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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Tsunamis Leave Thousands Dead, Millions Homeless in Asia

Aired December 27, 2004 - 18:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
KITTY PILGRIM, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, at least 22,000 people in southern Asia are dead. The most powerful earthquake in decades sent killer tsunamis charging towards land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were absolutely certain that we were going to die.

PILGRIM: We'll have extensive coverage from all across Asia. I'll talk to the head of the International Red Cross for the Asia- Pacific Region.

Could it happen here? The threat of a tsunami in this country. David Applegate of the U.S. Geological Survey, says we are at risk. He will join us.

The voice of terror returns: how Osama bin Laden is trying to influence Iraq's elections. We'll have a report, and former CNN analyst Flynt Leverett joins us.

And a nightmare continues for thousands of travelers and the already battered airline industry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a big blow they did not need.

PILGRIM: A special report on a holiday travel nightmare for millions of Americans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Monday, December 27. Here now for an hour of news, debate and opinion, sitting in for Lou Dobbs, who is on vacation, Kitty Pilgrim.

PILGRIM: Good evening.

Tonight, at least 22,000 people are dead and millions are homeless after tsunamis slammed into nine Asian countries. At least eight Americans are among the dead.

The killer waves were touched off by a 9.0 earthquake, six miles under the Indian Ocean. The tsunamis were more than 30 feet high and raced towards land at 500 miles an hour.

At least 10,000 people are confirmed dead in Sri Lanka. More than 6,000 in India. More than 4,000 in Indonesia, and the death toll is expected to rise.

Paul Davies of ITN reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. It's just coming in now, right over this swimming pool.

PAUL DAVIES, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Sri Lanka, where another British tourist is just starting to realize the power of the wave that's now swallowing the hotel swimming pool.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get inside. Get inside. Come on, guys!

DAVIES: Nowhere has suffered more from the tsunami than the island of Sri Lanka. Here a train tossed like a toy by nature's raw power. Buses scattered by the water. More than 12,000 people have died, including hundreds of foreign holidaymakers.

This was the Malaysian coast, as the same tragedy is played out. Tourists, at first not realizing the deadly potential of the waves crashing on the beach, staying to watch and take pictures. Until too late, they realize the danger.

In Indonesia, there are so many dead, bodies lie in makeshift morgues in the street, awaiting identification. The Indonesian government has warned the final death toll could be 10,000.

In southern India, a mother weeps for a drowned child. More than 6,000 lives were lost here, and mass burials have begun already. A disaster that claimed western tourists elsewhere, here striking the poorest villages.

Paul Davies, ITV News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: At least 10,000 people are confirmed dead in Sri Lanka. At least a quarter of a million people are homeless tonight. Hugh Rimington joins us now by telephone from Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Hugh.

HUGH RIMINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A quarter of a million people who are known to be homeless, in the sense that their homes have been washed away. There are about a million Sri Lankans who have this much, as it's still in the middle of the night here, are sleeping out away from their homes because they simply are terrified of going back there.

There are still great fears that there will be another wave coming through. They are clustering into any kind of shelter. Many of them who have sheltered there in some house.

During the course of the night ourselves, we saw lots of people just lying out on the dirt, lying under whatever it was that could give them some sort of comfort against the -- against the elements. The climate is quite mild. That's not the problem. It's just the fear, the lack of sanitation, the lack of water and, of course, so many people, their loved ones are missing, and their homes might be gone. It really is difficult to describe the scale of this disaster across the coastline, more than 1,000 miles of which was hit by this massive tsunami.

PILGRIM: Hugh, how many Americans do you expect are there, and are people who are vacationing there, are they able to leave at this point? Are systems up and running?

RIMINGTON: Well, I rang the U.S. embassy. Early on, of course, they said that they had no idea how many Americans were here. It's not a situation normally where tourists here need register with the embassy.

But when this suddenly happened out of the blue, they had no direct knowledge. They were trying to find that out. They didn't at that stage have a clear picture on how many Americans might have been injured or even killed in this disaster.

It is a holiday island. It is peak season, of course. The airport tonight was absolutely crowded with holidaymakers trying to get out, including one particular (ph) German couple who were picked up when they were down at their beach resort and tumbled so severely in this massive wave that when they emerged, to their great surprise, both of them alive, they were completely stark naked. Their clothes had been literally washed off them.

