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Coping with a Catastrophe; Battle for Libya; Last Barrier to Benghazi; International Action on Libya?

Aired March 17, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET



KENICHI SUZUKI, SURVIVOR (through translator): My wife, my son's family and four grandchildren, I lost them all.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Heartbreak in Japan almost a week on from the moment thousands of lives were changed forever.

As authorities battle to cool the Fukushima plant from the skies, one engineer tells us he quit his job over fears about the reactor's design.

Also, Gadhafi's latest warning to Libya's rebels -- the moment of truth has come.

And Bahrain's brutal crackdown draws new criticism, this time from the United Nations.

These stories and more tonight as we connect the world.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

I want to start in Japan tonight. And it's difficult to imagine what survivors are going through nearly a week to the day since the earthquake and tsunami struck.

Let's get the latest on the ground.

Anna Coren is in Tokyo for us -- Anna.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we are going into the -- the seventh day of this nuclear crisis. A team of workers are at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, trying to contain the situation.

Now, we know yesterday and we saw the pictures of their attempts to dump water on these reactors to -- to cool this plant. They used helicopters, they used water cannons and they used fire trucks.

Now, we don't know what the impact of that has been Japanese authorities say it is just too early to tell.

But we know that TEPCO, the power company that owns this plant, they are also trying to hook up the power. They're having great difficulties. That would help to trigger the emergency cooling system, which -- which will be in place in under -- under normal circumstances. But because of the quake, because of the tsunami, all of these systems are down.

So they're desperately trying to contain the situation, Becky.

We know that the U.S. is also sending in a -- a team of people, nine advisers. But, you know, many here in Japan, Becky, are wondering why has it taken so long.

ANDERSON: Anna, how about what would have been search and rescue efforts, I guess, but now we're just simply looking at tales from survivors at this point?

COREN: It's -- it's just horrific, isn't it?

And -- and the scale is -- is just frightening. I believe the death toll at the moment stands at more than 5,500. As far as the missing, it's -- it's gone into the numbers of 9,000, many more than 9,000. But that's what we know at the moment.

Then there are hundreds of thousands of people who are living in these shelters. You know, they ran from this tsunami with -- with the clothes on their back. So that is all they have.

And -- and you can probably tell from the way I'm dressed, it is bitterly cold here.

Oh, I think we are not going to show our viewers some picture of -- of the efforts there.

You know, here, temperatures, as I mentioned, it's plunged below zero. Snow is blanketing so much of the -- the hardest hit areas. You know, these freezing conditions are hampering search and cleanup efforts and are also placing even greater demands on the delivery of aid.

Now, here state broadcaster NHK showed a helicopter bringing in hundreds of boxes of blankets, basic necessities the victims of this disaster are desperately in need of. And with rail and road networks crippled, even those who have not left their homes are facing shortages of fuel and food. That is a huge problem here in Japan.

Well, adding to the uncertainty are radiation fears. There are images of so many people, including children, being checked for exposure to the toxic fallout from unstable nuclear facilities. You know, these images are just so disturbing.

So while much of the world is concerned about radiation fears, you know, we have to remember the people who live in -- in direct contact, you know, to the -- the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Many of them are feeling quite deserted. You know, people have had to evacuate from -- from the area. But some can't leave. They can't go.

The mayor up there in one of the towns, he said to -- to the local media, we have been left here to die. It's quite a -- an extreme comment to make, but these are the fears that people are certainly feeling -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right, Anna Coren in Tokyo, on the ground there in Japan, as officials race to try and stop a nuclear disaster. Survivors of the earthquake and tsunami desperately searching for loved ones missing now for almost a week.

Let's have a listen to some of their stories.


SUZUKI (through translator): I can't think of anything to say. My wife, my son's family and four grandchildren, I lost them all. I can't take it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): (INAUDIBLE) missing, this man says.


Your -- your -- your child?

No, my father. My father is missing.

You came out to look for your father? I gave up that -- the idea that he's still alive and I'm trying to reclaim all the belongings.

Mrs. Akikaido (ph) is trying to find her husband. Her husband was a town assembly member. And right after the earthquake, he rushed to her and the assembly was adjourned and he came to me and ordered me to evacuate. And that's the last time that I saw him.

Alsuchi (ph) Town Hall was devastated because of the tsunami and many of the people, including the mayor, are missing.

Her husband has been calling at the residence to evacuate the others. Moments before the tsunami attacked and probably engulfed in the tsunami and lost his chance to evacuate, even though that I go to the morgue, that I am too -- too scared to identify the bodies. I do want to accept the fact, but I have to accept the fact looking at a sight like this.


ANDERSON: It's harrowing stuff, isn't it?

