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Boat Carrying 700 Immigrants Capsized Off Coast Of Libya; Airstrikes, Clashes in Yemen Kill 29; Photojournalist Matilde Gattoni Captures 20 Syrian Women Who Fled Their Homes; Malta Politician Call For More EU Support For African Migrants. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 19, 2015 - 11:00:00   ET


[11:00:10] LYNDA KINKADE, HOST: Hundreds are feared dead after another migrant ship capsizes off the coast of Libya. We'll have the latest on the

urgent rescue efforts before nightfall.

Also ahead, Yemen's crisis deepens. And more and more people are fleeing the violence to neighboring Djibouti. We'll look at how the tiny country

is bearing the brunt of the influx of refugees.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

KINKADE: We begin with yet another disaster at sea involving a group of migrants We begin with yet another disaster at sea involving a group of

migrants trying to reach Europe in search for a better life. And this latest shipwreck may be the worst of several we've seen in recent weeks.

Rescuers are combing the sea this hour for survivors after a boat packed with migrants overturned between Libya and Lampadusa. Authorities say up

to 700 people were on board.

At last check, fewer than 50 had been pulled from the water alive.

These images show us the rescue being carried out by Italy and Malta.

This has been an especially tragic year for that area. Thousands of migrants trying to make the crossing have been rescued, but several hundred

have died.

Let's get the latest now from Italy. CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau is with us from Rome. And Barbie, some 20 ships and several helicopters are

involved in the rescue operation. Is there any hope of finding more survivors at this point in time?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't think anyone is very hopeful at this point. You know, it's been -- the call came in at 11:30 last night

that this ship was in trouble. And the Italian coast guard just called a merchant ship that was in the area to go help the ship in trouble. We

understand that the people on board that ship panicked on some level when they saw the merchant ship. They all ran to one side of the ship and

that's what caused the ship to capsize.

If, and unless some people were able to hold on to something that was floating in the water it's very unlikely that you could survive that long.

We're coming up on almost 24 hours by nightfall tonight.

The 50 people that were rescued -- or 49 people that we understand were rescued will be taken to Sicily where the authorities will question them

about just what happened and the dynamics of everything that was involved, including the human trafficker angle.

And of course the European Union right now is very focused on stopping the human traffickers to just try on some level to control this situation.

It's very chaotic out there.

We also understand that there are many, many other boats making their way to Libya to Italy right now, so there's just no end in sight for this

disaster, Lynda.

KINKADE: And this boat that capsized is being described as, quote, rickety and about 20 meters in length with 700 people on board. It's not uncommon,

is it, to see this sort of situation where people are crammed on board a tiny boat that is not seaworthy.

NADEAU: That's right. These boats that the human traffickers use are almost all decommissioned fishing vessels that they find or buy from

scrap, people who are selling them for scrap. They are not seaworthy vessels at all. They don't have good motors. You know, a lot of times the

traffickers will just send them out to sea or even tow these boats out to sea, give the migrants a satellite phone and this telephone number for the

Italian coast guard, which will then rescue the people.

You know, 11,000 people came through it last week alone. We've had more than 25,000 people since the beginning of the year. And Lynda, this really

isn't even the boat season yet. Most of the time, most of the years that this happened they don't even really begin to come in big numbers until the

end of may and June when the seas are much calmer. The seas just aren't calm right now. And that's also contributing to the factor.

And it also really shortens the length of time people can survive in the water.

KINKADE: And incredibly we understand that people are paying thousands of euros to board these rickety boats. Is there no other way for some of

these people to escape?

NADEAU: Well, there is no safe corridor to get to Europe. You know, these are people mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, we understand, that are making

the journey right now. And there's just no mechanism in place where they can apply for political asylum before they leave their countries to try to

get to Europe. This is the only way.

And the human traffickers are taking advantage of that desperation. They -- you know, most people pay between 5,000 and 9,000 euro for the voyage

depending of course on which part of the ship they want to sit in. The cheaper seats are post are in the bottom of the ship. And then on these

fishing boats that means they're in crammed into the hull that was used to carry the fish, the live tanks and things like that. Really not humane

situation at all.

