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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Three U.S. Aid Workers Killed In Yemen

Aired December 30, 2002 - 06:31   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: Were going to talk more about this story now with the organization directly involved in running this hospital now, and it was your desk, the International Desk, who brought this to us.
Wendy Norvelle, she provides all of the physicians that operate this hospital in Yemen. As we said, there were three American aid workers shot and killed by the lone gunman in Yemen, and another, a fourth was injured.

And Wendy Norvelle is with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board out of Richmond, Virginia.

Thanks for being with us this morning, and tell us about what you know about what happened there.

WENDY NORVELLE, MISSION BOARD SPOKESWOMAN: What we know is that this morning, a lone gunman entered a room where our personnel were meeting and killed three of them, went to another room and burst into the room and opened fire and wounded a fourth of our personnel.

CALLAWAY: Wendy, can you tell us anything about those people?

NORVELLE: Bill Koehn served as a long-time hospital administrator, was looking to retire next year, business manager Kathy Gariety, and a physician, Martha Myers, who had served there for a number of years. The wounded is pharmacist Don Caswell.

CALLAWAY: Do you know his condition?

NORVELLE: He is out of surgery and expected to recover, and we're very thankful for that.

CALLAWAY: Can you tell us what the situation was at the hospital? As we just heard David tell us, and we've been reporting this morning, that the hospital -- your organization was planning on handing over this hospital to local authorities. Was it your plan to pull out of that hospital?

NORVELLE: Actually no. We've been operating the hospital for 35 years, and we've treated more than 40,000 patients a year and meeting the human needs there. And we continue to have plans to have personnel there, but the administration and the operation of the hospital was being transferred to a Yemeni organization. But we continue to have plans to meet needs in the area around the hospital.

CALLAWAY: So, you do plan to stay there? NORVELLE: Yes, we hope to.

CALLAWAY: Wendy, has there been concern in light of recent events of your staff, your individuals being there at that hospital?

NORVELLE: Well, we have personnel all around the world who face risk every day, but they are committed to what they are there to do, to share the fact that God loves them, and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs. And so, they're committed to -- all of our personnel around the world, they go knowing the world's a dangerous place, but they're committed to what they are called to do.

CALLAWAY: In recent days, had you heard from the staff that they were fearful something could happen?

NORVELLE: No, we have not had that word at all.

CALLAWAY: How many individuals do you have there at that hospital?

NORVELLE: We are not giving an exact number of personnel in that area or other areas, just because of safety and security...

CALLAWAY: Safety reasons, right.

NORVELLE: Yes.

CALLAWAY: We understand that. And you know, I imagine these people who lost their lives today have families there. What's being done for them, and what's being done for members of the other families who are living there in that region, working for you?

NORVELLE: Well, this is certainly a tragedy, and we have personnel on the ground who are there ministering to the family members who are there, as well as we are trying to reach out to the family members who are here in the states. No decision has been made about relocation or what to do in the future, but we are ministering to the people who are remaining there.

CALLAWAY: Wendy Norvelle, thank you for being with us. We're so sorry for your loss. You're with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

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