In the Miyagi Prefecture, 8,000 people still remain unaccounted for, their city demolished by the tsunami.

Well, survivors are going from shelter to shelter looking for loved ones. But as the Japanese state broadcaster, NHK, shows, these searches are increasingly ending at makeshift morgues.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bodies which have been found have been placed in this gymnasium in town. At the entrance, there is a list of the identified bodies, the names of the people who have been identified. This man is looking for the five members of his younger sister's family. He has been going from one evacuation center in town to another, but he has not been able to find them yet.

No one has notified him about their whereabouts, so he has to -- to look for them on his own. What he's worried about is that his sister and - - and her family members will be buried or cremated without his knowing. He doesn't want that to happen.


ANDERSON: And we know the conditions have become increasingly difficult for those who are helping in these search efforts. Snow and cold, of course, we've seen the pictures.

Let's bring in our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, from the International Weather Center for the very latest.

I know about 24 hours ago, the hope was that conditions at least would improve in the worst hit areas.

Is that still the forecast?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We're getting toward the corner of that, yes. We're turning this corner here as far as conditions and as far as they are to be improving the next couple of days. And, really, you look at these temperatures, the wind chill observations coming out of Sendai on Thursday morning, minus 12 degrees Celsius.

Fukushima comes in at minus 11.

These are the conditions folks are exposed to. We have those winds being blustery, at times, and even other observations recording wind chills of what it feels to the human skin at minus 12 degrees Celsius, with the ambient temperature, the observed reading, come in at about minus two or minus three.

But, of course, a few flakes falling right now, last check. A few more flakes still going to accumulate before the sun rises and temperatures are gradually going to begin to warm up. But, of course, it's very, very difficult for the rescue operations to take place.

And that's that pesky storm system. That's going to exit the picture. High pressure typically brings in nice conditions. And it is going to do that in this condition, as well, as it moves in from the south.

We've got a southerly surge of air and air coming in from the south at this latitude is certainly going to warm temperatures up. So we go in from temperatures being just a few degrees below average to actually getting a few degrees above average in the next couple of days, with partly cloudy skies.

So certainly, Friday's forecast going to be better. Saturday to Sunday going to certainly be much improved, as we head toward that portion of the weekend.

But take a look at this. Another area of concern is now we're seeing some points along the coastal regions -- you may have heard that Japan, actually, Honshu, has moved about 2.5 or so meters to the east because of the quake and the large scale associated with it. So some of those coastal communities have actually sunk. The elevation has actually become a little lower, making them susceptible to tides and water coming inland.

Now, if you check your calendar, you may know we have a full moon coming our way here on the 19th. And not only is it just a full moon, but it's a super full moon, which means that it's going to be the closest approach the moon has made to the earth since 1993. That's going to increase the flooding possibilities out there and the Japan -- the Japanese Meteorological Agency, Becky, has certainly issued a tidal surge advisory for the low lying areas along the coast, where water is a possibility to move its way inland as we head on into Saturday, eventually into Sunday.

So something worth noting the next couple of days out there.

ANDERSON: All right.

Pedram, thank you very much, indeed, for that.

We're going to do more from Japan at the bottom of this hour, in about 20 minutes time.

Coming up, my interview with a whistleblower from General Electric, who says he left the company years ago because he had safety concerns about a nuclear reactor design that's used at the Fukushima plant and why he thinks the situation could be described as apocalyptic.

That is ahead here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Straight ahead, though, this could be the day the world ends weeks of indecisiveness over the Libyan civil war.

But will it be too late?

Moammar Gadhafi has just warned rebels in Benghazi to prepare themselves, he says, because government forces will attack tonight. Well, the UN Security Council, meantime, expected to vote within hours to stop the onslaught.

Many new developments to cover on that right after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back.

You're with CNN.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Just as Libya's leader warns an attack on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi is imminent, the world may be ready to take a stand on the deadly civil war.

The UN Security Council is expected to vote in less than two hours from now on a resolution to shut down Moammar Gadhafi's military machine.

The state news agency is already warning that Libya will strike back against any foreign intervention, saying all air and sea traffic in the Mediterranean could be at risk.

And Gadhafi himself just issued a chilling warning to rebels in Benghazi. In remarks aired on state TV, he said government forces are coming Thursday night and will search house by house to rid the city of all traitors.

Well, that threat, of course, makes the United Nations vote all the more urgent in the next couple of hours.

Let's get more on Gadhafi's remarks.

Arwa Damon joins us now from Eastern Libya.

And fighting words from the Libyan leader in the last hour or so.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We did, Becky. And his tone was very threatening. He was saying that basically he was going to be coming here and giving people what they deserve.