And they've been given clothes by Sri Lankans and managed to make their way to the airport. But they had no passports, no tickets, no money and desperately hoping that the embassy, their embassy, the German embassy might help them get out of the country.

There are so many stories like that of people who are just almost bewildered and surprised at their own survival out of this thing and increasingly just key -- key to get home.

PILGRIM: Hugh, one of the great worries is contagion and disease that follows something like this if the water supply is not adequate. Is there a sense of calm or is there a sense of worry on the part of people trying to get into a safer place?

RIMINGTON: Certainly, grave concern and a real realization of how -- of how large the scale of this is. The last thing that we can use as an indicator of these sorts of disasters was about six years ago. It was 1998 in the northern coastline of Papa New Guinea. There was another earthquake; a tsunami came ashore, 250,000 people died.

But what was really noticeable was there was a second wave of death, which happened about a week afterwards. These people with all kinds of infected sores had simply gone into the bush and gone into the jungles and so on and then reemerged, in many cases by this stage with gangrenous injuries where they had to have emergency amputations. There were mass amputations about a week after that tsunami six years ago in Papa New Guinea. So you know, we really just don't know what we're in for yet. But it would be foolish to think that necessarily the worst of it is over.

PILGRIM: All right. Thank you very much for that report. Hugh Rimington. Thank you, Hugh.

Well, on the tiny island resort of Phuket Island, nearly 1,000 people were killed. Our Aneesh Raman reports tonight from Phuket, Thailand.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The moment a tropical resort became a scene of horror. A massive wave, one of many, roaring into Patong Beach on Phuket Island.

An Australian tourist on a rooftop capturing the beginning of a catastrophe: a wall of water engulfing buildings, surging into the streets, carrying people, vehicles and more. One snapshot of a disaster that has ravaged a continent.

Not far away, 26-year-old Belgian tourist Julia Lebeau was among thousands of vacationers enjoying a break in the tropics.

JULIA LEBEAU, TSUNAMI SURVIVOR: And I was just trying to spend the day on the beach. And suddenly all the water went away and everyone was just looking at it and saying, "Where is all the water?" And then suddenly, it was all coming at us. And people just started to run and scream.

RAMAN: In seconds, pristine tranquility turned into a hellish fight to stay alive.

LEBEAU: The building was collapsing, so I had to jump to another building. And then a second wave came in, and a third wave came in and people injured. I saw dead bodies floating. And so then at a moment we decided with a couple of people just to run for it.

RAMAN (on camera): As tsunami waves devoured the coastlines of Phuket and Phi Phi Island, tourists like Julia desperately scrambled for higher ground. Whatever remained on the shore now evidence of severe destruction.

(voice-over): Destruction Julia avoided. She is now at this hospital along with hundreds of other survivors from at least 20 countries, all in shock.

LEBEAU: I hope to be back for a new year with my family. We'll never forget this Christmas.

RAMAN: But at least she has somewhere to go. Many who live here are still missing family members and have no home left.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Phuket, southern Thailand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: In the method of the devastation, there's some truly incredible stories of survival tonight. Now here are just a few of the sights and sounds of this disaster from people who were there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were absolutely certain that we were going to die. Then we found a safe place up in the mountains.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's terrible roaring noise, and we looked through the glass doors, and this torrent of mighty water just came down the steps and through the doors. And washed me away into a room and glass doors were smashed by the water, and I just couldn't keep my footing. I was very frightened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took one long wave right across the horizon? And it looked quite small from a distance. And I was ahead of it, so it swept me right along the beach. Floated out completely. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And all we heard was this mighty bang. And the next thing, the place was flooding. It was up to there.

TODD EVERTS, TSUNAMI SURVIVOR: When it hit, there was absolutely complete devastation. After the swell went back out and it took with it cars and buses and, unfortunately, many tourists that were on the beach, there were people running, asking if they had seen someone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was absolutely no warning. I was asleep in a beachfront cottage. I heard a loud noise. All of a sudden, the roof was ripped off of the cottage, and my friend and I were taken out to sea, taken in currents that were so strong with debris and cars and animals and people tearing by. We were able to hang on to a telephone pole with a mattress wedged between us.

MATE BERKUS, TSUNAMI SURVIVOR: Panic. People trying to get out from the first floor because it was happening so quickly, people running from the seaside, and people getting caught up in the water. So there was fear, general fear, because no one had seen it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: President Bush today offered condolences to the victims of this disaster. The White House said the United States will be a leading partner in the rescue and relief efforts. The United States today said it would release $15 million in immediate aid. The U.S. military is also helping in its efforts.

And Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre joins me now -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kitty, you know, these kinds of relief efforts have to be coordinated. But even before any official request came in, the U.S. military began to deploy assets, specifically some P-3 Orion planes. These are Navy surveillance planes that were sent over the area to survey the damage, to take a look at how much devastation there had been, and, also, possibly assist in any search and rescue.

In addition to the three P-3s that have been deployed from Japan, the Pentagon has also six C-130 cargo planes on standby in Japan loaded with supplies ready to go, and, in addition, three assessment teams are also being sent to the area. Their job is to figure out exactly what kind of aid is needed, things like water purification, temporary shelters.

Now those C-130 cargo planes were loaded again with the sort of essential supplies that are needed in any case. It includes medicine, shelter, food items, blankets, those kinds of things, and, again, they were loaded up and ready to go even before there was any official request. They're expected to leave shortly to fly to an air base in Thailand.

Again, the United States tomorrow will continue to assess the situation and see what other aid the U.S. military can provide -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: All right. Thanks very much.

Jamie McIntyre.

Still to come tonight, could it happen here -- the threat of tsunami in this country? Well, David Applegate of the U.S. Geological Survey says we are at risk, and he'll join us.

And then, the voice of terror returns on a new audiotape. What Osama bin Laden has to say about Iraq's upcoming elections. Former CIA analyst Flynt Leverett is my guest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PILGRIM: Turning now to the war in Iraq, a suicide bomber attacked the headquarters of a major Shiite party, and, with just one month left before the Iraqi elections, a major Sunni party has pulled out, citing security concerns.

Jeff Koinange reports from Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another bloody day in Baghdad in what has become an all too familiar scene. A suicide bomber drove his car right up to the headquarters of the city's largest Shia political party, killing six and wounding at least 33.

Sources say the intended target was this man, Abdel Aziz al- Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution of Iraq. He wasn't in the building at the time, but he was quick to issue a statement calling the blast an assassination attempt, and he urged his party faithful not to seek revenge against what he called Sunni Islamists. All this as a new audiotape purportedly from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden aired on the Arabic language network Al Jazeera, urging Iraqis to boycott the January elections and back Jordanian born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as bin Laden's deputy in Iraq. The authenticity of the tape could not be immediately verified.

But some political parties already backing out of the January 30 poll. The leading Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party announced it's pulling out of the race, citing persistent violence and security concerns.

TAREQ AL HASIM, SECRETARY GENERAL, IRAQI ISLAMIC PARTY (through interpreter): Today, the party took a very difficult decision, which was to withdraw from the elections because it is convinced that the situation will not improve to allow conditions for credible elections within the timeframe.

KOINANGE: An election without Sunni involvement means bad news for the fragile coalition, as it would further isolate and disenfranchise the minority group that, until the fall of Saddam Hussein, ruled the country, leaving questions about the legitimacy of an election that is being touted as all inclusive.

(on camera): Monday's assassination attempt may have been unsuccessful, but a series of attacks on Iraqi politicians and activists in recent days shows a stepped-up campaign of fear and intimidation by insurgent groups bent on making sure that the January poll doesn't take place.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: That brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. Do you believe an Iraqi election without Sunni involvement will be legitimate? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll bring you the results later in the show.

Well, opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko is declaring victory in Ukraine's presidential election. Official results are still being counted, but polls are projecting a very comfortable lead.

Jill Dougherty is in the Ukraine and has more on the election that has had its fair share of controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Supporters of Viktor Yushchenko are celebrating again tonight. They say that their candidate definitely has a victory.

(voice-over): And, if you look at the results coming out of the Central Election Commission, that is, indeed, the case. The CEC counting nearly 100 percent of those votes, and they say that Viktor Yushchenko has an 8-point lead, roughly 8 points, ahead of his opposition, Viktor Yanukovych, the prime minister. But, interestingly, the prime minister is saying that he doesn't accept that. He is not going to concede, he feels that the rights of his voters were infringed, and he plans on going into the courts to fight for their rights.

Meanwhile, the international election observers from 34 different countries giving their verdict and saying that this was pretty well run in full, and they're saying that -- although their report will be coming out with certain details, that overall this was a step in the right direction for Ukraine.

BRUCE GEORGE, OSCE: I'm much happier to be in a position to announce that it is the collective judgment of these organizations represented here that the Ukrainian elections have moved substantially closer to meeting OSCE and other European and international standards, and this has been accomplished in a very short period.

