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Search for Missing People Ongoing in the Philippines; Devastation in Aleppo

Aired December 11, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: What is it like to have your life uprooted by a natural disaster? Today, we are sharing the story of one young victim and his family. I`m Carl Azuz, this is CNN STUDENT NEWS.

We start with a search for hundreds of missing people. They haven`t been seen since the typhoon hit their home country last week. Typhoons are the same kinds of storms as hurricanes, and Typhoon Bopha was the strongest one that hit the Philippines this year. You can see some of the damage that it left behind in this "I-Report" video. The storm`s heavy rains led the flash floods and landslides, more than 600 people were killed in this, and almost 1500 others were injured. More than 700 people are missing including more than 300 Filipino fishermen. Search efforts are underway, relief groups are trying to get supplies to some of the areas that were hit the worst, but it`s difficult, because of damage to roads and communication lines.

Next, we are looking at the civil war in Syria. It`s been going on for almost two years now with Syrian government forces fighting against rebel groups. And official who`s represented the United Nations in the Arab League says the solution is possible, but he also described the situation in Syria as bad and getting worse. Some of the violence is happening in the city of Aleppo. And this Youtube video shows the fire in the city`s old market earlier this year. The old section of Aleppo is a world heritage site, it`s full of historical and cultural significance. Arwa Damon explores how it`s been effected by the civil war.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aleppo`s old city has not seen such devastation since occupied by the Mongol invaders eight centuries ago.

This mosque, for example, dates back to 1315. This is Syria`s rich cultural heritage, and now everywhere we look, it`s been scarred by war. Once bustling winding streets, now a maze of ever shifting front lines.

Overhead, the thundering of fighter jets, a small khan, lodging for caravans down the ages, lies in ruins. For more than three millennia, Aleppo has been a crossroads for traders. We hurry through the courtyard of a traditional home.

Sheets are strung across streets to block snipers line of sight. Those who dare venture quickly across. A unit of fighters records people`s names and license plates, only those who have shops here are allowed through.

Abu Bashir says, they`re trying to clamp down on robberies.

(woman talking Arabic)

DAMON: She shows us the list, the highlighted names have cleared out all their possessions. In one market, a shop recently hit by army fire, still smolders. The heart of old Aleppo, now the historic battleground for the very uncertain future of Syria.



REP. JERROLD NADLER, NEW YORK: Although the emergency response agencies work hard to get the city back up and running, there were gaps in the recovery operations and there are many challenges that remain, particularly for a dense urban area like New York. Our transportation system is too vulnerable, our infrastructure is old and hard to replace. The power grid runs more than just lights and computers, it also powers heat and hot water and all water in the high-rises all over the city. And that operates the elevators that the elderly and disabled rely upon to escape their homes when they become unsafe.


AZUZ: President Obama is asking Congress for more than $60 billion to help the states that have been effected by Superstorm Sandy. Now, that money is not going to cover all of the estimated damage from the storm, it would be used for recovery and the prepare for future natural disasters. Ryan Panetta and his family are going through that recovery process right now. Every day Ryan gets up and goes to school, after classes he rides the bus to his house, and all that sounds normal, but for Ryan and his family, life is nothing like it was before the storm.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The sun isn`t up at breakfast time for the Panettas.

(on camera): How tired are you?


HARLOW (voice over): Tim, Ryan, Christian and Carly are now living in a borrowed one-bedroom apartment with their parents.

(on camera): How long is your commute to a school now?

PANETTA: It feels almost like two hours.

HARLOW: And what did it use to be?

RYAN PANETTA: 15 minutes.


(voice over): 6:30 a.m and they are out the door. A long car ride ...


HARLOW: Then a bus to Ryan`s temporary school, PS-13.

KAREN PANETTA: It`s unreal how much our life has changed. You know, and we are trying to make the best of it.

HARLOW: He is an 8th grade honor student, one of 5400 New York students still in different schools because of Sandy.

CARRIE JAMES, SCHOLAR`S ACADEMY HUMANITIES TEACHER: He is the one that I think was probably impacted the most, and yet he has the strongest will to be here every day.