While many people in the opposition don't take what he says very seriously in the sense that they do view him as a tyrant who speaks sheer and utter nonsense, these are very, very chilling words for the people of the opposition to be hearing at this point in time, because, at the end of the day, they would not put any sort of massacre past him.

People here are watching this entire process very closely. And there are growing concerns, as the bombing campaign -- the Gadhafi bombing campaign intensifies, that the bloodshed is only going to increase the longer the international community continues to drag its feet.

ANDERSON: So how important is this very -- the resolution, then, tonight for people on the ground where you are?

DAMON: Becky, it would be hard to put its significance and its importance into words at this stage. It means everything to the people here that it do pass, that that no fly zone, that other measures be implemented to try to prevent the bloodshed.

There is a massive screen hanging in front of the courthouse in Benghazi. There is a huge crowd out in front of it. Everyone here, everyone across Eastern Libya, maybe across the entire country, waiting and watching to see what the result of that United Nations vote is going to be.

People do feel that if that vote does not go through, the United Nations would become an accomplice to what they say would be an imminent massacre -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon there in Eastern Libya.

Arwa, thank you.

Well, for Libyan ground troops to force a showdown in Benghazi, they've first got to get past the town of Ajdabiya, the last barrier on the coastal road.

Take a look at this. Gadhafi's force have launched fierce attacks on the town now for days, as they make their advance.

Well, Nic Robertson took a government-led trip to the front lines and this is what he filed.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gunfire everywhere, soldiers all keyed up -- Moammar Gadhafi's military machine as we haven't seen it before.

(on camera): This is an army getting ready to go into battle. Ajdabiya is just down the highway down there, literally a couple of kilometers. But here, there are about half a dozen to a dozen tanks lined up, heavy anti-aircraft gunfire being fired from that heavy weapons vehicle over there.

(voice-over): Stretching back for several miles, scores of resupply trucks piled high with ammunition for everything from AK-47s to tanks. In the fields around, the weapons and men to use them. Ambulances stand ready to whisk the wounded away from the front lines. After a week-and-a-half of battling rebels, spirits are high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I and everybody in Libya today am (INAUDIBLE). But tomorrow in Benghazi.

ROBERTSON: Tomorrow Benghazi?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, tomorrow in Benghazi. After tomorrow, Libya only one.

ROBERTSON: Libya is united?


ROBERTSON (voice-over): The night before, state TV claimed Ajdabiya was fully in government control. Away from the cameras, soldiers tell a slightly different story.

(on camera): Well, one of the things the soldiers here tell us, is they say in Ajdabiya, a rebel (INAUDIBLE) are holding up in civilian houses. So even though they have this heavy armor and artillery here, they say it's going to make their fight very difficult.

(voice-over): Difficulties that in other battles have translated into civilian casualties.

(on camera): In just a little more than 10 days now, the government has advanced about 300 kilometers, almost 200 miles. Right now, (INAUDIBLE) Ajdabiya (INAUDIBLE) down here. Celebratory gunfire...


ROBERTSON: -- now only about 160 kilometers -- 100 miles only from here to Benghazi. This advance, that's a little unruly at moments, is now very well underway.

Nic Robertson, CNN, outside Ajdabiya, Libya.


ANDERSON: OK, well, Nic and Arwa giving you the picture, then, on the ground in Libya.

Let's get to the United Nations, where the Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution that reportedly calls for all measures necessary short of occupation to protect civilians in Libya.

Senior UN correspondent, Richard Roth, is in New York -- all right, Richard, tell us about the resolution.

And does it have support?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: It is going to be a close vote and perhaps as many as five abstentions. The United States, France, Britain, Lebanon pushing hard for this resolution. I'm sure as we speak, there are heavy discussions going on, because the Libyan representatives here, who are Gadhafi opponents, they don't want to show such a split Security Council, even if the resolution passes endorsing a no fly zone and potentially even airstrikes to enforce it.

So they don't want a vote that is 10-5 with no veto. So that's where the battle is right now.

French foreign minister, Alain Juppe, flew in dramatically right before this vote to make the case.


ALAIN JUPPE, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: Our country is completely involved to stop the attacks of the Gadhafi regime against civilian -- civilian populations, especially on Benghazi. It's a question of days and maybe of hours. And so I hope that in a few hours, the Security Council will pass the resolution we have prepared with our allies, especially with the British and also with the Lebanese delegation.


ROTH: A vote is expected less than two hours from now. As it stands, from what appears to be the vote count, this resolution would, indeed, pass. There are wire reports that the French pushing for, perhaps, airstrike action or something similar, as soon as possible after this resolution.

