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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Major 7.0 Earthquake Strikes Southern Japan; Nigerian Official: President Met Families; Merkel Accepts Turkey's Request To Prosecute Comedian; Lesbos In Spotlight Ahead Of Papal Visit; Greek Cemetery Runs Out of Space. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired April 15, 2016 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:17] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Hala Gorani. We continue to come to you live from Lesbos in Greece ahead
of a papal visit tomorrow, Saturday, to highlight the refugee crisis. We'll have a lot more on that.
Also the latest out of Nigeria, a little bit later in the program. So do stay tuned, but first, I want to bring you breaking news out of Japan, a
very powerful earthquake there hitting Kyushu island. The death not known right now.
But what we do know is that there is some damage. We do not have accurate casualty reports at this stage. There is, however, cause for concern. It
was a 7.0 quake and we know it was relatively shallow and shallow quakes have a potential for causing more destruction.
It's 12 kilometers from the epicenter of another quake that rocked the entire region a day earlier killing nine people. We'll bring you updates
as we get more details on the latest quake.
Sunrise just a couple of hours away in that part of the world. Sunrise will give us a much clearer picture of the aftermath.
Karen Maginnis is at the weather center with more. Show us on the maps exactly where this happen and why people are so worried because of these
numbers as I mentioned, a shallow earthquake -- Karen.
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We are especially concerned because yesterday, Hala, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, we thought that was the
primary earthquake, as it turns out, that was a floor shock.
And since then, over the past 24 hours, we have seen 23 floor shocks and aftershocks including the primary earthquake. Essentially this portion of
Japan has been rattled by 23 earthquakes.
Now, the strongest being 7.0. Here is the epicenter, Tokyo is right here, this is further to the south. There are roughly, about 800,000 people that
live across this region.
Where you see the orange shaded area, that's where people felt it the most intense. But there you can also see the yellow that will spreads further
to the north.
We have information that people in Tokyo, that's about 1,000 kilometers away, about 600 miles away, they also felt it. How long did it last? I've
heard varying reports that it was 20 seconds of violent shaking, 7.0 magnitude.
You may have heard a different magnitude to start with, that's because these are based on averages. It was 7.2 or 7.4, depending on which
magnitude you were looking at, now it is 7.0. That is the magnitude and at 10 kilometers deep.
It was about five years ago and a few days that we saw the Fukushima earthquake, that was 9.0, and just about the same depth, about 13
kilometers, or about 8 kilometers deep.
I want to show you the epicenter of this. This occurred under a major city. There are, as I mentioned, something less than about a million
people that live across this area.
Where you see these bars, that is where we have seen the densest population impact, there was briefly a tsunami alert that had been issued probably for
this body of water.
Nagasaki is just across the bay that has about a million people that live there. You better believe they felt. The magnitude comes on the heels of
yesterday's floor shocks at 6.3.
So Hala, they were already rattled by this earthquake yesterday, that we thought was the primary one, and then today, 7.0 just actually became the
primary earthquake. We'll see the aftershocks for many months to come. Back to you.
GORANI: All right, Karen Maginnis, thanks very much. Tom Jordan of the Southern California Earthquake Center joins me on the phone. Let me repeat
those numbers for you, Tom, and for viewers, a magnitude of 7.0 hitting Kyushu island, a depth to of 10 kilometers, what does that tell us?
TOM JORDAN, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE CENTER (via telephone): Well, it tells us that this is a very dangerous earthquake. As your person
pointed out, it is in the middle of a large metropolitan area, it's on a fault that runs through that city, and this of course is a large
GORANI: All right. Now the tsunami warnings though thankfully have been lifted, does it surprise you that these warnings were lifted so quickly?
JORDAN: Not at all. This type of earthquake is not likely to produce a tsunami. It's what the Japanese would call an inland earthquake. That is
it's occurred in the interior of the Japanese islands.
[15:05:04]Rather than on the subduction zone boundary that causes a really big earthquake in 2011 so this earthquake was smaller by magnitude, but it
is much closer to populated area than that event was.
GORANI: And you mentioned populated areas, Karen Maginnis was talking about 800,000 people potentially directly affected by this earthquake.
What do you expect to see based on your experience once sunrise allows us to assess the damage here?
JORDAN: Well, this looks like it's going to be a very damaging earthquake. The magnitude 6.2 that occurred on Thursday morning caused quite a bit of
damage locally, I think nine people were killed. I think we can expect that this is going to be far worse.