But it also makes it very difficult to escape when these ships capsize and go under.

It's just a tragic situation that is continuing to repeat itself over and over again. We had another -- you know last week 400 people, we think,

were lost in a similar accident. 700, though, they say is the worst disaster in the Mediterranean when it comes to these migrant ships in the

history of this tragedy happening

[11:05:07] KINKADE: It's a terrifying situation. Great reporting there. Barbie Nadeau. Thank you very much. We talk to you soon.

And earlier I spoke to the prime minister of Malta and asked him how he would describe the situation. Here's what he told me.


JOSEPH, MUSCAT, PRIME MINISTER OF MALTA: Ganga of criminals are putting people on a boat, sometimes even at gunpoint. They're putting them on the

road to death, really, and nothing else. And that is why rather than war talk from Europe or from anyone, what we really need is to push our Libyan

friends to get their act together to form a government of national unity or some sort of national unity government and then the international community

needs to intervene, not to from the ground, but really an intervention that would help them securitize the country, their borders and to take out these

criminal gangs, these terrorists really at the end of the day who are putting people -- people's lives at risk.

We cannot turn a blind eye.

Europe has already been throughout history at least a number of times, of turning a blind of to genocide of one kind or another. This could be a

repeat and that we don't want it to be a repeat. We're the smallest member state of the European Union.

But we are willing to speak up and give a voice to this terrible human tragedy.


KINKADE: We're going to have regular updates on this unfolding story throughout the hour, and also more on the view from Malta, a tiny country

on the front line of Europe's migration crisis.

We're now going to focus on a conflict creating its own mass movement of people. I'm talking about Yemen, which once again saw Saudi-led airstrikes

over the weekend, this time on targets in the city of Ta'izz.

At least 27 people were killed there in the airstrikes and clashes between rebels and government forces.

Among the dead, 19 rebels and four soldiers loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi who fled to Saudi Arabia last month.

Leaving the country by plane is not an option for most people, so some are making the journey by boat. Their destination, the tiny African state of

Djibouti where the UN says up to 30,000 Yemenis may take refuge after a nerve-wracking journey.

Nima Elbagir is in Djibouti on this story for us. She's the only journalist to make the trip over to the Yemeni port of Aden since the

airstrikes began. And you and your crew spent some 30 hours by boat to get there, a city that is hotly contested and in dire need of supplies.

Firstly, can you describe what people in Aden are dealing with?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They -- I mean, it was described to us by them as we need absolutely everything you can think of.

And they really, really do, Lynda -- water, electricity, power only runs for a few hours a day, sometimes it is targeted by the warring factions in

an attempt to bring the situation to some sort of a head.

So, it's a constant game of cat and mouse between fixing the power station while coming under fire by the Houthi forces and then coming back in when

it's hit again for the local residents in an attempt to maintain some sort of access to electricity.

And then of course the clean water supply is running out, because they are a port town, they have limited reserves without the clean water facility

being able to run, which at times it can't. And food. Essentially Aden is now under siege.

To the north of it, the Houthi forces pushing down. And behind them, of course, to the south is the Gulf of Aden, the sea, and no supplies at the

moment are really able to reach them through that.

So, when we visited one bakery, we were shown what remains of the flour that's meant to feed the entire district. And Lynda, these were three or

four sacks. The baker told us only a quarter of the bakeries in Aden are currently running. And for us here when this flour is gone that's it.

There is no more. And there is no hope of more at the moment coming in to them, Lynda.

KINKADE: And Nima, the fighting has been spreading. It's no longer just in the capital in Sanaa or in Aden. We're also seeing street fighting in


ELBAGIR: Yes. And that really is the sense that we got that this is street by street fighting. And whenever there is a push into a town, then

it really goes down to the grassroots level, to the bare knuckle level. And that's why we have seen this really worryingly rising death toll,

because it is -- this war is being fought in and around people's homes.