No diplomat here is certainly going to tell us any timetable. It's outside of their zone, Becky. It will be up to the military people. The ambassadors have been here for several hours, except for a lunch break. And we're just going to have to see what could be some very dramatic Security Council action and impact in the northeast of -- in the north of Africa shortly -- back to you.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right, Richard.

So we're looking at an hour-and-a-half, right?

An hour-and-a-half, two hours from now?

ROTH: Yes. Both counts some -- vote timing shifts, but it appears it's going to be in less than two hours.

ANDERSON: All right, good stuff.

Richard Roth at the UN

Well, NATO's secretary-general is pushing for action in Libya, saying if Gadhafi prevails, it will send a clear signal that violence pays. Others, though, believe the West shouldn't get sucked into what they call an unnecessary war.

We want to hear besides now.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington.

He was also a special assistant to former U.S. president, Ronald Reagan.

And we're joined by Graham Allison, director of the Harvard Kennedy School, its Belfer Center.

He's also a former assistant secretary of defense for policy and plans.

So, starting with you, Doug, an unnecessary war that -- that the international community shouldn't get sucked into or something that it's absolutely our responsibility?

DOUG BANDOW, SENIOR FELLOW, CATO INSTITUTE, AUTHOR, "LIBYA: ANOTHER UNNECESSARY WAR OF CHOICE": I think quite an unnecessary war. The U.S. is still involved in two conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have 150,000 troops on the ground. We shouldn't be getting involved in, you know, civil wars unless there's something very substantial at stake for the United States.

There isn't here. It's a tragic situation, but you can look around the world and say why not Ivory Coast?

Well, maybe we should do...

ANDERSON: All right...

BANDOW: -- something in Bahrain, where the Saudis have put troops. You know, there are unending humanitarian catastrophes. The United States, at least, shouldn't be getting involved...

ANDERSON: All right...

BANDOW: -- in all of these.

ANDERSON: And you...

BANDOW: We have a lot on our plate.

ANDERSON: And you make a very good point, that maybe the U.S. and the international community should be in Bahrain.

Graham, whether Doug likes it or not, it may be that there is a resolution signed off on tonight, which allows for a no fly zone and more, potentially.

A no fly zone, surely, though, wouldn't be legitimate without it being Arab-led, would it?

GRAHAM ALLISON, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL'S BELFER CENTER: Well, I -- I made an argument yesterday that's on the Huffington Post that the U.S. should give full support to Britain and France in their leading a no fly zone. I think they should bring along the Arab League to the extent that they can. I don't think they'll provide much, but they may provide some legitimacy.

I argue that, in fact, if they get a Security Council resolution, that's the best way to do it. But if the British and French want to act independently, the U.S. should give them full support, but let them take the lead. This is a situation in which the French and British leaders are saying...

ANDERSON: Right...

ALLISON: -- we want to do this. I agree with Doug. I don't think this should be an American-led operation. I think they're there. They know the geography. They know the history. They have the stakes. They have the interests. They have the capability. So we shouldn't stand in their way.

ANDERSON: All right, so, OK, Doug, like I said, whether you like it or not, it may be that there is a resolution passed tonight and the military-logistical operation will be put in place. It may not be, as you would suggest, necessarily US-led. But surely, as I put to our friend here, Graham, this needs -- the Arab League are look -- looking for this. This is legitimized by the push by a number of Arab nations themselves.

BANDOW: Well, of course. It certainly helps to have the Arab League along with it. The problem here is the Arab League has very little effective military force. So what they are doing is simply giving legitimacy to a Western military operation. And the critical question is are the British and the French willing to do it essentially alone, especially if it's more than a no fly zone.

The danger is, they're talking about military strikes. You know, the French are saying let's, you know, strike the military targets. That's a very different operation than just a no fly zone.

ANDERSON: The rebels, Doug, in -- in Libya feel very let down by the international community. They feel as if they've been hung out to dry.

What would you do, leave them?

BANDOW: Well, what I would say is it's unfortunate that the U.S., you know, has made statements suggesting that we're leading them on. But you can't have the U.S. go to war simply because the U.S. has made statements like that. There are a lot of resistance movements around the world...


BANDOW: -- that I have, you know, sympathy for. I sympathize with the Kurds in Turkey. I sympathize with the Basques. I sympathize with a lot of people. That's not a very good reason for the United States to take up military action...

ANDERSON: Graham, graham...

ALLISON: Well, I -- I think the U.S. does not have to take the lead in every situation. Doug and I actually, our differences are smaller than the differences with lots of other people. The press -- the basic proposition is here the -- it should not be the case that every time, everywhere, ever place in the world there's an atrocity, the Americans are the only policemen, firemen and emergency management service.

Here's a case in which there are two big countries, British and French. They've got a 27 country EU. There's NATO to provide support, the Arab League to provide cover.