GORANI: Now, Karen was mentioning, Karen Maginnis was talking to us about this earthquake, showing us maps where the epicenter was located. That the
earthquake that occurred yesterday was in fact a floor shock. Two are related, is that correct?
JORDAN: That's correct. It's actually quite an unusual sequence of earthquakes, the magnitude 6.2 that occurred on Thursday morning was
actually some distance, about 15 kilometers northwest of the main shock that occurred today.
And that 6.2 initial event triggered a bunch of aftershocks. A large number of aftershocks occurred over the last day in a region that was
displaced from that first event. So I've been monitoring this and have been concerned about exactly what happened.
GORANI: So Tom, one last one, I mean, are we now -- do we know for sure, I mean, what level of certainty is there that this is the primary earthquake
that we might not see perhaps even a stronger tremor as a result of this one?
JORDAN: Well, we can't be sure, frankly. You know, we don't know what is the main shock until the entire sequence is over, and we've seen it all.
There is some migration of the seismicity to the northeast of Komamoto (ph), which is along with major strike slip fault that runs through Central
Japan, that fault is certainly capable of producing more earthquakes.
GORANI: All right. Tom Jordan of the Southern California Earthquake Center, thanks very much. We're going to continue, of course, to keep our
eye on this breaking news out of Japan.
I continue to come to you here from Lesbos in Greece, at the front lines of the refugee crisis. We are here to report on that. It is an ongoing
crisis. We're hearing of conditions in this some of the camps.
We'll report on that for you a little bit later. As well as our reporting ahead of a major and historic papal visit. Pope Francis is going to be
visiting this island tomorrow. And we're going to be bringing you a preview with that along with special guests.
But for now let's go back to Hannah Vaughan Jones, she's in London with more of our news and exclusive reporting out of Nigeria -- Hannah.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL GUEST ANCHOR: Hala, thanks very much indeed.
Now the proof of life video of the missing Chibok schoolgirls that CNN obtained is now prompting action by the Nigerian government. We first ran
it on Wednesday. It shows some of the more than 270 girls that were kidnapped by the militant group, Boko Haram two years ago.
And it was the first evidence that the girls might still be alive in years. It also renewed anger at the government's failure to rescue them. Now the
Nigerian Senate has demanded an update from security chiefs on the attempts to bring the girls back.
One senator told CNN the video has given lawmakers renewed motivation and added a new dimension to the search. And moments before the show, the
Nigerian finance minister gave her reaction to the Boko Haram video to our Richard Quest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMI ADEOSUN, NIGERIAN FINANCE MINISTER: I think the fact that they've brought out videos on the two-year anniversary speaks a lot about the
organization behind this kidnap. I don't think it's a random group of people, I mean, to be as callous.
It's the only word to put out a video two years later showing these girls, I think it's cruel. We have to take account of the type of opposition or
the type of people that are behind this. And that they are very organized, but I think this government is very determined and the girls will be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Well just before we got on air, a spokesman for the Nigerian vice president expressed hope the girls can be brought back. I asked him what
the government was currently doing to make that happen.
LAOLU AKANDE, SPOKESMAN FOR NIGERIAN VICE PRESIDENT: The president has been very concerned about the situation of the girls. And you recall it
that even before he had admitted with some representatives of the family.
[15:10:01]And since after it took power, the press did admit twice to us to the president, which the representatives of the families, some of the
mothers and the other people working on this.
Now I say that to say that the president has already given very clear instructions to the security chiefs to do whatever needs to be done to
rescue the girls.
Now just resettling the vice president during the round table that the office of the National Security advisor held, regarding the Chibok girl
situation, you know, it was an honor of the Chibok --
JONES: That's all good and well sir, I want to the ask you this, it's been two years now since the girls first went missing, the president came to
power on the basis that he would find them and he would wipe out Boko Haram. Given the fact that that has not happened, should he now be held
personally responsible for the fact that it's so far it has been a failure to bring them home?
AKANDE: Most Nigerians would agree that has been a failure. That is not the situation. Like I was explaining to you, the president took a personal
interest in this matter and you have to understand you know the issues that are involved in trying to get the girls and to get them.
It's above the safeties. There are a lot of issues involved and government is working every day diligently at every Security Council meeting, the
president is briefed about this matter.
The president has questioned about this matter and continuously the government is pursuing the rescue of the girls. And concerning the whole
Boko Haram deal, as you have saying, the Boko Haram has been substantiated degraded.
They can no longer make any military type of attacks and everybody has seen that they are beaten back. Very clear that is, they're beyond any proof.