RYAN PANETTA: When something brings you down, you`ve got to get up.

HARLOW (on camera): You are OK, buddy?

What makes you sad?

RYAN PANETTA: I honestly don`t know.

HARLOW: Everything?

RYAN PANETTA: It`s everything.

KAREN PANETTA: How did it go today, Ryan?


HARLOW (VOICE OVER): Every day after school Ryan returns to Broad Channel to help his dad try to put their home back together.

JOE PANETTA, RYAN`S FATHER: Everything that I owned, everything I worked hard for everything was there, and it`s gone, it`s nothing.

HARLOW: Joe was working overnights, and Karen was home with their four children when Sandy hit.

KAREN PANETTA: It was unbelievable, though, how quickly it came in.

HARLOW: The water rushed into their one-story house, Ryan swam to neighbor for help.

RYAN PANETTA: I jumped out.

HARLOW (on camera): You jumped out here in the water?

RYAN PANETTA: Yes. I wasn`t even thinking that like a log would hit me or anything.

HARLOW: Or the electrical power lines?


HARLOW: You swam to this house?

RYAN PANETTA: Yeah, it`s right here. And they took us in to the second floor.

HARLOW (voice over): The neighbor helped bring the rest of the family over, and they watched as the water engulfed the only home they`ve known.

(on camera): What did you think when your 13-old son jumped in the water?

KAREN PANETTA: You know, I was panicking. I was panicking.

HARLOW: Did Ryan helped save your family?

KAREN PANETTA: Absolutely.

HARLOW: No question?

KAREN PANETTA: Absolutely.

HARLOW (voice over): Now, all the Panettas are working to rebuild their home and erase the bad memories.

RYAN PANETTA: After what I`ve just been through like I don`t hope I have to see anything that terrifying again.

HARLOW: Poppy Harlow, CNN, Broad Channel, New York.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, if you can I.D. me.

I`m a planet in our Solar System. I`m not one of the gas giants, but I am the largest of the terrestrial or rocky planets. I`m the only planet whose name doesn`t come from Greek or Roman mythology.

I`m Earth, the fifth largest planet in the Solar System.


AZUZ: You`ve seen a lot of pictures of the Earth, most of the time they are taken during the day because we have a lot of satellites that can do that for us. There is a new sensor on a satellite that was launched last year, that`s especially designed to observe the Earth at night. Scientists say these cloud free images are from more detailed view of our planet than ever before. What`s really interesting are the lights, and how they sort of define our world. For example, this is Egypt, and that long line is the Nile River, the satellite can distinguish the brightly lit boats traveling along it. Some of the lights around the Arabian Peninsula are gas flares from oil exploration, and this border between light and dark is marked by the Himalayan Mountains, an example of how natural borders can effect human settlement. You can see political borders, too. The lights here in South Korea, the darkness is North Korea.

There are some new officers on patrol in metro stations around Washington, and they come equipped with a unique skill set: it all starts with their noses, these bomb-sniffing dogs worked with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. They were recently donated to the Metro Transit Police. Their new handlers are impressed by their pedigree.


SGT. ANDY KEAHON, METRO TRANSIT POLICE DEPARTMENT: Every single one of the nine dogs that we receive from the Marine Corps found bombs in Afghanistan. We have one in particular that found 37 improvised explosive devises that were all buried down the road. We had no idea that these dogs where as good they are, and they are fantastic.


AZUZ: And good looking, too. Now, we did a dog story. So, before we go, in order to be fair we are going to finish up with felines. This little guy is down for a catnap. But something seems to have spooked him, look at those poor paws, flailing. Leave it to mom to know just what to do: you brush down the arms and come in for a quick kitty cuddle. A classic move seems to do the trick, and now you know the secret. If your pet is suffering from nightmares, a simple hug will take care of the whole kitten caboodle. Without any fears of further catastrophe. CNN STUDENT NEWS returns tomorrow. I hope to see you then, bye-bye.