If they want to do this because they think it's in their interests, the U.S. should be encouraging them, should be supporting them, but should let them take the lead and take responsibility for it.

And I think here, the principle, the really important strategic principle that Americans mostly forget but a lot of Europeans like, too, it should be a division of labor in which the Americans don't take the lead...

ANDERSON: All right...

ALLISON: -- in every situation. Where there are countries that are capable of doing it, they should do it and we should encourage them.

ANDERSON: It's the moment of truth as far as Gadhafi is concerned. Not an hour ago, that is what he put to the people of Benghazi, the rebels in Benghazi. One can only imagine how they feel tonight.


BANDOW: Oh, I mean they clearly would like to have, you know, the Western powers aid them. And I can understand that. I mean I agree with graham. If he was running this, I'd trust it a lot more. I think the temptation in Washington is always to get involved. And it's very hard for Washington people to let other countries take the lead.

If the secretary of State would say the U.S. will not be providing combat aircraft, I'd feel a lot better about this. But I suspect the U.S. will be getting involved.

ANDERSON: Graham and Doug, thank you very much, indeed.

We appreciate your thoughts this evening here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

And do remember, that debate at the UN, the resolution expected to be voted on in about two hour's time.

You'll get it here first, of course, on CNN.

Lots of debate on the issue in the newspapers around the world.

Let's start off in Australia, where an editorial there is titled, "Libyans Will Pay the Price," and says the G-8 has missed an ideal opportunity to turn the screws on Gadhafi. They write, "Standing on diplomatic niceties as people are being slaughtered is a gross betrayal."

Well, the "South China Morning Post" also says the world needs to get behind a no fly zone. It says: "It's good that the Arab League has weighed in favor of action. Now the rest of the world needs to actively engage on this critical question.

Well, Seumas Milne from the UK's "Guardian" writes that the, quote, "fate of the Arabs will be settled in Egypt, not Libya," and takes a view that the no fly zone will cause more harm than good.

"Experience in Iraq and elsewhere suggests it would prolong the war, increase the death toll, lead to demands for escalation and risk dividing the country." He also writes it would also be a knife at the heart of the Arab revolution, depriving Libyans and the region of ownership of their own political renaissance and thoughts from around the world.

Well, ahead on the show, we're going to return to Japan, where officials are desperately trying to cool down the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Up next, why some of the residents of the area say they feel betrayed by the government.

That's next right here on CONNECT THE WORLD.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Coming up, as Japanese engineers race to prevent a nuclear meltdown, we speak to a man who quit his job over safety concerns about just how these plants are designed.

And shocking details trickling out of Bahrain, as government forces crack down on protesters with increasingly violent results.

Those stories ahead.

Let's get you a quick check of the headlines this hour.

And snow is making efforts to find more than 9,500 people missing in northeastern Japan difficult. Police say nearly 5,700 people are confirmed dead in Friday's earthquake and tsunami disaster. More than 8,000 remain missing.

Libya's leader is warning of an imminent attack on Benghazi as his forces advance towards the rebel stronghold. In remarks said on state TV just hours ago, Moammar Gadhafi said operations will begin Thursday night to rid the city of traitors.

Well, the UN Security Council is expected to vote in less than two hours on a resolution to shut down Gadhafi's military machine. It reportedly calls for all measures necessary short of occupation to protect Libyan civilians.

Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide is expected to arrive back in his homeland on Friday after seven years in exile. The return comes two days ahead of a crucial runoff election to pick Haiti's next leader.

Well, after two days of deep losses, solid gains on Wall Street this Thursday, the Dow Jones climbing 163 points. The NASDAQ rose 0.7 percent, S&P up 1.3 percent. That was closing bell about a half an hour ago. Those are the headlines this hour.

Radiation levels are down but still high at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant. The Japanese government is furiously trying to cool down the reactors at the site through the night. Military helicopters have continued to dump water on the quake-ravaged site. That's about seven and a half tons of water that you see raining down on the number three reactor.

It's all about keeping it cool at this point. Police, water canons, and fire trucks also working to avert a nuclear disaster. But the real concern, now is the spent fuel rods, we're told, inside the reactor buildings. And you are looking at images of one of the cooling pools. We're told if the water level drops and it gets too hot, the fuel rods can emit dangerous levels of radiation.

Well, thousands have been evacuated from the area surrounding the plant, but some residents are angry with the government and now fear that they will never be able to go home.


UNIDENTIFIED NHK CORRESPONDENT (through translator): The Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant was created about 40 years ago. People were told the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company that the nuclear power plant would be safe, and that was why the residents accepted the creation of this power plant.

However, now, many residents feel that they were betrayed.

