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Tsunami Survivor Stories; Grandfather Searches For Missing grandson in Thailand

Aired January 5, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, his 12-year-old grandson, Swedish boy Christian Walker, missing since the tsunami has been reported kidnapped from a hospital. Now authorities have a different story. And this grandfather clings desperately to hope. He'll join us from Thailand.

Meanwhile in the wake of the tsunami's death and destruction, reports that those most vulnerable to disease and starvation are being kidnapped, raped, and sold across southeast Asia. What's the real story? What can you do to help? We'll go to the disaster zone to ask representatives from Save The Children, C.A.R.E., UNICEF, and one of the world's biggest international adoption agencies. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Dan Walker, the grandfather of that missing boy, will be with us in a little while. Let's go to Tom Alcedo the field office director for Save The Children in Indonesia. He is in Banda Aceh. When we say Save The Children, we're talking about saving them in what regard?

TOM ALCEDO, SAVE THE CHILDREN: Yes, thank you, Larry. Save The Children is an organization that is dedicated to children's issues, primarily in the protection of children. So in an instance like this with this chaos and disaster that's just happened, that you can see a little bit behind me, you can imagine the number of children that have been affected. What we're trying to do immediately is to institute registration and tracing of the many children that are now separated from their parents or that have become orphans. Particularly in places that have been hard hit like Banda Aceh and surrounding districts.

KING: Are they estimating that of the deaths and everything, possibly 40 percent are children, Tom?

ALCEDO: Larry, I think that you can say that there's at least 40 percent. Children were obviously among the most vulnerable because of the significant level of the waves that came in. This particular area behind me and along the coast had waves coming in that were between 12 and 30 feet high. Even though that wave and that level was only 20 to 30 minutes, you can imagine that that was much more time than required to put children at risk and very vulnerable to the natural disaster. KING: In Jakarta, Indonesia, is Bud Crandall, the county director for C.A.R.E., Indonesia. Also there is Alfred Ironside, UNICEF spokesman, who's been traveling with UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy on her trip through the areas. Bud, what can you tell us about these kidnappings and rapes and selling of children? What's going on?

BUD CRANDALL, COUNTRY DIRECTOR FOR CARE: Larry, it's a problem throughout this region. Child trafficking is something that goes on in southeast Asia around the year. And in this situation when children are so especially vulnerable, they may be separated from their families, perhaps their parents have been killed. They're lost, they're confused. They're not sure where to go in some cases. So they are especially vulnerable to those who take advantage of the situation.

KING: Alfred, do we know how many we're talking about? How many children are affected by this?

ALFRED IRONSIDE, UNICEF SPOKESMAN IN JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Well, Larry, we know that at least one million children throughout the Indian Ocean region have been severely affected by the tsunamis. Of those, we don't know how many may be vulnerable at this time to this kind of exploitation. We have had reports of 300 children in Jakarta, perhaps. 20 children in another town in Indonesia. There was an e- mail sent out in Malaysia saying the children from Aceh were for sale. We know there is an issue here, we just don't know the extent yet.

KING: Bud Crandall, what does CARE Indonesia do?

CRANDALL: Right now, we've got an operation starting up in Banda Aceh. We've got about 37 staff and probably the most significant thing now is we're working in about 75 settlements. These are not registered camps, these are just informal community led settlements around Banda Aceh and surrounding areas. We're reaching about 20,000 families, individuals. Providing immediate relief, doing quick assessments of the needs. And we're primarily focusing on providing them with safe water. We provide the families -- it's a simple disinfectant. You put a capful of the chlorine solution into ten liters of water. In about 30 minutes, they'll have safe water. It's one of the key needs of the families and the children in these informal settlement areas.

KING: Can it take care of thousands, supplying them with water?

CRANDALL: Our plan is actually to get enough up there to provide safe water to 500,000 people monthly. It's a very efficient method because it's a very small bottle. 100 milliliters can provide safe water for a week for drinking and cooking for a family. So it's a very efficient way. Much more efficient than carrying big containers of water out to displaced populations.

