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Talks Continue for Hostage and Ceasefire Deal in Gaza; Rising West Bank Violence; New Russian Offensive and Frustration Towards the U.S. Congress Stalling Aid for Ukraine; Polish Farmers Block Ukraine Grains; Thousands of Brazilians Rally in Support of Jair Bolsonaro; Nikki Haley Stays in the Presidential Race; Russians Involved in Navalny's Death Sanctioned by Australia; Future Of Russian Opposition After Navalny; Mexico City Faces Severe Water Shortage Amid Low Rainfall. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired February 26, 2024 - 02:00   ET




ROSESMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world and to everyone streaming us on CNN Max, I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, as talks inch forward on a hostage and ceasefire deal for Gaza, Israel says its Rafah offensive will move forward, deal or no deal.

As the war in Ukraine rolls into its third year, Kyiv is shining a rare light on the staggering toll Russia's war has taken on its troops.

And Mexico City grapples with a severe water crisis, why experts are worried it could run out of water by summer.

Good to have you with us. And we begin in Israel, where the military has now presented a plan for evacuating civilians from the areas of fighting in Gaza. The Israeli Prime Minister's office said the IDF presented the war cabinet with an upcoming operational plan a short time ago. But it does not specifically mention the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israel has been planning a potential ground offensive.

CNN has not seen a copy of the plan yet. More than a million people are believed to be sheltering in Rafah, most of them displaced from other parts of Gaza. This comes as talks are expected to resume in Qatar in the coming hours to try to secure the release of more hostages in exchange for a pause in the fighting.

A senior White House official says the negotiators have come to an understanding on the broad outline of a potential deal. And for more, we want to go to journalist Elliott Gotkine who joins us live from London. Good morning to you, Elliott. So, what is the latest on those hostage and ceasefire talks set to resume today and the IDF plan to evacuate Palestinians from areas of fighting in southern Gaza? ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Rosemary, as you say, those talks set to

continue in Doha where they hope to iron out some of the thornier issues that have yet to be resolved between Israel and Hamas in terms of the details, whether it's the number of hostages to be released by Hamas or the number of Palestinian prisoners who would be released in exchange for the duration of the humanitarian pause in fighting.

And indeed, if Hamas is still sticking to its demands, which Israel derided as delusional for a complete cessation of hostilities and Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. Now, as we heard from Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser, saying that the broad understanding, this understanding of the contours of a potential deal had been reached in Paris.

So now I suppose they'll be really dealing with those details in Qatar. But as far as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned, even if a deal is reached, that ground operation in Rafah will still go ahead.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: If we have a deal and it'll be delayed somewhat, but it'll happen. If we don't have a deal, we'll do it anyway. It has to be done because total victory is our goal and total victory is within reach. Not months away, weeks away once we begin the operation.


GOTKINE: And so that operation, which the U.S. has said cannot go ahead until some kind of evacuation plan which protects civilians and gives them shelter and safety in other areas, something which seems to have now been presented to Israel's war cabinet. The U.S. has warned against that operation going ahead in the absence of any detailed plan, which it says it has yet to see.

And of course, evacuating a million plus people from Rafah to other areas is not going to be a walk in the park, not just because of the quantity of the people, but as you say, many of those Palestinians have been displaced several times already. They may feel or may have experienced personally that moving from one place to another doesn't result in them being any safer or at any less risk of being injured or killed.

And as a result of that, they may disincline to move. It may be hard to get all the information through to everyone. And some people just may not be able to move. So, it's going to be a very tall order for Israel to undertake. It is one that it says that it will do because it feels that in Rafah lies the final bastion, in its words, of Hamas, with those final few brigades of Hamas that it needs to destroy in order for it to be able to say that it has achieved its overriding, its most important war goal of destroying Hamas militarily so that it can never threaten Israel again with a massacre on the scale of October the 7th. Rosemary?

[02:05:03] CHURCH: Elliott Gotkine in London. Many thanks. The death toll from this conflict is also rising outside of Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health says more than 400 Palestinians have now been killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since October 7th, either by Israeli forces or settlers. That would include three Palestinians killed in the Jenin refugee camp this past week, which the IDF confirmed as part of what they described as a counter-terrorism raid.

