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"I Have a Deep Feeling of Shock"; Deadly Ebola Virus; Somalia: Building a State from Scratch; Imagine a World

Aired August 5, 2014 - 14:00:00   ET



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a cease-fire in Gaza, now the scale of the destruction becomes evident. I speak to the head of

the International Red Cross.

Plus new prosperity and old problems. The U.S. and Africa talk about development and investment. We have an exclusive interview with Somalia's



PLEITGEN (voice-over): Good evening, everyone, and welcome. I'm Fred Pleitgen, sitting in for Christiane all of this week.

"Mission accomplished: we have destroyed Hamas' tunnels. All of Israel is now safer."

That was the tweet from the Israeli military this morning about three hours into what will hopefully be a 72-hour truce.

But has Israel really accomplished its mission? A Hamas spokesman today called the invasion a, quote, "100 percent failure." There's no guarantee

that all of Hamas' tunnels have really been destroyed and thousands of rockets are still stockpiled in Gaza, Israel says mostly in residential

areas. And they appear to have a point. Have a look at this footage filmed by the Indian channel NDTV, apparently showing fighters preparing a

rocket launch in the middle of a crowded neighborhood.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): So now, as you can see, the tent has been removed. Whatever they were doing under the tent is clearly over. We also

find that they're not two people, two individuals, but three.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The rocket was fired this morning shortly before the cease-fire went into effect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): That's the rocket being fired today morning at (INAUDIBLE) people are setting foot in the exact part the rocket

has been fired.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Some very rare footage there. And a month of devastating images of dead and wounded Palestinians has badly hurt Israel's

standing even with its closest allies.

Now Peter Maurer is the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross. He's in Gaza today to see the human cost of the fighting. He

joined me earlier from there.


PLEITGEN: Peter Maurer, thank you very much for joining the program tonight. You were in the northern part of the Gaza Strip today and you

were quoted as saying, "I have a deep feeling of shock at what I've seen and anger that we weren't able to prevent what happened."

Those are pretty strong words from a man who's seen as much suffering as you have.

PETER MAURER, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: Well, indeed, I must say, it's a genuine statement. I started the day in

visiting some of the heavily shelled neighborhoods of Gaza, which are pure rubbles and in a sense I was lucky today because it was the first day of a

cease-fire for the first time hoping in weeks and this allowed me to go to these neighborhoods, which were no-go zones for my colleagues here at the

ICRC for a couple of weeks.

I was shocked indeed by the impact of the shelling over the past couple of weeks, on the neighborhood, but also a couple of hours later, to see the

children, women and men, who have been exposed to that shelling, in the hospitals, to see how wounded they were and how difficult it was to cope

with the numbers and the seriousness of the wounds that -- of all those civilians who were in the hospitals I visited.

PLEITGEN: Yes, the civilian -- the civilian suffering in all this has been absolutely shocking. The people that you spoke to, how traumatized did

they seem? And are these hospitals at this point even equipped to deal with some of the severe cases that no doubt they still have?

MAURER: Well, first, the people are traumatized and understandably they are. And I passed my day in a lot of indirections and a lot of accounts

what had happened to the patients I visited in the hospitals, to families I visited who have lost their loved ones, of children and youth I have

spoken, who have lost their parents.

So traumatization (sic) is everywhere and of course there is a deep need to tell to a representative of the international community visiting what they

have experience over the past couple of weeks.

On -- in terms of response, I was on the one side positively surprised by the quality and the -- of work by the engagement. Of course, these medical

and first infrastructure of these hospitals are overwhelmed by the numbers. And they do a great effort to distribute as good as they in the Gaza Strip

and beyond.

The really heavy cases but much more is needed. And even if we are the first day of the seemingly holding cease-fire my clear opinion is that we

much will have to be done over the days and weeks who come to scale about our operations in terms of health response, water and sanitation, sewage,

economic livelihoods, a lot has been disrupted over the past couple of weeks.

PLEITGEN: That's going to be difficult, isn't it, because getting goods, even aid goods into Gaza, is a bottleneck even in the best of times. And

certainly now with this only 72-hour truce going on, it'll be very difficult to make a fast and a large-scale response happen, won't it?

MAURER: Well, indeed, it will be a challenge. We are certainly motivated and even more so after this visit today, to put as good as possible our

researches into mobilizing this response. We will have objective difficulties. We will have to engage with the Israelis in order to channel

as much aid as possible through the crossing, the bottlenecks, but I think there is a perspective that if the truth is holding, if confidence and the

minimal confidence comes back to Gazans, that we will have an opportunity to scale up and to our response and to response to some of the most

critical cases.