DOUGHERTY (on camera): The Central Election Commission still has to officially endorse the results of this election, and they can take up to 10 days. It's not clear exactly how long they will take. But there is little doubt that the next president of Ukraine will be Viktor Yushchenko.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Kiev, Ukraine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Just ahead, the devastation in South Asia. How and why did it happen, and could it happen here? We'll hear from David Applegate, an expert on earthquakes and other natural disasters.

And then, here in the United States, canceled flights, lost luggage and computer glitches. Two airlines try to get back on track after stranding thousands over the holiday weekend.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PILGRIM: Thousands of travelers are stranded, their luggage in one place, themselves in another. Airline delays, malfunctions, frustration, not a recipe for a merry Christmas or a happy holiday. It's been a tough year for America's big-name air carriers, and next year could be worse.

Bill Tucker reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On an evening late in 1941...

BILL TUCKER, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the golden age of flying. It's a far cry from this. Travelers stranded by a computer breakdown at Comair, a subsidiary of Delta...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've got two options.

TUCKER: ... while travelers on US Airways faced delays and luggage that wasn't so much lost as it just plain didn't go anywhere because of a large-scale sick-out by luggage handlers. The incidents left officials at both airlines red-faced in issuing apologies.

DON BARNHORST, COMAIR SPOKESMAN: Not to minimize the impact for customers, we deeply regret inconveniencing them, especially around the holiday period.

TUCKER: A statement from US Air apologized for the disruptions and admitted, "We are embarrassed by the situation." But the whole situation cuts much deeper for US Air, which is in bankruptcy and facing possible liquidation in the spring.

GEORGE NOVAK, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Will passengers have the faith in US Airways to stay on it to get them that revenue they need to emerge from bankruptcy? This is a blow they did not need.

TUCKER: US Air is in its second bankruptcy in two years. United Airlines and ATA are also operating in bankruptcy. The three together effect one-third of all air passengers.

The old-name carriers struggling with fuel costs that have been erratic over the last decade and sharply higher this year. Labor has suffered, too, with Delta pilots recently agreeing to massive pay cuts along with workers at US Air.

In the eyes of some, this weekend could simply be a glimpse of an industry shakeout to come.

MICHAEL MILLER, THE VELOCITY GROUP: We're not going to have as many airlines at the end of 2005 that we'll start with. I expect at least two airlines to disappear all together, one of them being US Airways, the second being American Transair.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER: Now the troubles at US Air and Comair became a little more complicated late today. U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta launched an investigation into the holiday travel disruption saying it's important for the department and the public to understand exactly what happened and whether the carriers planned properly for the holiday travel period -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: What a mess.

TUCKER: Oh, it's a total mess. It really is.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much.

Billion Tucker.

Coming up, a deadly tsunami has claimed tens of thousands of lives in Asia. Could it happen here? David Applegate of the U.S. Geological Survey says yes, and he's my guest next.

And mounting the most extensive relief effort the world has ever seen. Simon Missiri, head of the International Red Cross in the Asia- Pacific region will join me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT continues. Sitting in for Lou Dobbs, Kitty Pilgrim.

PILGRIM: In a moment, more on the tsunami and the question many are asking, could it happen here in the United States? I'll be joined by earthquake expert David Applegate.

But, first, let's take a look at some of the top stories.

An emotional reunion in Los Angeles. An American actor returned to the United States after serving two years in a Pakistani prison on drug charges. Eric Anthony Aud (ph) was arrested in 2002 after authorities there said they found more than seven pounds of opium in a suitcase he was carrying. Aud (ph) said he has no idea how the drugs got into his luggage.

A Delta Airlines flight from Colombia to Atlanta was diverted to a military airfield near Key West after the name of a passenger was found on a federal security watch list. Several hours later, however, federal agents discovered the man was a victim of identity theft.

Comedian George Carlin says he's checking himself in to a drug rehab clinic to shake his dependence on wine and the painkiller Vicodin.

The images of the devastating tsunami in Southern Asia are causing many Americans to wonder what the chances are of the same type of disaster happening here in the United States. John Zarrella reports from Miami, Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tens of millions of people live along the Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine. Hurricanes, they worry about. But tsunamis, too?

TIM DIXON, UNIV. OF MIAMI: Some earthquakes, it turns out, are more efficient at generating big tsunamis than others.

