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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interviews With Heather Mills McCartney, Zeynab, Carol Bellamy, Bob Watts.
Aired August 14, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Heather Mills McCartney. After growing up homeless and losing a leg, she became a fashion model and swept a Beatle off his feet. And now she brings us the gut-wrenching story of another remarkable young lady. An 11-year-old who lost her right leg and 17 members of her family when bombs destroyed their home in Iraq. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We have a very special edition of LARRY KING LIVE tonight. Our special guest throughout the program is Lady Heather Mills McCartney, a good friend, humanitarian and activist, working to get artificial limbs for children and adults maimed by landmines and other war-related explosives. She's been a driving force in an effort to clear dangerous minefields from war-torn countries, and of course is the wife of Sir Paul McCartney.
Later, we're going to meet Zeynab, an 11-year-old from Iraq who lost her right leg above the knee when a cluster bomb fell on her home. We're also going to meet Bob Watts, the renowned London prosthetist who fitted Zeynab and Lady Heather with their prosthetic limbs. And later in the program, Carol Bellamy, the executive director of UNICEF, has had that post since 1995, and a former Peace Corps director. Lady McCartney has also had, to our honor, the honor of hosting this show, and we expect to see more of that in the fall and months ahead.
But first, how's everybody, Heather? How's the family? How's everybody doing?
HEATHER MILLS MCCARTNEY, GOODWILL AMBASSADOR, ADOPT A MINEFIELD: Everybody's great. The tour is finally over, so we're a little bit more settled, and it's a good job, because it's given me time to sort of do even more charity work. So we're all pretty settled now, thanks.
KING: Is he...
MILLS MCCARTNEY: How's your family?
KING: Everybody's great. You're going to be in Los Angeles, I know, in October, for another big event. Is he going to tour again next year?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Yes, he is. But we're going to stay put, and he can fly in and out.
KING: But how is the... MILLS MCCARTNEY: So America has got a lot to look forward to.
KING: Oh, he's going to do the United States?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Oh, yeah.
KING: Let's get up to date. How is the Adopt a Minefield doing?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: We're doing really well. We've benefited over 366,000 people, a lot of that is a big thank you to the people of America for being so generous, and hopefully we'll keep continuing to donate to Landmines.org, to help so many war-torn survivors and victims. We've raised over $10 million now, and we just continue to keep pushing forward and doing our work in the world.
KING: Now, how does it work? If someone gives to Adopt a Minefield, what happens to the money? What goes where? What happens?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Well, 100 percent of the money goes to actually clearing minefields and helping men, women and children around the world that have had their lives devastated in one way or the other, by landmines and unexploded ordnance. It's one of the few charities where 100 percent of the money does do that, because I work voluntarily, and so do many of the people -- many of our staff. And for those who obviously have to earn money to pay their own bills at home, we got funding from previously the State Department and from corporations.
KING: How many -- do we know how many active minefields there are in the world?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Well, we know there's over 70 million mines still buried. But what I like to focus on is actually imagine that, you know, you're helping a community rather than say, oh my God, 70 million, we can't remove all of those. But we took as a group -- and I say we -- all the mine clearance charities in the world and the NGOs, the last bomb in Kosovo, last landmine, last year. So you know, it's very achievable. And they're such indiscriminate weapons that we have to continue to keep pushing forward. And we're still taking them out in Vietnam, which is, as we know, over 30 years ago, and we have children there that are still being blown up from landmines that were spread all over, in areas like Quingtree (ph) province. But we finally just cleared that area, and re-housed about 90 families. So we're getting there.
KING: It's adoptaminefield.org?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: It's Landmines.org, even though it's Adopt a Minefield, the charity. If anyone wants to help any men, women and children in post-war conflict, then they can donate there. They're shown exactly which minefield they'll help. They can actually choose, and they give you a certificate and informed of what their money has done to change that community.
