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CNN International: Hope Dims for Survivors as Death Toll Tops 22,000 in Quake; Hope for Survivors Fading as Death Toll Tops 22,000; Ukraine Makes do with Some of West's Obsolete Weapons; U.S.: Balloon was Capable of Monitoring Communications; Crews Pull Teenaged Sisters from Rubble four plus days after Quake. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired February 10, 2023 - 08:00   ET




BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CNN "Newsroom", I'm Bianca Nobilo in London in for Max Foster. Hope is turning to despair in Turkey and Syria. The staggering death toll has now topped 22,000 with tens of thousands injured. Rescues are slowly shifting to recovery four days after the devastating earthquake struck Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. We've seen desperate heartbroken families join the search, some have suffered unimaginable loss.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My whole family died my father; mother, brother, sister and nephew. I can't believe this. I can't believe this. People I can't believe this. Yesterday we pulled out my mother and brother dead. And today we pulled out my sister, my nephew and my father.


NOBILO: Rescues are still happening. Crews in Turkey pull two teenage sisters from the rubble some 100 hours after the quake struck. Rescuers say that they kept them conscious by talking about getting ice cream and playing their favorite music. On top of all the death and destruction is the growing humanitarian crisis.

Tens of thousands of people are now homeless in the freezing cold with little food, water and medicine. No matter how much aid is getting through. It is nowhere near enough. One U.N. official says people in Turkey and Syria need more of absolutely everything CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Endless lines on the road Iskenderun a devastated cities cry for help answered by a nation in shock, united in pain. These men tell us through drove more than eight hours carrying diapers, water and bread. Whatever they can do to help strangers who all they need can get destruction in every corner of the city. No building spared Mother Nature's wrath. KARADSHEH (on camera): So even in this part of the city where buildings are still standing, you can see that there are cracks all over these buildings. They've sustained damage. So we're going to have to walk through here really fast. We just don't know how stable these structures are right now.

KARADSHEH (voice over): In seconds like shattered, livelihoods destroyed a city and its people left broken.

SERVER ONEN, ISKENDERUN RESIDENT: I'm confused. I don't know how to view, senseless.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Server has been out here searching for his friend. The only one left under the wreckage of this apartment building. No professional rescue is here just volunteers joining floor plans for their search in the dirt.

ONEN: First day I was really hopeful. But this is the fourth day I'm getting out of hope.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Even happy endings here are overshadowed by the collective grief. Buraq flew back from his home in London to find his sister and other relatives. It's a miracle they made it out. They were buried under the rubble for 15 hours he tells us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm speechless, to be honest. I'm in the dream, a very bad dream. Then I'm hearing you know so many of our friends dying here. So many relatives are dying. My feelings are all collapsed. I'm only breathing at the moment.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Around the corner we find Suhail overseeing the search mission here for days. He's desperately been trying to get his parents out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our government helps but it's not enough, obviously. So we are trying to get our people by our own and we need you. We need everyone who can come and help us.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Suhail tells us he saw his mother's leg under the rubble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not able to reach her. She's there I see her but I cannot touch her. I understand my mother is that. I'm trying to get my mother.

KARADSHEH (voice over): With every passing hour for many here of the agonizing ends. As the gut wrenching reality sinks in. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Iskenderun, Turkey


NOBILO: Salma Abdelaziz joins us live now from Istanbul with more of the developments. Salma, there has been anger directed towards President Erdogan in the speed of this rescue and recovery effort. What can you tell us about the latest efforts to try and save as many people as humanly possible? SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's truly extraordinary Bianca that we're still seeing people being pulled out some of them relatively unharmed from the rubble of their homes. And I know there's so much anguish and grief on the ground.


ABDELAZIZ: But it is these stories of survival that are keeping people here in Turkey going. I want to bring you one of those stories of family of six if we could pull up that video, a family of six rescued after 102 hours, since this quake, you're going to see in that video, there's one man standing by looking at the rescue.

That is the son, the only member of the family that wasn't at home. When the building collapse when the earthquake happened two parents and four children all pulled out again, given to treatment. You can see that huge crowd how much it means to them to be able to see this family alive.

One more story of survival. And again, this one being repeated, replayed on television here in Turkey. This is about two teenage girls who were also pulled out alive. Today, you have video there of little Ifa (ph), she's 15-years-old, she's trapped, wedged between two pieces of concrete.