KING: In Bangkok, Thailand, is Jintana Nontapourya, director of programs for Holt International in Thailand. What is Holt International and what do you do, Jintana? JINTANA NONTAPOURYA, DIRECTOR, PROGRAMS, HOLT INTL.: We helped send a team to the affected area. And what we have started now is in one Muslim community in Ranong (ph), just -- this is a community with thousands and hundreds of families. We help out all together. 38 children have become orphaned because of tsunami. We have our long- term experience in trying to reunite or preserve the family and keep them together. And since in Thailand the family tie is still very strong, we have a strong belief that we will be able to help doing family rehabilitation on the long-term basis in order to help these children remain into the family. We also plan to do the foster care. We could be able to take out the children.

KING: Thank you. We'll check in with Padmini Nathan in Houston. Go back to Bangkok to Jakarta, Indonesia, as well as Bangkok. And back to cover this whole scene. We'll be hearing shortly from the grandfather of that missing boy. All this ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING; Padmini Nathan is with us in Houston. He is president of Helping Hands USA, or she is. What does Helping Hands USA do Padmini?

PADMINI NATHAN, PRES HELPING HANDS USA: Good evening, Larry. Udavaum Karangal of USA or Helping Hands of USA is part of an organization called Udavaum Karangal in Chile and it is registered in the U.S. as a tax-exempt organization under the 501-c status. And basically we coordinate with the activities of Udavaum Karangal in Chile. And we help to mobilize funds here and keep people informed about what is going on over there.

KING: Are you going to go over there?

NATHAN: Not right now. But if the need arises, I will.

KING: Now Bud Crandall and Alfred Ironside in Jakarta, Indonesia, our satellite comes down with that in about three minutes. So, I want to spend those three minutes with them and then go back to Tom and Padmini before we meet our grandfather Dan Walker.

Bud Crandall, are you based in Indonesia?

BUD CRANDALL, COUNTRY DIR. FOR CARE INDONESIA: I'm based in Indonesia. I'm the deputy director based in Jakarta. We do now have a team in Aceh and we're going to set up a very large operation this.

KING: Alfred, what on this trip -- you're going with executive director Carol Bellamy, what has surprised you the most?

ALFRED IRONSIDE, UNICEF SPOKESMAN: I think, Larry, just the sense of loss. We saw on a beach in Northern Sri Lanka parents who were wandering along the sand, sort of standing vigil, waiting to see if the bodies of their children would wash ashore. That's an image that really remains with us.

Up in Aceh yesterday, the extent of the devastation, just incredible. I mean, a square mile, perhaps 2 square miles of the town of Banda Aceh under water, the rest completely destroyed. And you can see, as our colleague from Save the Children was saying, the trees have been stripped bare, up to about 40 feet. These are big, powerful trees stripped bare up to 40 feet. So, you can see how desperate a situation it was. Just what a fight for survival the people there had.

KING: Bud, what do you do when you find a child, let's say a 7, 8-year-old boy or girl, no parents visible. You find them, maybe injured, maybe not injured. What happens to them?

CRANDALL: Well, I should say, and this is something that I'm not sure has been reported well. The immediate response has been the Indonesian people. And they actually have carried the brunt of the initial support. And it's been overwhelming.

So I should say there aren't many unaccompanied children, either have orphaned or have been separated from their families. And actually, what we're finding in the settlements, they're being taken care of by other Indonesian families.

A lot of the initial aid, a lot of the food, initial food and clothing that the survivors have received, has not come from the international communities, it's come from the local Indonesian public.

So I should say that the children are being taken care of minimally by the local people. So it's now our turn to come in and provide them with more significant support.

KING: Well, thank you both very much. We'll be checking with you again in the days ahead. Bud Crandall and Alfred Ironside. Bud, the country director for CARE: Indonesia, Alfred, who's been traveling with UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy on her trip through the region.

