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Russia's Parliament Begins Process Of Approving Annexation; Russia Removes Western Military District Commander; North Korea Launches Ballistic Missiles Over Japan; Somalia Facing its Worst Drought in Decades; Searching for Hurricane Survivors; At Least 100 Dead in Florida After Hurricane; Cheating Scandal Rocks Competitive Fishing World. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 04, 2022 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary church. Just ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. Russia's reality, as Ukraine makes major gains on the battlefield. Vladimir Putin's army is sending new recruits to the frontlines with little to no training.

North Korean escalation Kim Jong-un sends a missile over Japan forcing people to take cover and earning strong international condemnation.

And U.K. U-turn. The British prime minister scraps her tax cut plan after a series of economic missteps that have made her first weeks in office.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. Well, in just about an hour from now Russia's upper house of parliament is set to meet and move forward on rubber stamping Vladimir Putin's decision to illegally annex four Ukrainian regions. On Monday the Lower House voted to approve the annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions despite being a violation of international law.

Those votes taking place even though borders have not been determined and some territory Moscow now claims is back under Ukrainian control, including the city of Lyman. A senior U.S. military officials as Russian forces pushed from that key city have now moved towards the town of Kreminna to the east to hold the line. Meantime, Ukrainian forces are now pushing towards the occupied city of Kherson and have captured one town on the western bank of the Dnipro River. And they are also said to be advancing into the Luhansk region.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The prospect of these hostilities is obvious. More and more occupiers are trying to escape. The enemy army is suffering more and more losses. And there is a growing understanding that Russia made a mistake by starting the war against Ukraine.


CHURCH: On the battlefield, Russian forces have suffered a series of defeats and now we've learned Russian authorities removed the western military district commander following losses in the Kharkiv region. CNN's Melissa Bell reports on the harsh reality facing Russian troops on the front lines.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russian President Vladimir Putin's military once feared now mocked. No laughing the officer says to her recruits. Ask your wives, girlfriends,, mothers for period pads and tampons.

Do you know what tampons are for? You stick it in a bullet wound she says. It swells and closes the wound. Bring your own sleeping bag too, the men are told.

On television. The hundreds of thousands being mobilized by President Putin are well equipped. In reality, their videos on social media tell a different tale.

We were officially told that there would be no training before being sent to the combat zone this recruit says. We had no shooting, no tactical training, no theoretical training, nothing.

Another officer addresses his recruits. If you have hernias, plates in your head, I was told you're fit for mobilization he says, so stop saying you can't. I live on pills. So if I go, you'll be doing your tasks like everyone else.

CNN cannot independently verify these widely circulated videos. Even the deputy prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic annexed Friday by Russia couldn't help but to be honest, is the city of Lyman fell to Ukrainian forces. The situation on the Lyman front is bad. Let's speak frankly, he tells the Russian propagandist. Everything is the same as everywhere else. Namely, there are not enough people.

The sorry state has tainted the hallowed halls of Russian state television, where careful skepticism about Putin's war is increasingly tolerated. This time it's the head of the state-owned R.T. network.


If I had to gather train loads of body armor, socks and the rest for those already on the front line she asks, have these 300,000 been supplied with all that they need?

These recruits in the central city of Perm clearly haven't. They lament being dropped by the side of the road late at night, saying they'll have to build a fire to stay warm. The impact is plain to see. Ukraine recaptured more territory in the past month than Russia had gained in the past five. Ukrainian intelligence well aware of the propaganda value regularly puts out intercepted calls between Russian soldiers and family back home.

There should be helicopters, planes, the woman says. There's nothing, nothing, nothing says the soldier. What kind of army is this? She replies, just a T.V. show? Putin's army once feared now in disarray.

Melissa Bell, CNN.