Rescue workers, you can kind of see how difficult these operations are. That was a 10-hour operation to get Ifa out. And you can see how these rescue workers approach this difficult work with such compassion, Bianca. They're talking to her they're asking her what she wants. She says she wants ice cream.

They asked her what flavor they're going to get her they promised they're going to get it to her as soon as she gets out. They play her favorite song and it's extraordinary to imagine that these first responders, some of them haven't slept, except for a few hours now, nearly five days into the fifth day of this crisis. And again, these stories mean so much to a country so devastated, so heartbroken by this unprecedented disaster.

NOBILO: Yes, Salma, and you just think this is one or two young people that we're hearing about and how the entire trajectory of that life will be affected by the trauma that they have to endure. Thank you so much for your reporting. And CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from Antakya, Turkey.

Nick, I understand that you've been out at some field hospitals today. What can you tell us about the way that health workers and volunteers are mobilizing to try and help whoever they can protect prevent against a secondary humanitarian disaster?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, look, I mean, at this point, Bianca, they're still in moments of trying to find the last survivors. And so the outside of field hospital we went to there was a helipad, which was still receiving survivors from the rubble. Some of them incredibly young, in one instance, three-year-old girl and her two-month old sister carried by an ambulance onto the helicopter. At a time, this helicopter is trying to take off to deliver their urgent load to hospitals, out in parts of Turkey. Remember, so many of the hospitals here have been damaged, some without power, some struggling to perform basic services.

But those helicopters would have to slow down their landing, wait for another ambulance to turn up in another instance to we saw a stretcher, incredibly light. It looks I wonder what could possibly be on it. And it was two infants carried on one stretcher passed by hand into the helicopter, eventually taking off 15 people we saw in about an hour or so being loaded on to this constant stream of helicopters.

But that's the slim piece of good news here, were behind me the rubble is predominantly being demolished, excavated through by machinery that's just trying to get the job done of how possibly the city can think about getting back to normal or even constantly, how bad the damage is.

The right brief moments, yes, still of survival but so much of what we see is lost here and grief. Bodies being brought out in large numbers and taken to a place outside of town and so I think today has been a particularly complex one for this city of millions because now I think the panic and grief possibly is beginning to close.

And now the assessment is quite how life can possibly begin to exist here in any meaningful way moving forwards given nearly every building you look at here. Across most of the town that we've seen, is damaged in some way or at the very best has a huge question mark over its structural integrity going forwards.

Yes, the machinery of government is here with the helicopters with the sound of constant ambulance sirens wherever you go. But there's also a real urgent need for people to use to make do for themselves. The thick smoke in the air times choking from the fires many make just to keep warm even during the day with sunlight.

Now even worse, that work and burning well they can find from the rubble of their own homes searches for food, water, relatively easy to find, but the ultimate question nobody seems able to answer properly yet is where do they all live? If none of these buildings can be trusted, in the years ahead.

How possibly can life return here in a meaningful fashion? Still, you see people going back trying to stay by their possessions what remains of their life. But it is a devastating change here and it is not just one neighborhood in one city. 10 separate cities affected in some way. Often whole neighborhood streets are uninhabitable now.


WALSH: And millions of people struggle to answer the basic questions of their daily life where they're going to eat where they're going to sleep what water they can possibly drink, let alone children and school and other things that might now in this world consider being a luxury question to ask you.

A devastated part of the world and they're just beginning to work out the answer to what next? Now, that the awful and tragic hunt for survivors seems to be slowing and the window for survival closing, Bianca.

NOBILO: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you. Ukraine's Air Force says that Russia has launched a massive missile attack. The strikes have hit Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia. These images show just some of the damage from Zaporizhzhia. And it comes after Russia also targeted Ukraine's critical energy infrastructure overnight using drones and cruise missiles.

The attacks have caused power disruptions across the country. Air Defense Systems in Kyiv and Lviv have also been operating throughout the morning. So let's go there now, our Senior International Correspondent, David McKenzie is in Kyiv. David, how much of a departure or uptick in strikes and violence from Russia are we seeing?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, it's certainly a significant uptick. As you heard there from the Air Force there's been a volley of missiles from the sea, from the air and from the ground, from a Russian forces attacking all over Ukraine and the east and the south there in the far west, and apparently also here in the capital region.

Now the Air Force says they've been very successful considering the volley of missiles and drone attacks of intercepting many of those strikes 61 or so of the 70 odd attacks have been down. They say by Russian, I mean by Ukrainian air defenses, but it is a very significant uptick.

