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Interview with Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez Gil; Interview with Sikkuy-Aufoq Co-Chief Executive Raghad Jaraisy; Interview with Co-Chief Executive Ofer Dagan; Interview with Bloomberg Reporter Leslie Kaufman. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 19, 2024 - 13:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

Pain, bloodshed and famine scar Haiti. Its neighbor, the Dominican Republic, is up against it. And the foreign minister joins me.

Then, latest Gaza ceasefire talks end as the death toll continues to rise. But what about the day after? I speak to an Israeli Arab and a Jew leading

a cross-cultural group who is trying to bridge the divide.

Also, ahead --


Across Sudan, poets and images like this one are emerging. Children in RSF uniform.


AMANPOUR: -- enlist starve, Sudan's forgotten war and the shocking measures needed just to eat.

And --


LESLIE KAUFMAN, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: Insurance down the line is going to be where the rubber hits the road on climate change.


AMANPOUR: The hidden crisis in U.S. housing. Bloomberg reporter Leslie Kaufman tells Hari Srinivasan how climate change is transforming home


Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Today we examine wars that the International Community is failing to contain and the man-made famines they are creating. In Haiti, aid groups

say 4 million people need food desperately as armed gangs take control from the national police. In Gaza, the World Food Programme warns that mass

starvation is inevitable in the north as Israel's war continues. And in Sudan, the collapse of its nascent democracy in a year of civil war have

left 5 million people on the verge of catastrophic hunger. The Biden administration is trying to put out all these fires, which could end up

defining its foreign policy.

First to Haiti where gangs rule and national security forces are low on ammunition and leadership David Culver takes a look inside the chaos in

this report from the capital Port-au-Prince.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Port-au-Prince feels post- apocalyptic.

CULVER: This is basically the aftermath of a war attack.

CULVER (voice-over): Driving through the battlegrounds between gangs and police, we dodged massive craters and piles of burning trash.

The police controlled these roads leading to Haiti's International Airport, for today at least. It's been shut for weeks. Out front, checkpoints to

search for suspected gang members, and an armored truck to keep watch. It sits beaten and battered.

Less than a month ago, we flew in and out on commercial flights here. Now, it's desolate.

The country is in chaos, essentially held hostage by gangs eager to expand their reign of terror.

Over the weekend, more businesses looted and cars stolen, gangs leaving behind a scorched path of ruin.

We're headed to one of the last remaining hospital trauma centers that's still functioning in Port-au-Prince.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: February 29th was probably the worst.

CULVER (voice-over): As soon as we meet one of the doctors, a call comes in.

CULVER: Go ahead if you need to get it.

CULVER (voice-over): A gunshot victim heading into surgery. He takes us to him.

CULVER: Most of those cases that are brought here are gunshot victims from the gang violence.

CULVER (voice-over): With the patient's family giving us permission, we go in as staff prepare to operate. We're told the 24-year-old truck driver was

caught in the crossfire between police and gangs.

CULVER: The doctor is showing me here images that are very disturbing, but they show an entry wound of a bullet basically around the temple and went

right through and caused damage to at least one eye.

CULVER (voice-over): The doctor tells us the man's lost vision in both eyes. Another bullet hit his arm.

CULVER: And so, they will have to amputate his arm?



CULVER (voice-over): We peer into the ICU. It's full.

CULVER: Most of these gunshot victims? All of them are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's in pain. She feels the pain in her leg.

CULVER (on camera): And so, how did it happen? Where were you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was going to the market.

CULVER (voice-over): 86 years old. A reminder, no one is shielded from the violence that's gripped Haiti's capital in recent weeks.


AMANPOUR: David Culver reporting from Port-au-Prince. And as we mentioned, deep hunger is emerging as well. The U.S. and Haiti's neighbors propose a

Transitional Council leading to democratic elections and a U.N.-backed peace force.


But the gangs in charge reject all of that. Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It's much more prosperous, stable,

and democratic neighbor. Predictably, it's tightening border controls amid this violence, but desperate Haitians are trying to find sanctuary there.

Joining me from the capital, Santo Domingo, is Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez. Welcome to our program.

Can I just start, Foreign Minister, by asking you whether there is any progress towards this so-called transitional Haitian leadership council

that the United States and neighbors are proposing?

ROBERTO ALVAREZ GIL, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FOREIGN MINISTER: Thank you for having me on, Christiane. It's a pleasure to be with you.

As far as we know, the latest information is that of the seven members of the Transitional Provisional Presidential Council, six have been designated

by the pertinent political parties or institutions, as well as two observers. There is only one, so far, that has not, and that is the party

Pitit Desalins, and they're waiting for their nominee.

AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister, as I said, you are slap-bang next door to Haiti. You have very different economies, very different, you know, states

of being. What is happening at your border? You have put up controls and increased them so as not to have an exodus of Haitians into your country.

GIL: That is correct. And as you mentioned in your introduction, the Dominican Republic is a growing economy. We have been growing at a level of

5 percent per year for over perhaps the last 50 years or so, one of the highest in Latin America. This is a magnet, obviously, to attract workers,

and in this particular case, Haitians, since we share the island, one of the very few islands that have two independent countries next to each


Given this catastrophic situation that you have mentioned and that David Culver has very well reported on, it is our national security that is at

stake here. So, we've had to reinforce our border. We have probably about 10,000 military soldiers, different forces at the border, at a very heavy

cost, as you may well imagine.

But it goes well beyond that, Christiane, in terms of the social services that are also used by Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic.

AMANPOUR: So, I mean, clearly for you then, some kind of rapid stabilization in Haiti is of particular importance, not to mention for the

suffering Haitian people. So, you say the Transitional Council is on its way to being completed. But you also know that the main gangs there, the

main gang leaders who are pretty much in control of the important parts of Haiti have rejected this. They've rejected any international intervention.

They've rejected any idea of a U.N.-backed peace stabilization force.

What is going to get those people in charge to accept what you all hope will happen?

GIL: Well, that is why we have been calling the attention of the International Community now for over three years. Well, since President

Moise of Haiti was assassinated in July of 21, our President, Luis Abinader, went to the United Nations in September of that year and called

energetically the attention of the International Community.

I myself have been before the Security Council, the United Nations Security Council, nine times calling the attention of the community about the need

of assistance for the Haitian national police before it was too late. We are getting close to that point. It is really a catastrophic situation in


And although the gangs control probably about 80 percent of the territory of the capital of Port-au-Prince, we still believe that with the level of

the assistance of an international mission with the participation of several countries that have already offered to send their police forces, it

can be gotten under control.


A lot of gang members are just unemployed youths that have nothing better to do, that have been -- some of them, forced to join these gangs. So, we

believe that a well-armed assistance mission to the Haitian national police can still get the situation under control.

AMANPOUR: Well, I just want to press you as to how, because you've obviously seen for decades, particularly since the dictator Duvalier fled

in 1986, there has been successive U.S. interventions, armed military interventions, U.N. interventions meant to be stabilization, and nothing

has worked. In fact, they've gotten -- it stayed the same or it's gotten worse.

So, do you believe in international intervention? And what -- are you suggesting armed intervention to combat the gangs who are armed and who

don't want you there?

GIL: Armed intervention by itself does not solve the Haitian problem or any country's problem for that matter. It's only the Haitians themselves

that will eventually -- they will have to pull themselves by the bootstraps eventually. And they are the only ones who can do it.

However, in order to get to that point where you can have certain level of peace, security, some basic law and order, for that today, international

assistance is required. There is just no other way. The Haitians themselves have asked for it, 80 percent of the Haitian population at least approve of

it, because there had been some polls, even though people may find it, last year, hard to believe, but they have sort of clearly stated that they would

like to have some international assistance.

But like in several other countries where there have been strife, unless the Haitian actors themselves, the stakeholders, get together, develop a

national plan, stick to it, it will never work. So, it will ultimately be up to the Haitians themselves.

AMANPOUR: It does seem like a very vicious circle here and how to unravel it is unclear at this moment. But I do want to ask you again about

Dominican role in all of this. You know, you talked about reinforcing your border. You don't want waves of refugees or migrants into your border.

But according to a U.N. report, Haitian gangs use your country, the Dominican Republic, as a planning base, a depository for their money, and

the capital Santo Domingo is, according to this U.N. report, a major market for weapons to Haitian gangs. So, that's exacerbating from your country

into Haiti the violence and instability. What are you doing to stop that?

GIL: I believe you're probably referring to United Nations report on drug and crimes, the agency against drugs and crime. That report, basically what

it stated, it was that the Dominican Republic was used as a transit point for some arms and ammunition. We have not seen the proof of that

allegation, number one. Number two, we produce no arms in the Dominican Republic.

And that report itself and most of the other reports actually state that the arms are coming from the United States. And that is one of the main

aspects that the U.N. resolutions, the Security Council's resolutions, in addition to the assistance of the multinational force, it was also an arms

embargo, which is still the U.S. authorities are working on it, but most of the arms that are coming through Florida have flown into Haiti through

ports, airports, and many Haitian ports and airports, not through Dominican ports or airports.

But also, you need to sanction the individuals, the politicians and others who have been, over the years, sort of helping the gangs to grow. So,

seeking political supports. That is also another aspect that is essential of the U.N. resolutions to be applied fully.

AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister, obviously there's a massive humanitarian crisis. You're trying to secure the Dominican Republic. But are you doing

anything to facilitate the relief of humanitarian disaster, like letting food in or facilitating more aid into Haiti right now?


GIL: First of all, Christiane, along the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, there are multiple binational markets that operate

every week, even now under these dire conditions. And those are the main areas where the Haitians themselves purchase most of the food, water, and

other merchandise for everyday living. Along the border, we have a 391- kilometer border, and again, these binational markets are in operation today.

Secondly, we have supplied different hospitals, embassies, and so on with fuel and other needs at different moments. We have, in the past, also been

a transshipment point for a lot of humanitarian assistance.

At this point, today, the airport in Haiti is closed. So, there is no way, you cannot even cross over the border because the gangs control the

highways into Port-au-Prince. So, getting humanitarian assistance into Haiti today is one of the challenges.

AMANPOUR: Certainly is. Foreign Minister Alvarez, thank you very much indeed for joining us from Santo Domingo.

And now to Gaza, where a U.N.-backed report is warning that not only is famine imminent, but 1 million people in the north of the enclave face

"catastrophic levels of hunger."

Meantime, one and a half million Gazans sheltering in the south remain terrified of an Israeli ground assault on Rafah. In their first phone call

in a month, President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that would be a mistake.

So, with both starvation and a new military offensive in the cards, Besides, here is the incredible story of a group of Gazans transported

through Israel for critical medical care now being sent back by Israel to the war zone they came from.

Jeremy Diamond has their story.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): Little Sarah is barely six months old. Born in East Jerusalem, all she knows is the safety of this

hospital room. This week, that will be torn away. War will become her new reality.

I might go back and they invade Rafah, her mother Nima (ph) says. I'll be the one responsible for anything that harms them. If I go back with the

twins, where do I go with them? Where would I get diapers and milk? Gaza is not the same anymore.

For nearly six months, these three mothers have been living, sleeping, and nursing their five babies in this hospital room together. Before the war,

their high-risk pregnancies made them eligible to leave Gaza and give birth in Jerusalem hospitals. But now, they've packed their bags after learning

that the Israeli government is sending them back to Gaza, where Israel's brutal military campaign has made survival a daily struggle.

Hanan (ph), the mother of twins, says she's scared of going back to Gaza without a ceasefire. There are diseases spreading, infections, she says,

it's not a normal life.

They will be among the 22 Palestinians set to be bused on Wednesday to the Kerem Shalom Crossing in the south. Her husband is in the north, and Hanan

(ph) is still trying to find a place to live.

Despite that uncertainty, Asma (ph) wants to return to Gaza. My daughter is there. She needs me, Asma (ph) says. Every time she speaks to me, she asks

when I'm coming back. Every time there's an airstrike, children go to hug their mothers. And mine has no one to hug.

At nearby Augusta Victoria Hospital, nearly 50 Gazan cancer patients have been receiving treatment since before October 7th, watching from afar as

their families endure the horrors of war.

For Mohammed (ph), one of the 10 who are in remission and being sent back to Gaza, being far away from his son Hamza (ph), who is blind, has been the

hardest to bear. But going back is also terrifying.

I'm torn, he says. The only wish I have in life is to go back home. I regret even coming here for treatment. I wish I could be with them, because

I know how they need me.

In a statement, the Israeli agency in charge of their return said patients who have received medical treatment and who are not in need of for further

medical care are returned to the Gaza Strip.


After more than two months of pushing back on Israeli demands, Dr. Fadi Atrash says he was ordered to compile a list of patients to be sent back to

Gaza this week.

DR. FADI ATRASH, CEO, AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL: We don't want to send them, but it's not our call at the end of the day.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Now, he fears for his patients.

DR. ATRASH: All the support, all the efforts that we have been putting to try to cure them or to put them in a good condition or to improve their

quality of life will be lost because there is no care in Gaza. There is no hospitals. There is no health care. The system is totally destroyed.

DIAMOND (voice-over): The mothers are preparing for their journey. They've bought sweets and toys for the children who are waiting for them.

If they want to throw away all my belongings, they can, but not this bag for my daughter.

It is all they can bring for the children who have endured so much in six months and the babies who will soon learn the reality of war, far too



AMANPOUR: Jeremy Diamond reporting from East Jerusalem. As U.S. and regional mediators continue negotiations for a ceasefire, the release of

remaining Israeli hostages and humanitarian relief for Gaza.

We're joined now by leaders of an Israeli organization who are committed to their own local diplomacy between Israeli-Arab and Jewish citizens, trying

to create a more equal society. Raghad Jaraisy and Ofer Dagan are joining me now from Jerusalem. Welcome to you both.

