Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Pope Francis to Meet with Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar; Trump Calls Warren "Pocahontas" in Front of Native American Veterans; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Marry Next Spring; Yemen Humanitarian Crisis; Mount Agung Creates Huge Ash Cloud over Bali. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 28, 2017 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:11] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Pope Francis meets with de facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in just a few hours and he'll be walking a religious and diplomatic tightrope when he does.

VAUSE: The insulter in chief -- U.S. President Donald Trump goes off script and turns a ceremony to honor Native Americans into a racially charged controversy.

SESAY: And Prince Harry's getting hitched. Details on the roasted chicken proposal with all the great things (ph) coming right up.

VAUSE: Help us.

Hello and welcome and to all our viewers around the world. Good to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Pope Francis will meet with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the coming hours and he's in a difficult position. The mostly Buddhist country is accused of atrocities against its Rohingya Muslim minority.

VAUSE: Since late August, violence has driven more than 600,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh. The Pope is expected to push through to stop the crackdown against them.

On Monday, the Pope met with Myanmar's military chief. He told Francis there is no religious discrimination in the country. And earlier this month, the military issued a report clearing itself of all wrongdoing.

SESAY: Well, let's bring in CNN's Ivan Watson who joins us now from Hong Kong. So Ivan -- as we just mentioned, the Pope met with Myanmar's military chief on Monday as he landed pretty early on there in Yangon. The military chief saying to the Pope that there is issue of discrimination in the country and that the forces, the military forces there, you know, have not been -- they're not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Do we know how the Pope responded?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, the Vatican put out quite a short statement about that meeting saying, quote, "They talked about the great responsibility that authorities have in this period of transition." And that's one of the themes that the Pope has talked about in the past. That is that after a half century of military rule, Myanmar had elections two years ago.

That's part of why -- that's when Aung San Suu Kyi's party was elected to run the government. That's part of why the Vatican reopened full diplomatic relations with Myanmar just last May after Pope Francis met at the Vatican with Aung San Suu Kyi. So he's made it clear that he wants to continue to support this Democratic transition.

But his meeting with the chief of the military shortly after arriving in Yangon on Monday is indicative of where everybody believes the real power lies in Myanmar. And that is really with the military.

Because of the constitution that the military wrote and drafted, the military controls a quarter of the seats in the parliament. It also has the final say about defense matters, about foreign affairs and can basically overrule Aung San Suu Kyi as the head of the civilian government at any moment.

So, this meeting was important and it shows that the Pope and his advisers recognize that the armed forces are a political force that they really have to deal with as well, here.

He will be flying now up to the capital, Naypyidaw where he will be meeting Aung San Suu Kyi and expected to give a speech alongside her in the convention center several hours later today -- Isha.

SESAY: And that's the question. So when he has this moment in the spotlight in public with Aung San Suu Kyi, the big question on many people's minds is will he use the word "Rohingya", a term, a word that is loaded in Myanmar and people just aren't clear what are the indications at this point in time, whether the Pope will go that far?

WATSON: It isn't clear but certainly his cardinal in Myanmar has advised against using that. That's partially because the government rejects the term "Rohingya" completely. And instead makes the case that this community of Rohingya Muslims -- that's how they self- identify themselves, that they are essentially illegal immigrants. And they have denied citizenship rights and are effectively stateless even though many of them, their families have lived in southwestern Myanmar for generations.

The fact is that Pope Francis has come out quite firmly and critically against the authorities in Myanmar in the past about this very issue, speaking up in the defense of Rohingya Muslims saying that they are brothers and sisters and that they're being tortured and killed.

[00:04:56] And whatever he does say in his public statements while being hosted by the authorities in Myanmar, the next stop of his trip is neighboring Bangladesh which is hosting more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees and there he is expected to sit down and speak with some of these Rohingya Muslim refugees -- Isha.

SESAY: It's an important moment. We shall see what the Pope says when he's standing next to Aung San Suu Kyi and they make those public remarks.

Ivan Watson joining us there in Hong Kong -- appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, joining us now is Kate Vigneswaran. She's the legal director at Fortify Rights and she joins me from Bangkok, Thailand. Kate -- thank you so much for being with us.

Let me ask you, in your view, how important is it for the Pope to use the word "Rohingya" publicly while on this visit to Myanmar?

KATE VIGNESWARAN, LEGAL DIRECTOR, FORTIFY RIGHTS: Look. I think it's extremely important -- Isha. The Rohingya is a term that's adopted by the Rohingya community itself. They have a right to self-identify. They have a right to nationality.