JONES: I want to ask you about the mothers. You've already mentioned the fact that the president has been involved in the families of these girls
and has been in communication with them, but the evidence that we've seen, some of them feel like there has been a lack of communication, what do you
say to that?
AKANDE: Well, I just told you that, you know, within ten months, seven months in office, the president has personally, personally met with the
groups, the families and the relatives of the girls, twice.
Two times since May 29. Even before the time, he has met with them. Yesterday, he sent a delegation to Chibok, a delegation to Chibok.
On Wednesday, the federal government held a rendezvous with everybody involved. The president and the government is communicating effectively
and efficiently with everybody involved.
JONES: Given the fact that obviously the efforts of trying to find these girls is so severe, so difficult, as you've already mentioned. Do you know
where they are? Do you currently know where they are and tried to negotiate their release?
AKANDE: Well, I'm sure that's -- you know, you wouldn't expect me to tell you (inaudible) if I knew where they are --
JONES: No, I don't expect you to tell me where they are. Do you know where they are?
AKANDE: Well, you know, again, the government is doing everything possible. I mean, we can't be discussing certain matters in the interview
like this. What you need to know very well is that at every meeting, on every day, the security forces of this country, they are pushing, they are
making efforts and we know that very soon those girls will be rescued.
JONES: And one final question, you've just said that you believe that the girls will be rescued alive, do you believe that's all of the girls, all
200 of them? They will all be found and they will all come home?
AKANDE: Well, we are making efforts, you know, very diligent efforts to get the girls. And I don't want to go into any details. We are going to
find the girls, and by the grace of God, they will be rescued.
We want our people to have the hope and working with our international partners, we believe that very soon there will be relief for the family,
the girls will be found. That's our hope and that's our prayer and that's our plan.
JONES: Laolu Akande, the vice presidential spokesperson speaking to me earlier on the program.
Now to a brewing debate over free speech in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel has accepted a request to prosecute a comedian who mocks the Turkish
president on German television.
[15:15:01]The request to prosecute the man came directly from Turkey. Fred Pleitgen joins me now with more details on this, just strip this back for
us first, what did he do wrong?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The comedian's name is (inaudible) and he is someone who is known to be controversial in
Germany and specifically quite controversial towards the Turkish government.
So what he did was wrote a poem that was, highly critical of the president and some would say it was more than critical. And the interesting thing
about it was after he read the poem on a TV show that he's got on the German public broadcast that he wanted to see whether this poem crossed the
boundary of being satire into purely being an insult.
Now that's something that the Turks feel did indeed happen. So they wanted legal proceedings against him, but the German government has to say that
this is OK.
There is a law in Germany that says or that makes it punishable to insult a foreign head of government or the government itself, and this is something
that obviously the Turks want to test.
Now Angela Merkel had to decide whether or not it was possible to prosecute, she said yes, and here's her reasoning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): In a justice state, it's not the government's job to evaluate the personality rights, versus
the right to freedom of the press and freedom of artistic expression. That is the job of prosecutors and courts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Now, at the same time, she realized this was going to be a highly critical move and so therefore she said that yes, she's going to
allow this to happen this time, but she also said that the article in the criminal code in Germany that makes this possible is something she wants to
get rid of as fast as possible.
JONES: And the free speech campaign is going to be looking saying, there's a political motivation behind this. Let's talk about that.
PLEITGEN: That's exactly what people are already saying. There's no secret that at this point in time the Germans and indeed other E.U.
countries needs Turkey because they're trying to manage the refugee crisis.
They have this deal with Turkey where you have some of these refugees being sent back to Turkey. A lot of money is going to Turkey, and so there are
some who are saying, Angela Merkel is bowing down and he is curtailing free speech in Germany.
There's others who say that's not the case, who says she's doing the right thing, but it's interesting because all of this has caused a big crisis
within the governing coalition with many ministers in the coalition saying I don't agree with what she's done.
JONES: OK, Fred, thanks very much indeed.
Stay with us on the program. Coming up, we will be going back to the Greek island of Lesbos where Hala Gorani is standing by for us -- Hala.
GORANI: Indeed Hannah, a short break, and when we come back, of course, the latest on the preparations for the papal visit tomorrow. Also I'll be
speaking to the Turkish ambassador to Athens. Stay with us, a lot more ahead as we continue to broadcast live from Lesbos, Greece.
GORANI: Welcome back, everybody. We continue as we mention before to broadcast from Lesbos in Greece. Now the reason we're here is because the
refugee crisis, of course, has not gone away, though, it sometimes slips from the headlines.
We've visited refugee camps. We've spoken to Syrians, Iraqis, and people of other nationalities since a very important deal between the E.U. and
Turkey has been signed.