Let me just state the obvious. Raghad, you are an Arab citizen of Israel. Ofer, you are a Jewish citizen of Israel. And we like to have these

conversations across the sort of divide, if you like, the ethnic divide, to see where there can be bridges built.

When you see a story like that, the real Sophie's choice that these people have to make, I wonder first, Raghad, how it affects you.

RAGHAD JARAISY, CO-CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SIKKUY-AUFOQ: Well, I think we all, people living here in Israel and Palestine, have been going through a very

hard time since October 7th.

And actually, since October 7 and the war in Gaza, during the whole period of the war in Gaza, we've been following very closely the public discourse,

both domestically in Israel and also globally. And we've been noticing a very simple discourse where you're either with us or against us. You're

either pro-Israel or pro-Palestine.

And our lives, you know, the people -- the Palestinian community in Israel and people who work and believe in shared society, sometimes we think that

we live in a parallel universe where our lives and our stories are much more complicated than the public discourse.

We, the Palestinian citizens of Israel, for example, on the one hand live in Israel and are directly affected by the implications of the war on all

the citizens of Israel. For example, if rockets are fired on Israel, we run to a shelter and we're very lucky if we can find one in our villages and

townships. When the economy is affected, we also lose money and budgets and savings and sometimes lose our jobs.

And we work with Jewish colleagues, we live next to Jewish neighbors, but at the same time we are Palestinians. We share with every other Palestinian

in the world the language, the culture, the history, and the narrative. We wake up every day and see the testimonies about the deep humanitarian

crisis in Gaza and we are deeply saddened.

We are deeply saddened once for the humanitarian crisis and the other time for not being able to express our solidarity or empathy to this crisis

because of the systematic policies of silencing and incitement against us from the level of the government, but also the level of the public

institutions and the media. That's what we're dealing with. And that is much more complicated than the public discourse that they have going on


AMANPOUR: And, Ofer, when you listen to your colleague and you're suffering your own trauma since October 7th, I wonder how you also process

it and whether your attempts to bridge these divides, which have been going on long predating October 7th, how that has been affected.

Let me just put some statistics. Arabs make up about 20 percent of the population, and you both say that your group is the overlooked key to

building bridges for the future.


OFER DAGAN, CO-CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SIKKUY-AUFOQ: Yes. So, first of all, the past few months have been terrible for all of us in Israel and the

Palestine territories. And I think when you look at the Arab society within Israel and its relationship with Jewish citizens of Israel, it's maybe the

one biggest group of people in this whole area, in this very highly segregated area, especially in this war time, that maintain a sort of

relation of solidarity and partnership.

And the Arab society in Israel maintain those kind of relation both, as Raghad mentioned, with Jewish citizens of Israel and with Palestinians

across the border, in the West Bank and in Gaza. And we think that this situation is both a reflection of the conflict because those kind of

relationship between Arabs and Jews inside Israel are a very partial and flawed partnership yet that's characterized by all of the hardship of the

Palestinian-Israeli conflict also within Israel.

But at the same time, it's also a key element for the solution of the wider conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because if we will succeed in

making those relationship between Jewish citizens of Israel and Arab- Palestinian citizens of Israel a more equal and a more truly shared relationship based on equality, then it will be also one piece of the

puzzle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that will be better, also can serve as a kind of a model for creating a wider solution.

And also in this situation, the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel voice in the public sphere and their aspiration for peace and share a life

between Palestinian and Israelis will be bigger and louder and can promote also a peaceful resolution of the wider conflict.

As we see -- as we saw also already in the early '90s when Arab political representatives were more influential in the political sphere in Israel,

which led to the Oslo Agreements.

AMANPOUR: It's really interesting to hear you talk about how your unique relationship as citizens of Israel could be a pattern for a future, bigger,

more important relationship to solve the issue in the end. I just wanted to know though, obviously from Raghad's perspective.

You have just talked about a number of crackdowns that have happened against Israel's Arab Palestinian citizens since October 7th, whether in

the media, whether in jobs, whether in -- you know, you said governments having to tighten their belt three times more money and funds for Arab, you

know, institutions are being cut inside Israel.

How does that feel? And does it exacerbate tensions even between you citizens of Israel?

JARAISY: Yes, indeed. I think one of the things that we all share today is the lack of personal security -- the personal insecurity. And I think that,

you know, it differs from -- the reasons might vary. But the fact is that we all feel fear and the Palestinian citizens of Israel precisely feel fear

because of the persecution that has been going on since the beginning of the war and because of policies like the arming civilian policy that the

government is promoting as part of the policies of the war will -- where it will create two groups of citizens, the Jewish armed strong group and the

weak minority, Palestinian minority.