This woman says that the government said that it was safe, that's why she agreed to the construction. If she knew it would blow up some day, she wouldn't be able to live here.

And this man says there were no evacuation drills to prepare for a situation like this, and he hasn't even heard that that was necessary. He says that the Tokyo Electric Power Company "never told us about any risky or dangerous situation."

Every time the situation worsens, the evacuation area has been widened. Initially, the evacuation spoke -- the scope was in a radius of three kilometers from the Daichi power plant. But the next day, it was spread to a radius of 10 kilometers.

And also, a 10-kilometer radius from the Daini power plant was set and designated as an evacuation area. And in the afternoon, it was spread to 20 kilometers from the Daichi power plant. And on the third day, from the 20 to 30 kilometers radius area, people were told to remain indoors.

And now, at the shelter, there is confusion. An evacuee says that he would have liked to have heard that news in the evening. This city official says that he also learned about this a while ago. The news was that the people had to move to another shelter.

The evacuation instruction changes as time goes by, and the number of evacuees are now more than expected. Everybody is totally perplexed, and this woman says that the instruction changes every time they move. They are told to evacuate, but she says that she doesn't know where they will be going next.

Radioactive substances and radiation is a fear that is totally invisible. Everybody is anxious that they may not be able to go back home. And now, there are many people who are leaving the evacuation shelters. Yesterday, there was a long line of cars, of people trying to evacuate outside of Fukushima prefecture.


ANDERSON: OK. We're watching events closely at the plant as former General Electric engineer Dale Bridenbaugh. Now, he resigned from the company 35 years ago because he was concerned over the safety of a GE nuclear reactor design which is used at the Fukushima plant.

Well, earlier I spoke to the whistleblower and asked him whether he, therefore, foresaw this crisis.


DALE BRIDENBAUGH, FORMER GENERAL ELECTRIC ENGINEER: I certainly didn't foresee it. I concerns about, not only the Fukushima one reactor, but all of the other mark one reactor plants that GE was building in the United States and all over the world.

I was concerned about that plant's containment design to be able to withstand the accident that it was supposed to be designed to handle. Fukushima one was just one of those plants, and Fukushima two, three, four are very similar plants.

ANDERSON: The EU energy chief says that Fukushima, and I quote him, "is out of control," adding, and I quote him, here, "there is talk of an apocalypse." And he said, "I think the word is well-chosen." You know about this industry, you know about these reactors, you know about their designs. Do you agree that the world "apocalypse" is well-chosen?

BRIDENBAUGH: It's not a word that I would normally use, but certainly what's happening at Fukushima is far beyond anything that we ever dreamed of or considered might happen. We thought, perhaps, you might have a loss of coolant accident at one reactor, but to have them simultaneously at three reactors, and then, a fourth reactor with a burning, spent fuel pool is nearly incredible.

It is, probably apocalyptic. I don't know. It is certainly an -- a disaster to the people of Japan and it's a disaster -- it's an economic disaster to the power industry, both in the United States and in Japan and around the world.

ANDERSON: Talk me through the worst possible outcome, here.

BRIDENBAUGH: Well, the worst possible outcome is that the radiation levels continue to build up at the plant site, the emergency workers that are in there now have to abandon the site and just let it go and do what it wants to do.

If that happens, there's going to be total core melt, total fuel melt in one or more reactor cores, and possibly in that spent fuel pool. And that would lead to uncontained releases of massive amounts of radiation. Then you're dependent upon which way is the wind blowing, where's the population, contamination of the sea. Maybe "apocalypse" is a good word.

ANDERSON: The nuclear industry has been rather unfashionable until recently. Certainly, China and India encouraged to adopt the industry as - - as a future energy source. Are these newer nuclear reactors that are going to be built in places like that safe?

BRIDENBAUGH: Well, I would say that they are safer than the Fukushima-style -- Fukushima one and Fukushima two, three, and four-style reactors. They're more robust. They should be able to withstand external events better than, say, Fukushima did.

Safety, of course, is a relative thing. And whether they're safe enough, it depends on whether they have properly considered the seismic possibilities, tsunamis, where the population is, the reliability of the external power supply that is necessary to keep these plants under control in the case of an emergency shutdown.


ANDERSON: Dale Bridenbaugh speaking to me earlier.

Well, CNN got in contact with General Electric over Dale's allegations. They said they didn't want to talk about any specific former employee, but they pointed us to a statement on the reactor design used at Fukushima. In it, General Electric states, "The Mark One containment has a proven track record of safety and reliability for over 40 years. While the technology was commercialized 40 years ago, it has continued to evolve."