We've seen dwindling numbers of people attempting the crossing from Turkey. It still leaves thousands of people on this island and thousands more
across Greece in a state of limbo.
This is what the pope wants to highlight by traveling here. He is the leader of the Catholic Church. There is a lot of symbolism as well to his
visit because he will be travelling through this island with his orthodox counterparts in a show of solidarity.
Now people are starting to get this area ready where we're standing here for instance, there's no more parking and fewer cars are traveling up and
down these major arteries.
This is what we saw today when we asked ordinary residents of Lesbos what they thought of the pope's visit tomorrow.
GORANI (voice-over): It may look quiet, but here and there on the Greek island of Lesbos, preparations are under way. A stage has been erected for
Pope Francis' address during his visit on Saturday and the world's media have assembled on the eve of the papal trip.
On this island with fewer than 100,000 people, more than one in five are migrants. And for islanders like Maria, who lived through two years of the
worst migrant crisis in decades, this event is a welcomed one.
The people of Lesbos will welcome him warmly, she told us. He's not visiting for a bad reason. This is very good for the island, for us, and
the refugees. We're isolated here. It's very good he's coming. While others say, now is the time for the island to take stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of Lesbos have shown I think behavior of support and I hope this visit will (inaudible) through the rest of the
GORANI: Meantime, police ticket cars in the way of the expected papal procession and roads have been cleared for the big event. The majority of
the people living on the island are Greek orthodox. And for the mayor of Lesbos, the fact that the leader of the Catholic Church is touring the
island with his orthodox counterparts gives it all even more meaning.
SPYROS GALLNOS, LESBOS MAYOR (through translator): I believe the visit of the heads of both churches is a symbolic importance which proves the
essence of Lesbos as an island of peace and support of humanitarian values. I hope the little light of the lighthouse of Lesbos transmits to become
even stronger and shows Europe the way forward.
GORANI: In a narrow street away from view, the only small Catholic Church of the island is keeping things low key except for a small poster on the
door, celebrating this defining moment in the island's history.
GORANI: All right. Well, there you have it, preparations as you were able to see there. We don't see major billboards. We're not seeing Vatican
flags for instance on lamp posts or anything like that.
But overall as you heard in the piece, people here are quite happy that the pope is visiting. They're happy because they say that the pope's visit
will shine a spotlight, anew, on the refugee crisis that has hit their island.
Now let's speak with the Turkish ambassador to Greece, Kerim Uras, who joins me now live from Athens. So sir, let me first thank you for being
Let me first start by telling you I went on a patrol with the Greek coast guard and there was not a single crossing of migrants from Turkey into
Greece today. Was it the case that Turkey was able to secure its border the entire time before this deal, but chose not to?
KERIM URAS, TURKISH AMBASSADOR TO GREECE: Not really. I wouldn't say that. Well, our aim was to reverse the flow, but that's thanks to the
system we develop together with the E.U., and it shows that the system is working.
The humanitarian readmission program is on track. You know, we had three objectives, one was to prevent the loss of life, the second one was to
break migrant smuggling rings and the third was to replace illegal migration with legal migration. We understand the system's working.
GORANI: But so cynics would say, you were able in fact to control it. That once the deal was signed between the E.U. and Turkey, Turkey got what
it was looking for, more or less, in this bargaining process. That now really it's able to put up those controls that it was kind of loosening
intentionally before. Is that not accurate?
URAS: I wouldn't say so. I wouldn't agree with that assessment at all.
[15:25:06]GORANI: But it is still the fact that for months and months, Turkey was unable to secure this stretch of water.
URAS: Well, indeed that's because it was a revolving door and people were crossing to the island and from there up to the mainland and from there, on
to Europe, and now first of all the borders in Europe's closed, and then it backtracked towards the mainland.
And the third step was that we developed this humanitarian readmission program, which is actually designed with the humanitarian view in order to
prevent the loss of life and break the migrant smuggling rings and replace this illegal flow with a well regulated legal one. So it's for people to
change their mind.
GORANI: Yes. Turkey has just assumed the presidency of the IOC, the Islamic organization, do you think that other Muslim countries in the
region are doing what should be doing to do this refugee crisis? Your country has almost three million Syrians, do you think other countries are
URAS: Well more can be done, and our hearts go out to these people. They are our brothers and sisters. We don't want them to suffer. We want to do
as much as possible as our track record shows for five years.
We have as you said three million in our country and you know, they're not mind boggling really. There are four million doctor visits, 800,000
hospitalizations, 400,000 operations done on these people.