Certainly the biggest such attack in several weeks. Now it does appear as you say that the Russian forces are trying to continue attacking energy infrastructure, at least two hydro plants were struck or attempted to be struck by the Russians. At this stage, the Ukrainians have been remarkably successful, keeping the power on large parts of the country.

There have been planned outages ahead of the strikes to try and mitigate the impact to the power system. But it does speak to this strategy of trying to cripple the energy infrastructure in this country as people anticipate a possible spring surge of attacks from the Russians, particularly in the northeast of this campaign. So far limited casualties, it seems from today's attacks, but they were air raid sirens, all across the Capitol and across the country, as they were trying to intercept these attacks, Bianca.

NOBILO: And David, you mentioned the anticipated renewed push from Russia, which is expected to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine coming up in under a fortnight now. What are you hearing from Ukrainian intelligence and military sources about what they expect this volume of strikes and violence and when you push in the east to do over the coming days?

MCKENZIE: Well, it's certainly hard to put a set your alarm clock to when in fact a large offensive by the Russians or the Ukrainians counter offensive will begin. Certainly there is a sense from Intelligence Officials and Ukrainian Military Officials that there's an increase in shelling in the northeast, particularly of the campaign.

But there isn't yet this sustained offensive that people have been expecting, possibly anticipating in the weeks ahead. What will happen when it happens if it happens, and you've found that the expectations are sometimes in this case, pushed by both militaries to try and see how they will react? But at this stage, there has been an increase in volleys of attacks, but not necessarily a large scale offensive that we might be anticipating, Bianca.

NOBILO: Yes, David, you make a good point. Sometimes there can be an overemphasis on sort of dates and anniversaries, but then it points it does appear to be a focal point for the Russians. David McKenzie in Kyiv thank you so much.

And on the battlefield, Western Military Aid has been a lifeline for Ukraine, but some of the weapons provided to Kyiv were made decades ago. Sam Kiley reports on how Ukrainians are making do with military equipment from another era.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Carrying weapons designed 75 years ago, these Ukrainians are grateful that they're training with an American vehicle, even if it's from another age. They're a mixture of combat veterans and relatively new recruits, but all have been fighting in Ukraine's Eastern front with Russia in the cauldrons of Bakhmut and Soledar.


KILEY (voice over): The Commander in Chief, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has begged the West for modern NATO standard equipment and he's been given some modern weapons but not the strategic weapons like long range missiles and jets that he says he needs. Meanwhile, Ukraine's war is expected to intensify and Ukrainians make do with old Soviet weapons.

And workhorse hand me downs like these M113s, aluminum troop carriers, which the U.S. army started using in 1960. About 400 have been given to Ukraine by the U.S. and others. This has been patched up since it took a direct hit in Bakhmut, where the top gunner was killed.

They say that it's old. Well, it looks old, but it just looks battered, but it does the job 100 percent, he tells me. Ukraine has been given better air defenses, better artillery, better missile systems than it had before. But Zelenskyy said that's not enough in any way. It's not the best equipment, often, not even second best.

KILEY (on camera): The Ukrainian Military are keen to stress that they're really, really grateful for all in any help that they're given. These armored personnel carriers from America are better than some of what they started the war with. And they're an important part of the battlefield replacement. They've been here since the summer this one already needs a new engine.

KILEY (voice over): Ukraine captures a lot of what it needs from Russia. It's desperately cannibalizing ancient equipment for parts, like a 20th century nation under siege, not a nation that's backed by America and by NATO allies. Making do is what Ukraine has done. Privately though commanders here make it clear that it's going to take more than an iron will and hand me down weapons for them to win this war. Sam Kiley, CNN in Southern Ukraine.


NOBILO: Russia says it will cut its oil production in March by half a million barrels per day approximately 5 percent of its output. The move comes just two months after Western nations imposed a price cap on some Russian oil. In a statement announcing the cut Moscow called the price cap Western interference in the energy market and the continuation of the West "Destructive energy policy".

Still to come on the show, China is speaking out what Beijing is saying after the U.S. House unanimously voted to condemn the use of a suspected spy balloon in U.S. airspace.



NOBILO: Beijing is blasting the U.S. House Resolution passed on Thursday that symbolically condemned China for violating U.S. airspace with a suspected spy balloon that flew across the country last week. The FBI is now analyzing parts of that balloon that was shut down last Saturday. And earlier the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused Washington of using the incident as political theater.