And that will have direct implications on the possibility of escalation, of the relationship between Jews and Arabs, of violence in the streets, like

we saw before in May 21 and in earlier occasions. That is something that we feel. That is something that we experience. And that is something at

Sikkuy-Aufoq and our colleagues in the civil society, Palestinian and shared civil society have been working very, very hard to try and prevent.


AMANPOUR: And Ofer, you have talked about -- and you guys wrote a joint column for "The Times" on this. You say, Ofer, that, you know, Arab-

Israelis, Jewish-Israelis are getting their news since October 7th from completely different sources, which means different perspectives are being,

you know, seen by different communities.

Does this not make it much more difficult for you now to continue your bridge-building efforts and trying to build relationships?

DAGAN: Yes, it is. And we also see in research that has been done since October 7th that the feelings of fear and animosity and hostility among the

two groups grow bigger. And we -- on the other hand, we see also in those polls that in cases where Jews had meaningful interaction with Arabs before

the war, in those cases, the fear relations are significantly lower.

So, one of the things that we are working on -- and Raghad mentioned the issue of personal security in public space. So, one of the things that we

are working on is to create more inclusive environment, both in public spaces like public parks and also in museums and universities and in public

transportation, environments that can reflect the collective identity of both people living here, both Arab and Jews, and create a feeling of home

for both of them, and in that way, give them a bigger personal security and also bigger confidence in creating meaningful interactions with each other

from a place of equality and feeling of belongingness -- equal belongingness to this place.

AMANPOUR: And very briefly, I'm going to give the last word to Raghad, but I want to read something and have you, you know, jump off it. Again, you

write in "The Times," the delicate position that you occupy provides a rare commodity in the region, the ability to see a broader and more nuanced

picture and serve as a bridge to a long-lasting solution to the war and the larger conflict.

Do you think, Raghad, and I guess, Ofer, as well, that it is still possible to do this? Because don't forget, we remember there was almost civil war,

if not -- you know, I mean, there was fighting between your two communities a few years ago, actual fighting inside Israel. Do you think you still have

a chance and what needs to be done to make that chance live?

JARAISY: We will always continue hoping for a better future and doing everything that we can in order to reach it. I think that as much as this

period is a challenge for all of us, it can also be an opportunity. Because a lot of the conceptions around Arab-Jewish relationship and equality in

Israel have been broken since October 7th.

And it's an opportunity to think about our definition or redefine shared society based on equality. What does it mean? Is it enough to promote

material equality in terms of budgets and resources, or we should be talking about also collective equality, an equality that brings into the

equation our complex identities, our collective rights, and be based not only on material equality but on essential equality and mutual respect?

AMANPOUR: And Ofer, your view, yes.

DAGAN: I want to echo that and say -- yes, that I think we're in the midst of a paradigm shift, also within the Israeli citizenship, as Raghad

mentioned, but also in the wider context of the conflict. I think the idea that the conflict can be managed as it was during the last 15 years is

collapsing in front of our eyes.


DAGAN: And I think on the one hand, we hear extreme right-wing agenda to create a Jewish hegemony of all of the space between the Jordan and the

sea. But on the other hand, we hear more than before, more than in previous years, the idea of there is no other alternative than a peaceful resolution

of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



DAGAN: And I believe that part of this resolution should be also to make sure that the status of the Arab minority within Israel is secure and the

relationship between Jews and Palestinians within the Israeli citizenship are based on true and full equality and partnership.

AMANPOUR: Well, it's great to see you working towards that. Ofer Dagan, Raghad Jaraisy, thank you both very much indeed for joining us.

Now, in a recent essay for "The New York Times," the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations lambasted the world's silence and inaction on Sudan, saying

that needs to end now.

The U.N. says as many as 5 million people there could face catastrophic food insecurity and starvation since democracy collapsed last year and

again, warring factions are ruling. In this report, Correspondent Nima Elbagir finds that one of them, the Rapid Support Forces, the RSF, is

forcing civilians, including children, into a deal with the devil, enlist or starve.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The heroes are everywhere in Al Jazira.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Propaganda video from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, the RSF.

For much of the last year, they have slashed and burned their way through the country. This video shows them triumphant and entrenched in the very

heart of Sudan, Al Jazira State. And they are recruiting local men in the hundreds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I declare joining the RSF.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I declare joining the RSF.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I declare joining the RSF.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I declare joining the RSF.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): But it's impossible to tell who here is a willing soldier and who has been forcibly conscripted.