And the Myanmar government and military has been disavowing that right to self-identify by calling them Bengali interlopers and foreigners that should return to where they come from.

To not use the term played into that -- to dehumanizing the Rohingya group. And further it doesn't play the diplomatic role, the role that Aung San Suu Kyi and the community should old be playing by putting pressure on this government to actually (INAUDIBLE) their rights.

SESAY: Well, the Pope met with Myanmar's military chief first before meeting with the head of state or head of government upon landing there in Myanmar which points to the power of the military. In your view, what level of impact can the Pope have on this long-running crisis?

VIGNESWARAN: Look that's right. The military does have extreme power but I think the Pope is in a position of strength at the moment because he's one of the first international figures to visit Myanmar following the latest round of attacks. He's been invited there by Aung San Suu Kyi.

He obviously has her ear and he also is a political and spiritual authority and I think for many religious groups who he has been a champion of. So I think a lot of people will be watching and you know, as we know, the international community is watching.

So I think he has a platform at the moment which he can use to put pressure on both groups in Myanmar and the international community.

SESAY: As you watch from your vantage point there in Bangkok, Thailand what are your expectations of substantive outcomes from the Pope's visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh? Do you have any expectations of something substantive coming from this or just the symbolism of the Pope's visit?

VIGNESWARAN: Look. I think it's probably a little bit of both. I think the symbolism is quite significant but I also hope to see at least a very strong statement from the Pope following this visit or even during this visit.

It will be interesting to see what he says when he speaks with Aung San Suu Kyi later today. But I'm really hoping for him to push for some kind of commitment, at least for Aung San Suu Kyi to do more and then further calls for action once he finalizes his visit there.

SESAY: As you know last week there was an agreement signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees who fled in recent months the violence in northern Rakhine state. You know, according to this agreement, at least the little that is known, it said that returns will commence in two month.

Are there any indications from where you sit and what you know of the situation that the Myanmar authorities actually intend to deal with the underlying issues that have long plagued the Rohingya at least set off this wave of violence?

VIGNESWARAN: Look, as far as from where we're sitting, there's no indication the government is going to do that. And as a result this agreement is clearly premature. There's been no indication they're going to unravel the systemic discrimination in the forms of restrictions of citizenship, movement, births and marriage or deal with the intercommunal violence and tension that has been ongoing, nor the violence perpetrated by the military.

As far as the arrivals at the time, the government and military intends to have returnees in camps and if the camps that have been in existence since 2012 are anything to go by, this merely means interment in squalid conditions.

So I think really this will be a disaster for the Rohingya to return to (INAUDIBLE).

SESAY: So help me understand what is at play here or at least your read of it. We know that the Myanmar authorities have done their very best for decades to drive these people out. And now, all of a sudden, they're willing to take them back? What's your read of what's going on here?

[00:10:06] VIGNESWARAN: Look, I think this is diplomacy at its best. I think if -- I mean we have yet to see the full terms of that agreement but you know, as I understand it, it's an indication that they want to deflect attention. But when you read between the lines, they're really only willing to allow returnees that can verify their right to residence which would be very difficult to a majority of Rohingya population.

So I think reading between the lines this really is just a diplomatic play, a political play and it's trying to appease Bangladesh and other members of the international community that have been putting pressure on them.

SESAY: Which means the Pope's visit all the more important. Kate Vigneswaran -- we really appreciate it. Thank you so much for joining us.

VIGNESWARAN: Thank you -- Isha.

VAUSE: It went over with a thud -- the moment when the U.S. President revived an old slur for one of his biggest critics -- Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren. He was in the Oval Office to honor Navajo war veterans known as Code Talkers when unexpectedly the President went off script and left many asking what was he thinking?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to thank you because you're very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here.

Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.

But you know what, I like you because you are special.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The White House later explained that Trump's use of Pocahontas was not racially motivated. The target of the insult Senator Warren disagrees noting the President couldn't make it through a ceremony without the use of a racial slur.

For more on this, joining us now: California talk radio host Ethan Bearman; California Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel and Jessica Levinson, professor of law and government at Loyola Law School. Thank you all for being with us.

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.

Shawn -- this should have been a straightforward, feel-good event honoring Navajo veterans. The President -- why can't he be president when the moment is called for like this?

SHAWN STEEL CALIFORNIA RNC MEMBER: Actually it was a good straightforward event in honor of the Code Talkers of World War II. Probably we wouldn't have heard about it. Probably very few people would have appreciated it.