Peter Maurer, thank you very much for joining the program tonight.

MAURER: Thank you very much for your interest.


PLEITGEN: And of course we also hope that the violence in the Middle East doesn't flare up again. And meanwhile we also continue to remember the

100th anniversary of World War I.

Over 800,000 ceramic poppies filled the moat of the Tower of London to commemorate the start of what was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

That's one flower for every British and Commonwealth soldier who died in the conflict.

And yet even those horrific numbers pale beside the victims of an epidemic that began just as the war was winding down, the influenza wave of 1918

claimed an estimated 50 million lives, what some call the most devastating epidemic in human history.

And after a break, another deadly virus, Ebola, is spreading through Africa and beyond. Its effects are even being felt in Washington at a summit of

African leaders. We'll go there when we come back.




PLEITGEN: Welcome back. There are new fears about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Western Africa. Lagos and Nigeria now have eight

suspected cases; all people who came into contact with the country's first victim, who has since died.

British Airways has suspended all flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the rapidly deteriorating situation. The widening

outbreak is a concern for African officials meeting in Washington for the first-ever U.S.-Africa summit.

Coming up in a moment, my interview with Somalia's president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. But first let's get the latest from the epicenter of the

outbreak. Anja Wolz is an emergency coordinator for Medecins sans Frontieres, working at a treatment center in Sierra Leone. I spoke to her

just a short time ago from the faculty in Kailahun.


Anja Wolz, thank you for joining us on the program today. Tell me first of all the situation that you're working in and the conditions that you're

working under, because they are very difficult, aren't they?

ANJA WOLZ, EMERGENCY COORDINATOR, MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES: Yes, it's quite difficult here in Kailahun, because we have so many patients here who

are coming every day and it's really like -- it's -- I think it's really out of control. And we as Doctors without Borders, it's really difficult

to cope on this outbreak.

PLEITGEN: One of the difficult things is that the health care professionals who are caring for these people are under grave threat of

contracting the virus themselves.

How dangerous is it for you personally to work there? And are you -- are you afraid that you might get Ebola?

WOLZ: No, because from our side, it's not my first Ebola outbreak. And we as MSF, as Doctors without Borders, we have really strict routes and

procedures. All the material we have available, all our staff is trained. And everybody knows when it's going inside, what (INAUDIBLE).

Also it's we have a buddy system in place. But (INAUDIBLE) inside and from our side and our center, what was also built 100 percent by MSF. But we

have all hygiene, infection control measures in place.

For sure you have to be respect, to have -- you have to be very respect for the -- for Ebola. But we know with what we are dealing.

PLEITGEN: What is your approach look like as far as dealing with all of this? As far as treatment is concerned and as far as containing all of

this is concerned as well?

And do you have the means that you need to do that?

WOLZ: Yes, for us, here in Kailahun, we concentrate mainly on the case management center. It means where people are coming, we will be isolated

on our case management and to getting treatment. And as treatment we give only supportive treatment. We give treatment for the complaints of the

patient. But it's not enough. Normally in outbreak, what you have to do is really to follow the contact. You have a good alert system in place to

have social mobilization in place, to have good epidemiological survival system in place, what is not in place here. And we as Doctors without

Borders, we don't have the capacity to work in all the areas where it's needed.

PLEITGEN: Do you think that the governments of these countries and specifically Sierra Leone, because that's where you're at, are at least

trying to do their best? Because they're trying to contain certain areas; they're trying to put certain areas under quarantine.

Do you think that they're doing what they can?

WOLZ: I think the government and the minister of Sierra Leone is not able to deal with this outbreak. They need much more help from international

organization as Dabijo (ph), as CDC, as other organization to come to support the government.

In a moment about this quarantine, we didn't have seen what was implemented here in Kailahun district. But I think it's much more need to send more

help professional, to send more infection control specialists, to send more epidemiologists here in Kailahun district.

PLEITGEN: And how important is educating people about Ebola, educating the local population there about Ebola to make sure they recognize it and to

make sure they actually get treatment?

WOLZ: This is one of our areas also working. We have about 250 community health workers who going village by village to get the right message to the

population because still we have unsafe areas, people who are doing the burial without disinfection of the body, still we have patients who are

hiding themselves. Still they have patients, contact of patients who are running away because they are afraid. And the social mobilization here,

it's one of the major pillars we need here (INAUDIBLE) outbreak.