And Nic Robertson met with the father of slain Palestinian-American teen Tawfic Abdel Jabbar, who was shot in the West Bank last month. His father says their family is still struggling for answers and trying to bring the person responsible for his son's killing to justice.




ABDEL JABBAR: Yeah, this is where -- where Tawfic was shot at.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): An American father, Hafez Abdel Jabbar, showing us his family land, where he says his son was murdered by an Israeli settler in January.

ABDEL JABBAR: He wasn't going to do anything wrong. Simply a barbecue, Friday prayer and come back home. And he's not a terrorist. He's an American-Palestinian kid full of life, wanted to do so much in his life.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): His son, Tawfic, was 17 years old, studying towards his dream job, NASA engineer. The family left Louisiana last spring, returning temporarily to their roots in the occupied West Bank. They visited their ancestral hilltop village home most years.

(On camera): All around the village, there are murals of Tawfic, remembered, immortalized, and underneath it says the smiling martyr.

(Voice-over): Tawfic's trauma increasingly common in the West Bank.

(On camera): And this is getting worse since October 7th.

ABDEL JABBAR: It is getting worse since October 7th, way worse.

ROBERTSON: They're turning it more like into Gaza.

ABDEL JABBAR: Exactly. They want to turn it to Gaza. You see the bullet?


(Voice-over): A month after Tawfic's death, Hafez is struggling to get justice. The single shot that killed his son, an exploding bullet entering the back of his head, clear in the CT scan of his brain. Photos of the crime scene and an investigation by the Palestinian Authority document 10 shots. Video shows what Hafez says is a soldier taking the final shot. An eyewitness says a settler took the first shot.

Israeli investigators say an off-duty police officer and an off-duty soldier were also present at the time of Tawfic's killing, but have yet to charge any of them. They say the investigation is ongoing.

ABDEL JABBAR: That's the problem that I'm facing right now, that we all face in here, that when they do such a thing and they're not stopped and they're not questioned, it's okay for them to do it again and again and again. And that's what keeps happening here. This is not the first kid that got shot and killed in the same area.

SARI BASHI, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Since October 7th, nearly 400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and Israeli settlers. There are currently 9,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons and jails.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Sari Bashi is an Israeli human rights expert living in the West Bank, has been tracking Israeli security force tactics there for more than a decade. Hamas's brutal October 7th attack, she believes, became a watershed for unprecedented Israeli violence in the West Bank.

BASHI: We have seen things piloted in Gaza and later moved to the West Bank in terms of the levels of violence, the airstrikes, the drone strikes in Gaza are starting to become much more frequent in the West Bank.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): And not just more aggressive and more frequent, but more audacious too, not to mention possibly illegal, according to U.N. experts. Like these covert Israeli special forces op in a hospital that killed three militants, believed to be planning an attack. The hospital says the men were sleeping when shot.

IDF diggers gouging up West Bank streets, rendering them unusable, akin to Gaza's battle-torn thoroughfares, also deepens fears the West Bank is worsening. The impact of Israel's actions, according to respected Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, is enabling groups like Hamas.

KHALIL SHIKAKI, DIRECTOR, PALESTINIAN CENTER FOR POLICY AND SURVEY RESEARCH (PCPSR): The West Bank is becoming more militant today than Gaza was before the war or today.

ROBERTON (on camera): Because of what the Israeli government is doing here?

SHIKAKI: Because of what the Israeli government is doing, what the army is doing and what the settlers are doing.

ABDEL JABBAR: Why are we supporting such a regime like that?

[02:09:54] ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hafeth is angry President Joe Biden isn't doing more to pressure Israel to rein in radical settler leaders like security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, whose party has called for the annexation of the West Bank.

The Israeli government maintains its military operations only target terror suspects, but settler violence has spiraled in recent months.

ABDEL JABBAR: These officials on TV from the Israeli government making these comments and passing (inaudible) from Ben-Gvir to these settlers, that's why they feel like they can do anything without being charged or without being stopped.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Impunity that is ripping irreversibly through his family.