KING: So it's Landmines.org. We all know, or should know, the story of Lady Heather Mills McCartney, emotionally abused by her father, abducted by a pedophile when she was 8, had to steal to get stuff to eat. At her own age 13, her mother chose a new boyfriend over her own children. How much of that life led to what you do now?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: I mean, I can't really guess, but you would imagine that I could have gone two ways. I could have either set on the path of just constantly thinking about myself and trying to get somewhere myself, or actually trying to help others. A lot of people think I only got involved in the landmine and the war-torn survivor situations since I've lost my leg. But I actually was working as a ski instructor in the former Yugoslavia before the war broke out, and obviously, when the war did break out, because of the currency rapidly deflating and everybody panicking, I went in to help some refugees and worked on the frontline in Bosnia and Sarajevo. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in areas like that for two years before I lost my leg. So I think that spurred me even more into helping those less advantaged than me.
KING: And of course, we have that historic moment on this show, when I casually asked if I could see your leg, and you casually took it off, and that picture...
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Popped it out.
KING: Popped it off, was seen all over the world. So let's recap for those who may not know, how did you lose your leg?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: I lost my leg a few days ago, August 8, '93. So that's 11 years ago. And I was crossing the street on a visit back to England, trying to publicize the problems of the war in the former Yugoslavia. And a motorcycle came from behind a red bus, chopped my leg off, crashed my pelvis, punctured my lungs, split my head open. And I was rushed to the hospital, pronounced nearly dead four times to my sister. And I survived, obviously, to tell the story. And ended up having my first limb fitted, that was huge and uncomfortable and very heavy, and was of no use after six, seven weeks. So I said, are you going to recycle this? And they said, no, we're not paid to dismantle.
And then I found out at that time, there were 67,000 amputees in the country, all with spare artificial limbs in the cupboard, you know, they had previously discarded. So I collected those, got the prisoners from prisons around the country to dismantle them, and with my prosthetist, Bob Watts, he trained them on how to do that. And we put them all into a great big truck and sent them down to former Yugoslavia. And got a prosthetist from each country around the world to donate two weeks of their time -- because they can actually do that away from their own patients. And we did a rotor system, and managed to fit above 27,000 people. So that was eight and a half years ago now.
KING: How did you, though, emotionally handle, beautiful woman, model, activist, the loss of a limb?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: To be honest, my mother had lost her leg at the same age as me, in the same place, and they reattached it. So when I heard it had been severely damaged and had been sort of ripped off and there was no way they could put it back on, I actually had a moment of relief, because I knew the suffering that she had, and she eventually died of bad blood circulation. Clots went into her heart and lungs. So I was kind of blessed, now seen what happens with reattachments in former Yugoslavia when people lost their limbs to mines there. So I felt kind of blessed, which sounds crazy. And all I was concerned about was getting a limb that would allow me to ski and roller blade and dance and run around.
KING: The extraordinary Lady Heather Mills McCartney. We'll continue with Heather right after the break, and then later we're going to meet an extraordinary young lady from Iraq, we're going to meet the gentleman who helped Heather and the young lady, and we're also going to meet Carol Bellamy of UNICEF. It's all ahead on this very special edition of LARRY KING LIVE, and we'll be right back with Lady Heather Mills McCartney right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Paul is going to get upset at you touching my leg, Larry.
KING: Now, this was amazing. This did not turn Paul off.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: No, not at all.
KING: Because you can imagine many...
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Or any boyfriends before that. Every guy I've been out with asked me to marry them within a week, so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Here. Feel it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Go on. Touch it. It's soft.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Yeah.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Soft.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Lady Heather Mills McCartney on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. She is in, of course, London. You kept activities going -- is there anything you can't do that you used to do?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: No. I can roller blade now, and I never used to be able to. So probably more things I can do now. I can still run for the bus. And I still can wear four-inch heels. So I can't think of anything that I can't do. KING: Do you ever have feeling that you have a leg?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Yes. I have phantom pains, which you just get used to after a while, but I actually don't mind them, because I think it helps me walk better, because I actually forget that my leg is not there, and I have a very comfortable leg. I am very lucky to have a really good prosthetist, and I can just run, you know, around, really comfortably. You know, I can pop it off.
KING: In a sense, it may be this is weird...
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Surprise you whenever I like.