And that is one of the reasons why it has been so difficult for the Saudi- led air offensive to have the kind of impact that the Saudi government were looking for it to have had at this stage in this offensive. It is almost

four weeks since the airstrikes began. And they haven't seen that momentum. And it is because it is very difficult to target these forces

when they are moving within civilian neighborhoods.

We visited one hospital in Aden and we saw two children, both of whom had been injured in their homes, playing in their homes. It is very, very

difficult in this kind of an urban environment, really, to push back against that kind of force without seeing a real level of civilian

collateral damage.

[11:11:44] KINKADE: And Nima, as the Saudi airstrikes enter their fourth week, tens of thousands of people are fleeing. Many are coming to where

you are in Djibouti. Can you explain how the tiny African nation is coping?

ELBAGIR: They are doing their best, but they, themselves, are a nation of less than a million. Their economy is not up to absorbing an influx of

foreigners. And the government at the moment is working closely with the United Nations, with UNHCR, but preliminarily they were the ones who were

offering the support. They were the ones who are paying for the meals that those first refugees that arrived were receiving. We spoke to this morning

the minister of information and he told us we need all the support we can get. This is not something Djibouti can do alone. It -- this absorption

of these waves of refugees, that the potential 30,000, that's going to be very difficult for Djibouti to do on their own.

And of course more are expected.

KINKADE: OK. Nima Elgabir, our thanks to you and to your photojournalist (inaudible). We really appreciate your reporting. Thank you.

And in a few minute's time we'll be speaking to Djibouti's finance minister to ask him how he has prepared his country for the influx of refugees.

Stay with us for that.

The conflict in Yemen is pitting Iran against its regional rival Saudi Arabia. Iran wants the Saudis to stop their air campaign against the

Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming them, which Iran denies. It was against this regional backdrop that Iran celebrated its

annual army day.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen was in Tehran to see the show of force.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the things that was on display today was a rolling robot, if you will, with two launchers

on the back. It's unclear how well this piece of equipment works. It was actually towed by a truck when it was brought across this stage where the

VIPs were sitting.

However, there were some other new pieces of equipment that we haven't seen in the past as well. There was one that appeared to be sort of a mix

between tank and an armored personnel carrier. They labeled it as an eight wheel tank. There were also new missiles, new bombs that were on display

as well.

A lot of what the Iranians produce, of course, is by far not as sophisticated as, for instance, the weaponry that's produced by the United

States or by Russia or by Germany for that matter, but they do have quite a substantial military-industrial complex that they are also very proud of.

However, we always have the emphasize that the real strength of the Iranian military really lies in its personnel. It is one of the most disciplined,

one of the motivated fighting forces in the world. And certainly if you look at the elite Revolutionary Guard corps, that is certainly a force that

is very, very powerful and really makes Iran one of the most powerful militaries in the entire Middle East.


KINKADE: Still to come tonight, reinforcements needed in Ramadi. We'll look at the importance of this strategic city and have a live report from

Iraq later in the show.

Plus, we'll look at why more and more migrants are fleeing Africa and the Middle East. And what makes the voyage to Southern Europe so dangerous.


[11:16:08] KINKADE: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.

Updating our top story now. And Italian and Maltese crews are racing to save possibly hundreds of migrants in a major search and rescue operation

in the Mediterranean. This comes after the boat carrying them from Libya capsized overnight.

The International Organization for Migration says 49 survivors were rescued. Many others are feared dead. The Italian Coastguard says a dozen

bodies have been recovered about 100 kilometers from Libya's coast.

Back to another of our top stories now. And the conflict in Yemen and the effect it's having across the region.

These images are of a UN refugee camp in Djibouti, the African nation that lies just across the Gulf of Aden. It's seeing more and more people arrive

every single day. The United Nations says in the coming weeks it expects more than 130,000 Yemenis to seek safety in Horn of African states. It's

preparing to receive up to 30,000 people in Djibouti.

To talk more about what this means and the burden on this tiny African state, I'm now joined by Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, that's the finance minister

for Djibouti. Thank you very much for joining us today.