CHURCH: And CNN's Clare Sebastian is following developments for us and joins me from London live. Good to see you, Clare. So as the Russians continue to lose ground how is Putin's army regrouping and how could today's annexation vote change the equation?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary. Regrouping has in fact become a bit of a euphemism for retreating in Russia. This is sort of extraordinary that even as we see them completing the process, the sort of acting out of these annexations in Parliament, that they are continuing to retreat from this territory that they now claim as their own. Even more confusing is the fact that they don't actually know exactly which territory they're annexing.

The Kremlin said on Monday that they continue to consult with the populations of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia on the exact borders of the parts of that territory that annexing sort of undermining the theater that we see in the Federation Council. The upper house of parliament today voting, as I said, on an annexation of something that they don't exactly know what it is. And all that, as you say is on the battlefield.

They continue to really struggle or reports point to the fact that Ukraine continues to advance in the Donetsk region after taking that critical town of Lyman as -- Russian forces also say that Ukrainian troops are advancing in Luhansk, which is another, you know, big part of Russia's strategic goal in this --in this special military operation, as it still calls it and also another territory that they claim as their own.

And very importantly, their open source data. Russian records indicate that they have replaced the head of the Western military district which is a sort of part of the Russian army that's played a key role so far in the conflict of Ukraine. This Commander Alexander Zhuravlyov was known, sort of indicated by CNN to have been part of a brigade that launched cluster munitions on Kharkiv in the early weeks of the war.

He has apparently now been replaced just as these losses mount for Russia. And all of this is raising the stakes on the battlefield because the more President Putin is backed into the -- into a corner, certainly in the eyes of Western intelligence, the more it raises the stakes that he will take some kind of extreme measure, particularly perhaps in the nuclear area as he is threatened.

CNN is reporting that U.S. -- the U.S. is assessing various scenarios including what they would do if Russia were to launch a battlefield tactical nuke. Although there is no evidence as of now that they are preparing to do that, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Clare Sebastian joining us live from London. Many thanks. Well, for the first time in five years, North Korea has fired a ballistic missile directly over Japan. An escalation that's been quickly condemned by both Tokyo and Washington. South Korean officials believe the missile was launched shortly before 7:30 local time Tuesday morning, traveling over Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido.


CHURCH (voice over): Residents on the island were worn to take cover and train services were suspended before the missile crashed into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea has now launched five missiles in just the last 10 days. And has fired the most in a single year since Kim Jong- un took power in 2012.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is following developments for us from Seoul. And we have Blake Essig standing by in Tokyo. Good to see you both. So Paula, what is the latest on this North Korean ballistic missile launched over Japan and why now?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, as you say there has been a flurry of launches in recent days. In fact this year has seen a record number of missiles and have launches since Kim Jong-un took power. But what we have seen this morning, this Tuesday morning is a significant escalation. The type of missile that was launched, that was tested believed to be by officials and intermediate range ballistic missiles.


So certainly flying further than previous launches have done. So even though we have seen a number of short-range missiles recently, the caliber of this particular missile is what is concerning those in the region. And of course, the fact that it did fly over Japanese territory. Certainly there was no warning system, there was no warning whatsoever from North Korea. So that does raise concerns of safety of flights in the area, potential safety of ships in the water as well, that was addressed by the White House.

In their statement condemning this launch. They said that it shows a blatant disregard for the U.N. Security Council resolutions and for international safety norms. Now it has been condemned as well by Tokyo, by South Korea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff here calling it a serious provocation that threatens peace and security on the Korean peninsula. Now, one other issue I should mention is that there is an inter-Korean hotline between North and South Korea that generally there is a phone call between the North and South twice a day just to make sure there are no miscalculations to make sure that there is communication between the two.

And according to the unification ministry that phone call went on answered by North Korea this Tuesday. The military hotline was still answered as usual. So now the concern is where this leads next? This is clearly an escalation in Pyongyang's mind of what they want to test and what weapons capabilities they want to be focusing on at the moment and there have been a number of issues that Pyongyang would not be happy with in the last week alone.

The U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris was here in South Korea for a day before that she was in Japan, and she did visit the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, looking through binoculars over into North Korea being briefed on the situation, saying it was important to have the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And then you also have these joint naval drills which happened between the U.S. and South Korea and also some with Japan as well.