KING: I know, you do. Heather, in a sense, was this kind of a blessing?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: It was totally a blessing, because, you know, I was fighting for the cause for two years in the former Yugoslavia, and only able to help on a small, one-to-one basis, taking medical equipment and helping refugees get out of there. And as soon as I lost my leg, you know, I'd been a model for 10 years, and it was all like, model loses leg, and you know, overcomes adversity. And it became a very positive, inspirational story, apparently, and it enabled me -- I didn't realize that by overcoming my disability, that it inspired a lot of other people to get on with their lives. It took the stigma away from that. And it enabled me to help thousands of people now.
KING: Why do you think the tabloid press has had such a field day with you, especially over things like your charity, questioning you? Why you?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Because I married a Beatle, Larry, why else? You know, Yoko got the same, you know, it's just par for the course. I've had eight years of fantastic press, and I was very open about my life, and I wrote a book, and the money went to charity. And you know, 10 years ago, and as soon as I met my husband, I went absolutely quite, to respect him and his family. And they didn't like it, so they got the knives out.
And it did upset me for a while, but now it just goes over my head, you know. They do it with most celebrities. I can't think of one celebrity that hasn't been attacked at some point. But the biggest problem is that I had a lot of interest from the clinic to help us make artificial limbs for third-world countries, and they actually pulled away and said, you know what, you know, such and such paper has said bad things, and we're not going to help anymore.
And that's when it's crossing the line, because that means thousands of people, children especially, suffer because of the rubbish the tabloids make up. So finally, they'll take some responsibility and realize that life's too short to live in such a sort of shallow world, and actually get on there and make a difference.
KING: You know, I understand that Adopt a Landmine (sic) has now expanded into survival assistance. You want to tell me about that?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Yeah. It's Adopt a Minefield, but don't worry, everyone says, "adopt a landmine." And it happened because I was introduced to a gentleman called Bill Lords (ph), that set up Adopt a Minefield months previously, and he asked for my involvement. And I said, only if you help the survivors as well, because the situation at the moment in America is, that the State Department funds mine clearance, but apart from a few places in Europe, they do not fund survivor assistance.
Now, it's very important and absolutely essential for mine clearance. But if you're not going to help the survivors, some people call them victims, a lot of them like to be called survivors, of mine -- of landmines, then you're not doing the job that you should be doing. You put the bombs down there; you have to help, you know, the children and the men and the women that have -- lives have been devastated by those mines.
So we do need funds desperately, to be able to help those, because not much money is coming in for survivor assistance. So I insisted that they donate 25 percent of all donations to the survivors, and that 75 percent went to the mine clearance, because essentially, we've got to get the mines cleared.
KING: And by the way, there's going to be a big event I know in October, in Los Angeles. If you punch into Landmines.org, you can get details on that, in which Paul is going to entertain, and other top entertainers, and you appear, you emcee it. It's a wonderful night.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Neil Young.
KING: Neil Young and Paul McCartney together in one night.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Yeah.
KING: Just check into Landmines.org. It's going to be a great evening. We'll be there. It's going to be -- it's always a tremendous event, and you help a lot of people.
A lot of the survivors' help, Heather, deals with psychological help, doesn't it?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Very much so. You know, I tend to get asked to come and see survivors, because they look at me and think, well, she looks absolutely normal. And then I pop my leg off, and they realize that they, you know, can be exactly like me, given the chance to have a comfortable limb, and it just makes them feel that they've got somebody to relate to, because otherwise you say, it's going to be OK, you're fine, and you're standing there with all your limbs, they can't relate to you so much.
So I do that. And just push them to realize that, you know, with some help from us, they can carry on as they did before. And actually go on to become an inspiration themselves. That's the most important thing.
KING: Isn't the first week or two after the loss of a limb the hardest?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Absolutely, because you haven't got any idea. You know, what's going to happen to your life? You basically have nobody coming to see you, which is why I try and get to see people who have lost limbs as quickly as possible. And it's really -- you're still in shock, so it's your family that need the most counseling, because they feel helpless. They can't say anything, they can't do anything. Or they feel they can't, but they actually can, you know, getting on the Internet and looking up prosthetics and limbs and showing them what's available out there is a key thing. So I try and inform them immediately.