Trump went off script which he does and we're not used to that. Now you're -- nobody's going to be used to it. But the fact that he called out the greatest star (ph) in the U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Warren who got in the Harvard University because she claimed she had Indian heritage is something that needs to be remembered.

She was -- she became a beneficiary of affirmative action when she in no way deserved it. And she used it for years and she still won't even get off the dime.

VAUSE: Sure.

STEEL: Frankly, it is a fair shot. It's a political enemy. Now, look. You may not like it. But listen, if you're looking for

Donald Trump to be nice and pleasant, that's not the Donald Trump that the people voted for.

VAUSE: Ok.

Ethan before we get into -- here's the response from Senator Elizabeth Warren. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You know, I really couldn't believe it that there he was at a ceremony to honor Native Americans, men who had really put it all in the line to save American lives, to save lives of people, our allies during World War II -- really, amazing people.

And President Trump couldn't even make it through a ceremony to honor these men without throwing in a racial slur.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Ethan, you know, we know the arguments have been ongoing about Elizabeth Warren and her claims to native heritage and there is, you know, a conversation we had. But there is also a time and a place for that conversation to be had. A lot of people are saying this was not that time and place.

ETHAN BEARMAN, RADIO HOST: Clearly this was not that time and place. Not only that, the Navajo that we have mistreated so horrifically throughout American history, the President himself should have been making amends not just saying the Code Talkers are wonderful.

They did save our butts in World War II because of the use of their language that not able to be cracked by our enemies during the war. So we had a perfect encryption mechanism there.

But to call out Elizabeth Warren, by the way, I will take great exception to what Shawn Steel just said. The only reason is what he said, why she got into Harvard was because of affirmative action -- that absolutely diminishes her great accomplishments and her legal experience.

VAUSE: Jessica -- to you, the Republican presidential primary, Jeb Bush warned Donald Trump you can't insult your way to the presidency. Clearly, he was wrong. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When these people walk in there, they don't say, oh, hello, how's the weather? It's so beautiful outside. Isn't it lovely? How are the Yankees doing? They're doing wonderful. Great.

[00:15:05] They say we want deal. Look at my African-American over here -- look at him. Are you the greatest? You're not going to support me even though you know I'm the best thing that could ever happen to Israel. Or you're not going to support me because I don't want your money. Isn't it crazy?

When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists and some I assume are good people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So, Jessica, well there, you know, is outrage over the President's comments in the Oval Office. There is a good part of this country which will ultimately think this is much ado about nothing.

JESSICA LEVINSON, LAW PROFESSOR: Well, in looking at that kind of best of or worst of highlights reel that you just showed I think the thing that is so startling to me is that that actually is presidential now. So insulting so many different groups and joking about it is now the new normal. That's the new presidential.

And I think that is terrifically dispiriting and there may absolutely, as you said, be a conversation to be had about Elizabeth Warren and what was on her applications. But there is no reason that in a ceremony in which we are honoring code Breakers -- we're honoring people who are great patriots to use a racial slur as if he simply cannot help himself from trying to relive these political feuds and schoolyard tussles that he had during election.

And it's very similar to when there's a scripted and serious discussion about, let's say, health care, climate change, immigration. And then all of a sudden there's this pivot to -- and I just want to tell you I beat Hillary Clinton and she's a crook.

I mean it's just -- it's so I think dispiriting for people around the world to look and say this is the leader of America. This is who we elected -- someone that throws racial slurs at a ceremony where we're honoring people who serve our country.

VAUSE: Ok. At the end of last month Donald Trump declared November would honor Native American heritage. This is part of the declaration.

"Native Americans are a treatment -- testament rather -- to the deep importance of culture and vibrancy of traditions passed out through generations. This month I encourage all of our citizens to learn about the rich history and culture of the Native American people. Donald J. Trump."

Ok here's some history about Navajo Code Talkers. They were native Americans whose language used to send tactical messages to U.S. troops and allies during World War II because their language was so rare, it was essentially an unbreakable code; ended up saving thousands of lives of Americans and allied troops.

Shawn -- I hope the President doesn't know that or he doesn't care. Which is worse? STEEL: Actually neither. I think he cares. I think he's a very compassionate person when he wants to be. Many times, he is not.

This - the charge of this being racial is bogus. It's part of the old PC crowd that Americans have walked away from with Hillary Clinton, who was the last champion of that. But to call this dispiriting -- it's only dispiriting for liberals that just haven't figured out that they have lost the elections. They've lost all three houses of Congress and they're just very upset.

