richest country in the world, not to turn it's back on the poorest people and the damage that the US itself has
ELBAGIR: One last quick question, what would you say to those who would say that this conversation that we're having right now about the brutal
realities of climate change? That that is politicizing a natural disaster, what would your response to them be?
SMITH: I would say to Mr. Pruit the head of the EPA, you're a disgrace and leave because your job is to protect the environment and you have been
doing the opposite.
You have been unleashing human damage on the environment by being basically the fat totem of the oil industry. We know it, we know your record, you're
a disgrace go home.
ELBAGIR: Mr. Sachs I'm so sorry that is all the time that we have, but I -- I -- I'm sure that we will return again, and again to this conversation.
It's a pleasure having you on this show.
SMITH: Thank you.
ELBAGIR: Thank you so much.
SMITH: Thank you, good to be with, I appreciate it.
ELBAGIR: Now up next, we follow hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar and desperately trying to find refuge. That's after this.
ELBAGIR: Welcome back to the program. The number of Rohingya fleeing from there Myanmar Bangladesh has now topped 370,000. That's according to the
U.N. which has denounced the governments crack down against the Muslim minority group as a text book example of ethic cleansing.
This latest deadly wave of violence erupted two weeks ago after Rohingya militants attacked police posts prompting the military to retaliate with
what it called clearance operations.
Meyone Maze de facto leader and Nobel Peace prize lawyer Aung San Suu Kyi who made her name as a tireless campaign of human has come under fire for
her response to the crisis. CNN's Alexandra Fields has more on the growing humanitarian crisis in neighboring Bangladesh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDRA FIELDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The children are hungry and showing signs of malnutrition, their mothers are heart broken.
HASSINA BEGUM, ROHINGYA REFUGEE: My newborn hasn't had anything eat as I'm unable to breast feed. She's suffering from malnutrition and we haven't
received any medical support or treatment. So we're in a really dangerous situation.
FIELDS: Hassina's baby was 12 days old when the family left everything behind fleeing a violent military crack down in Myanmar. An eight day
journey brought them here to Bangladesh where they have practically nothing.
BEGUM: We have been living outside of the camp for five days. We have been waiting; no one has given us any shelter or support. We are living in a
very miserable condition.
FIELDS: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have raced across the border into Bangladesh in two weeks; they've been met with aid groups under
prepared to help them.
LUC CHAUVIN, UNICEF EMERGENCY CHIEF IN SOUTH ASIA: So organizer agencies are struggling with the increased numbers of refugees coming in every day,
and therefore we need to scale up operations massively across all sectors in health, and nutrition, what's on sanitation in education, health
FIELDS: Refugees tell CNN the camps are already full.
ALI ULLAH, ROHINGYA REFUGEE: We've only just arrived here, the military came into our village. They were slaughtering us and setting fire to our
houses, so we had to leave.
FIELDS: Myanmar has said it's engaging in quote "clearance operations" following an attack by Rohingya militants that left 12 security officers
ULLAH: It has taken us seven days to get here and we crossed the border by boat. If the military had seen us they would have shot us.
FIELDS: A week ago this was a forest, the Rohingya cleared it. The muddy banks are now a settlement for a 100,000 of them. Leaving newer arrivals
are living on the road side.
FAISUL ISLAM, ROHINGYA REFUGEE: It is very uncomfortable here. I can not describe how horrible it is, but there is no where else so we have to stay
FIELDS: A local farmer tells us he's taken in eight Rohingya families who have no where to go, and no way to live including this man Sayed Amin.
SAYID AMIN, ROHINGYA REFUGEE: We need support from international organizations and from the world. There are too many of us for the
Bangladeshis alone to be helping us.
FIELDS: His family has shelter, some food and water now. The rest are waiting. Alexandra Fields, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: Tom Malinowski served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor under President Obama whose
administration lifted sanctions against Myanmar after Aung San Suu Kyi party won a landslide victory in the 2015 election.
He joins me now from Washington. Mr. Malinowski thank you so much for joining us I want to read you a little snippet which I'm sure is -- is one
that is being read to you a lot at the moment, it's from Suu's book "Freedom from Fear" where she said "It's not power that corrupts but fear,
fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it."
Do you think that's what's happening here? Do you think this is fear of losing power?
TOM MALINOWSKI, FORMER US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR: I think it is fear of losing power on the part of Burmese
military and that's something that I -- I fear that Aung San Suu Kyi does not fully understand.
I -- I think the Burmese military has an interest in stoking this crisis, in creating as much blood shed, and fear, and terror as possible so that
Buddhist in Burma will turn to the military and not to Aung San Suu Kyi and the government for protection.
And at the same time, you have now a small insurgent group operating on the other side that has exactly the same goal that is trying to provoke the
Burmese military into attacking Muslim civilians.
So that Muslims in Burma turn to the insurgents for protection, it's a perfect storm and I fear that it's going to get much worse before it gets
ELBAGIR: The concern is of course initially it was -- initially the concern was she not speaking out, then it was she's not condemning, but now the
concern has grown because her spokesman in her office are -- I mean these are frankly inflammatory statements that are coming out.
She has alleged that the U.N. is participating, that this something their investigating that the U.N. is participating along side Rohingya militants.