About 600,000 people of school age, but we still need to improve our record on that. So we need all the international help we can get. And I must say
GORANI: More can be done, what more could countries like Saudi Arabia or Gulf countries do, for instance?
URAS: Well, they can help financially, I suppose.
GORANI: You don't think they're helping enough?
URAS: More can be done as I said, everyone can do more. First of all, Europe can do more. Some countries in Europe have a poor track record.
But so can other countries, all countries can help in this dire situation.
GORANI: I'd like to get your reaction on that news out of Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is authorizing the prosecution of a comedian for
having mocked President Erdogan. I suppose the question is why does Turkey feel the need to prosecute satirists and comedians?
URAS: Well, first of all the insult and the language he used is completely unacceptable. I would say it's below contempt and it's certainly not the
language to be used against the head of state.
As you would acknowledge, I am sure, it's an affront to all citizens and everyone who has elected the president. This isn't a matter of free
speech, it's a blatant insult. Free speech, of course, we respect, but this, I understand, will be taken up by the courts.
GORANI: Do you think Chancellor Angela Merkel caved on this because of this E.U.-Turkey deal. Do you think that was part of it here? That's what
some people are saying.
URAS: Not at all, I wouldn't agree with that. They are totally irrelevant, totally different subjects.
GORANI: All right. The Turkish ambassador to Greece, Kerim Uras, thanks very much for joining us on CNN. We appreciate your time. We'll have a
lot more on our breaking news coverage out of Japan and all the day's news stories after a quick break. Stay with us.
GORANI: Welcome back, everybody, a look at our top stories.
GORANI: All right. There, you're caught up on our headlines and we're going to get back to our top story that I brought you there at the half-
hour and that is the powerful earthquake that has hit Japan. We are learning it was a magnitude 7.0 quake.
And the concern is there because it is quite shallow. I'm joined on the line by Dr. Lucy Jones (ph), she's a seismologist and she is on the phone
Dr. Jones, first of all tell us what these numbers tell you as an expert. A 7.0, a day after a 6.3, relatively shallow.
What's your take?
DR. LUCY JONES (PH), SEISMOLOGIST: OK, well, the important thing is that it's not just shallow but it's right underneath a lot of people. The 6.3
is a damaging earthquake in its own right; it triggered a lot of aftershocks.
Essentially one of those aftershocks grew even larger and it's become the new main shock, we now change the name and call yesterday's earthquakes
foreshocks. A 7.0 is a large earthquake; it's going to affect a larger area than the 6.2 did. And there's (INAUDIBLE) --
GORANI: All right --
JONES (PH): -- geological survey prevents (INAUDIBLE) like to be (INAUDIBLE) as much as $10 billion in losses.
GORANI: All right, we're losing your connection there, Dr. Lucy Jones (ph), we're going to try to reconnect with you to get more of your
expertise in the aftermath of this powerful earthquake.
As I mentioned to our viewers, 7.0, relatively shallow; Dr. Lucy Jones (ph), who, by the way, was speaking to us from Cal Tech in Pasadena,
California, was explaining was that the cause for concern there is also because it is under a very populated area.
Kyushu Island, 800,000 to about a million people potentially affected there. The population density a cause for concern and also the fact that
this comes a day after a 6.3, which happened just a few dozen kilometers away.
GORANI: This 6.3 earthquake, which was considered a primary earthquake just 24 hours ago, now considered potentially a foreshock to the main
event, quote-unquote which is this earthquake today.
Dr. Jones, I understand perhaps that you are back with us?
Dr. Jones, can you hear me, this is Hala Gorani.
JONES: Yes, I can.
Can you hear me?
GORANI: OK. You're back with us and I can hear you better now. Much better, you're back with us.
Let's talk a little bit about the environment here. Very densely populated environment. In your experience as a seismologist, when an earthquake of
that size hits an area as populated as the one on Kyushu Island, where the epicenter was located, what happens typically?
JONES: We would expect to see quite a bit of damage. You're going to have violent shaking when you're right on top of the earthquake.
You know, they had a magnitude 9.0, of course, a few years ago but it was offshore, created a horrible tsunami but the shaking on land wasn't as
much. This one, we saw yesterday from the 6.3 substantial damage to older structures.
Japan has some of the best building codes in the world but they only apply to new buildings, they aren't retroactive. And many of those buildings
that were damaged but didn't collapse yesterday may have collapsed with the further shaking today.
GORANI: All right. Dr. Lucy Jones (ph), speaking to us from Cal Tech in California, thanks very much. We'll have a lot more on the pope's visit.