ZARRELLA: University of Miami geology professor Tim Dixon says, don't lose any sleep over it. The speed the sea floor moves in an earthquake is one ingredient in determining whether a tsunami forms. It has to be just right.

DIXON: If I move the bowl real fast, most of the water stays in the bowl. If I move the bowl real slow, most of the water stays in the bowl. But if I move it at just the right speed, it sloshes out.

ZARRELLA: That right speed creates the tsunami. But in the Atlantic, the sea floor is, Dixon says, old, cold and dense. Not conducive to big or efficient earthquakes.

Some scientists say other natural events are more likely to trigger big waves on the East Coast. In July, 1992, a fast-moving thunderstorm created a wave at least 10 feet high that crashed ashore in Daytona Beach, Florida.

PROFESSOR JOSE BORRERO, UNIV. OF S. CALIFORNIA: It was on the night of July 3rd. So if it had been, you know, 12 hours later on the 4th of July, you could have had, you know, hundreds of people killed in Daytona Beach.

ZARRELLA: Volcanoes can do the job, too. Some scientists think if the Cumbra Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands off Africa erupts and collapses into the Atlantic, that would spin off a massive wave that could reach the U.S. East Coast.

Off the North Carolina coast, scientists found craters and gasses escaping from the walls of the continental shelf. But researchers are not sure the sea floor instability there will cause a tsunami.

PROFESSOR JEFFREY WEISSEL, COLUMBIA UNIV.: We have to ask the question, are these areas still at risk for a large-scale submarine landslide and consequent tsunami? We just don't know yet.

ZARRELLA: What geologists and volcanologists say they do know is if you live on the East Coast and you have to have something to worry about, make it hurricanes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA: The scientists also tell us that they would like to see a network of buoys, at least a couple of buoys, they're called dart buoys, they exist in the Pacific Ocean, right now in the Pacific. There are half a dozen of them, which act as an early warning system towards tsunamis, because there is still that off chance that there could be a tsunami, although not devastating like the one in Indonesia that could be produced in the Atlantic -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: All right. Thanks very much, John Zarrella. Thanks, John.

Well, joining me now from Washington is David Applegate, and he's the senior science adviser for the U.S. Geological Survey. Thanks for being with us.

DAVID APPLEGATE, SR. SCIENCE ADVISER, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: Thank you.

PILGRIM: We just did the report on the United States. What, in your estimation, is the risk, and should there be more safeguards put in place right now, now that the public awareness has been raised?

APPLEGATE: Well, as your report described, the principal risk is to the West Coast of the United States. And there, there's two kinds of risk. One is from tsunamis at a great distance. The entire rim of the Pacific Ocean, we call it the Ring of Fire, because it's where most of the volcanoes in the world are, it's where most of the large earthquakes strike. In all those areas, the Pacific Ocean is, in a number of the areas, the Pacific Ocean is being subducted beneath the continents. That's why we get large mountains there as well.

So the risk is both from the possibility of a large subduction zone event, such as the one we've just seen occurring elsewhere in the Pacific, say off the coast of South America, off the coast of Japan or along the coast of Alaska, and those waves coming across the Pacific and striking the U.S.

But in 1700, we also had an earthquake about the same size as this one, a magnitude 9 quake striking the area we call Cascadia, that's Vancouver Island, the state of Washington, Oregon, down Northern California. So we've also had -- we have the risk of a distant tsunami, but we also have the risk of a tsunami generated from a large earthquake just off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

PILGRIM: Was there any way to predict this, or did people see signs in advance, David?

APPLEGATE: Earthquake prediction remains an elusive challenge. For -- whereas with volcanoes, we get, as we saw with Mt. St. Helens, we get a bit of warning before they go off. Earthquakes, the jury's still out on whether they can be predicted. But what we do know is the effects. And so a lot of our effort is to identify those areas, whether on-shore areas that are subject to seismic hazard or offshore areas that might be subject to an inundation by a tsunami. We can try to understand that.

And this earthquake and tsunami will be very helpful in that. NOAA, the USGS, FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the states have all been working on understanding what these inundation patterns could be. The problem is, since these events happen very infrequently, we don't necessarily have the data. This will provide a tremendous amount of data to help us understand what could happen to the U.S. or to other areas around the Pacific rim.

PILGRIM: Is there any chance that there will be a recurrence in the next few days or weeks, or is that not predictable?