VAUSE: The President, as Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary said, doesn't believe that this is a racial slur. But Ethan, a whole bunch of groups representing Native Americans have come forward and said, yes, this is. Does it matter what the President thinks? Or should we take into account what, you know, the people who are at the end of this believe?

BEARMAN: Yes. I mean you need to call people what they want to be called. If somebody doesn't want to be called something, then don't call them that. And if the Native American groups are saying this is offensive, don't call us that. Well, we can think of lots of other words that other groups don't want to be called.

I have a Jewish background. There are words I don't want you to ever call me and I don't think just because the President thinks it would be ok, then I would be ok with it. He needs to step away from this and we need to stop defending those actions.

VAUSE: Ok. Well the other news is that President Trump will not be heading to Alabama to campaign for the senate candidate there -- the accused child molester Roy Moore. He continues to question the credibility -- this is Roy Moore -- of the women who are accusing him of sexual misconduct. This was him a few hours ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: When a young lady is abused, and I have represented many victims in cases such as this, I have not seen one who wants her picture posted on national TV, especially in political advertisement. The truth is this is not really odd at all. This is simply dirty politics.

And it's a sign of the immorality of -- it's a sign of the immorality of our time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Jessica -- the immorality of our time I guess according to Roy Moore but the fact that Trump is not sort of trying to stay clear, if you like, of Roy Moore. What does that say about Moore's chances of actually winning?

[00:20:03] LEVINSON: Well, I think sadly, from everything we've seen in terms of how President Trump has handled this situation, it's clear despite the mountain of credible accusations against Roy Moore, despite these accusations that include again, not just sexual misconduct but accusations that include pedophilia, that President Trump, in fact, if he thought he could win, would have stood behind him.

So my guess is that this is a clear sign we have that the President or and/or his administration thinks that Roy Moore is now weak. And that they don't want to stand next to him.

And we have seen this happen a number of President Trump's picks as candidates where once it looks like either they are not going to succeed or later when they fail he distanced himself and he says the problem is that they didn't listen to Trump.

And I think he doesn't want to have to say that. He's going to distance himself preemptively. And sadly, I don't think it's that -- again, these -- all these accusations, I don't think that President Trump doesn't want to touch it or that his administration doesn't want him near Roy Moore. I think it's that they think he's no longer politically viable.

VAUSE: Ok. Part of the strategy here has been to try and discredit the women and the stories and the reporting about Roy Moore. "The Washington Post" though has an interesting story about a woman named Jamie Phillips who came to the paper with a false story about a relationship she had with Roy Moore. She said it happened when she was 15 years old and it ended in an abortion.

It was all fake. The story did not check out. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to explain anymore about how it was that you know, you know how you came to call us and --

JAMIE PHILLIPS, FAKE ROY MOORE ACCUSER: No. I just saw an article. I saw that article that was posted. That's how I saw it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then you contacted other people and you contacted the Roy Moore campaign. Steve Bannon or Breitbart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Ok. So it turns out that she was apparently working for Project Veritas which is a group which does these sting operations on mainstream media. They targeted CNN, as well in the past. But Shawn, if this was an attempt to discredit the reporting by the "Washington Post" and others about all of Moore's accusers. It seems to have just backfired quickly.

STEEL: I think this whole story about the sexual misconduct is really a great change and a landmark change not just in the American culture but worldwide culture. And, of course, and if I was just one Republican for one time, Roy Moore is certainly a poster child of what a great hypocrite should like.

But now we're seeing a cascade of Democrats, Hollywood stars and other Republicans and anybody who starts shaking their finger too hard saying that somebody else is a hypocrite got to be very careful he might be pointing at himself.

VAUSE: We agree on that one.

Ok. Very quickly -- because this brings us the President's first tweet of the day back from Thanksgiving Day break. Here we go. "We should have a contest as to which of the networks plus CNN and not including Fox is the most dishonest, corrupt and or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President -- me. And they're all bad. Winner to receive the fake news trophy."

So Ethan -- it would seem the winner would be whoever sent that woman to the "Washington Post" with the fake story about, you know, having a relationship with Roy Moore.

BEARMAN: Yes. I mean Project Veritas got caught with their pants down this time. And good for the "Washington Post" this proved that they did all the background checking on the women with the allegations against Roy Moore.