ABDEL JABBAR: How can they forget their brother? Can they ever forget their brother? Can they ever forget who shot their brother? No. When I told my wife I want to have another Tawfic and I want my older son to get married and have another Tawfic.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Across the square from his family home that predates Israel's creation by more than 70 years is the town's cemetery.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Where Tawfic is buried, feet from two of Hafeth's uncles, whom he says were killed by settlers 36 years ago.

ABDEL JABBAR: That's a message to them, to the Israeli government. We're not going nowhere. Even if you put all of us right here, generations will come and free this country from you guys.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Defiance, yes, but beneath it, a father struggling.

ABDEL JABBAR: When do I see him again? When do I see my 17-years-old again? When do I get to see him again? That's the minute that I, right now, I think about. I don't think about money. I don't think about businesses anymore. I don't think about anything else other than when do I see my son again?

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Nic Roberson, CNN, the West Bank.


CHURCH: Just days into the third year of Russia's war on Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky is warning that Moscow could attempt a new offensive in a matter of months. The Ukrainian leader says his troops will prepare for that possibility, even as they face ongoing attacks, including a wave of strikes over the weekend. But Ukraine's efforts on the battlefield are being hampered by a diminishing supply of ammunition and weapons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMAN, ARTILLERY UNIT COMMANDER (through translation): The number used to be entirely different. Cut a long story short, my warehouse was full of munitions. There were hundreds. Now what we have left is about 20 percent and deliveries are much less frequent than before.


CHURCH: And Ukraine's defense minister says as the fighting grinds on, half of Western arms deliveries to Ukraine do not arrive on time. Now, aid that is critical to Ukraine's fight has stalled in the U.S. Congress. And on Tuesday, President Joe Biden is preparing to meet with the top four congressional leaders as the White House pushes for action.

Zelensky expressed his frustration over the stalled aid as he spoke one on one with CNN's Kaitlan Collins.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Senator J.D. Vance, who was in Munich at the security conference but didn't meet with you, he said that even if you got the $60 billion in aid, it is not going to fundamentally change the reality on the battlefield. What's your response to that?

ZELENSKY: I'm not sure that he understands what's going on here. And we don't need any rhetoric from people who are not deeply, you know, in the war. So, to understand it is to come to the front line to see what's going on, to speak with the people, then to go to civilians to understand what will be with them, and then what will be with them without this support. And he will understand that millions of people have been killed, will be killed.

COLLINS: So, he doesn't understand it?

ZELENSKY: Because he doesn't understand it. Of course, God bless you don't have the war on your territory.


CHURCH: And a rare admission from Zelensky on the human toll the war has taken on his country's military. The Ukrainian president said 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died in the war with Russia and disputed Russian claims of much higher casualty numbers. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is following developments and has more now from Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky using this first day of the third year of Ukraine's war to offer a tragic number for the first time an official count of casualties in Ukraine's military since the start of this full-scale invasion -- 31,000 is the number he gave.


I think it's fair to say that's less than some Western analysis has suggested might be the case, but it's also far less from what he said was the Russian casualty figure, about a fifth or a sixth of the number that Russia, he says, have indeed suffered. And he also used this opportunity to, I think, sound a note of Ukrainian resilience, thanking families who've lost loved ones for the sacrifice that they've endured, but also to express frustration, if not even anger, frankly, at exactly how Western aid has been held up indeed.

What's so utterly key and what he was quite explicit in, not quite condemning but being disappointed in, is the $60 billion that Congress won't even begin to think about voting on until later on next week. Here's what he had to say.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (through translation): We don't accept this finale to fight for our life. If Ukraine will lose, and if it will be very difficult for us, if there'll be a big amount of victims, depends on you, on our partners, on the Western world. If we'll be strong enough with the weapons, we won't lose this war. We will win this war. I have hope about the U.S. Congress, and I'm sure that it will be a positive solution. Otherwise, I don't understand which world we're living.


WALSH: Now, Zelensky really has a difficult job to do. In all of the speeches he's been making around this anniversary, he has to be clear that Ukraine thinks it can continue to fight without Western assistance, the $60 billion level it needs from the United States, but it also has to sound the alarm that they really are struggling without that assistance.

And I think today we saw a president probably, I think, without openly saying it, shocked that they're at this particular stage, desperately waiting for the West to step in, but trying to suggest that Ukraine is able to move forwards and thanking those who've lost loved ones in the fight that they've had.