APPLEGATE: It certainly is very unlikely. In the case of the Cascadia earthquake, it has a very long recurrence interval. It struck last in 1700. The estimates are that it returns roughly every, say, 300 to 500 years or so. The estimate right now is for about a 5 percent chance in the next 30 years. So those are the kinds of estimates that are being made.

In terms of earthquakes elsewhere around the Pacific, the risk is always there, and that's why NOAA has put in the tsunami warning system that was mentioned in the report, these buoys out in the ocean. We can provide -- the USGS can provide the realtime earthquake information. The buoys can tell us both when there is a possible tsunami wave coming to strike, but also when there isn't one, because there are an awful lot of earthquakes that are offshore, that may have some of the characteristics, but that do not produce tsunami waves. And that's important to know as well, so that we're not in a Chicken Little type situation.

PILGRIM: All right. Thanks very much for explaining it to us, David Applegate. Thank you very much.

APPLEGATE: Thank you.

PILGRIM: Just ahead, helping the survivors of the tsunami. Food, water, medical aid all in desperate need. And we'll hear from Simon Missiri of the Red Cross.

And then the voice of terror is heard again. A new tape from Osama bin Laden surfaces. I'll discuss that tape and a whole lot more with former CIA analyst Flynt Leverett.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PILGRIM: More than 22,000 people are dead in Southern Asia. And over 10,000 in Sri Lanka alone, and those numbers are expected to rise. Thousands more are injured, hundreds of thousands of people are homeless. Satinder Bindra has the story of some people who managed to survive the tsunami, and he reports from Colombo, Sri Lanka.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Unaware of the suffering around her, the youngest member of this relief camp sleeps fitfully. But baby Rashuda's (ph) mother worries. Her younger brother is missing. And baby Rashuda's grandmother is dead, swept out to sea by Sunday's tsunami.

"Without my mother, I just can't imagine living," she says. "The rest of the family, too, will find it hard to live without her."

This is what tens of thousands of Sri Lankan families woke up to. Their homes destroyed. Their neighborhoods and communities sucked up by a savage sea.

(on camera): More than 1,500 people are now seeking shelter in this relief camp alone. Here they're provided food, water and emotional support. It's a story that's being repeated in thousands of shelters across the country.

(voice-over): Relief efforts, too, are now slowly bearing fruit. Western tourists stranded on Sri Lanka's beaches are now being moved to the county's capital, Colombo. For some, the events of the past 48 hours have been more than they can bear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on a big stone and I saw only water above me. I was very -- I thought, I will die.

BINDRA: More than 10,000 Sri Lankans have already been killed in this calamity. Some of the worst affected communities are in this country south and east. Tourists rescued from these areas say people there need help fast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no power. There's no petrol, so there's no movement. There's no, like, support giving through to help the injured. And I believe that there are bodies that need to be dealt with, identified and transported out of there because, soon, I guess, with this heat, the sanitation problems will arise.

BINDRA: Over the next 24 hours, officials here say the death toll is likely to rise. Sri Lankans are bracing themselves for more suffering, they're also praying they've seen the last of these killer waves.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: The tsunami left untold thousands of people without basic supplies, such as food and water. Now, earlier today, I spoke with Simon Missiri. He's the head of the Asia-Pacific branch of the Red Cross, and I asked him if the Red Cross has ever tackled anything of this magnitude.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON MISSIRI, DIRECTOR, INTL. RED CROSS: It's difficult to compare. In geographical scope and the spread of the disaster covering so many countries in one goal, it is certainly unprecedented, even though there were, of course, similar disasters which were covering a number of countries at the same time, be it earthquakes or mostly population movement-related disasters.

PILGRIM: How far afield do you have to launch simultaneous operations to cover this disaster?

MISSIRI: Well, within the first 12 hours, actually, we launched what we call a preliminary appeal. This is when we know something big has happened, we have initial assessment of the damage. We don't know yet all the details. And estimation is a rough estimation of what may be needed. That's why we call it a preliminary appeal. It was for 7.5 million Swiss francs, that was launched yesterday, and by yesterday evening it was already covered.

PILGRIM: A U.N. emergency relief coordinator has said that intestinal and lung disease could crop up within days if the right sanitary conditions are not put in place and a system is not up and running. Would you agree with that assessment? And how much of a risk is there to survivors at this point?