PLEITGEN: Do you get the feeling that the people that you're talking to there, when you go into these villages, that they're getting the message,

that they understand and they respect the virus in the way that they should, but that they also respect the things that you tell them in order

to try and continue all this?

WOLZ: We get some positive feedback. We see already we came to a village where we were in the beginning really against advancing the Ebola doesn't

exist. The next day they called us with the help of patients. But it's a small amount of villages we can visit. We have here a population of

470,000. And with 250 community health workers, it is not enough. We need much more people going to village and giving the right message, because

often it's like people say we can do help promotion. We can do social mobilization. But giving the wrong message also. And the people get


PLEITGEN: How tragic is this for the local population? Because numbers, we keep talking about numbers. We keep talking about the fear that this

might spread to Europe or America. But it really is hurting and devastating the communities where you are, isn't it?

WOLZ: It's really tragic. It's like one community, like on Sunday we got the last four people from one community. The whole community died on Ebola

or it's now in our case management center. From one community, we got in the last two weeks around 30 patients because they were attending unsafe

burials. Thirty patients from a community of 200 people, it's -- yes, it's a disaster. And especially we have also to look about the future, because

now the impact is anybody gets sick, but who is caring about the sick people? It's the young people. It's the women. Now we have a lot of

people who cannot do agriculture. What is the future? What we have to eat in the future here also?

PLEITGEN: Thank you very much, Anja Wolz, for joining the program.

WOLZ: OK. Thank you.


PLEITGEN: Now only about a decade ago, a U.S.-Africa summit would probably have centered mostly around aid deliveries to impoverished nations. But

Africa has since developed into one of the fastest growing regions on Earth. And so the summit going on in Washington right now is focused

mostly on deepening trade ties between Africa and America.

But problems like poverty and instability have by no means disappeared. Perhaps nobody knows that better than the man trying to put the pieces back

together of a failed state. Somalia's president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. After nearly two years in office, Mohamud has made some gains against the

terror group Al-Shabaab and created some semblance of law and order. But progress is fragile and it's slow going. Al-Shabaab is stepping up attacks

in Mogadishu. Also targeting lawmakers.

Meanwhile drought and conflict are another threatening massive famine again.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud could have one of the toughest jobs in the world. But he's up for the challenge, as he told me when he joined me earlier from

Washington, D.C.


PLEITGEN: President Mohamud, thank you very much for being with us and welcome to the program.

The U.S.-Africa summit is a lot about investment but it's also about security.

Shabaab, you have made some gains against them but it is still fragile and they are still able to get into the capital, Mogadishu, and indeed also

have gotten into the presidential compound.

How is your battle against Shabaab going and how can you make it even more efficient?

MOHAMUD: This is a sign of defeat. It's not sign of strength or sign of Shabaab. They lost the military front. They cannot confront the Somali --

the joint operation of Somalia national army and the African Union mission.

So they changed the tactic and make it a symmetrical urban warfare. And what we're seeing is that Shabaab say that we are alive and we can operate

anywhere we want to. But that does not mean that they are stronger. They are weakened.

Today as I'm speaking right now in the CNN they killed 10 elders in one of the villages in the Bari (ph) region and they destroyed the water well.

This is a desperation. I'm sure that they don't have any future with the community and they're killing the elders, 10 senior elders in that village

alone and destroyed the only water well the village has.

That is sign of defeat. That is sign of -- that they don't have any future with them.

PLEITGEN: Yes, but at the same time, they can still inflict very heavy damage in areas. And at the same time, you're looking for foreign

investors into your country, for instance, into the oil sector that you're trying to build up.

Why should foreign companies go into Somalia when they face those security risks?

How can they?

MOHAMUD: This world, there is not any investment without risk, yes. What we are looking right now is investment. It's not in a show of grants and

donations only. And every investment has a level of risk.

In Somalia, the level of risk right now we have even some people may claim that it's high, but it's not. It's a security situation that is improving.

It's a state building program that is improving and there is a very bright future for Somalia and for the partners in Somalia.

So it's the choice of those investors who are ready to come to Somalia today, are -- rather than later on, jumping in where Somalia is settled

down. Today is the opportunity and we have presented that to our partners.