So even individually, these issues would be something that North Korea would quite often react to but put together. It's certainly seen that they are making some kind of statement with these launchers although of course quite often North Korea does do these launches as well because they are trying to push their weapons capability forward. One interesting point is that North Korea hasn't publicly admitted the recent launches.

They haven't announced it to their own people. It will be interesting to see whether they announced this one as it was a more significant missile launch. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Right. And Blake what has been the reaction in Japan to this escalation?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, this isn't the first time that North Korea has launched a ballistic missile that flew directly over Japan but it absolutely marks a significant escalation in tensions as Paula just mentioned, as a result of this morning's launch of an intermediate range ballistic missile that did fly over Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. T Japanese government issued a rare J-Alert which is only issue -- which is only issued in times of national emergencies like earthquakes, terrorist attacks in certain missile launches.

And this morning, that J-Alert was issued to areas believed to be at risk. Now despite the warning, life here continued as normal across Japan with many people apparently ignoring those warning. Some wrote on social media that despite the air-raid warning and initial concern that if a missile was heading this way, nothing could be done about it. And this missile did fly over Japan around 7:30 a.m. local time this morning.

So most people just continued on their way to work and life went on as normal. But despite the fact that people here in Japan are seemingly used to North Korea's routine missile tests at this point, this morning's launch amplifies an already tense security environment surrounding Japan. And at a press conference a short time after the missile was fired. Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called North Korea's recent missile tests outrageous, while the country's chief cabinet secretary also weighed in calling today's launch a threat to the public. Here's what both of them had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HIROKAZU MATSUNO, JAPENESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (through translator): A ballistic missile launch that flew over our country is not only an issue for aircraft and vessels, it's a serious and problematic action that involves the safety of residents living in the area where the missile flew over. We have strongly protested against North Korea in the strongest terms.

FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPAN'S PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This is an act of violence following recent repeated launches of ballistic missiles. We strongly condemn this.



ESSIG: Now as I mentioned earlier, this isn't the first time North Korea has launched a missile that flew over Japan and experts believe that the missile tested today was a -- was on 12 ballistic missile, the same type that last flew over Japan in 2017. Making this third time this particular missile has travelled over Japan and the eighth time that it's been tested. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, Blake Essig in Tokyo. Many thanks to you both.

Well, the anger among anti-government demonstrators in Iran shows no sign of abating.


CHURCH (voice over): Female students in the city of Shiraz loudly denounced the regime a day after security forces crackdown on students at a prominent university in the capital. The situation in Tehran was calmer on Monday but riot police maintained a strong and highly visible presence near Revolution Square. Iran has been consumed by more than two weeks of protests following the death of a young woman after the morality police arrested her for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.

And I do want to bring in CNN Nada Bashir. She has been tracking all of this from London. She joins us live. So Nada, what is the latest on this crackdown on protesters?

NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: Look, you saw those shocking images there. All that violent crackdown over the weekend. And despite this, we are still continuing to see people up and down the country taking part in these demonstrations. And it is remarkable to see some of the younger girls taking part in these demonstrations at schools, colleges and universities taking a stand against the repressive measures that they have long lived under the Islamic regime targeting those fundamental and basic rights of women across Iran.

But of course, these protests have now morphed into something much larger than that. And while the center is still very much focused on women's rights, while women are still playing a key part in these demonstrations. These have really grown to encompass a number of grievances, including the country's floundering economy, the marginalization of ethnic minority groups, and of course, the fundamental human rights that have locked in the country for years now.

But we have now heard from the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking yesterday, addressing these protests for the first time. He addressed the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini describing this as a tragic incident which had sad in the entire country, but he focused his remarks on criticism of what he described as people inciting violence and instability in the country responding to her death through these protests.

And he also laid the blame on the United States and Israel saying that they had meddled in the country in an attempt to stand in the way of the progress Iran in his words has been making in the face of western sanctions. Take a listen.


AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, SUPREME LEADER OF IRAN (through translator): I say clearly that these riots and the insecurity were engineered by the U.S. and the occupying false Zionist Regime. As well as their paid agents with the help of some traders Iranians abroad.


BASHIR: Now of course international reaction to this violent crackdown has been fierce. We've heard from the U.S., the Biden administration saying has been appalled and alarmed. Canada has now expanded sanctions on Iranian entities and individuals. Later today we are expecting the European Parliament to hold a session which they will debate proposals for tougher sanctions on the Iranian regime and calls for an urgent and transparent investigation into the death of Mahsa Amini.

We had yesterday in the European Parliament's President Roberta Metsola speaking directly to the women of Iran saying that they are not alone. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Thanks to Nada Bashir bringing us that live update. All right. Time for a short break now. When we come back, trouble is brewing for the Tories over Prime Minister Liz Truss' plan to fix the British economy. Back with that and more in just a moment.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The British government is promising details soon on a new fiscal plan after an embarrassing episode at a conservative conference in Birmingham. Prime Minister Liz Truss and her finance minister are abandoning their proposal to cut taxes on Britain's wealthiest. While much of the country is struggling with a cost of living crisis. The plan sent the pound plunging and could signal trouble for the prime minister who's been on the job for less than a month.


KWASI KWARTENG, BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER: But I can be frank, I know the plan put forward only 10 days ago has caused a little turbulence. I get it. I get it. We are listening and have listened. And now I want to focus on delivering the major parts of our growth package.


CHURCH: To Los Angeles now and CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas, good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So after days of economic turmoil, including the plunging of the pound, the Truss government has now abandoned its plan to cut taxes on the wealthy. What's the likely impact of what the U.K. finance minister calls a little turbulence?

THOMAS: I think it's really bordered on sort of being disrespectful because this cause tremendous concern for people who are really, really being negatively impacted by the economic situation right now, highly concerned about this future. And this sort of joking about it, laughing about it, minimizing it ultimately, I think is a real problem. And it's hard to really believe that any genuine kind of change can come about after this because it's so inextricably connected to the DNA of the Conservative Party to focus on market deregulation, free markets, and so on.

And you don't hear much of an apology for this or any real guidance as to what the path forward will be, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And Prime Minister Truss is now promising a new fiscal plan in the days ahead to reboot the economy. So what might that new plan look like given they have been tone deaf to this point. Haven't they?

THOMAS: They have been and also what's so extraordinary is that is ultimately the sort of the shock and awe that this has caused within the party at their annual conference in Birmingham is this is really no secret. Liz Truss ran on this particular fiscal campaign. And what we know thus far is that the reduction of the -- of the tax on the highest earners is one concession they're about to make.

But we're not hearing anything about the way in which that will impact for example, oil and gas, or how it will go into the banking sector, which he's determined to leave alone. And so there's this sort of awkward and standoff here between the need to adjust these kinds of fiscal policies that the ways in which she was ultimately elected on this kind of agenda, and one that we must not forget her number one opponent, Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer had warned the party against being very cautious implementing the very kinds of measures that Liz Truss has gone along with her -- along with her new chancellor, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And of course, with most people in Britain struggling right now with the cost of living crisis, what damage has this done to the credibility of Liz Truss? And can she survive this misstep, many missteps so early in her new leadership?

THOMAS: Yes. It's so early, there was so many distractions, of course, with the -- with the funeral of Queen Elizabeth and so on. And they've really only been at the helm for a very short time. I think it's really important to situate this unfolding of the -- of circumstances, not simply to attribute it to Liz Truss. But also to what was already going on with Boris Johnson that we must not forget was ousted for being such an ineffective leader and being so out of touch with the -- and the concerns of the -- of the British population.