Eyewitnesses have told CNN that RSF soldiers are giving civilians an ultimatum, enlist or starve. Our investigation shows how almost 700 men and

65 children have been forcibly recruited to swell RSF ranks. And that's just what we've been able to verify in Jazira.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A lion cub.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Across Sudan, reports and images like this one are emerging, children in RSF uniform.

As across Sudan, millions forced from their homes by violence now face famine. CNN spoke to three dozen eyewitnesses, survivors and the families

of victims. The RSF, they say, is weaponizing hunger, denying food to those who won't join.

Aid groups say almost 4 million children in Sudan are already malnourished, as the country faces mass starvation. If aid agencies can't get food to

those in need, almost a quarter of a million children could die.

Jazira is Sudan's bread basket. It's heartland. To control this part of Sudan is to exert control over who lives and who dies. The RSF deny they

are responsible for the hunger gripping the country, yet they control every aspect of farming this land. They control the warehouses of food and aid

meant to support the most vulnerable. They control the seed supplies, fertilizer, pesticides, agricultural machinery, and irrigation channels.

And it's not just the infrastructure. Farmers are being targeted, brutalized, degraded, and even killed. Not just to control food, but to

force allegiance.

You hear shots off camera as six of the men are executed according to survivors who spoke to CNN. Those who were spared say the RSF threatened to

starve their families if they didn't join. The RSF sit in the heart of Sudan, hoarding food meant for millions. From here they can wait out,

starve out Sudan's people and its army.

Fear, uncertainty, despair, cascade as the months of war drag on and the world looks away.


AMANPOUR: Nima Elbagir reporting. The RSF didn't respond to our request for comment. We did share these findings with the U.N. Special Rapporteur

who said this evidence of forced enlistment is tantamount to "contemporary slavery."

Now, around the world climate change, of course, is impacting the way we live. In the United States, the affordable housing crisis is being pushed

to the brink as insurers struggle to cover affected homes.

Bloomberg reporter Leslie Kaufman joins Hari Sreenivasan now to discuss her recent reporting on this very issue.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Leslie Kaufman, thanks so much for joining us.

You wrote a recent piece in Bloomberg called "A Hidden Crisis in U.S. Housing." And you are not talking about interest rates, you're not talking

about kind of inventory clogs. What's the crisis you're describing?


LESLIE KAUFMAN, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: As I'm sure you've read about, people are having trouble getting insurance. But our story goes a little bit

deeper. It looks not only -- it looks at what happens when the private market pulls out and the public market takes in, that is, when government

starts insuring people. And what we're seeing is that governments, particularly in states with climate crises like California and Florida, are

being overwhelmed with policies, and they may not have a way to pay for them if there's a big catastrophe down the road.

SREENIVASAN: So, these insurers of last resort, these state agencies that will ultimately offer a homeowner insurance from a hurricane or a wildfire,

how are they able to weather a market that private insurers have figured out is too risky for them?

KAUFMAN: Right. So, the answer is they haven't figured it out. And that's the dirty secret to all of this, which is sometimes governments engage in

what we call wishful thinking. They want the problem to go away. They want insurance to be available. So, they offer it at less than market rates. But

if there's a big catastrophe down the road, someone's going to have to bail them out. And it's likely going to be the taxpayers either in that state or


SREENIVASAN: So, give me an example. How far is the spread, I guess, between the policies and what we think we are insured for versus what the

state can actually write a check for? Because it seems like over the past 15, 20 years in our lifetimes that these big natural disasters are getting

more frequent.

KAUFMAN: They are indeed. And that's what really underlies this insurance crisis. Insurance is fundamental to our financial system. We don't think

about it very often. And if it comes up, we want to have our eyes glaze over.

But it's the basis of (INAUDIBLE) our entire financial system. Insurance requires being able to predict risk. For a long time, that wasn't so hard.

You look at the past, that would be a pretty good guess about the future. But climate change has upset that entire dynamic. Climate change has meant

that every year, or over a course of a decade, things get noticeably worse.

NOAA, which is the National Oceanic Administration, has said, look, these billion-dollar disasters, they keep happening more and more frequently.

They would happen three times a year annually in the 1980s. Now, they're happening 18, 19 times a year. So, there's really been a change.

SREENIVASAN: So, if I'm living in Florida, if I'm, for example, a new homeowner, or thinking about buying a home at some portion of that

transaction, I'm going to think about how much is it going to cost to insure this place, right?

And if it's an uninsurable property, I'm probably not going to buy it because it's one of the biggest investments I would make in my life. So, it

seems like insurance is going to have a ripple effect on lots of other transactions.

KAUFMAN: I think insurance, down the line, is going to be where the rubber hits the road on climate change. Right now, insurance hasn't been enough to

dissuade people from buying in the riskiest areas. And part of the reason is that the state has stepped in and started to subsidize it.