MISSIRI: I certainly would. In disasters of this kind, and you can compare it to the massive flooding situation, the problem of water and sanitation becomes really acute. And with so many deaths, many of the bodies are still lying around in Sri Lanka and India, in other countries. Of course, risk of epidemics and health-related problems is multiplying with every day. So that's why the priority for our response is on the health and water sanitation.

PILGRIM: What diseases are people at risk for? And what can they do to prevent it?

MISSIRI: Diseases are mainly linked to the water poisoning. And you would appreciate that with the contamination of large areas with the seawater, the access to clean drinking water, water is extremely limited for very large numbers of population living in that part of the world. So the emphasis to prevent disease spread would be on water purification, and that's why we are flying for instance, water purification units right now from Europe and different parts of the world to the affected areas.

PILGRIM: Are you getting the resources you need, and do you have the transportation you need?

MISSIRI: So far, resources, I have to say, are available pretty well. The world responded very well to our appeal and to the appeal of other organizations, I believe. I think the world was pretty shocked to see this scale of devastation, which hit the countries, many of which were in the holiday season, and the media attention, which had attracted certainly helps to raise the profile and to get the necessary response.

So we are pretty happy so far with the response.

But I have to say that the preliminary appeal, which we've launched, will have to be replaced by what we call the regular appeal, or revised appeal, in the coming days, where the needs will be more precisely evaluated. And that appeal is going to be substantially higher than our initial appeal of 7.5 million Swiss francs.

PILGRIM: So this is, in effect, a request for additional help, is it not?

MISSIRI: Well, we will come up with a request for additional help in the coming days, most likely towards the end of this week.

PILGRIM: All right. Thank you very much for your comments tonight, Simon Missiri, thank you.

MISSIRI: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Just ahead, the voice of terror returns. How Osama bin Laden is trying to influence Iraqi elections. And I'll be joined by former CIA senior analyst Flynt Leverett on what we need to do to successfully fight the war on terror.

And later, "Made in America," our series of special reports kicks off with a look at one company that couldn't be prouder to be back right here in the USA.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PILGRIM: The new bin Laden tape, which surfaced today, is raising new concerns about this nation's national security and intelligence reform. Well, joining us now to discuss those two critical issues is Flynt Leverett, a senior fellow with the Brookings Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and he's also former CIA senior analyst. Thanks for joining us.

FLYNT LEVERETT, SR. FELLOW, SABAN CENTER: My pleasure. PILGRIM: Let's talk about the new bin Laden tape. It basically endorses Ayman al Zawahiri -- or Zarqawi in Iraq, and says boycott the elections. Are we having Osama bin Laden meddling now in Iraqi politics?

LEVERETT: I think that this tape needs to be understood in connection with a tape that came out earlier this month, in which bin Laden spoke about developments in Saudi Arabia. He expressed support for protests that a Saudi opposition group was trying to organize inside Saudi Arabia. And he endorsed very strongly the notion of jihad to overthrow the Saudi royal family.

If you look at the Middle East strategically from bin Laden's perspective, since the U.S. military campaign to unseat Saddam, we've seen jihad take root in two very critical arenas at the heart of the Arab world, in post-Saddam Iraq and in Saudi Arabia. And what we have now seen over the last month is bin Laden trying to reassert himself as a very important inspirational leader figure for jihadists in both of these very critical arenas.

PILGRIM: Flynt, some people interpret this as Osama bin Laden being weak and now trying to ally himself with others to strengthen himself, or can you look at it the other way, that he's actually meddling and succeeding in meddling in a lot of other organizations? Which way do you take it?

LEVERETT: I don't think that this suggests that bin Laden is weak. At a minimum, what it suggests and what it indicates is that he has realtime knowledge of what is going on in these critical arenas, in Saudi Arabia, in Iraq and is able to respond and position himself in a timely way to take advantage of those events.

But I think we have to take very seriously the idea that he is doing more than behaving opportunistically, that he is now actually forging operational links with Zarqawi in Iraq, that he is forging operational links with the jihadists inside Saudi Arabia, and if that is the case, that is very bad news for American interests in this critical part of the Middle East and it really calls into doubt the administration's claim that it is winning the war on terror.

PILGRIM: One of the interpretations of the previous tape, the previous Osama bin Laden tape, and calling a jihad on Saudi Arabia, was that maybe the war on terror was moving to the Middle East, that in the United States, we are hopefully a little bit safer. Is that too optimistic in your view?