THOMAS: So I think the Conservative Party finds itself in a really difficult situation right now, I think it would be unconscionable for them to consider a new internal conservative party election that could potentially replace the market and the electorate wouldn't deal with that. And so the only other really alternatives are to stick with her for the next two-year period leading up to a general election and seeing if they can kind of write the ship or if we keep playing with the idea of the ship is whether or not ultimately they will choose to abandon it, and essentially hand over power to the opposition and let them deal with the complex crisis that is unfolding in the in the U.K. today.

So I think somewhat ironically, her position is secure until the party decides to go for a general election. And I think at that point, it's likely at this particular juncture to be over for the conservatives, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Interesting. And Dominic, the new prime minister speaks at the party conference on Wednesday. How big a test will that likely be for her? How careful does she have to be?

THOMAS: She's got to be careful because she's now speaking not only to what would normally be an internal party conference with very little external kind of echoes to now being absolutely scrutinized in a much broader context. And so I think it's very difficult for her to balance speaking as she had to do during the Conservative Party and tunnel election to her own party, which is, of course, extraordinarily divided.

And how that will then resonate with the people beyond that particular conference setting. And I think that's a really tough balance and for her to strike at this moment. And I think that really sort of belief in the Conservative Party is at a near all time low. And I don't think people are really convinced that that they have ultimately now, the solutions and the tools to be able to deal with this crisis that the U.K. is facing and that many see as being the responsibility of a conservative party that's been in power for 12 years now.

CHURCH: All right. We'll watch to see what happens Wednesday. Dominic Thomas joining us there. Many thanks.

THOMAS: Thank you. CHURCH: And still to come, the U.N. warns Somalia is headed toward a full blown famine. After the break, I'll speak with the head of the humanitarian aid group working to help Somalians cope with an historic drought. Back in just a moment.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The United Nation says more than a million Somalis have been displaced over the last year in search of food and water amid the country's worst drought in four decades. And while calls for international aid are slowly being answered, the help may not be enough to prevent an impending famine. CNN's Larry Madowo reports.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what I'm hearing from every Somali official I've spoken to and every aid worker there, this is one of the worst droughts that they have ever seen and the effects are heartbreaking. But with so much else happening in the world, suffering Somalis can get forgotten. Right now, about half the population in Somalia need humanitarian assistance and it could get worse.


MADOWO (voiceover): Somalia could face a full blown feminine in less than a month, that is what the U.N. says. But try telling that to the people here. Nuunay Adan Durow and her family are already struggling.

NUUNAY ADAN DUROW, DISPLACES MOTHER OF 10 CHILDREN (through translator): For the last three years, we have not harvested anything due to the lack of rain and we are staying at a temporary shelter close by.

MADOWO (voiceover): Durow is a mother of 10. She fled her home, traveling 200 miles to find medical help for her three-year-old son suffering from severe malnutrition.

DUROW (through translator): A lack of water has driven us away. To get a jerry can of water you have to trek for two hours before you can get back for the next one.

MADOWO (voiceover): The country has gone two years without rains and is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. Aid agencies say that around 7 million Somalis are projected to face food insecurity. Even animals struggle to survive. But it is not just supplies at home that are an issue, the battle against the arm group al-Shabaab makes delivering aid hard.

And the war of Ukraine has sent food prices soaring. But help is coming, more than 70 percent of the $1.4 billion in aid for Somalia has been raised mostly by the U.S. And just this month, Ukraine pledged 50,000 tons of wheat to both Somalia and Ethiopia, much like this shipment which docked in Djibouti last month. So, will it be enough? ABDIRAHMAN ABDISHAKUR WARSAME, SOMALI PRESIDENTIAL SPECIAL ENVOY FOR DROUGHT RESPONSE: It will help. Every assistance coming from any nation would help, whether it's cash or in kind. We import 80 percent of -- our of the country. We mainly rely on Russia and Ukraine. Whenever there cause to come late, the cost of preventing the farming will be higher.

MADOWO (on camera): What are the most critical needs right now, specifically.

WARSAME: It is money. It is funding. Funding, funding, funding. If the rainy season fail, which is the next month, October, and there is not adequate funding, famine is a real and it is happening.