And anybody that is an amputee or about to lose a limb and checks on to HeatherMillsMcCartney.com, we've got an amputee forum there that we set up. So when I counsel someone, I insist that they join, and they go on, when they overcome their disability, to help somebody else. And now we've got hundreds of people helping each other all around the world.
KING: We'll take a break, come back, and then we'll meet an extraordinary young lady and Bob Watts, the aforementioned Bob Watts. And Lady McCartney will remain with us. Don't go away.
KING: We're back on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Remaining with us from London is Lady Heather Mills McCartney, the human -- humanitarian and activist in artificial limbs and landmines and getting rid of them and helping so many people around the world.
Joining us now is Zeynab, the 11-year-old who lost her right leg above the knee when a cluster bomb fell on her home near Basra, Iraq. Zeynab will be speaking through an interpreter.
Also in London is Bob Watts. Bob is the renowned London prosthetist -- I hope I'm pronouncing that right -- who fitted Zeynab and Lady Heather with their prosthetic limbs.
Zeynab, we'll start with you. How did this happen? What happened that you lost your leg?
ZEYNAB, 11-YEAR-OLD, LOST LEG WHEN BASRA HOME WAS BOMBED (through translator): It happened during the war. She was in Basra, and then they evacuate Basra from these women and children to a nearby village, which is safe for them, you know, mosque area. There was (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and then it was safe for them. And after that, American airplanes came in, bombed that area, and she didn't feel anything, only explosion, and then when she -- one day they just transferred her to the hospital, she was awake, she woke up and they told her that the situation of her leg was so, so bad, and they tried to make her a vascular (ph) repair for her artery, but it fell down, and then they amputated her leg, and she said that's what I do to lose my leg, and all the children in that war.
KING: What happened to her family? ZEYNAB (through translator): She said that 17 from her family, uncles, aunts and cousins, all of them just died by this cluster bomb, and only she was the survivor from that misery and with her -- apart from her father, only.
KING: Just her and her father. Heather, how did you find Zeynab?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: I found her, I was having unbelievably a day off in a spa with all the girls, and we all switched the mobile phones off, and luckily one of the girls didn't, and they were gotten hold of, and said that -- I was about to out of the country, and they said a young girl has just been flown in and brought by a journalist called Lee Gordon, who was brave enough to get her out of Iraq, because there were no facilities to make her a limb, and bring her back to England, which was a big process. And would I meet with her? So I changed all the plans, and met with her in the morning. And wanted to meet privately, but they said they needed some publicity on it, to help the other children, and nobody was interested unless I was involved, or stood with her, which was quite sad.
And so I did. And when I met her, I did my usual trick, popped my leg off, and she immediately changed and said, "is she a princess, and will I be like her?" And I promised her that we would fit her up with a limb, which we have, and she's walking very well, and we've been swimming. And I just can't believe how strong she is. She's just, as you can see, she's an incredible girl, and she wants to spread the message of all the other children that are devastated in her country, and the help that they need.
KING: That's a great story. Now, Bob Watts, how did you get involved and what did you do for Zeynab?
BOB WATTS, PROSTHETIST: I got involved because Heather asked me to, and if Heather asks you to do something...
KING: You do it.
WATTS: ... it's very difficult to say no. So -- yeah, you do. And Heather brought Zeynab down, and we fitted her up with the artificial leg she's wearing now.
KING: Is it any different when you're dealing with a young child as opposed to an adult?
WATTS: Yes. Basically, a young child will need a lot more fittings, so as the child grows, so they need another artificial leg. So a child will probably need a new leg two, three times a year, whereas as an adult, maybe once every two years.
KING: So she's going to continue to need one as she grows, right?
WATTS: Oh, yes. She'll need one every three to six months, a new artificial leg, yeah.
KING: And does it take some adapting to each new one?
WATTS: Yes, it does. A lot of it, obviously, depends on the facilities that Zeynab will have. And that's really what Heather is trying to do, is get more supports in Iraq for children like Zeynab, so that more prosthetists will be available to fit the artificial limbs in Iraq.
KING: How did you get into your line of specialty?