CHURCH: The tension between Poland and Ukraine over cheap Ukrainian agricultural exports is continuing unabated, a devastating effect. Officials in both countries confirmed that around 160 tons of Ukrainian grain was dumped out of train cars and destroyed on Sunday. Ukraine's deputy prime minister says the grain was in transit to the port of Gdansk and then to other countries.

He says it's the fourth case of vandalism and impunity at Polish railway stations. This month, Polish farmers have protested against the cheap grain, saying it's unfair competition. They've blocked border crossings and motorways, and several Ukrainian grain shipments have been destroyed. On Friday, Ukraine's prime minister offered a plan to ease the tensions saying his country is open to dialogue.

Still ahead, the streets of Sao Paulo turn into a sea of yellow in a show of support for the former Brazilian president accused of trying to stage a coup. We'll have details on that after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) [02:20:00]

CHURCH: On Sunday, former Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, led a big rally of his supporters in Sao Paulo. He's continuing to deny allegations he took part in a coup to try to stay in power. Last year, Brazil's highest electoral court barred Bolsonaro from running for political office until 2030. He spoke at Sunday's rally and said he did nothing wrong.


JAIR BOLSONARO, FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): They continue to accuse me of a coup. Now the coup is because there's a draft of a state of emergency decree. A coup using the constitution? Have holy patience. A coup using the constitution. I make it clear that the state of siege begins with the president of the republic convening the republic and defense councils. Did this happen? No.


CHURCH: For more on Bolsonaro's show of strength in the streets of Sao Paulo, we have this report from CNN Brazil's Iuri Pitta.

IURI PITTA, CNN BRASIL: After some of his closest aides have been arrested on February the 8th, Bolsonaro called a demonstration at Paulista Avenue and called for his supporters to be beside him so that he could make a political defense after these investigations of an attempted coup d'etat to keep him in power and avoid Lula to take office.

Bolsonaro arrived at Paulista Avenue a few minutes before 3:00 p.m. And after some congressmen and Sao Paulo governor Tarcisio de Freitas made their speech, Bolsonaro talked for around 20 minutes to his supporters. He denied that he was trying to stay in power after using a coup d'etat or benefited by a coup d'etat.

And he said that Congress should approve a bill to some kind of amnesty or to pardon people who are already arrested for destroying buildings in Brasilia, Brazil's federal capital, that were attacked on January the 8th in 2023, just a week after Lula took office.

Bolsonaro also said he defended his government and asked his supporters to vote in this year's local elections and 2023 (ph) presidential and general elections to some of his allies. Iuri Pitta, CNN Brasil.

CHURCH: Republicans and Democrats will hold primaries in Michigan on Tuesday, but all eyes will be on the GOP race. Donald Trump won South Carolina's Republican primary on Saturday with nearly 60 percent of the vote, while rival Nikki Haley got just over 39 percent. The influential Koch network says it will now stop donating to Haley's presidential bid and shift its focus to House and Senate races. Here's what the Republican governor of Texas predicts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GREG ABBOTT, GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: You can see the trajectory that President Trump is on. And after defeating Nikki Haley so badly in South Carolina, he's on a pathway to win these other states, win Super Tuesday, and be able to have the nomination clenched by the middle part of March. Listen, the party is far more unified behind President Trump at this particular time than it has been in any other race that he's had.


CHURCH: But Haley insists she is staying in the race through the multi-state Super Tuesday voting on March 5th. Just over a third of the delegates required for the presidential nomination are assigned that day. She also argues that her South Carolina vote total shows Republican support for Trump is not universal.


NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You look at those first early states. They can say Donald Trump won. I give them that. But he, as a Republican incumbent, didn't get 40 percent of the vote of the primary. He's not going to get the 40 percent if he is not willing to change and do something that acknowledges the 40 percent. And why should the 40 percent have to cave to him?



CHURCH: Building a movement, my next guest takes a closer look at the legacy of opposition figure Alexei Navalny following his death behind bars in Russia. Do stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Australia has now imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on seven Russian prison officers it accuses of mistreating Alexei Navalny at a Siberian penal colony. The Putin critic died behind bars on February 16th. And Australia says these are the next steps in holding accountable those responsible for grave breaches in Navalny's human rights.