Let's go back to Banda Aceh and Tom Alcedo, the field office director for Save the Children in Indonesia.

Do we know -- is this problem, does it seem, Tom, insurmountable at times?

ALCEDO: Larry, as you can see, the destruction is extraordinary. And this is really just a small part of it. I think that certainly the most immediate priority now is to bring assistance and support to those in most need. Those people, many hundreds of thousands are located in displaced persons camps. Bringing food, water, temporary shelter, hygiene items, doing registration of children to make sure that we know where they are. It's already begun by Save the Children and other organizations like the Red Cross and UNICEF working with the Ministry of Social Affairs.

In terms of the reconstruction, of course, this is going to be a long haul. And it's something that we have already started thinking about. Save the Children has actually been in Banda Aceh since 1976. We know the people here. And it's something that we're going to be working with them very closely to rebuild their lives and their communities. KING: Padmini, concerning India, most of the work there involves fishing, right? And if they can't fish now, what are they doing?

NATHAN: Well, right now I think immediate relief is being provided and the families are located in camps. Our study has shown that we have gone into some of these areas and talked to some of these people. And yes, you're right, Larry, a majority of them are fishermen. In fact, they are second and third generation fishermen who have lived there for many years. And basically what they do is basically fish and they market them. That is what they have been doing for many generations.

Our hope, and we have in this process, we are adopting some of the religious probably consisting of over 500 families close to a place which called Kardahol (ph) is one of the hard hit areas. Our hope is that over the course of the next few weeks and months that we will be able to help them with reestablishing their lives, which includes building housing for them, providing cooking utensils, clothing, or whatever might be necessary to get them started.

And also, get them going back to their professions. Because this is work these people know how to do best. And that means buying things like boats or fishing nets or whatever they might need. And we have adopted over 500 families in the area and we are working on that. And with the local authorities as well.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back. People by the way who want to donate to help tsunami victims can go to That's all one word, you see it there on the screen. The Web site will give you contact information, a long list of reputable charities and relief organizations that will be glad to accept any contribution you want to make. The best contributions are cash.

And if you missed the interview the other night with former presidents Bush and Clinton, it will be repeated this Saturday night. And that's where they introduce us to on the Internet.

We'll be right back. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The tsunami may have been over in a matter of minutes, but 13-year-old Remaya (ph) replays the horror again and again in her mind.

I lost my mother, she says. I remember her, but I lost her.

Remaya's (ph) mother was washed away by the giant wave that hit her village in Nagaputnam (ph) in South India. She's heard her father may be alive, but can't find him.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Tom Alcedo in Indonesia and Padmini Nathan in Houston remain with us. But right now we're go by videophone to Phuket, Thailand. There is some delay in the guests hearing me so put up with this.

Dan Walker is the grandfather of Christian Walker, the 12-year- old Swedish boy missing since the tsunami began. 12-year-old Christian Walker was vacationing on Koloa Beach with his mother, and his brother and sister when the tsunami struck. The siblings survived, but Christian and his mother went missing.

Dan Walker, a former United States Marine, resident of the United States, is in Thailand now to get involved with all of this concerning his missing grandson.

Is it your daughter, Dan, that married a Swedish gentleman? Is that how this story works?

DAN WALKER, GRANDSON MISSING: No, sir, the other way around. My son married a Swedish girl, Madeline. The mother of the 3 children, who is missing.

KING: I see. And they live in Sweden?

WALKER: Yes, they do. They live in Stockholm.

KING: And where is the mother? What do we know of her?

WALKER: We have no idea where she is.

KING: Now police investigation -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

WALKER: Well, I've been to every hospital on the island and at least 3 hospitals on the mainland. Looked through all the lists. Gone to the various Buddhist temples, the ones that they're using as mortuaries, looked at pictures and have found absolutely no trace of Madeline, the mother of the 3 children.

KING: Your son and the other two children have gone back to Sweden, is that right, Dan?