PLEITGEN: You're obviously facing daunting tasks, trying to rebuild this nation. Somalia ranks 175th of 177 countries on Amnesty International's

international corruption index. It's very difficult to get any sort of cohesion going.

At the same time you're facing a drought. You're facing possible famine.

How do you come to terms with all these problems? And are you doing enough to tackle them? And can you?

MOHAMUD: We do not deny that there are challenges in Somalia. Somalia has been having without a functioning state for over two decades now. We are

not anymore the Somalia of the piracy, the Somalia of terrorists and Somalia of famine and Somalia has a good feel (ph). This is a very rich


We're doing with a very short bill, in two years' time, we've reversed the whole thing, the whole situation in Somalia. We have financial

institutions that we are now building in collaboration with the African developing bank, the World Bank, the IMF. We're partnering with them to

put in place arapost (ph) financial institutions. That's where we want Somalia to go, high up in the -- in the indicus (ph) of the transparency


There was no institutions in the past. Now we have the institutions back in place and functioning.

PLEITGEN: How important is Somalia's stability to the stability of that entire region, to, for instance Kenya's stability, to the region of

Ethiopia, for instance, and also, for instance, with the -- with the Westgate Mall siege? There aren't any leads yet, even though a lot of

people believe that those behind them are in Somalia.

MOHAMUD: Well, the Shabaab -- first of all one has to understand Shabaab is a ideology-based organization and ideology has no citizenship or has no

boundaries at all.

So what's going on in Somalia, and the only reason why it's Somalia, is it's located in Somalia, in good space, a vacuum where they can do their

business in Somalia. But this is an organization that challenges the peace and the stability of the region and the peace and stability of the world at


And Somalia, being close to the Asia and it's been having no reposes state institution (ph). Shabaab and the terrorists, they use it as the gateway

to the rest of Africa and the rest of the world.

That's what we're trying to deny, this space, the territory that Shabaab controls in Somalia is shrinking. And it's shrinking very fast.

That's why we're -- that's the only solution for eliminating the training camps, the bombmaking factories, the transit troops of Shabaab to other

parts of Africa. And this is not the challenge of the Somali nation only. It's challenge for the region, for the continent and the world at large.

PLEITGEN: Are you worried about the Ebola outbreak? It certainly seems something that is a pan-African threat, even though it's fairly localized

right now.

MOHAMUD: Indeed, it is. Ebola, as you rightly said, is spreading very fast and we, today, in the Africa-U.S. summit for business forum, it has

been declared that countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone -- and we are sorry these three countries that they couldn't even come to this platform. And

we know and we -- our hearts and minds are with them.

And in the meantime, we've been agreed that we take the necessary precautions to isolate the virus so that it does not appear.

In Somalia, which is the other corner of the continent, west to east in Somalia, is we have taken these precautions right now and farther steps

will be taken to make sure that the virus doesn't jump from the west to the east part, the eastern part of the continent.

PLEITGEN: President Mohamud, thank you very much for being on the program.

MOHAMUD: Thank you very much. Thank you.


PLEITGEN: And after a break, a presidential spokesperson is often a human dart board, left with a thankless job of toeing the party line while trying

to give more or less honest answers to tough questions.

Imagine a press secretary who took a bullet for his boss and then did his disarming best to champion gun control. The legacy of James Brady when we

come back.




PLEITGEN: And a final thought tonight, imagine a world where a presidential press secretary becomes more than a mouthpiece or a punching

bag, he becomes a hero.

It happened in the blink of an eye.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): On March 30th, 1981, an assassin fired six shots at where President Ronald Reagan gravely wounding him. The final shot struck

his press secretary, James Brady. A bullet to the brain that left him fighting for his life. Reagan would recover and go on to a thawing of

relations with the Soviet Union and other achievements.

James Brady, for his part, known as "The Bear" for his appearance and his willingness to mix it up with the White House press corps, would return

home with permanent brain damage, impaired speech and a lifetime of health issues.

But that's when his heroism truly began. Along with his wife, Sarah, they became the first family of gun control, taking on the National Rifle

Association in a six-year battle for background checks on handgun sales.

In 1993, the Brady bill which bears his name was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Three years later, Clinton presented him with the

Medal of Freedom, the highest nation's honor for civilians.

And perhaps the ultimate accolade for his peers in the year 2000, the White House Briefing Room was named in his honor.

James Brady died on Monday at the age of 73. And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always contact us at our website,, and follow me on Twitter @FPleitgenCNN.

Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.