We've made it cheaper to live in those areas than it should be. And that's the case with coastal floodplains since the 1960s or '70s, really, when we

created the National Flood Insurance Program. And now, what we're seeing with the states is they're beginning to do the same thing with wildfire and

with hurricanes. They're saying, look, we understand it's too expensive to live there. So, we'll create a policy that's affordable, and that's the


SREENIVASAN: So, besides the states creating these kind of backstop agencies that might not be funded, as you were pointing out, or

appropriately funded, have we made certain policies that actually prohibit the private marketplace from doing what it would want?

Because I guess, I mean, insurance people, well, that's what they do, they assess risk, right? So, if there is going to be a greater risk in an area,

in a perfect market, there should be a policy available. It'll just cost a really, really a lot of money.

KAUFMAN: Well, that's a very smart and good point. Insurance companies will tell you there's nothing that's uninsurable. It's just a question of

what you're willing to pay.

But all state insurance markets are regulated. And some of them, the big one being California, passed something called Proposition 103. And that

actually limits the amount they're allowed to raise their premiums every year without a review. And so, the result is that that's way underpriced.

In addition, the state plans are often way underpriced. These are the places that will come in and fill in. And again, in Florida and California,

they're both artificially underpriced. And so, somewhere that risk has got to be covered.

And so, what'll happen, we think, is when there's a huge catastrophe, imagine a wildfire the size of the campfire, category 5 hurricane hitting

Miami, someone's going to have to pay for that.


SREENIVASAN: So, what would the plan be if a worst-case scenario or mega catastrophe did hit a super population center like a Miami or a San

Francisco and the state has to write a check and lots of checks and they realize we cannot cover this? What is the state likely to do next?

KAUFMAN: Right. So, this is the big question. There was legislative hearings in California, the head of their state insurance -- backed

insurance plan has said, we don't have the money, we're going to have to do assessments.

Florida has a more explicit policy. If there is a category 5 hurricane that comes on in, they are allowed to write an assessment on every policy holder

in the state. And that's not just property, that's your motorcycle, that's your home, that's your business.

But consider this, if a category 5 hurricane was to hit Miami, they estimate it could cost 1.3 trillion in damages. That would be an assessment

of roughly 60,000 per person in Florida. Now, some of that would be covered by insurance and reinsurance, but that could be a pretty stiff bill for

every single person in the state. And people are concerned it would lead to a federal bailout.

SREENIVASAN: So, if I'm hearing you correctly then, regardless of whether you lived in Miami or not, depending on the size of the catastrophe, you're

going to be footing part of the bill.

KAUFMAN: Yes, Florida is quite explicit. They have a state plan that charges about 30 percent under market. It's been growing tremendously. They

have $525 billion in exposure. If there was a major catastrophe, the only way they've been able to keep insurance in the state is by promising not to

charge them, but to say every single person who has an insurance policyholder will have a fee to cover the deficit.

SREENIVASAN: And what about California? Is California in any better shape when it comes to, unfortunately, these horrible wildfires that we've seen

grow in scale and lethality?

KAUFMAN: I think California is actually in worse shape because they haven't dealt with the worst-case scenario yet. There was just, as I said,

a legislative hearing where they brought in the head of the California state-backed insurance, and she has said as much, if there's a catastrophe,

we are not prepared.

They do not have a specific plan in place for what will happen if there is a major catastrophe, and they are working on it right now. But they are not

explicitly prepared.

SREENIVASAN: Is there a case where there will not be any private insurers left and there will only be kind of state-backed insurers?

KAUFMAN: Well, for flood right now, 95 percent is the government. We've already pushed the private insurance market largely out of the flood

industry. And right now, Congressman Adam Schiff has proposed a bill that would expand federal protections and would include fire and hurricanes.

You can see a situation in which people slowly move to the federal government because it's just less expensive. And let's remember, the flood

insurance program is 20 billion in deficit. It's not like the problem goes away, it just gets buried.

SREENIVASAN: Is there a significant ripple effect if one of these states, insurers of last resorts, or buckles?

KAUFMAN: Yes, we think that they're very significant. And we're not the only ones. I mean, Sheldon Whitehouse, who's a senator, has been looking

into this. Because the implications of insurance failing are, like I said, they're at the -- it's at the fundamental core of our society.

We need insurance and risk to be covered. And if we get to the point where it's not, the federal government simply can't pick it all up. There is

going to be a breaking point.

SREENIVASAN: Does that breaking point look like the cascading effects that we saw in the financial crisis, what started on Wall Street, ended up

having huge effects in the rest of the country?