MAO NING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON: To regard to the unexpected incident of the unmanned civilian Chinese aircraft accidentally entering U.S. airspace due to force majeure. China has explained the situation many times and stated its position. The U.S. House Resolution is pure political manipulation and hype. China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposes it.


NOBILO: China there keeping up its persistent denial saying the airship was of a civilian nature. But one senior U.S. official says the balloon was capable of monitoring U.S. communications and belongs to a fleet that has flown over more than 40 countries on five continents.

Jim Sciutto is joining us live from Washington D.C. Jim, it was difficult enough to map and locate the debris that this balloon caused. But now attention turns to its potential capabilities and mission.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Early on, the Pentagon had said it had a limited surveillance capability. But as we learn more new details, it appears that capability may be more so than initially assessed. So let's get into the some of the details here for one source is telling us that it was able not just to intercept communications, but also to geo locate those communications where they were coming from perhaps where they going to.

Useful intelligence for someone watching, particularly U.S. Military installations here in the U.S., but had other capabilities as well. Able to take better photos, more detailed photos than a satellite at a higher altitude, including, as I'm told 3-D photos, something you could do when you're not taking pictures from space, but a little bit closer.

In addition to that able to steer and to hover over targets that it might have on the ground here. Again, that gives you more time to gather or at least attempt to gather signals intelligence communications, but also to take better photos to get better images of things you might be looking at it on the ground.

Why is this all significant, because when you look at the path of this balloon over the U.S., it went over a number of sensitive sites, military installations up in Montana? There's an ICBM base up there, you come down in Missouri, Whiteman Air Force Base, that's where the B-2 bomber, stealth bombers base.

You come in to North Carolina, South Carolina number of military installations here, Fort Bragg, U.S. special forces, Camp Lejeune, and others. This is why as the U.S. looks at this. And then by the way, I should also note, Bianca that this was not just one balloon.

It's the U.S. view is part of a network of surveillance balloons that China has deployed all over the U.S. before but also other parts of the world that we're learning more and as you learn more, it appears that this balloon was more capable than initially described.

NOBILO: Absolutely fascinating. Jim Sciutto thank you so much for that report. Crews continue to find survivors of that massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria, but hundreds of rescued children may now find themselves without family. Next we'll have a report from UNICEF.



NOBILO: Back now to our top story, Turkish officials announced on Friday that they've been unable to reach the families of hundreds of children who have been rescued following Monday's massive earthquake. And even now days after the quake and against the odds crews continue to find some survivors.

After a 10-hour rescue operation in Antalya, Turkey crews pulled two teenage sisters from the rubble alive. During the rescue firefighters played music that one of the girls requested and she also told firefighters that she missed eating ice cream. CNN crews have been capturing the joyous response when survivors are found alive and the sheer heartbreak when it becomes apparent that a loved one didn't make it. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh takes us through some of these scenes unfolding in Antakya, Turkey.


WALSH (voice over): 80 hours in and in Antakya any sign of hope will do. Rescuers rush in these buildings first three floors have collapsed down but left their upper floors up right and - aged eight is inside, possibly alive. By the time they get her to the ambulance though, it's clear they were too late. Her mother outside, only able to watch her everything vanishes. My little one, she says don't take her, don't let her get lost.

Antakya's streets are chilling patchwork of what's left standing and what's not left. In its ruins, anxious crowds of rescuers and locals thinking they heard someone alive, demanding silence so they can listen again. Down here is Ahmed, the Rescuers say alert, responsive a Syrian refugee.

The building next to him barely hanging on at an angle their work desperately wishing it was quicker. Across the city, hell has landed, this man guarding his neighbor's books with his father in law next to the body of his mother in law. He gestures behind him to where he wants lived.

WALSH (on camera): It's kind of hard to get your head around just how inhabitable a city of this size has become so fast. Literally every street you walk down has a scene like this and the roads out while they're jammed full of people trying to get away to safety because the building still could collapse. And the roads and rescuers, people even trying to get their possessions back. And those who've stayed lining every part of the green spaces we can find with tents to try and stay warm.

WALSH (voice over): The trees, perhaps in just enough space away from buildings that could crumble. A new world for children smiling, neither oblivious, nor somehow shaken too hard dusk and the smoke of fire settles with the dust to choke the streets. But back where we were an hour earlier, there has been relief.