ILYAS MOUSSA DAWALEH, DJIBOUTI FINANCE MINISTER: Thank you very much for inviting me.

KINKADE: Firstly, can you give us some understanding of how you are coping with the influx of all these people not just Yemeni refugees, but also

foreign nationals.

DAWALEH: Yes, indeed. As you know, Djibouti is the hosting country of the first ever camp of U.S. in Africa. As you know, we are standing also to

host French armies in (inaudible).

And other partners and forces and national forces are also in hosted in Djibouti.

Having said that, Djibouti is a very crucially strategically position for the world. And we ourself stand as being with the international partners

in order to make sure the region and that strategical positions is properly safe and to contribute to the international security and safety.

KINKADE: Now the U.S. has pledged some 18 tons of food to help with the crisis. Surely that's not enough. What else is needed?

DAWALEH: Everything is actually needed. As of today, as you may know, Djibouti government is coping along about burden from Yemenis fleeing the

war in Yemen. But before that, you might know also that Djibouti is used to be always the place of stability in the region and having -- supporting

regional refugees either from the climate change consequences as well as instability and terrorism.

So, this Yemen crisis is another one on the shoulder of Djibouti, which of course we do believe international community and our partners starting from

Arab Leagues of being ourselves partners will support Djibouti in order to really welcome our brothers from Yemen fleeing -- kids, women -- in a very

stressful situations.

Of course from the security perspective we do believe in our strategical partnership with U.S. as well as western countries in order to deal the

security of the (inaudible) of the global (inaudible) crossing as well as two-thirds of the oil trade in global international trade is also, you

know, passing through.

What should we look now in the coming weeks? Of course, we are a little bit scary about the numbers, which are forecasted to be received from


As you know, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are around. So from a security perspective as well from humanitarian perspective, we with very,

very seriously and counting on our partners in order to just support us and facilitate us to support Yemenis coming to Djibouti and other international

community members transiting via Djibouti in order to get back their own homes.

[11:20:47] KINKADE: OK. Ilyas, we really appreciate your time today. Thank you very for joining us. And we wish you all the best in the coming

weeks as no doubt you will be faced with many more refugees coming to shore.

DAWALEH: Thank you very much, indeed.

KINKADE: Don't forget to check out our special coverage of the conflict in Yemen on our website, including CNN's exclusive look inside the battle

scarred port of Aden.

You heard from our Nima Elbagir just a few minutes ago, but see for yourself what Nima and Byron Blunt (ph) went through when they became the

first journalists to make it inside the city since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began there. That's on

Coming up on Connect the World, much more on the rescue operation in the Mediterranean. We'll speak with a number of the European members of the

European parliament who says all of Europe needs to help with the growing influx of migrants.

And next, families flee Ramadi. The UN says more than 90,000 people have left as the fighting continues. We'll get the latest from Iraq.


KINKADE: You're watching Connect the World from the CNN Center. Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

We want to get you caught up now in the tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean. There is no word yet on any new survivors from the migrant

ship that capsized late on Saturday night. As many as 7800 people believed to have been on board. Fewer than 50 have been rescued. The ship is

beleived to have come frmo libya.

The number of migrants risking their lives to leave the region has escalated sharply in recent weeks.

The Iraqi government is sending reinforcements to Ramadi in an effort to hold ISIS from further advancing there.

The fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants has been creeping closer to Ramadi for months. The city lies along the Euphrates River just

over 100 kilometers west of Baghdad making it strategically important.

It's also the capital of Anbar Province, the country's Sunni heartland.

The UN says more than 90,000 people have fled in recent -- fled the recent fighting in and around Ramadi in recent weeks.

Mitchell Prothero is the Iraq bureau chief at the McClatchy Newspapers. And he joins us now from Irbil, the same city that was rocked by a car

bombing on Friday. ISIS is claiming responsiblity for that blast, which killed at least four people.

Thanks very much for joining us today. Firstly, the U.S. consulate was the target of that attack there in Irbil, what's the security situation like

there at the moment?