WALKER: That's correct. When this thing happened, my son was in Stockholm and I was in Florida. He phoned me. We agreed to meet in Bangkok, which we did.

KING: Well, Dan has cut out. We'll try to get back to him as soon as we can.

Tom, this is one of those cases where this young boy, they can't find the mother. The young boy was reported in a hospital, they're not in a hospital, then possibly taken, then not taken. Are there a lot of stories like this, Tom?

ALCEDO: Larry, there are thousands of stories like this. Just going into the displaced persons camps, there are many separated children. There are many parents who have either lost or been separated from their children. Almost all of them who have not found each other yet are still hoping to be reunited by some miracle or hope that they will be together again with their loved ones.

That is one of the purposes to accelerate this registration and tracing side of the program as quickly and expeditiously as possible.

KING: Aneesh Raman, a CNN reporter in Phuket, Thailand is aboard as well.

Aneesh, do you know anything further about the missing Christian Walker story? Aneesh is not ready. They told me Aneesh was ready.

Tom, if there are a lot of stories like this, are they eventually ironing out?

ALCEDO: Larry, I think the registration form that Save the Children and other organizations will be using with the government gives appropriate demographic information to put in a database to start bringing into play the technology that we can start tracing the many thousands of people that are holding out hope for their loved ones.

In addition, we're beginning to set up monitoring teams out of other parts of the province, including Medan, the big city to the south where we do have -- where Save the Children does have programs in terms of trafficking prevention. Just to make sure that people are not taken out of the area illegally or by unscrupulous people.

KING: We now can connect again with Dan Walker, the grandfather of Christian Walker, the 12-year-old Swedish boy missing. Now, what's the story, Dan? The police say one thing, then another. What do you know about Christian, your grandson?

WALKER: Well, I should tell you that the Thai tourist police have devoted at least the last five days to drive me around to various hospitals and principally to a town north of here on the mainland called Tan Lang (ph) where 2 doctors and a nurse believe that they saw Christian, that he was brought into the hospital by a Caucasian adult for treatment to a rather minor ear injury. He was taken away and then brought back by the same Caucasian gentleman the second day for further treatment to his minor ear complaint. But he then left and has not been seen since.

As you probably know, there's been some discussion about the possibility that he's been kidnapped. I think that's only a possibility. But I hope that he has been kidnapped, because then he's still alive.

KING: He's a beautiful boy. And now authorities, though Dan, are saying that the boy in question was not Christian. That they've located a German man who was at the hospital with a boy the doctor thought looked like Christian. Authorities say it was a case of mistaken identity. How do you react to all of that?

WALKER: That's correct. A German gentleman by the name of Stefan who lives here together with his wife very kindly took in several adults and several children, one of whom required some attention. He took them to Tan Lang (ph) hospital, or took the boy there where he was reunited with his mother who was a patient. That has nothing whatsoever to do with Christian.

We also had a lead that several children and adults who were ambulatory, they've been taken to the Taku Pa (ph) hospital. They were -- Taku Pa (ph) was, of course, inundated with people. They took these people to a hotel Extra (ph) in Taku Pa (ph). We have been there twice with the police. And finally were able to look at some surveillance films. And we satisfied ourselves that none of those children were Christian.

They were all playing and happy. Christian is a very unusual kid. And far in advance of his 12 years of age. He speaks English well. He's a musician and athlete at the top of his class in school. And I can assure you that if he were walking around, his first interest would be getting in touch with his mother and his brother and sister.

I should point out that Christian has had a disproportionate amount of interest and help from the Thai authorities, the Thai transit police. And there are over 1,000 missing Swedes here in addition to people from all various other countries. The fact that he's getting more attention than anybody else, suits me fine from a selfish point of view is fine because we want him back.

As I mentioned earlier, I hope he's been kidnapped, because that means there is a possibility that he's still alive.

KING: So you're actually -- are you saying he'd be better off were it a kidnapping, because the only other alternative is he's not with us?