We are preparing for a big papal event here on Lesbos Island tomorrow along with his orthodox counterparts, the highlight, the refugee crisis here.
We'll also be speaking to the head of the UNHCR here on Lesbos on more about what's going on inside some of those camps. Stay with us, we'll be
GORANI: Welcome back, everybody, we continue our special coverage from Lesbos, Greece, where the pope is expected to pay this island a visit
tomorrow. He's going to be touring with the head of the orthodox church as well in Greece as well as his counterpart, who is based in Istanbul.
The goal here is to highlight the migrant and refugee crisis, which though it has been -- we need to be, you know, perfectly transparent about that --
not always been in the headlines over the last several months, so very much an issue here.
My colleague, Atika Shubert, senior international correspondent, is here with me.
And you were able to -- and it's a very sad story as well, what you were able to report on today. Tell what you say you saw when you went out on
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we actually had a chance to visit the local cemetery. And this is a place where
they've known about the problem for years. So for them, this is nothing new.
And what's sad is that the cemetery has actually run out of space because of the sheer number of people who have died trying to get into Greece.
GORANI: All right. Let's take a look.
SHUBERT (voice-over): High on a hill, the cemetery at Lesbos cares for the island's dead. Among the --
SHUBERT (voice-over): -- alabaster crosses are dirt graves, marked with chunks of broken marble: those who died on the crossing to Europe.
Christos Mavrahilis is the 54-year-old caretaker here. He leads us to the grave of a 1-year-old girl he calls a little angel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
SHUBERT (voice-over): Christos met the parents when they brought her here. She had slipped through her father's arms and drowned as he tried to hand
her to the Greek Coast Guard.
"I don't care what religion people are, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist," he says.
"We are all flesh and bone. When our bodies go silent, we are returned to the Earth."
Thousands of people have died making the journey across the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea.
On Lesbos, more than 125 are buried here and the cemetery has had to exhume and rebury bodies to make space for more.
SHUBERT: Now there are two things that strike you as you walk through the cemetery: the first is the number of unknown headstones you see, unknown,
unknown, unknown with only the date of death.
The second is the number of children buried here. This is Omar al-Assad. He died on October 13th, 2015. And like so many of the children buried
here, he drowned just as he was about to reach Europe's shores.
SHUBERT (voice-over): The unknown graves often have a number painted on them, the coroner's file with DNA or other information that may help
identify the dead.
Christos told us of one Iraqi father, who retraced the journey of his wife and child, only to find them buried here.
These little girls were survived by their parents. They could afford a simple engraving on marble and left small toys here before moving north
through Europe, Christos says.
Life must go on.
The numbers of people crossing have dropped dramatically since the E.U. struck a deal with Turkey to deport most of those who reach Greece.
But Christos is sure he will still have work to do.
"We can send them one way but they'll just come back another," he says.
"They'll still come, no matter what agreement is signed."
Here, the graves stand as a silent reminder of just how much those crossing are willing to risk.
GORANI: Well, Atika, it's just unbelievable when you think about it. They're running out of space in cemeteries and in fact the pope is also
here to pay tribute to those who died crossing.
And we were discussing this during the break, the fact that they're not coming here doesn't mean they're not coming.
SHUBERT: Exactly. And in fact there are still some who make the crossing; in fact, on Saturday another five people died when their boat capsized
coming here. Another four remain missing.
And just because you may not see them crossing the Aegean doesn't mean they're trying in other places. In fact, Frontex recorded that several
thousand had been saved this week alone as they were trying to cross over to Lampedusa in Italy.
So they may simply be trying to find more, more dangerous routes in other places. And that's what makes this still a problem.
GORANI: Well, desperation will drive people to sometimes try anything. Atika Shubert, thanks very much, we really appreciate it.
We were talking about this crossing and how fewer people are attempting the crossing. Certainly the controls are tighter on the Turkish side.
Certainly perhaps some people are dissuaded because they know the border with Macedonia is closed.
Well, today -- this morning, I should say -- we went out on a sunrise patrol with the Greek coast guard and we asked them what the situation was
like for them just in the last few days. This is what we saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since the agreement between the Turkey and the European Union, we have noticed that the numbers are getting smaller. We had the
nighttime navy work who we could cover 1,000 irregular migrants. Now we have only maybe 150, one boat or two boats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, take a look at this the graph. It seems to support what the coast guard was saying there, UNHCR numbers show a drop in arrivals to this
particular port here -- of course, we're talking about Lesbos. We're seeing more of an increase in the Mediterranean to Lampedusa, for instance.