WATTS: By accident, really. I saw an advert for artificial arms, and I thought that was toy guns. And I went along for the job interview, and found that they were artificial limbs hanging up. And I thought, this must be a pretty interesting job, so I'll -- and that was 28 years ago.
KING: We'll be right back with Lady Heather Mills McCartney, with Zeynab and Bob Watts on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. What a young lady. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Wow. That's fantastic. It's great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Zeynab, we'll start with you in this go- around. What feelings do you have now about your country? I notice she's holding -- Heather, what is she holding there?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: She's holding the little baby leg, so it shows like to what degree these limbs have to be made. Some people are genetically born, and Bob makes these amazing silicon limbs that look lifelike. But we also have mine victims of little babies, so that's a real message of, you know, the devastation of war.
KING: What does Zeynab think about what's happened in her country?
ZEYNAB (through translator): I'm just to see my country that's explosion every day, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and the children also, they're losing their limbs by these accidents by these explosions, and there's insecurity in Iraq now, and I am asking why this is happening inside my country.
KING: Does she bear anger toward the British and the Americans? Does she have bad feelings?
ZEYNAB (through translator): Yes, and why they are just -- bombed us and killed my family? And they are not now taking responsibility, they are not now trying to help the children inside Iraq, and after what they did inside my country, from killing the civilians, so they have to take the responsibility and try to help those children. If they want, they can get out from our country.
KING: You learned about Iraq from her a lot, Heather?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Really have. I asked, on the first meeting, you know, what did you think of Saddam Hussein before this war? Was he like -- was he bogeyman, or was he, you know, somebody that you didn't know too much about? And she said, yes, we knew about him, we knew that he wasn't a good man, but I had no fear of him. He was, you know, I was allowed to play in the street with my friends, they weren't harmed. She just wishes that we'd never gone in, as in the British and Americans. You know, it's very, very difficult, because we went in for good reasons, but you know, there's been three wars since Saddam came in, starting with the Iran-Iraq, and you know, you can never win because you instill bitterness into the children, and they grow up and they start another war, and another war. So wars don't ever solve anything. They just don't.
KING: Did you have friends that were hurt too, Zeynab, or any friends injured?
ZEYNAB (through translator): I saw all my friends in that quarter, in that area, in that village, just all of them lost limbs, and they became victims, and all of them just hurt by this bombing. So why are they doing that?
KING: Zeynab lost 17 members of her family. I understand, Bob Watts, that she still undergoes surgery to remove shrapnel, right?
WATTS: I believe so, but I'm not absolutely sure what's going on in that department.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: At the moment, Larry, she's -- we've had her physically examined, and there is shrapnel there, but she's been through so much trauma that to put her through another operation that's not absolutely essential at the moment -- we're just trying to make her life as near to normal as possible, which is, you know, pretty impossible, but she's such a tenacious, incredible girl.
KING: Yeah, is she.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: So we're focusing mainly on the limb, as you can see. I mean, she's just unbelievable. She's inspirational.
KING: She sure is. Zeynab, how do you feel now, physically, how are you doing?
ZEYNAB (through translator): I am so, so happy that I had the chance to (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and Mr. Bob helped me, and Heather a lot. And I went to her now, I'm so happy, I went with her to the swimming pool and I swam with her. And I have now decided to go to my country and help my other friends, children who've lost limbs.
KING: And how is your father?
ZEYNAB (through translator): Yes, he is well.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: She'd never been swimming in her life before. So it wasn't just a matter of learning to swim, it wasn't just a matter of learning to swim again and be in water, because she'd lost her leg. She literally never, ever swam in her life. So we started off with hands around the neck and claw marks in the shoulders, and then after an hour of bouncing around, she finally let go, and then six hours later, she was swimming by herself, with some armbands. So she's going to make it and become an inspiration. I wouldn't be surprised if she wasn't ruling Iraq in 20, 30 years.
KING: She'd be an excellent choice.
Bob, what are these limbs made of?
WATTS: It's a combination of plastics and aluminum and titanium. And it's all put together in more or a less a kit form, really. The expertise of fitting the limb is really in the shape of the socket, and getting that comfortable. Because an uncomfortable socket is -- it's like having a toothache all day long. So it's very important to get that comfortable.