Well, CNN is launching a new high-tech way for those of you who've got smartphones around the world to take immediate action to help disaster victims in Japan. During our coverage, they're going to show you a special black and white code on the screen. You should be able to see it now. Let's take it full-screen for you. You can see it in the corner, there.

And if you scan this image with your smartphone, it loads our Impact Your World website automatically, no typing required. We're going to air this case throughout the day on CNN, keep your smartphones handy.

On that site, you'll find links to charities that are helping disaster victims in Japan. They desperately need your help, as you can imagine, to deliver aid to survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. Just one of the ways that we're trying to help you make a difference in our world.

All right. Coming up, a display of violence in Bahrain that the United Nations says is not only shocking, but illegal. We're going to have a live report from the ground as government forces intensify their crackdown on protesters.


ANDERSON: Well, Amnesty International today accused government troops in Bahrain of intensifying their crackdown on protesters with shotguns, teargas, and rubber bullets. A leading opposition figure says six opposition members have been arrested as the government continues its efforts to control the uprising.

Now, on Wednesday, security forces attacked demonstrators in Pearl Square. And according to witnesses, they stormed a hospital in the capital and they beat up the doctors there. Well, Amnesty International says at least eight people have been killed in the violence.

And today, a disturbing video circulating on the internet, reportedly showing an anti-government demonstrator getting shot in Bahrain. Here's the video, and a warning. What you see may shock you.





ANDERSON: What you see there is, apparently, a man being shot in the leg. He did, though, we're told, survive.

Well, the UN human rights chief and Amnesty International have both issued statements calling on the Bahraini government to stop the violence against its people. CNN's Leone Lakhani has been watching these developments from the capital, Manama, and joins us, now, live. Leone?

LEONE LAKHANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, now, one area that's received some criticism from the international community is military presence at the Salmaniya hospital, which is a main military hospital in the capital city of Manama.

Now, the hospital -- we've heard reports from doctors over the past couple of days saying that security forces have raided the hospital, they've stopped people from walking in and out of the hospital, and they've also, allegedly, even beaten some of the hospital staff.

We have not been able to independently confirm those claims, but we did pay a visit to the hospital earlier today, and we went around the perimeter earlier, during the day, and we saw there was a very clear military presence. We saw military personnel in balaclavas and flak jackets, Becky. Some form of shotguns, we don't know what kind of ammunition they're carrying, however.

And we went to the government and said why is there such a strong military presence? So, they took us on an exclusive trip back to the hospital in the evening. We were taken there by the health ministry. I have to point out, Becky, that it was a very small section of the hospital that we saw. And we went there during curfew times, when there weren't that many people there anyway.

But what they are telling us, that the reason that the security forces are in the hospital is to protect the hospital staff, and they are, basically, flatly denying any of those claims that we've been hearing from the doctors over the past couple of days, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right, Leone Lakhani for you in Manama. Thank you for that, Lee.

"Shocking and illegal." that is the UN's line on the violence in Bahrain. Ivan Simonovic is the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, and he joins me, now, live from UN Headquarters. Shocking? Yes? Illegal? One assumes. The statement, to a certain extent, seems pretty obvious at this point, doesn't it?

IVAN SIMONOVIC, ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, UNITED NATIONS: Definitely. We are speaking of great violations of international human rights law. But if some of reports prove to be true, they could also amount to crimes against humanity.

ANDERSON: How do you prove that?

SIMONOVIC: Well, last two to three days, we have received hundreds of calls, of e-mails, of reports. But, of course, everything is being checked. It is a very thorough check, and without thorough checks, there would not be any statements of the Secretary-General of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

ANDERSON: What's your message to the Bahraini government, then, tonight?

SIMONOVIC: Messages are very clear. First is that security forces must immediately leave medical premises, hospitals, and medical centers. And secondly, there should be no reprisal against protesters.

Bahrain is a state party to international covenant on civil and political rights, which means that protests were legitimate. Furthermore, in the time of emergency -- and state emergency, some human rights can be suspended, but basic human rights, such as right to life and right to health cannot be suspended.

ANDERSON: Because, of course, there is a state of emergency at present in Bahrain. You acknowledge that, don't you?

SIMONOVIC: State of emergency can suspend certain human rights. For example, right to assembly. But rights to life and rights to health cannot be suspended, not even in a situation of state emergency.

And also, a message to the security forces. No superior order, no matter who is it coming from, cannot exempt from respect of basic human rights law and cannot exempt for individual criminal responsibility, if necessary.

ANDERSON: Have you been in touch with the Bahraini government and, indeed, the security forces, which of course, some of which are from Saudi, of course, at the moment?

SIMONOVIC: I haven't been personally, but UN is definitely in permanent contact.

ANDERSON: All right. With that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed. Ivan Simonovic, the Assistant Secretary- General for Human Rights at the United Nations.