WALKER: Correct.

KING: We will take a break and come right back. Don't leave us, Dan Walker, the grandfather of Christian Walker. How would you like to be in a position like that, to hope that this beautiful young boy was a kidnapping victim, which may be the only reason he would be alive. We'll be right back.


KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. With us in Banda Aceh, Indonesia is Tom Alcedo, field office director for Save The Children in Indonesia. In Houston, Texas is Padmini Nathan, president of Helping Hands USA. In Phuket, Thailand, is Dan Walker, grandfather of the missing Christian Walker who has been on a rollercoaster. In Phuket, Thailand as well is our reporter Aneesh Raman. In New York is Charles Lyons, president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Dan, how have you dealt with this rollercoaster you've been on? They found him, they didn't find him. A man visited him, it wasn't the man. Now he's missing, now we hope he's kidnapped. How are you dealing with all of this? DAN WALKER, GRANDFATHER: Well, we believe or -- we've chased down a number of leads that turned out to be false leads with regard to finding Christian. We chased down this lead that we had at the hospital -- rather at the hotel. We've gotten together with Mr. Stefan (ph) who had a number of children, one of whom he took to the hospital and reunited with his mother.

At the moment, we're hoping that the Thai tourist police are going to talk to the doctor, one of the two doctors at the hospital, to a police artist who is going to try to draw a sketch of the man, the caucasian man, that brought Christian to the hospital twice.

The two doctors and one nurse at that hospital are quite certain it wasn't another Swedish boy with blonde hair and blue eyes. We have quite good photographs. They said it was this boy that was in the hospital. This is a very good likeness of Christian. Taken only about a year ago. And this is a picture of his mother, Madeline. The mother of the three children.

Going to all the hospitals, looking at all the lists, going to all the mortuaries, we have found absolutely no trace of Madeline, the mother. However, we have this one lead still at the hospital where two nurse and doctors and a nurse feel quite certain that it was Christian and not some other blue-eyed, blonde boy that was there twice with this man.

So now we're trying to get a more complete description through a police artist of what the man -- all we know about him is that he had a red shirt and a mustache and he was Caucasian.

KING: Aneesh Raman in Phuket, does it surprise you to learn that the Thai police are being so cooperative in this individual matter?

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not at all, Larry. The Thai government has really tried to reach out to the foreign nationals involved in this disaster right from the beginning. They've set up separate hospitals just to treat them in Bangkok, separate tents to deal with them here in Phuket. They're very aware these people are dealing with what is an enormous tragedy in a foreign land. No one speaks the language. No one knows the lay of the land here in Phuket and elsewhere in southern Thailand. So the government has gone out of its way and we should mention the people themselves, the outpouring from the Thai people, volunteers coming from all over the country who speak foreign languages, who speak German, French, English coming to help those stranded here. A number of tourists who I have talked to who have seen death in this land, you would think would never want to return. But having seen the hospitability of the Thai people they want to come back. There's a real bond, a real connection that has now been formed.

KING: Dan, obviously you've been thrilled by the cooperation you're getting. What would you say to that gentleman who may have your boy, may have your grandson, if he were watching now?

WALKER: Well, all I can say to him is we'd be very grateful to have the boy back, naturally. And just to add to what your gentleman just told you, about the cooperation of the Thai people, they have been extraordinary. I have some experience with this being a member of the disaster medical assistance team for central Florida. Having dealt with three of the four hurricanes we had there. And I want to tell you, I don't believe that in Sweden or in America, we could have dealt with this tragedy as well as the Thais have done. They're highly organized. They're very, very helpful. You can go to any one of the many hospitals that's dealt with this activity and there will be somebody there to talk to you as long as you want to talk to them. They'll show you the patients. They'll show you their lists.

And the Thais are really extraordinary. The Swedish embassy here from the very beginning has been very -- all the way from ambassador on down, has been extremely helpful. And the Thai tourist police as I mentioned earlier have devoted the last five days exclusively to helping me look for Christian. They're just a marvelous people, the Thais.