MADOWO (voiceover): Somalia was last hit by famine just over 10 years ago. More than a quarter of 1 million people died then and there is little sign that this looming famine will begin any different.


MADOWO (on camera): As we heard there, Somalia was already suffering from the impacts of the global pandemic. But add to that the effect of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on food supplies, but especially the severe drought has brought the country to the brink. The situation is so desperate that if nothing changes, more people could die. That is why the funding they're looking for will be so critical. Larry Madowo, CNN, London.

CHURCH: Abby Maxman is the president and CEO of Oxfam in America. She joins me now from Boston. Thanks so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, humanitarian groups like your own have warned for years about a looming famine in Somalia due to severe drought conditions. And now, it is possible a full-blown famine is less than one month away according to the U.N. but many people there say that they have been struggling for years. What needs to be done right now given some 7 million Somalis are projected to face food insecurity and a lack of sufficient water?

MAXMAN: Well, a lot needs to be done right now. We are behind because we have been ringing the alarm for some time. But we are ready and able to save lives and livelihoods if the International Community acts and if resources can be increased to people that need them the most.

At the moment, we know, as you said, that famine is going to be declared imminently. And Oxfam published a report would save the children recently that estimated that a person was likely dying of hunger in the heart of Africa every 48 out seconds and the situation has only deteriorated since then. We are on the brink of a human catastrophe with famine looming and we have the opportunity and the urgency to take action now.

[02:35:00] CHURCH: And, of course, there has been no rain in Somalia for two years. The country is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. So, what is your organization doing specifically right now given some people are having to trek two hours or more just to get water?

MAXMAN: Well, I was in Somaliland last month, just several weeks ago, and I met with families and communities affected by this drought. And as you said, it is the fourth consecutive year of failed rains and we are seeing communities, pastoralist whose livelihoods have been decimated due to climate induced disaster.

Now, Oxfam and our partners are on the ground working to provide clean water, access to food, cash, things people need to prevent the worst. But their livelihoods have been decimated by the situation. And so, we are working with partners to sound the alarm so that people can step up. We get more resources to those who need it most, to protect and save lives now but also, invest in resilience for the future. So much needs to be done. And the warnings are there and we need to take action today.

CHURCH: And, of course, it has to be said, the situation was already dire before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But how has that war made things even worse for the people of Somalia?

MAXMAN: Well, the crisis in Ukraine has absolutely made an already severe crisis even worse. COVID and climate have been putting increasing pressure on communities and this is really supercharged and already difficult situation. The war in Ukraine has grabbed the attention of leaders and rightly so, but it has made it even more difficult to get enough resources and attention to provide the urgent lifesaving aid that's needed now and to invest in the region to prevent this cycle from repeating itself.

And the war in Ukraine has driven up the prices of necessities like food, fuel and fertilizers. Disproportionately affecting people in East Africa and pushing all of those resources out of reach for so many.

CHURCH: And if the International Community doesn't step up, how bad could this get?

MAXMAN: Well, we are seeing catastrophic numbers. Red flags have been flying for some time. And I witnessed when I was in Somalia, just several weeks ago, terrible choices that mothers like many I met, a mother named Sofia, a mother of eight children who was forced to flee her home to a camp for displaced persons as hungry hyenas were circling their homes at night, after holding off three previous years of drought. And we know that families are already reducing the numbers of meals they can feed their already hungry children, they're down to one meal a day, choosing who gets the eight. And then, even more painful decision about when children are even too weak to cry or ask for food.

And we are already seeing communities in Somalia and across the region in the most extreme levels of hunger facing catastrophe and famine. And when famine is declared, we are already too late because people are dying. And the declaration of famine is really the last resort, when prevention and early action and responding to early warning, such as these consecutive seasons of failed rains would have prevented this.

And we all know that it is much less costly to human lives above all, but also, financially when we can invest early and protect in the future. So, we really need to take action to save lives today and to stave off the worse, and the repeated patterns we know we can avoid in the 21st century.