And do remember that we are waiting for the outcome of a resolution on a no-fly zone plus from the United Nations on Libya at present. Stick with CNN, that will be coming up in the next hour or so, we believe.

Still ahead, we're going to return to Japan for another look at how people are coping a week after disaster struck. Countries all around the world pitching in to help, even one of Japan's fiercest traditional rivals.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is just horrible. I want to think -- it is nightmare, what happened in my hometown. I can't say anything.


ANDERSON: Well, dawn is breaking on Friday morning in Japan right now, a week after the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country. It seems almost incredible to think that it has now been a week. Anna Coren is with us again from Tokyo. Anna, it's been seven days. Your reflections. How are people coping?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Becky, we came here -- when was it? On Friday. We arrived the next day, so what was it? Saturday. The earthquake/tsunami hit Friday, we were on the ground Saturday, and we were here to cover that story, the earthquake, the tsunami aftermath.

But as you know, this story has just developed. It's kept unfolding, and the nuclear crisis that is happening, now, the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant. That really has overshadowed, I guess, what is happening up north.

But you cannot forget that the scale of this disaster -- the death toll at the moment stands at more than 5,500. Missing, it's more than 9,000 people. And there are hundreds of thousands in shelters.

Now, these people ran from the tsunami with literally the shirts on their backs. They had less than half an hour from the time the quake struck to when that giant wave, that monster wave just roared across the coast and going some five kilometers inland.

So, these people are doing it so, so tough. It is freezing here, Becky. I mean, I'm fully clothed, wearing lots and lots of clothes and lots of lots layers. These people had virtually nothing. And food is in short supply, so is water. So, the people who have survived this catastrophe, they -- they're just really struggling.

ANDERSON: Yes. Anna Coren's in Tokyo for you this evening.

Well the disaster has created a surge of sympathy for Japan across the world, of course, even in some of the most unexpected places. CNN's Eunice Yoon reports from Japan's close neighbor and longtime rival, China.


EUNICE YOON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lunch hour at this university in Beijing. Students are raising money for Japan's quake survivors, shelving their suspicions about a longtime Asian rival.

JING YAO, STUDENT ORGANIZER (through translator): "I know the situation in Japan is terrible right now, so we hope that our activities can help the Japanese victims," says organizer Jing Yao. "We want them to know that there are many people who care about them here in China."

YOON (voice-over): Countries across the world are helping the Japanese, but in China, the giving carries extra weight. Memories of World War II continue to haunt relations, which deteriorated as recently as last fall over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

YOON (on camera): Despite the deep-seated historical animosity and the recent tensions between China and Japan, people here want to help, and they're putting aside their political differences in Japan's time of need.

YOON (voice-over): Japanese exchange student Makoto Hachiya appreciates the effort. He says when his friends heard his family lives in the quake zone, they jumped at the chance to help.

MAKOTO HACHIYA, JAPANESE STUDENT IN CHINA (through translator): "We are very moved and thankful for the support form our Chinese classmates," he says. "I think it shows how friendly and good the China/Japan relationship can be."

YOON (voice-over): China was one of the first countries to respond to Japan, sending millions of dollars in relief and dispatching a 15-member search and rescue team.

DAVID KELLY, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SYDNEY: It's a very important opportunity for China to make a statement in favor of the long- term values of cooperation and humane treatment of your neighbors.

YOON (voice-over): At the close of the National People's Congress this week, Premier Wen Jiabao said Beijing is ready to do more.

WEN JIABAO, CHINESE PREMIER (through translator): "We fully empathize with how the Japanese people feel, now. When China was hit with the massive Wenchuan earthquake, the Japanese government sent a rescue team and also offered rescue supplies," Wen said.

YOON (voice-over): Many here remember Japan's rapid response to the China quake of 2008 and want to return the favor. Still, anti-Japanese sentiment runs deep. Some bloggers have called the quake karma for Japan's past invasion and occupation of China.

Most, though, sympathize with the victims and, in fact, praise the Japanese for maintaining a sense of order and community, even during a crisis like this. A culture many here say China should emulate.

"A life is a life of equal value, no matter which country you're from," says this Chinese student. We are all humans. We're all people, and we will work our hardest to help the Japanese."

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.


ANDERSON: Donations and prayers for Japan have been sent from all over the world in the week since the disaster struck, and the outpouring continues today. In Washington, US president Barack Obama stopped by the Japanese embassy where flags are flying at half staff to sign a condolence book to victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

And it's not just government leaders offering support. In the past week all over the world, people have gathered to offer money, prayers, and words of comfort. We're going to leave you with some of those images, now. I'm Becky Anderson. "BackStory" is up next.