KING: Charles Lyons, president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, does this story -- what do you make of it?

CHARLES LYONS, PRESIDENT, U.S. FUND FOR UNICEF: It's particularly riveting. It's upsetting to listen to Dan speak that way. Those of us that are parents can only imagine a grandfather having to face that. But what it also is really just not even the tip of an iceberg of a trafficking problem that is just so horrific and perverse that most people can't fathom it happens. It's not happening just because of this emergency. As many as 1.2 million children were trafficked last year. There was trafficking a month ago, a year ago. Our concern right now, and the reason we've sounded some alarms about this, is the basic protections for so many kids who are separated from parents, whose schools aren't functioning, the authorities are distracted by so many other things, we really worry about the trafficking being exacerbated by the emergency.

KING: Charles, what are they trafficked into? What happens to them?

LYONS: A variety of possibilities. One worse than the other. Sometimes into domestic -- almost bonded labor. There are -- the phenomenon of exploitative child labor on weaving looms in parts of Asia. And the part that's most perverse and repellent is the trafficking of children into the sex industry. Into brothels. Young girls in particular. But not limited to that.

KING: Oh, boy. Dan, are you surprised by what you've seen of the Thai people there? You say they would do a better job than Sweden would do or the citizens of Florida would do in this kind of thing. Does that surprise you, Dan?

WALKER: It's extraordinary. It really is. By nature, the Thai people are unique. In that they're extremely kind. As you look at a Thai man, woman or child and smile at them you get a smile back. And they're an exceptional, exceptional country. And furthermore, I think that their organization in the face of this really overwhelming disaster has been extraordinary. As I mentioned earlier, I'd like to think that we could do almost as well in America or Sweden. I'm not sure -- I know we couldn't do any better. And I think that they're really very commendable.

And I must also say that the police has been very helpful, are being very helpful. And that the Thai embassy and consul that they have here at the hotel is very well organized and very helpful all the way from the ambassador, all the way down. For example, we have an American girl here who is part Thai, who when she heard of the disaster, Susie Mack (ph), flew all the way from Arizona because she speaks both English, Thai, and Swedish, to come here to help. All on her own, at her own expense. That's typical of the type of assistance that has happened here.

KING: I might also say that your attitude is extraordinary, too. People who want to donate to help tsunami victims, go to on the Internet. There's how it's spelled. The website gives you contact information, a long list of reputable charities and relief organizations that will be glad to accept any contribution you're able to make. This was introduced to the public on Monday by former presidents Bush and Clinton. They were on the show Monday night. We'll repeat that Saturday night. We'll be back with our guests after this.


KING: Padmini Nathan in houston, what do you make of this Dan Walker and this story?

NATHAN: Larry, I'm really saddened to hear about that. And just to kind of add on to that, the kind of work that Helping Hands does is basically having to do with removing these children to a place of safety. Because we are concerned about their safety and what happens to them if they are left out on the streets like that even after this disaster kind of dies down. And we have been doing this for about 20 years. And we basically have specialized in crisis intervention and giving destitute children and often children from the streets.

We believe very strongly one of the things we can do for them is basically remove them from potentially dangerous areas that could get them into things like begging and the sex industry and all of that. And that is what we would like to offer for some of these children is to bring them to a place of safety and offer emotional support and try to give them a normal environment as much as possible where they can be with other children. In addition to providing food and shelter and clothing and those kinds of things.

KING: Joining us on the phone from Chennai, India is the founder and director of the Madras-based Helping Hands. A nongovernmental, nonprofit, social service organization which takes care of destitute, abandoned, and orphaned children. He is known to many as Papa. Many years ago he worked with Mother Teresa. What is happening in India with regard to children?