And I just want to say this really quickly. Roy Moore should absolutely be rejected by the American people, the people of Alabama and if, for whatever reason, the people of Alabama actually vote him in, the Senate must do everything they can and reject him and minimize him, remove him. And by the way, again, good job to the "Washington Post" who (INAUDIBLE) Project Veritas.

VAUSE: Yes. And we're still wondering what the fake news trophy would look like. Maybe an iPhone with clay hands (ph).

Ok. Shawn and Ethan as well as Jessica -- thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

SESAY: All right then. Let's talk wedding bells -- shall we?

The moment many have been waiting for including John -- all the details of Prince Harry's announcement at Kensington Palace.

[00:24:11] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: It is official. The long-rumored, highly-anticipated, much- looked forward to, almost magical moment royal engagement of Britain's Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle has finally been announced at London's Kensington Palace.

SESAY: Well, the couple has dated for a year and a half and as Max Foster reports they knew it was serious from the start.

VAUSE: Of course they did.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: In their first appearance as an engaged couple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made it clear they are as Harry says, a fantastic team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry -- when did you know she was the one? PRINCE HARRY, BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY: The very first time we met.

FOSTER: Prince Harry designed the engagement ring with diamonds that belonged to his mother, Diana's collection. The centerpiece, a large diamond from Botswana, a meaningful place for Harry and now also to his future wife.

PRINCE HARRY: I persuaded her to come and join me in Botswana. And we camped out with each other under the stars. We spent -- enjoyed it for five days out there. And she was absolutely fantastic.

FOSTER: The proposal came a few weeks ago at their Kensington Palace cottage.

PRINCE HARRY: We might as well.

MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY'S FIANCEE: It was a cozy night. What were doing? Just roasting chicken and napping.

PRINCE HARRY: Roasting chicken -- trying to roast chicken.

MARKLE: Trying to roast the chicken and it's just -- just an amazing surprise. It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.

PRINCE HARRY: Of course.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it an instant yes from you?

MARKLE: Yes. As matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing. Can I say yes now?

PRINCE HARRY: She didn't really let me finish. She said, can I say yes now? And then there was (INAUDIBLE) -- I have the ring in my finger and can I give you the ring? She said oh yes, the ring.

FOSTER: The couple revealed they met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend. They didn't know much about each other and they quickly learned philanthropy is a common interest.

PRINCE HARRY: Both of us have passions for just wanting to make change for good.

FOSTER: The match has been welcomed by the Queen who Meghan has met several times.

MARKLE: It's incredible. I think, you know, a, to be able to meet her through his lens not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch but the love that he has for her as his grandmother. All those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her I had such a deep understanding and, of course, incredible respect for being able to have that time with her and we have had a really -- she's an incredible woman.

FOSTER: Harry has recently opened up about how the death of his mother affected him. He says Diana would have been thrilled with his future wife.

PRINCE HARRY: I think they'd be thick as thieves -- without question. I think she would be over the moon jumping up and down, you know, so excited for me but then as I said she would probably been best friends, best friends with Meghan.

So no. you know, it is days like today when I really miss having her around. I miss being able to share the happy news. But, you know, with the ring and with everything else going on, I'm sure she's --

MARKLE: She's with us.

PRINCE HARRY: I'm sure she's with us now and then jumping up and down somewhere else.

FOSTER: Markle has given up her acting career and plans to concentrate on causes that are important to both her and Prince Harry.

Max Foster, CNN -- London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: They look really happy.

SESAY: They do. She seems very, very charming.

VAUSE: You'd be happy if they moved into your street across the road.

SESAY: Let me know when they move to my small apartment.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: I think they've got the palace. It's better for them.

VAUSE: Totally. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:30:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VAUSE (voice-over): And welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY (voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

(HEADLINES)

SESAY: Nadine Drummond with Save the Children joins us now from Amman, Jordan. Good to speak to you again.

Can you give us the lay of the land now?

We spoke last week.

What's the situation now?

Is there full, unfettered access of humanitarian supplies to Yemen?

NADINE DRUMMOND, SAVE THE CHILDREN: On the surface, it would appear that that's the case. But that's not really the reality. The blockade technically has been lifted. But the reality is that the clearance issues are taking so long. We were locked out of the country. Humanitarian workers outside of the country and those that were inside of the country were trapped.

And what's essentially happened is that all of those medical supplies and all of the aid supplies that could not make it into the country are still backed up. And so, yes, we have access. But the reality is that's not happening. All that's happened is we've been able to get some commercial wheat into the country, some other wheat from another U.N. agency which is helpful but it's not enough. I mean, this is no cause for celebration. The blockade hasn't really

been lifted. It's been loosened.