KING: And then what makes them work so well? They've been dramatically improved over the years, right?
WATTS: Oh, yeah. I mean, we've got some amazing electronics now, and -- that will -- little computers into the knee, which will actually stop the stumbling and athletes that can run fantastic times, so yeah, yeah, they're coming on leaps and bounds.
KING: What kind of patient was Zeynab?
WATTS: She hasn't complained at all. I asked her to do something, and she's off and away. She was a little hesitant to start with, but once she's got her confidence up, she's away, and very brave little girl.
KING: Boy, is she. Heather, what did you want to show us?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: I said, he should show you his hairy leg, not his, but the one he's made. You know, in case you ever need one, Larry.
KING: Oh, he's made a leg with hair so men can feel comfortable?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Yeah, exactly. I haven't got a hairy one to show you.
KING: That's amazing. What -- this is an extraordinary young lady. What do you owe it to, Heather? How do you explain Zeynab?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: I just think a lot to do with her own genetics and her own character. Because people say, oh, how do you overcome this, how do you do that, but you get people who go through terrible lives and end up messed up, or end up incredible, like Zeynab, and you know, she obviously had quite a difficult life before the war started, you know, very poor country, and we were pretty terrible in doing the Oil for Food programme, because we weren't really giving the right amount of money for the oil; otherwise Iraq would have been a very rich country and had an abundance of food. So I think we have a lot to -- to be responsible for in the years gone by.
And I think she's had to grow up in difficult circumstances, which you either become a survivor or you collapse and break down. But she's -- she's just amazing. I think she's just born with that incredible spirit.
KING: I can safely say, we're going to be hearing a lot from Zeynab as the years go on. And we salute Bob Watts. We thank them both for being with us. Lady Heather Mills McCartney will remain, and we'll be joined by an old friend, Carol Bellamy, the executive director of UNICEF. We're going to talk about UNICEF and their involvement in Iraq. Heather will remain. We'll be right back.
KING: Remaining with us is Lady Heather Mills McCartney, and joining us from New York City is Carol Bellamy, former president of the City Council, now executive director of UNICEF. Has held that post since 1994, and former director of the Peace Corps.
Carol, first of all, what did you make of our young lady?
CAROL BELLAMY, EXEC. DIR., UNICEF: Well, I think you saw how resilient young people are. These kids are terrific. She certainly seems to be a great heroine.
KING: And what do you make of the work that Heather does?
BELLAMY: You know, it's so important. When you get people who other people are going to respect, who they knew, who are famous, and they go out there and they're working in Bosnia, and they're working in former Yugoslavia, it makes a difference, and she has a real life story.
KING: Have you done work with UNICEF, Heather?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: No, I haven't, actually. I've done work with the Red Cross and the International Committee for the Red Cross and OXFAM (ph), but I know a lot of the UNICEF work, but we haven't done any work together.
KING: Boy, you ought to hook the two of them up, Carol. Why aren't you with her?
BELLAMY: Well, I'll try that. Both OXFAM (ph) and Red Cross are great organizations as well. I mean, you know, there are a lot of folks involved in landmines. We try and not duplicate each other. The work that Adopt a Landmine (sic) is involved in is critically important, and we spend most of our focus when it comes to landmines in trying to educate, particularly kids, because they are so vulnerable. They're smaller, they're closer to the ground. Some of these landmines are made to look like toys, so kids play with them.
KING: And you said Adopt a -- a -- adopt a -- it's Adopt a Minefield, right?
BELLAMY: I'm sorry. Adopt a Minefield.
KING: Landmines.org. Have I got that right, Heather?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: You got it right. Everybody says Adopt a Landmine. I'm starting to think maybe we should have called it that, but it's more than just a landmine. It's usually a minefield. Adopt a Minefield.
KING: Carol, what...
MILLS MCCARTNEY: And Landmines.org, if anyone wants to help children like Zeynab.
KING: Yeah, we have two, and also for more information on that big, big get-together in Los Angeles in October.
What, Carol, does UNICEF do in Iraq?