MITCHELL PROTHERO, IRAI BUREAU CHIEF, MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS: Well, what we've seen is particularly the neighborhood around the U.S. consulate today

is incredibly quiet. A lot of shops are still closed and people are staying off the streets.

Keep in mind here in Iraq, Sunday is a work day. So it would be unusual for this little traffic and this many security personnel to be working out

on the streets as we are seeing.

[11:25:08] KINKADE: With tens of thousands of people fleeing Ramadi, we're hearing that it's practically a ghost town. Is the fear that could allow

ISIS to really establish a strong foothold there? And what sort of impact are the Iraqi reinforcements likely to have?

PROTHERO: Well, the Iraqi reinforcements over the last few days several special forces units have been pushed in to try to basically stem the

losses. And it seems as though at least in the short-term they've been successful in doing so. They haven't lost as much territory in the last

two days as they had in the previous four or five.

In terms of Ramadi itself, you have to understand this place already has a significant sympathy and presence towards the Islamic State. And a lot of

tribes who are on the fence. They're simply going to go with whoever is going to provide them with the best security, most autonomy, they'll go

with the Islamic State if that will protect them from the Shia dominated government in Baghdad. And they will go with Baghdad if that will protect

them from the Islamic State.

So a lot of them are just taking guns out to the street, protecting their neighborhoods and waiting to see who wins.

KINKADE: And Iraq's largest oil refinery has also come under a lot of attacks. Obviously that will be a huge blow to the Iraqi government if

they were to lose that. What's the situation there at the moment?

PROTHERO: That situation at least temporarily appears to have stabilized. The refinery itself, which to be fair hasn't operated since last June

(inaudible) any significant damage to be completely taken offline for years would be a mortal blow I think to the domestic economy here.

They have pushed the militants out. It came very close to falling a few days ago. But again that is the front line in central Iraq. And the Iraqi

security forces have repeatedly shown a vulnerability to some of these very rapid Islamic State attacks. So it could very well be a case where today

is just a lull.

KINKADE: OK. Mitchell Prothero, thank you very much for that update. Good to talk to you. Thanks very much.

PROTHERO: Thanks. Always my pleasure.

KINKADE: The latest world news headlines just ahead, plus a desperate search underway for survivors of a boat that capsized in the Mediterranean.

How the EU is responding to a surge in migrants making the dangerous journey from North Africa to Italy.

Plus, 20 Syrian women and their powerful portraits. In tonight's parting shots, we bring you a tale of survival across borders.


[11:30:14] KINKADE: This is Connect the World and these are the top stories this hour.

Off the coast of Libya, a massive search and rescue effort is underway after a boat capsized with perhaps as many as 700 migrants on board. The

International Organization for Migrant says 49 people have been rescued. At least 24 bodies have been recovered.

And at least 27 people have died in Saudi-led airstrikes in clashes between rebels and government forces in the Yemeni city of Ta'izz. Among the dead,

19 rebels and four soldiers loyal to president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. He fled the fighting to Saudi Arabia last month.

More than 90,000 people have fled a recent surge in fighting in Ramadi, Iraq, that's according to a UN statement. ISIS militants have advanced on

the city in recent days. Reinforcements have been deployed to help repel them.

ISIS has released a new video that purportedly shows the killing of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. The highly produced 30 minute video appears

to show two groups of men dressed in Orange and Black jumpsuits being killed separately in two different locations in the country.

Now returning to our top story. Rescuers are desperately searching for possibly hundreds of migrants thrown into the Mediterranean sea after the

boat carrying them capsized. The International Organization for Migration says 49 people were rescued, however the Italian Coastguard says two dozen

bodies were recovered about 100 kilometers from Libya's coast.

This failed crossing is the latest attempt as a wave of migrants make this dangerous trip for a chance at a better life. Last week, about 11,000

people were rescued from the water. The IOM also estimates that more than 1,000 people have died making the journey since January.

Let's bring in Mark McAuliffe to further discuss this. He's the chief journalist at the Times of Malta. And he joins us now via Skype from

Valletta, Malta. Thanks so much for your time today.