S. VIDYAAKA, DIRECTOR OF "HELPING HANDS": As far as the children are concerned, I think they are being held back and living in camps. They have not been transferred anywhere. The government has been making active arrangements to arrange some kind of a shelter and opharnage/home for the children. But it has not been practical, has not been possible right now. We have appealed to the government that we will be taking care of children. Because we have specialized for the past decades in caring for children. It is not just providing their basic needs but their emotional needs. And also I think probably we'd also like to identify -- probably would like to reunite them, living with relatives. We are working on that. Otherwise I think the children will get exploited once the money is released. Take away the money and be forced into bonded labor or exploitation. Even sexual exploitation. I think it's high time that intervention is necessary in this.

KING: Doesn't it seem unbelievable to you in times of tragedy, people would exploit like this?


KING: Go ahead, Tom.

ACELDO: Larry, I think that it is unfortunate that in times of crisis, people would exploit others like this. And that is an unfortunate fact of life. But I would like to emphasize that the number of people doing that are a very small percentage of the population. And that I think it's very important to keep in mind that the Indonesian government as well as other governments, including the U.S. government and USAID are very aware of the situation. The Indonesian government has a framework in place, national protection of children act, to try and prevent and mitigate these types of things.

In recent days, the Indonesian government has put out directives to the police, to the army, to be very vigilant. I think that it's very important for us to stay on top of this issue, to monitor with our local partners, our community-based organizations, and others to make sure that we prevent this type of thing from happening at all costs. Save The Children is now doing that. I think some of the larger issues though, Larry, are ones that we should not lose sight of. Those are issues that tens of thousands of people have been wounded and injured. Many if not most of those people have not received medical attention. We have to get the medical attention out now because even a superficial wound now can be infected in this type of terrible sanitation and hygiene conditions.

There are other basic needs that we have to provide to these people, including trying to get the local government up and running. They've suffered terribly.

And also, families themselves have been traumatized, many of which are going to require trauma counseling in the near future.

KING: Tom, thank you for doing a great job tonight. Tom Alcedo, the field office director of Save the Children in Indonesia. When we come back, we'll ask Dan Walker if he's optimistic or pessimistic and what keeps him going. Don't go away.


KING: Dan Walker, before we let you go, what keeps you going and how long do you plan to stay? Are you optimistic? WALKER: Well, yes, I'm optimistic. And I plan to keep going until there's nothing more to do. We still have some work to do here.

Yes, we're optimistic. I'm going to say, as long as it takes.

KING: You're an extraordinary man. We hope to call on you again. I salute you.


...thank you very much, Dan.

...does he have reason to be optimistic? Do you think we can find this young man?

NATHAN: I would certainly hope so. And I'd be optimistic. I think in the midst of this kind of tragedy, the children are the ones that are most vulnerable, and they are the ones that I feel need the most help. And we cannot stop hoping. We have to continue doing what we are doing.

KING: Charles Lyons, has UNICEF made a study of these people who take advantage of situations like this with regard to children?

LYONS: We certainly have examined the networks and the patterns and the underlying conditions behind this kind of trafficking. Actually studying the people behind it I guess would be a sort of tunnel of criminology that we haven't particularly done.

But what we're concerned is dealing with the underlying conditions and putting in protections and supporting he local authorities that are doing so much more around this issue than they were three or five years ago.

KING: Who does something like this? Is there a prototype?

LYONS: It's an established criminal network in many cases. There are huge profits reportedly attached to it. So, I think the same kind of people that run guns, run drugs, who care not the costs of their activity, as long as they can make certain sums of money.

I don't know what else would explain the perversity of trafficking children for sexual purposes.

KING: Neither do I. We're going to hold you over, Charles. Charles Lyons will remain with us. And we'll check in with Matthew Chance in Phuket, Thailand.

Again, if you want to donate to help tsunami victims, you go to That usafreedomcorps is all one word. The Web site will give you contact information, a long list of reputable charities, relief organizations that will help. Accept any contribution you're able to make.