But to Lesbos, clearly there's been a decline since the deal between Turkey and the E.U. was reached.
All right. Well my next guest, Boris Cheshirkov (ph) is the UNHCR coordinator here in Lesbos.
Thanks very much for joining us.
First, I've got to ask. I visited one of the camps and that was Kara Tepe (ph). But the camp that the pope will be visiting tomorrow was closed off.
We were not even allowed even to film the front gate.
Why is there so much secrecy?
BORIS CHESHIRKOV (PH), UNHCR COORDINATOR, LESBOS: What we've seen after the E.U.-Turkey agreement came into ports on the 20th of March is the Moria
(ph) hot spot, the facility where you were allowed, becoming a closed facility with quite significant restrictions in place.
This is where the majority of people are currently in place right now.
Anyone who has arrived across the sea since the 20th of March --
CHESHIRKOV (PH): -- will pass through the hot spot where they're registered and right now we have about 3,000 people there.
GORANI: So why are they not allowed to come and go?
I mean, it just -- the impression from the outside is it looks like a prison.
CHESHIRKOV (PH): Well, this is what has happened since the 20th of March, the facility became closed prior to that. Anyone who would arrive would be
taken there, assisted, registered and they would have the opportunity to move freely.
Now it's a closed environment. We have families there with young children, single-headed households, pregnant women, lactating mothers, elderly.
But what we've seen in recent days is a very positive development with authorities moving those with most heightened risks to Kara Tepe (ph) is a
nearby facility --
GORANI: Which we were able to visit it, by the way. But is that because - - (INAUDIBLE). That the pope is going to visit; they don't want the pope to see women with children, pregnant women or lactating mothers, as you
say, in a camp that is closed with barbed wire surrounding it?
CHESHIRKOV (PH): Well, in fact we've seen that happen over the past two weeks or so. So it's a positive development which has taken days, we don't
necessarily think this has to do with the arrival of the pope.
But it is an ongoing discussion that we're having with the authorities and we're seeing encouraging signs there.
GORANI: As you know better than practically anyone, there is a lot of frustration among the migrants and refugees here. They all come up to me
thinking I have the answers and I don't.
And they're saying why is the application process taking so long?
Half my family is already in Germany or somewhere else. I'm stuck here, I'm very thankful for the hospitality of the Greeks but I have no
visibility on when I can leave.
What you would you tell them?
CHESHIRKOV (PH): Well, this is what we've seen Greece now becoming compelled to post larger numbers of refugees and migrants after border
closures elsewhere in Europe.
There are over 50,000 refugees and migrants right now in the country. And about 5,000 of them have arrived after the E.U.-Turkey agreement, which
means that they're now in a closed facility and actually many of them are separated from family members, who arrived prior to the deal coming into
Now you have those that are subject to the return policy under the new deal and then you have those that arrived prior to the 20th of March, which are
elsewhere scattered around Greece and elsewhere in Europe.
GORANI: I get that split, that people came before or after the deal.
But those who came after, should they -- ?
I mean, they sound a little hopeless. They're telling me that they've been told it could take up to nine months for their application to be processed.
Do you think that's the case?
CHESHIRKOV (PH): Well, we have seen growing anxiety; in fact, frustration is widespread. People don't know what the future holds. Under this new
agreement and amendments that were made with legislation in Greece, there is a fast-track process and in 15 days, the decision should be taken on
their individual circumstances. Those that applied for asylum, whether they can be assessed here in Greece by the authorities or whether it's safe
for them to return back to Turkey.
So we still don't know exactly how it will develop. UNHCR has raised our concerns that the safeguards are not in place in Greece because so many
people are now applying for asylum. The system is overwhelmed.
GORANI: You know, I saw -- there was one teenaged boy. He told me he'd come alone on a boat from Turkey, that his family stayed behind, that some
of them had been killed in Syria.
How many unaccompanied children are on this island right now?
CHESHIRKOV (PH): Currently more -- there about 200 unaccompanied, mostly boys. And this is exactly how we experienced the emergency. You can't
really grasp --
GORANI: How can you keep unaccompanied children in a camp with barbed wire?
I mean, is that not traumatizing for kids who've fled war zones?
CHESHIRKOV (PH): It is and you have people who are suffering from posttraumatic stress, they're survivors of rape, torture of trafficking.
This is UNHCR is opposed to mandatory detention for administrative purposes. We're actually promoting alternatives. Kara Tepe is such an
alternative. We're happy to see that some families are being transferred out.
But we need to see Moria (ph) becoming an open facility again.