MARK MICALLEF, TIMES OF MALTA: Thank you for having me.

KINKADE: So far this is looking like it could be the biggest tragedy in a growing catalog of mass drownings. What can you tell us about the rescue

operation, one that Malta and Italy are both undertaking?

MICALLEF: When a similar tragedy happened in Lampadusa a couple of years ago and 350 people had died, we were saying that was the worst tragedy, the

worst, the deadliest incident in the Mediterranean since the second world war. Today, we were faced with the prospect of almost double that number

having died in one single incident. So that's the context we're seeing.

So far this year, we've definitely not seen this much loss of life in a single incident, but we've seen people die. And in fact so far this year

it's estimated that about 1,000 people have lost their lives on this particular route in the Mediterranean. That's a 54 increase from -- a

five-fold increase over last year where 47 people lost their lives during the same period.

KINKADE: Yeah, John (inaudible) and the Amnesty's internationals director for Europe and Central Asia said that what we are witnessing the

Mediterranean is a man-made tragedy of appalling proportions. And these latest deaths, they come as a shock, but not as a surprise.

This seems to be happening time and time again. And it's increasing.

MICALLEF: Sorry, I didn't understand that the question was for me. Could you repeat it please?

KINKADE: The fact is that these boats that keep arriving have been more and more. What do you think is leading to that? And what should be


MICALLEF: Well, technically speaking, there haven't been more boats. Technically speaking so far this year we've seen exactly the same amount of

boats coming this year. What's changed, and the stakeholders predicted that this would happen, is that the rescue operation changed. So now we

have a rescue operation that's taking place far closer to European shores when the boats are getting in trouble far closer to Libyan shores.

In fact, that was the case with this boat. This boat started -- sent an SOS within Libyan waters.

So what's happening is that military frigates and search and rescue teams have to take longer to the rescue situation. The thinking was -- in

pulling back was that, look, these -- this search and rescue operation practically in Libyan waters is pulling people, is attracting people

towards Europe. We're not seeing that that's the case. We're seeing that the numbers are the same.

What's changed, as I said is the number of deaths. 47 last year, 1,000 -- and if this is confirmed, 1,600 so far this year.

[11:35:15] KINKADE: OK, Mark Micallef, chief journalist at The Times, thank you very much for joining us today. We really appreciate it.

This is a sense of what we are hearing from those who have been raising the alarm about migration and some numbers that give you a bit of context. The

UN high commissioner for refugees says at least 218,000 people made that crossing last year, about 3,500 people lost their lives. The group's Human

Rights Watch is not mincing words when it says the EU is standing by with arms crossed while hundreds die off its shores.

And there's this from Medecins Sans Frontieres a mass grave is being created in the Mediterranean Sea, and European policies are responsible.

For its part, the European Commission has issued a statement that reads in part, the only way to truly change the reality is to address the situation

at its roots. Presumably in this case they're talking about the instability gripping Libya.

Countries in northern and western Europe are facing growing calls to do more to help their southern neighbors handle the influx of migrants. One

of the people pushing for that is Roberta Metsola, a Maltese member of the European parliament. She joins us now via Skype from Brussels.

Now firstly Italy is bearing the brunt of refugees. How is it coping, Malta coping? And what should be done to address this?

ROBERTA METSOLA, MALTESE MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Well, this is something that Malta has been saying every since it joined the European

Union over that years ago that the countries in the Mediterranean cannot bear this responsibility alone. This is a matter, this is a European

problem that requires a European solution.

And I think today more than ever we are faced with a sense of urgency that we have not seen so far as my -- as the person spoke before, Mark Micallef

said, when there was a Lampadusa tragedy the calls were let's have Lampadusa no more.

But here we are finding ourselves two years later, the seas are calm once again. And the feeling out there is that the politicians, the persons with

political responsibility, have not yet done enough for this tragedy to stop, for the Mediterranean to stop becoming a cemetery.

And what we are saying in the European Parliament today is that all 28 prime ministers of the member states of the European Union need to get

together without delay and identify solutions that will solve the question, will solve the tragedy today, tomorrow and next year.