LEVERETT: I think that's an optimistic reading. I wouldn't say that the United States is off the hook or that bin Laden no longer has any interest in targeting the United States. But look, from bin Laden's point of view, ground zero in the war on terror is not Afghanistan, from which he has been driven. It's not even the United States in terms of the American homeland. Ground zero for bin Laden in the war on terror is the Arab heartland of the Muslim world. It is places like Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

And what has transpired in the aftermath of Saddam's overthrow as we have mismanaged and mishandled the occupation and the process of political reconstitution in Iraq is that jihadist elements have been able to take root and mount some increasingly impressive campaigns in Iraq and in Saudi Arabia. If you look at what has been going on in Iraq over the last month, the jihadists there are able to carry out very, very impressive strikes, including very large-scale suicide bombings. There are also, just earlier this month, jihadists in Saudi Arabia were able to get inside the American -- the grounds of the American consulate in Jeddah. This is a serious threat. And it is now taking root not on the periphery of the battlefield from bin Laden's perspective, it's taking root in the very heartland.

PILGRIM: We're almost out of time, but I really have to ask you, Osama bin Laden has managed to elude us partly because of terrain. Will we be able to get Zarqawi, in your view? Are the conditions slightly better for us getting him?

LEVERETT: The conditions may be slightly better. Zarqawi is, at the very least, as far as we know, inside Iraq in an area where there are a lot of American troops and a lot of activity going on against the insurgents. But still, we haven't done very well in getting a handle on the insurgency, either its jihadist component or its non- jihadist component. I think we're going to have to get pretty lucky under current conditions in order to get Zarqawi.

PILGRIM: All right. Thanks for your analysis tonight, Flynt Leverett, thank you.

LEVERETT: Thank you.

PILGRIM: A reminder now to vote in tonight's poll. Do you believe an Iraqi election without Sunni involvement will be legitimate? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com and we'll bring you the results a little bit later in the show.

Well, tonight, we begin a new series of special reports we call "Made in America." Harry & David is an American company, it's proud to say its products are homegrown. And Casey Wian reports from Medford, Oregon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Christmas holiday rush is over at Harry & David. Now the gourmet gift company famous for its Royal Riviera pears, Moose Munch chocolates and other treats is gearing up for Valentine's Day. Nearly everything the 70- year-old company sells is either made or grown here in Medford, Oregon. And it's a lot, 12,000 tons of pears, 16 million cookies and 75 million pieces of candy. Unlike many big companies, Harry & David refuses to move its operations to cheap foreign labor markets.

WILLIAM WILLIAMS, CEO, HARRY & DAVID: We're all about service. To have good service, you have to have a hands-on facility and you have to be in touch with everything that's going on. Otherwise it can spin out of control, particularly in a business like ours where we're so concentrated during the Christmas season. If anything goes wrong, you can have hundreds or thousands of orders go wrong. WIAN: On the day we visited, CEO Bill Williams was running late for his morning executive meeting because he was tending to a computer problem downstairs at Harry & David's call center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And is there anything else I can do for you today?

WIAN: It's rare the leader of a 14,000-employee company would be that hands on. And it would be impossible, if, like so many others, Harry & David outsourced its call center to India.

WILLIAMS: People expect our service agents to be articulate, to be knowledgeable about the product, to be knowledgeable about the shipping of the product, operations and all aspects of the business. So if we were to outsource the call center, we couldn't do many things that we do right now.

WIAN (on camera): While "Made in America" has always been a big part of Harry & David's corporate philosophy, from 1988 until this summer, it was owned by a Japanese pharmaceutical giant. It's now back in American hands, bought by the New York investment firm Wasserstein and Company.

(voice-over): While a few seasonal fruits such as these winter cherries from Chile and woven baskets from Asia are imported, Harry & David is proving that U.S. companies can remain profitable while remaining mostly "Made in America."

Casey Wian, CNN, Medford, Oregon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Still ahead, the results of tonight's poll and a preview of what's ahead tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PILGRIM: Now the results of tonight's poll: 20 percent of you believe an Iraqi election without Sunni involvement will be legitimate, 80 percent of you do not.

Well, thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us tomorrow. We'll have much more on the tsunami disaster. I'll be joined by officials from the World Health Organization and USAID. And "Broken Borders," former INS agent Michael Cutler will join us on President Bush's proposal for a guest worker plan. And "Made in America," we'll focus on an American classic, the Wiffle Ball Company.

For all of us here, good night from New York, a special "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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