CHURCH: And let us hope that action is taken. Abby Maxman on the dire situation in Somalia, many thanks for joining us.

MAXMAN: Thank you so much.

CHURCH: And still to come this hour, a grueling search for hurricane survivors in Florida. We will show you what rescue workers are doing to save lives after a disaster.



CHURCH: The U.S. president is pledging $60 million to help Puerto Rico beef up its defenses against hurricanes after it was ravaged by Fiona last month. Joe Biden visited the island on Monday to survey the damage and meet with victims. He acknowledged the government has failed them during other emergencies, including the response to Hurricane Maria in 2017. He that his administration will do better.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: After Maria, Congress approved billions of dollars for Puerto Rico. Much of it not having gotten here, initially. We are going to make sure you get every single dollar promised. And I am determined to help Puerto Rico build faster than in the past and stronger and better prepared for the future.


CHURCH: This week, Mr. Biden will also survey storm damage in Florida where more than 100 people have been confirmed dead from Hurricane Ian. Almost a week after the storm struck, the state is nowhere near full recovery, more than 450,000 customers are without power, neighborhoods remain flooded and rescue efforts are still ongoing. Residents of the hardest hit region, Lee County, say officials waited too long to order evacuations.


SHAWN CRITSER, FLORIDA RESIDENT: And then, when the evacuation order came, we were like 24 hours, that is not a lot. But, you know, we will still kind of make it. And it wasn't until Wednesday morning when we woke up and saw that it had made another adjustment. And at that point, it's just too late.


CHURCH: State and local leaders are still refusing to accept responsibility for the late evacuation notices. And to find out how you can help victims of Hurricane Ian, you can visit our website

And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. World Sport is up next and I'll be back in 15 minutes with more "CNN Newsroom." Do stay with us.



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, you hear about a lot of scandals in sports. But fishing? Yet the cheating scandal rocking the world of competitive fishing. On Friday, the would-be winners of nearly $29,000 at a tournament in Cleveland, well they were disqualified when it was discovered that their fish were stuffed with lead weights. The goal is to come in with the heaviest bucket of five Walleye caught in Lake Erie, Walleyes, I should say, caught in Lake Erie. But the director of the tournament thought the fish were too heavy. So, he cut them open.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got weights in fish.



LEMON: Wow. So, I want to talk about this scandal with Ross Robertson. He's a professional angler and host of the podcast "Big Water Fishing." Ross, thank you so much.


LEMON: So, as I know -- of course.

ROBERTSON: I wish we could do it under different circumstances, you know, being a fellow fisherman.


LEMON: Tell me about. I mean, grew up in Sportsman Paradise or fisherman's paradise down in Louisiana. I watched fishing all the time. Every Saturday morning, you can pretty much catch me watching some type of fishing.

But last night, I know you spoke with the director of the tournament, Jason Fischer, on your podcast. This is what he said about his reaction and how shocked he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JASON FISCHER, LAKE ERIE WALLEYE TRAIL DIRECTOR: I got a little animated and just basically raw emotion came out at the time. And I said, get the out of here. And actually, I said get the F out of here. And then, at that moment, it turned into from a fishing tournament to a mob scene. I mean, these anglers, these guys that pour their heart and souls and money to this were just pissed.


LEMON: OK. So, Ross, I have to ask you, I mean, did he tell you why he was so suspicious? Because usually when I watch them do the scale, I know it's unofficial when they do the scale on the boat, right, but did he tell you --

ROBERTSON: Well, I think -- well, to answer your question, I think it really comes down to a lot of anglers kind of self-police, and there was just a lot of smoke, you know. But again, in today's day and age you can't make accusations to somebody unless you have some harder proof. But time and time again, there was just a lot of little signals. And a lot of the other anglers had actually filed protests. And one of the suspects there, he actually had failed a lie detector test. So, that kind of helped perpetuate this.