A very valuable Web site introduced to the United States Monday by former Presidents Clinton and Bush. And they appeared on this program and that will be repeat Thursday Saturday.

We'll be back with more. Don't go away.


KING: I want to check in now with a terrific reporter in Phuket, Thailand, Matthew Chance, our CNN correspondent. I want to start first by thanking you, Matthew, lugging equipment across terrain there just so we could able to check with you and with Dan Walker, an extraordinary gentleman.

What's the latest in Phuket, and again, thanks.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're quite welcome. I think it was worth it. It was an amazing story. And Mr. Walker is staying here to look for his grandson until the very end.

The latest, there is still a great deal of people missing, thousands, in fact, still missing. Christian Walker just one of them.

There is a sense that many of the relatives have expected that their not going to find their loved ones here. Daniel Walker isn't one of those people, he's going stay here until the end.

There's a sense in which some want to stay and leave no stone unturned. Certainly, the Thai government is helping people who want to do that, to go to whatever part of the island of Phuket or the surrounding areas to look for their loved ones, to follow up any leads there may be.

And this whole issue of kidnapping, of course, which came up over Christian Walker, it is a matter of concern, the aid workers here that we've spoken to say that it is possible that these ruthless gangs are exploiting people in this very vulnerable situation.

And, of course, this is Thailand. It has a big sort of pedophile sort of circus. It also has a big sex industry and human traffickers operate here on a daily basis and so it's not inconceivable that this could happen here -- Larry.

KING: Yet, as we've heard tonight, there also, the vast majority, wonderful people are they not, Matthew? According to Mr. Walker he finds them incredible.

CHANCE: Absolutely. They do have this underside but for the most part the Thai people you come across on a daily basis they're full of smiles. They'll go out of their way to help you and certainly that's been the attitude that the Thai government confronting this situation they're very understanding, very caring of the many thousands, tens of thousands of foreigners that come here every year to spent their vacations.

They want to make this experience, I mean if you can say this, as easy as possible to get through the bureaucracy as easy as possible, to try and do whatever they can to link the families that have been separated, link them back up again and they're doing everything they can to try and achieve that -- Larry.

KING: We'll have one more question to you and then we'll check in quickly with Charles Lyons. What's it been like for you, Matthew? What's it like to cover something like this?

CHANCE: Well, I mean it's never easy. It's certainly not the first human catastrophe that we've witnessed, I've witnessed and I've reported on. A year ago to the day when this tsunami hit, of course, it was the earthquake in Bam in southern Iran where tens of thousands of people were killed and I was there too.

It's not easy. It's sometimes logistically not easy to get to these places and when you do get there to the disaster zone there's nothing there for you. There's no water. There's no food. There's often no electricity. You have to take it all with you.

But I always try and think, well we're in a much, much better position than the people who have, of course, been affected by these things and so that helps you through.

KING: Thank you, Matthew, as always great work.

And, Charles Lyons, President of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, is this story ever going to end?

LYONS: Oh, it's going to end but we are certainly dealing with phases. And you asked Mr. Walker whether he's optimistic. I think we do need to find optimism in all this.

I think over the last week or ten days, we've seen an absolutely historic vote of confidence and compassion on the part of the American people in organizations like UNICEF and Save and others to get a job done.

And so the story will continue but I think it's going to turn and it's going to be more about more supplies getting there, seeing more kids back into school, hoping and praying that Mr. Walker's grandson is found, supporting authorities so that there's a minimum or absolutely no trafficking, if that's possible. It is going to end but we have months and months and months of rehabilitation and rebuilding ahead of us.

KING: Thank you very much, Charles Lyons, President of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

LYONS: Thank you Larry.

KING: And what a story Mr. Walker is.

And now we check in with Aaron Brown doing noble work. He was on earlier and now a continuation of TURNING THE TIDE. Aaron is in Banda Aceh, Indonesia as we focus in on him. Let's give you the location on the map where Aaron is. It's daylight there now. What is it mid- morning Aaron?


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