BELLAMY: Well, frankly, one has to acknowledge that over the last year, in fact, we're about to come up to a terrible anniversary, August 19, a year ago when the bomb went off and killed a number of U.N. staff. So U.N. international stuff have not been in Iraq since then. But our local staff have still kept working. So what we've been working on, as we do in so many places where kids are impacted by war -- frankly, war is miserable for kids -- we're trying to make sure they keep getting immunized against diseases like measles. We've gotten some schooling materials in so the kids could finish their exams, and we're still tankering in water. Water is life. Water can kill if you don't have water. So those are some of the ways that we're still working in Iraq.
KING: Heather, would you want to go there?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: I'd be there in a short, if my husband wasn't sort of tying me down, and my responsibility towards my baby. I've never had any fear for war zones. I've been in them quite a number of times. But now I'm a mommy, I've got big responsibilities, and I find that I can do more by helping directly with the people here, and around the world. But we're not even sending our NGOs and prosthetists there at the moment. We're trying to set a clinic up in Basra, and it's just too dangerous. Even if we get protection from the British army, it makes it a target. So it's that real dilemma of wanting to get in there and get it done, and protecting our own civilians. So we're just trying to raise the money, get the groundwork set up, so that we've got enough components, and got everything planned, and the second it gets safer we'll be in there straight away.
We helped fund Handicap International in the north for survivors in the Kurdish area, which was less of a threat, but it's too far from Basra for little children like Zeynab to get to, so we really have to concentrate on setting the groundwork up.
KING: Carol, does UNICEF have a problem getting volunteers to go to Iraq?
BELLAMY: Well, we don't use volunteers; we actually have a regular staff...
KING: Is that a problem?
BELLAMY: ... and again, right now, the U.N. is not allowing its international staff to go in. But our local staff are still there. This happens in so many of the war-torn areas of the world, where the local people are really carrying the greatest burden.
KING: What is the access to medical care generally in Iraq?
BELLAMY: Well, there's been some -- well, some improvement. It had already been somewhat challenged even before this war. Heather mentioned before that this is a very poor country, three wars over a 15-year period. The situation of children, for example, before this war, was already bad. One in eight children dying before the age of 5. Many of the services had been compromised. There is some rebuilding of these services, but it's still quite limited.
And there is a fear. That's one of the problems, is the fear, because of the insecurity.
KING: How did Zeynab get to London, Heather?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Through an amazing guy called Lee Gordon, that was out there on behalf of "The Daily Telegraph," and he just kept coming by her, hobbling around on some rickety wooden crutches, and just couldn't believe that there were no facilities for artificial limbs. And he managed to persuade her father, got her out, and just as he got her out, the father wanted her back; had to go all the way back again. And obviously, being one of the sole remaining members of the family, the father wanted his daughter to be with him, but at the same time have the best care, of which there is none for prosthetics at that time, and she came -- she came out through this guy. And he contacted me straight away, to try and bring some awareness.
The biggest problem at the moment, Larry, is that as Carol was saying, you know, some of the local Iraqis can do the work, but most of our prosthetists that were local Iraqis working in Basra actually were based in Baghdad, so they find it very difficult to take the risk to get from Baghdad to Basra. So this service is very, very limited. So it's this whole security issue that's really the biggest problem.
KING: And Carol, even before the war, the mortality rate in Iraq in children was pretty high, wasn't it?
BELLAMY: It was. Again, reflective of what we see in so many parts of the world today, where war is having a much bigger impact on civilians than military. Sometimes when you look at the pictures from Iraq, you see the people in uniform, but it's really the civilians, the kids, the women. Infant mortality and under 5 mortality rates were high. About a quarter of the children were malnourished. About a quarter of the children didn't go to school, and this was before this war. KING: Are there figures on children casualties in Iraq?
BELLAMY: You know, we don't have those numbers. I don't think anybody has those numbers. But the fact is, what we do know is there are far more civilians casualties, and since about half the population is 18 or below, so the numbers are pretty high.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: We have about 600 to 800 amputees at the moment, just around the Basra area, waiting for artificial limbs.
KING: Six hundred to 800?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sort of area. Yeah.