But I think a lot of what it came down to is people in that tournament fish can tell you this and people that don't probably can't is, to win is extremely difficult no matter how good you are. And so, to be very consistent, you know, that's -- I don't want to say easy but that's doable and believable, but to win like they have out of nowhere, that's like one in a billion to be honest.

LEMON: OK. So, wait, you said they failed a lie detector test, what was the lie detector test about? Did you cheat? Did you stuff your fish? Did you add extra -- what was the lie detector?

ROBERTSON: Well, I wasn't there for that but I know that any of these big prizes in fall there would be -- I believe this one, it was the Fall Brawl. So, first place is like $150,000 Ranger (INAUDIBLE), just like I drive every day. And, you know, when you are in the top five and you're getting a check, I think like third of fourth places, like 50,000 cash. So, they -- everyone has to take a lie detector test in that, and he did not pass that.

So -- but again, that is kind of a separate incident. But as you could imagine, this kind of adds to the drama in the whole situation.

LEMON: And the suspicion, right? So, listen, you mentioned the amount of money. And this particular prize, I think it was up to $29,000 in prize money. That is what was at stake here. Has the sport of competitive fishing become even more competitive and if so, why?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. You know, when I started, I didn't have YouTube to watch. You know, we had a couple of fishing shows like you talked about and they weren't focusing on education. Nowadays, the top professionals are teaching you about fishing. It's much easier for younger guys coming into the sport to learn much, much faster than what we did. And quite frankly, there is just a whole lot more money. And the egos are probably mixed in there too and you get that combination together and it's not always the best combination of end results when you get those three things.

LEMON: Listen, as I told you, as we were talking before, you know, the taping started, I've used to go fishing with my parents every weekend. And, you know, what is good about watching the shows is that you get to see the good part, when they catch the fish, you don't get to sit there all day waiting and waiting and waiting to get a bite, you know, for the cork to go down or whatever.

But listen, this is what is astounding here, is that these anglers, it's Chase Cominsky and Jake Runyan, they're a big deal in the Walleye fishing world, almost legendary. They came in first place in each of the three previous Lake Erie Walleye Trail events this year and they won several other tournaments. Does this call into question of their previous wins?

ROBERTSON: I think it does. And I mean, again, I am not here to judge people, but I don't know if I would say that they are legendary or, you know, this is kind of a regional or a local deal. You know, the Lake Erie Walleye Trail is an amazing organization, but it's still a club level deal. So, there's no one there making a living doing that, like some of the other tours.

But I mean, the elephant in the room, absolutely is that, you know, these guys had a lot of other suspect things and again, I'm not here to accuse people but I think most people, if you were to poll them, there's a lot of smoke, if you will, and a lot of the other things. And it definitely brings suspect to some of the other stuff, no doubt.

LEMON: Do you think their fishing careers are over?

ROBERTSON: Oh, Guaranteed. Yes.

LEMON: You do?

ROBERTSON: I mean, I can't speak for all of the organizations, but most of the major ones that I fished with throughout the years, if you have a blatant drastic cheating, where there is no questions like we do here, we're cutting, you know, fish open and there's weights coming out, other organizations will also not allow you in.


And obviously, this one has gotten -- we are sitting here talking about it. So, this one has gotten a lot more attention than it normally would. And it is a black eye for fishing a little bit. But to be honest, it's also -- it's a good thing, because here I am sitting and talking to you, I've talked with people all over the world literally about this, we've educated a little bit about tournament fishing, about wildlife fishing, the Lake Erie Walleye Trail, and, you know, I think maybe there's going to be some rule changes and things and hopefully, for the better for fishing. And we got to adopt this bias and looking at bigger and better things. LEMON: Ross, we appreciate you joining us. Thank you, sir. Best of luck to you. And hopefully, you won't have to come back and talk to us about this, right?

ROBERTSON: Next time we are talking, we're going to be doing it on a fishing boat.

LEMON: Thank you very much, I appreciate that. And we should note that CNN asked both fishermen for comment and neither responded. Thanks for watching everyone. Our coverage continues.