(CROSSTALK)

DRUMMOND: -- us on the ground.

SESAY: So just that I'm very clear on what you're saying here, is it the case that there is a backlog because there is a glut of supplies to come through?

Or are you suggesting, are you saying that --

[00:35:00]

SESAY: -- the authorities are deliberately slowing down the movement of supplies through the pipeline for delivery?

Which is it?

DRUMMOND: I don't have evidence to suggest that the authorities are deliberately slowing down the pipeline. But what is clear that there is a backlog and the backlog is taking a very long time to clear. During the three-week period, there were 29 vessels that were turned away from Hudaydah (ph) port, that were forced to go to Aden port. And some of them just couldn't make it.

So the process of however long it's taking is taking a time that is not helping the Yemeni people and as a result of that, more people are suffering, including the number of children, astromical children, that are already dying.

SESAY: Yes. As it's been said, this is a war that is disproportionately affecting understand children. This is a children's war. We understand that 1.9 million diphtheria vaccines have been shipped to Yemen and have arrived.

Can you speak to that?

How far those will go towards stemming a full-blown diphtheria outbreak?

Because I know there's some concern on that front.

DRUMMOND: It'll help. Every little helps. Yes, of course, it is almost, I think, 156 people that had diphtheria. Most of the people that died were children. So, of course, all of these things will help. But you have to look at this in the broader context. Those vaccines are stuck on a tarmac in Gibisi (ph) for better part of three weeks. And if there wasn't the tightening of the existing blockade, those children wouldn't have died and so, yes, it helps. But it's really not enough.

What we need is unfettered access. At the moment for the access to improve and to speed up processes so that we're able to transport the limited aid that we have into the country to the people that need it most.

And the issue that we are still having is the fuel crisis. So yes, it's great that we have medicine, it's fantastic that we have some commercial imports as well as aid imports but we don't have enough fuel in country to be able to get everything where it needs to go.

It's also not just about transportation. Fuel actually powers the generators that powers the sewage systems, that help sanitize water and keeps water clean. Now 16 million people in Yemen, before the most recent blockade, didn't have access to clean water, anyway, including 11 million children. So if we don't have fuel to power those pump, those generators and power the sewage pumps then what that means is we will see a catastrophic rise in waterborne diseases. In addition to that, the --

SESAY: No. I didn't mean to cut you off, Nadine.

But I guess my question is, what are you doing in the meantime?

DRUMMOND: Pressuring international governments to take more -- to take more action, to allow us to get what we need into the country and move around. We're limited in terms of what we can do. We literally have to wait for our different vessels to offload our different supplies and then try to get them to people into the country. It is a waiting game.

Now we are just waiting and we're trying to distribute the supplies that we have, medical supplies, food supplies, cash donations, food batches, whatever we have, to try to keep people alive. But we're limited. This situation is deteriorating at a rate that we cannot control. Yes, and we are better off than we were last week but we're worse off than we were two weeks ago.

SESAY: Yes. We have less than a minute left, Nadine. I'm going to ask you this. You have trouble getting stuff in. You have some supplies in the country right now.

How long is that going to last you?

DRUMMOND: At the moment, Save the Children has about 10 weeks' worth of supplies across the board. And so (INAUDIBLE) Yemen. So we have enough for the very, very short term. Hopefully we'll be able to get the other stuff we need into the country and distribute before our existing stocks run out.

But the situation is far from over. And what we really need is an end to the violence and for international governments to stop this shameless silence that they have over Yemen and find a way to allow Yemenis the dignity that they need or the dignity that they deserve as human beings. It is absolutely unconscionable, what's happening here.

SESAY: I absolutely agree with you. We'll stay on the story and continue to talk to you, Nadine, you and your colleagues out there in the field in Yemen. Thank you for the work you're doing. Thank you for speaking to CNN.

VAUSE: Coming up here on NEWSROOM L.A., Bali's main airport is shut down. Thousands have been left stranded as the island braces for another possible volcanic eruption. Details in a moment.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:40:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VAUSE: A volcanic eruption has brought Indonesia's resort island of Bali to a standstill. Almost 60,000 tourists are stranded. The main airport has been shut for a second day because of thick volcanic ash spewing from Mount Agung over the weekend.

SESAY: Around 30,000 people have been evacuated and now as authorities issue the highest possible warning, the island is bracing for another possible eruption.

(WEATHER REPORT)

SESAY: That does it for us. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.