KAUFMAN: Very possibly. There are a lot of different scenarios. But consider a really big wildfire in California in which billions need to be

covered. California reaches out to the insurance companies and said, you have to provide this money.

So, even though they haven't agreed to directly insure them, the state makes as a condition of being in the state that they have to participate.

And once more, you have to participate for two years, even after you've pulled out.

So, let's say as an insurer, I've decided California is too risky to insure. And a year later, a major catastrophe, the government of California

reaches out to me now and says, well, you have to help us cover this. And you say, no way, I'm not going to do it.


And then what you have is a crisis. You have insurance failing. You have houses that are uncovered, mortgages that are uncovered. You lose

confidence in a market. And as we know, that can have powerful ramifications.

SREENIVASAN: So, are there any strategies that these companies, the private ones are coming up with to try to work with the state? Do they even

see any potential? I mean, the people -- the private companies who choose to leave these markets who did their own math and say, it's just not worth

insuring homes in this state anymore, what would incentivize them to come back?

KAUFMAN: Right. So, this is the big question. And actually, it's a huge question for the insurance companies because in the end, they want to sell

policies because that's how they make money. So, there are two basic tools. One is building codes, earthquake proof, wildfire proof, hurricane proof,

wind proof, flood proof.

For instance, in a wildfire zone, you can demand that the five feet around the house has no vegetation or anything flammable. You can demand that

houses get put up on stilts. And those things do make a difference. And the two way you get there is you get through building codes and through

insurance incentives.

So, the insurance industry is very much pushing for hardening homes, saying they will reward people for doing those things. But the thing about

insurance is they sell it to you every year. And as climate change makes things worse and worse, something that might help this year might not be

enough in the future.

SREENIVASAN: You know, if you look at this reality, and if climate change is going to make things more expensive, like insurance, are we going to see

kind of a fork in the road here, where basically only really wealthy people can even afford to protect those investments with insurance?

KAUFMAN: So, we've seen that fork in the road already in many places that have been hit by hurricanes. Like if you look back at someplace like Tampa

being rebuilt after a hurricane, you'll find that in the best coastal areas it's almost all rich people, because they look at a bill of $8,000 or

$10,000 or even $18,000 a year for insurance as a cost of doing business. That's enough to drive other people out of a market.

SREENIVASAN: We've talked a lot about California and Florida, but your story also goes into states like Colorado where wildfires are a significant

threat there.

KAUFMAN: Right. So, Colorado is a really interesting example. Colorado is not a place you think of being in trouble. But Colorado has had to start

the first state-backed insurance plan that's been created in a long time. And the reason is because wildfires are tearing through the place and

they've seen incredible increases.

We talked to one person in our story who saw their bill go up by a factor of 10. He runs an inn, and it went from 70,000 to, I think -- or maybe

40,000 to 400,000. It was a huge increase. And so, the state is starting to step in, because what happens is businesses have to leave unless there's


SREENIVASAN: From your description of how integral insurance is to the overall economy, especially to the real estate markets, there seems to be

resistance to -- from state legislatures and otherwise, to making this type of information more transparent because it might slow down those necessary

transactions, that growth that they want so badly.

KAUFMAN: Right. Well, states oppose the prices that come with real information. The people that have so far opposed giving all this

information out are the insurance companies. They tell you it's proprietary. So, the question is how much of -- how much they're raising

our prices has to do with actual risk and how much of it has to do with the profit margin. And a lot of this is not public.

That's why when First Street Foundation made information available, it was so exciting to a lot of people because this has all been in black box. It's

all been hidden by the insurance companies. But the question is, and it's a real one, how accurate can we be about any individual property and their

risk going out 30 years? It's something I think we as a nation and really as a world are going to have to struggle with.

SREENIVASAN: Is there anything happening in the rest of the planet, other countries who are trying to figure out how to appropriately price this,

which might keep private insurers in the market, might not have to have their federal governments as an insurer of last resort?

KAUFMAN: Well, that's a whole another very interesting question. No one is as heavily insured as the United States. The only people that come close is

Western Europe. Other countries work very much on a government stepping in model. But that's been crushing.

In places like Pakistan and the Caribbean, where there have been huge disasters, the governments just don't have the money to step in. They'd

like to see Western countries split the bill. Western countries have so far resisted. So, they're beginning to sell something called parametric

insurance or cap bonds. These are things that if a disaster hits a certain level, they automatically get a payout. And this is cheaper forms of



But the whole world will struggle with how to control and how to hurt damages as these natural disasters get worse and worse.

SREENIVASAN: Leslie Kaufman, a reporter from Bloomberg, thanks so much.

KAUFMAN: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: Important focus there. That is it for now. Thank you for watching. Goodbye from London.