GORANI: All right. Boris, we'll see you for the pope's visit, has any impact there.
Boris Cheshirkov (ph), the UNHCR coordinator in Lesbos, thanks very much for doing this.
CHESHIRKOV (PH): Thank you.
GORANI: We appreciate it.
We're going to have a lot more after a quick break. Stay with us on CNN. Our special coverage continues.
GORANI: Well, Europe's refugee crisis has been years in the making and CNN has been covering it from the beginning with our team of reporters, fanned
out not just across the Middle East but across the entire migrant route in Europe.
Take a look at this piece that we'll show you exactly how it started, how it developed. But a warning, there are some disturbing images in this
POPE FRANCIS (voice-over): Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.
POPE FRANCIS (voice-over): Let us remember the golden rule, do unto others as you will have them do unto you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. Well, some heartbreaking images there as you saw; we all witnessed them together, we did a lot of -- we brought you this in many
ways and with various angles here on CNN.
I'm joined here by this gentleman, Dirk Brown (ph), he is the owner of the travel agency M Travel (ph). And one of the side effects of this refugee
crisis, beyond, of course, the humanitarian disaster, is that people who make a living here on the island with tourism money are struggling a little
Can you tell us about that?
DIRK BROWN (PH), TRAVEL AGENCY OWNER: Yes. They struggle a lot. Tourism, international tourism from Europe, is down by some 80 percent. Well, you
realize that 50 percent of the local people depend on that.
We are really looking at a potential economic disaster.
GORANI: Economic disaster. But you look at the hotels, they're full, in a way because you have UNHCR, you have NGOs, you have visiting journalists,
Is that making up a little bit for some of it?
BROWN (PH): Yes, it does make up a little bit. But in the north of the island, they are not there. NGOs are not there and this is exactly where
the tourist area is.
GORANI: I see. So if this summer, for instance, there is no pickup, you think what could happen?
BROWN (PH): I think many people will get unemployed or go bankrupt. So we do anything we can to promote the tourism here.
GORANI: But I have got to ask you a question that, to me, I have found the people of this island incredibly welcoming and incredibly patient. They've
seen an influx of 500,000 refugees and migrants. I have not heard a single bad word said about any of these people, really only sympathy.
Obviously they might not want to tell me if they think (INAUDIBLE). But really I have just been very impressed with that.
How do you explain that?
BROWN (PH): Well, the media in Europe is only showing, you know, the terrible things that happened. Right now nothing is happening really. And
the refugees are in camps and there's no influx anymore at the moment.
So the tourists are not really -- are not seeing the refugees. But the people still got the image from last year and the beginning of this year of
the people walking the streets, which is not happening anymore.
GORANI: I suppose my question, Dirk (ph), is --
GORANI: -- the people of Lesbos you think that has made them act in such an open and welcoming and human way toward these refugees?
BROWN (PH): I think basically -- OK, by nature the people are extremely warmhearted. But some generations ago most of the people from Lesbos were
GORANI: They came from autumn in Turkey or the Ottoman Empire.
BROWN (PH): -- came here and settled down. And I don't -- I think they still play a big role in there.
GORANI: There is a family memory of having also been a refugee among the people of Lesbos.
Do you think that explains, perhaps, some of the sympathy that they feel for the Syrians, the Iraqis, other nationalities?
BROWN (PH): Yes, absolutely. And not so much -- there's a lot of sympathy here. I think it's amazing what the local people have --
GORANI: I understand you yourself host Syrians in your home?
Is that correct?
BROWN (PH): Yes, I do, regularly. Yes.
GORANI: What is it like living with them?
What is it like bonding, trying to welcome them in your private space?
BROWN (PH): Well, I think some critical cases, when people are really traumatized, I bring them to my house and they recover and you get a very,
very strong bond with those people. And the longer the stay, the more they become family.
GORANI: Right. Dirk Brown (ph), thanks very much, you run the travel agency, M Travel (ph), and also as we just told our viewers, also doing
what you can to personally help those who are affected. So we really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Just to reiterate, we'll have full coverage of the papal visit to Lesbos tomorrow. My colleague, Atika Shubert, as well will be joining me with
that. Pope Francis will visit a refugee camp, one of the tougher ones, Moria, which is closed to journalists and will pay tribute as well to those
who've died making the crossing.
And very sad story there where even cemeteries on this island are overflowing, unable to bury all of those who've fallen victim to the waters
between Turkey and Greece. All right.
We'll have a lot more tomorrow and also you can check us out on our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn. A quick break here on CNN. But
do stay with us. After this it's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."