And we need a number of solutions both short-term, mid-term and long-term.

KINKADE: And what are those solutions? Where should the focus be? Should it be at the source of the problem? Should it be at the people smugglers,

like is that something that has to be addressed?

METSOLA: Absolutely. What we in the European Parliament have identified is the need for a global coordinated holistic approach, starting with the

immediate affects and what can be done already now. We have been asking for putting all our assets in the Mediterranean in order to save lives, and

destroy the human trafficking networks.

Because of the instability in Libya, the human trafficking networks are free to do what they want. And they are using their power in order to prey

on the most vulnerable, by forcing migrants to board unseaworthy vessels, vessels that if you look at them they are decommissioned fishing vessels,

most of them, that have -- that once you see them you realize that there is no way that they can cross the Mediterranean and arrive in Europe alive.

And what we have seen now is the numbers that have been -- that increased so dramatically is due to the fact that the EU operation currently on the

ground is much smaller, is a fraction of the size of Italy's unilateral operation last year, Mara Nostrum (ph).

So the message out there is, if Italy could do it alone, can the EU and the 28 member states acting together not manage to save lives?

At the same time, of course, we need to look at the root of the problem, as you said. And in the longer-term, we have to look at where the money that

we spend in development aid is going. How can we empower? How can we solve the problem in the African countries in order for people to stop

feeling the desperation to stop need to leave, flee their country, pay thousands of euros, to cross Libya with the hope, in desperation, to cross

the Mediterranean, facing an almost certain death.

KINKADE: You've got a lot to discuss this week. We'll be watching very closely those EU talks. Thank you very much for joining us.

Now, Pope Francis is expressing his sorrow over the migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean. He addressed crowds at the Vatican asking people to

pray for the victims who were in search of a better life. The pontiff is also calling on the international community to help prevent migrant

disasters. He made that plea during his first official meeting with the new Italian president.


POPE FRANCIS (through translator): I would like to express my gratitude for the commitment Italy is making in accommodating the many migrants who

are risking their lives, ask to be welcomed. It is clear that the proportions of this phenomenon require a much wider involvement. We must

not tire in urging a broader commitment at a European and international level.


[11:40:42] KINKADE: Italy scaled back the search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean at the end of last year after it was unable to convince

other European countries to help pay nearly $10 million per month in operating costs.

Tonight's news sheds light on the many pathways of migration across the globe and the danger and violence that often shatter these stories of human


In our parting shots this hour, we hear a tale of displacement from another part of the world: Lebanon. It is there that more than 20 women from Syria

have ended up living invisibly -- invisibility. Driven away by one government and neglected by another. We bring you some of their powerful



MALTIDE GATTONI, PHOTOGRAPHER: My name is Matilde Gattoni. I'm a French- Italian photojournalist.

The project is called the Swallows of Syria, and it tells the story of female Syrian refuges who have fled their war torn country and have

resettled in the north of Lebanon.

We have collected the personal stories and pictures of more than 20 Syrian women, recording their feelings of grief, bitterness and hope for the

future of their country. All of them are face covered to protect their safety.

Here Syrian women live in constant fear of being kidnapped or killed, hiding all day long in filthy basements and makeshift tents, consuming

their last meager savings to barely survive in a country that doesn't want them.

Mara (ph) left home after finding the corpse of her tortured son in a sewage ditch. Danab (ph) escaped with her family when she discovered that

Syrian soldiers had kidnapped, raped and killed three of her schoolmates. Aziza (ph) fled after both her husband and sister-in-law were killed by


They are now hiding in small villages within a few kilometers from the border at the mercy of the Hezbollah and secret service agents allied with

the Assad regime.

Ignored by the Lebanese government, which refuses to recognize them as refugees, they cannot work and raise money for their families. Separated

from their relatives and friends, unable to send their kids to school, some are even starting to question the outcome of the Syrian revolution.


KINKADE: Well, thanks for joining us. That was Connect the World with me Lynda Kinkade.