She also has said that she's concerned that the international community is part of this, I mean in other situation, in other country if this had been
Omaha Bashar in Sudania with Myanmar I said in Syria this would have been - - this would have been a call to violence.
That's how it would have been perceived and we seem to hold on Aung San Suu Kyi to a different standard, you have met her several times do you -- are
you surprised that she hasn't spoken out?
MALINOWSKI: I'm very sad about you know for decades she counted on us to dismiss the obvious lies that the Burmese military told about it's
treatment of her, and her democracy movement and -- and we dismissed those lies.
And now she is asking us to embrace equally outrageous lies about the conduct of the military against these innocent civilians, and she's losing
the tread. She's losing hold of - of -- of -- of the main thing that sustained her movement and that sustains Burma democratic transition, and
that is her and the country's morals authority.
And I -- I find that very, very sad that -- that -- that the victims of course in the immediate sense are these civilians who are fleeing, but she
will be the victim of it if she doesn't change because this -- this is a recipe for the military to take back control of Burma.
This is -- this is a script that the military is writing and that she is going along with in a way that's going to hurt her eventually.
ELBAGIR: The seeds of this of course were sown in even before 2015 when in the run up to the elections many people excused the fact that she hadn't
spoken out against the violence against the Rohingya because the worry was that she would lose the Buddhist nationalist, and she would lose the yolk
of rule to the government.
Was that something you were concerned about at the time when she didn't speak out then while -- while you were negotiating to lift sanctions?
MALINOWSKI: Well, at -- at the time and I had these conversations with her and -- and I told her look I understand that there's a political dilemma
here for you, but I think that the smart political is to get ahead of this problem and not to allow the military to define the -- this as -- as a
religious war between Buddhist and Muslims because you're never going to be more racist then -- then the haters in this country.
You're never going to - to -- to win if that is what ordinary Buddhist in Burma are -- are thinking about. You've got to use your moral authority to
explain to people that race and religion were -- were being used to divide the country, and to distract the country from the process of
And she failed to do that at -- at the critical time and -- and -- and now there's this violence and by the way we also warned her that this would
happen, we warned her that at a certain point if hundreds and thousands of Muslim men are in desperate straits living in camps, being driven across
borders, being forced to flee, there -- there were varying nefarious forces in the Middle East that would see this and they would take advantage of it
by fermenting exactly the violence that we are now seeing.
And that Burma was not prepared to deal with that. Burma is not prepared to deal with terrorism and this could get very, very much worse if there
isn't some new deal struck that -- that A normalizes the relationship the - the -- the status of Rohingya Muslims in Burma.
And at the same time commits countries in the Middle East to crack down on the people who are fomenting violent insurgency.
ELBAGIR: You position.
MALINOWSKI: That's the only hope.
ELBAGIR: Your position is right, chief has not yet been filled we can hope so there is no one to kind of steer the conversation between the
administration and Myanmar in these kind of instances, but what would your advice be if somebody had filled your recently vacated chair in the Trump
administration. What would you say, what should the US do now?
MALINOWSKI: It's not just my chair that's vacant; it's almost every chair that's vacant in the State Department and that -- that is a tragedy for
Burma and many other places.
But I think what - what needs to be done now is somebody needs to -- to try to broker the kind of deal that -- that I just suggested was -- was
necessary. There's steps that Burma needs to take to begin the process of -- of giving this people their citizenship back, their --their status in
their county so that they -- they can feel secure and the Buddhist living in that part Burma can also feel secure.
At this point, I think there's a need for some sort international monitoring to keep the sides apart and to -- and to report to the world if
-- if somebody's burning a village or driving civilians from home, or attacking a police station or a military post.
And third, we -- we need countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE, and Pakistan where some of these insurgents are being financed and trained,
to crack down on this, and all these things have to happen simultaneously.
One can not happen I think without the others and -- and that's where you need the United States or the U.N. or some third party that is trusted by
the Burmese government to broker a -- a solution before things get much, much worse.
ELBAGIR: I'm so sorry Mr. Malinowski we're going to leave it there, but as you well at least said it is incredibly, incredibly sad for it to have come
to this. Thank you so much for joining us.
MALINOWSKI: Thank you.
ELBAGIR: When we come back, as story right here in the U.K. where the World's Largest Arms Fair is finding itself under fire. Campaigners take
ELBAGIR: And finally tonight imagine a world arming itself to the teeth. Right here in London, the World's Largest Arms Fair opens today. Fifty
four countries are in attendance, and some 1,600 exhibits are vying for their attention, and of course their money.
But not everyone is buying it, more than a 100 protesters were arrested yesterday as they tried to block the fair, and today the charity Save the
Children is repurposing the U.K.'s made in Britain campaign to release a jarring reminder about where some of those weapons will ultimately fall;
Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world.
While the U.K. sends millions in aid to Yemen, it sells billions of dollars of worth of arms to the Saudi-led coalition that the U.N. says are
responsible for the majority of child casualties in the conflict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understated, painted racing green, a micron perfect casing milled in bright metal, export of our Island Kingdom. Power wrapped
in burnish aluminum, made in Britain dropped on the children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: That's it for our program tonight. Thank you all for watching and it's goodbye for London.