KING: Waiting for artificial limbs?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Yeah. Just from this war.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Lady Heather Mills McCartney, who's been with us all the way, and Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Heather Mills McCartney and Carol Bellamy. Why aren't a lot of these limbs available to these people, Heather?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Because of the security issue and because of funding, you know. We can get within (UNINTELLIGIBLE), we're still trying to get more money together, and every day more people, two or three children a day, are being maimed or killed by mines. So we've got so much unexploded ordnance just strewn around from people that just wanted the boxes as firewood, so there's a big problem. Then you've got the mines left over from the last war, and also you know, the Iraq-Iran war on the borders. But it's just a crazy situation.
But it's mainly down to the security. We have got some funding, so we can go in there as soon as the area is safe.
KING: Carol, in a sense, there is nothing more chicken in war, if that's the correct term, than a mine, isn't it?
BELLAMY: Well, yeah, it sure is. I mean, the weapons of war shouldn't outlast war. It would be nice if they weren't existing in the first place. There has been an international treaty on mines for the last five years; 31 million mines destroyed, but there are still mines out there, and the big manufacturing countries, in no particular order, includes our own, the United States, Russia, India, China -- they're still making mines.
KING: For whose use?
BELLAMY: Who is what? KING: Who's buying the mines? Who's using them?
BELLAMY: Well, again, you know, when there's demand, there's production, and the mines are still being used in too many of the places around the world.
War today is largely within countries. It's not necessarily done through military forces. And so we have many different fighting groups, rebel groups, small groups, and they're buying the mines. And laying them.
KING: Heather, you would think they ought to be banned?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: They are banned in a lot of countries, but some countries haven't ratified, and the good news is, since the Mine Ban Treaty came about, the manufacture of them has gone down immensely. But it's rumored that most mined areas that people are buying for are being used in Chechnya and now in Sudan. So we're going to have a huge problem there. But -- because there's no oil there, how much are we going to help? So -- as in governments. Of course, we'll help as a charity. But they are the two main areas, Chechnya and Sudan, that have a mine currently being planted problem as we speak.
KING: Heather, is Zeynab going to go back to Iraq soon?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: She's going to go back soon. We're in a real dilemma, because it's -- it's a balance between her going back in safety and her actually being with her father, and he is her -- in charge of her life at the moment, so it's entirely up to him, what he wishes. But you know, it's just so dangerous. There are so many cluster bombs still there, and so much fighting going on. And the reason that Britain and America use these cluster bombs is because they are an actual bomb with many bomblets, as they're called, and they can fit so much more into, you know, an airplane, because they can be used in artillery or dropped. And there are just tiny little bomblets in one bomb, and they spread all over the place. So as far as how many bombs can we fit on this plane to cause as much destruction as possible, the clsuter bomb is the one, so that's why they use this cluster bomb, and that's how one bomb can kill 17 members of Zeynab's family.
KING: Since the 17 are dead, could the father come to London?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: The father -- well, that's a really good point, actually. It's very difficult to get them in for any length of time. We've got a short visa that we keep begging for longer for for Zeynab. But you know, it's this whole situation that we have in Britain and America at the moment, where you have these refugees, and how many will the country let into their own country? Because then they get targeted as people that are using the taxpayers' money here, and it just becomes and much, much bigger issue.
The main thing is to get the care to the people in the country that we went to war with, and to sustain that. You know, we went in and did what we did in Afghanistan, and we, the NGOs, are left to clear it up and tidy it up and deal with it. And it just can't go on any longer, that you keep starting a war and don't follow it through.
KING: And Carol, children are always the innocent victims.
BELLAMY: They are. I was just thinking, we've talked so much about Iraq, Heather just mentioned Afghanistan, but one could talk about Uganda or Colombia or Sri Lanka or Nepal or Congo, and on and on.
BELLAMY: And the kids are bearing the greatest brunt.
KING: Thank you both very much. Heather, thanks for a wonderful job tonight and being with this show.
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Thank you.
KING: We look forward to seeing you a lot. And Carol Bellamy, always nice seeing you.
BELLAMY: Great. Thanks.
KING: Thanks for joining us. Have a great rest of the weekend, and good night.
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