The deputy prime minister also says Australia holds Vladimir Putin and the Russian government responsible for Navalny's treatment and death in custody. The Kremlin denies having anything to do with his death.

Masha Gessen is a staff writer at "The New Yorker" and the author of 11 books including "The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia." Thank you so much for joining us.


CHURCH: So, in the wake of Alexei Navalny's death, you wrote a piece in "The New Yorker" last week saying his apparent murder doesn't suggest Vladimir Putin feels weak, but rather that Putin feels strong and optimistic about his own future. Why do you think that's the case? GESSEN: So, there's a temptation to conflate two things. One is

Putin's fear and the other one is his weakness. So, Putin is definitely afraid. He's been afraid of Navalny for many, many years. He's been afraid of protests for many, many years. He's been afraid of the world's attention for many, many years. And Navalny brought all of these things together.

So, the murder of Navalny, just as his arrest before that, were indications of just how afraid Putin is of Navalny.

But here's the thing. When a dictator is afraid, when a dictator is paranoid, that has a way of making him stronger because he takes preemptive measures that prevent any kind of threat, and the actual threat to his grip on power.


Putin's grip on power is strong. The levers to -- for protesters, for dissidents for Western powers to remove him from power are nonexistent. So just because he's afraid doesn't mean he's objectively weak.

CHURCH: And Navalny's wife, Iulia, is vowing to follow in his footsteps and continue his fight

What could that potentially mean? Do you think for Putin and for the fight against his hold on power?

GESSEN: Well, I think Iulia, like her late husband, Alexei, before her is playing the long game. Nothing that she can do in exile at the moment can threatened Putin's hold on power, but what she is going to try to do is continue a movement, continued conversation, maintain a vision of a future of Russia that's possible without Putin. Xi or any movement she leads, as capable as I think she is. In fact, of leading movements, that's not going to bring down Putin. The kind of regime that Putin has built can only collapse under its own weight, or with the help of the West if it is militarily defeated by Ukraine, which is also not sending terribly likely.

But when it's over, when Putinism is over, what's going to be there in its place. And I think what Iulia Navalny has the best, best chance of doing is creating an understanding, creating a network, creating a sense of Russians speaking Russia identified community, whether inside or outside of Russia, that can be there when puts in his must finally over.

And what do you think Navalny's legacy is and how do you expect to his death to impact the upcoming election if at all?

GESSEN: Well, there's no election, right? Even calling it an election as absurd. Putin is going to be re-elected for his fifth totally unconstitutional term as the president of Russia. Like none of these things should actually will he be used or understood his face value.

So, there's no election, that there's no -- so therefore, it's not going to influence it in any way. What Navalny's legacy is a more interesting question. Navalny's legacy is the legacy of building a democratic movement, an actual political movement. As if such a thing where possible during a time when one democratic mechanisms, when electoral mechanisms, when the public sphere huddle seemingly been completely destroyed that is an extraordinary achievement so extraordinary that he had to be killed. But for somebody to have built a movement that had a presence in every single region of the vast Russian empire that produced material, for example, Navalny's film about Putin's palace on the Black Sea, that was viewed by every single adult. And Russia to have become a politician, had 100 percent name recognition in Russia despite Russia being a totalitarian state, that is an extraordinary achievement, and it shows us what is possible once somebody is charismatic, inventive, and fearless.

CHURCH: And you knew Navalny, didn't you? You wrote about a conversation you had with him on the fundamental nature of Putin and his regime, Navalny calling them crooks and thieves, you calling the murderers and terrorists. What are your thoughts on that conversation now?

GESSEN: Well, yeah, I knew Navalny for many years, not we weren't close friends, but we had conversations regularly over the course of probably about a decade. And after Navalny came out of a coma, in which was precipitated by his poisoning, which was an attempt to assassination with a chemical weapon, Novichok, so Navalny had been airlifted to Germany.

He was in a coma for about six weeks. He came out of the coma and I interviewed him for the New Yorker and I went back to a question that we had debated earlier, which was what is the nature of the regime? Navalny called Putin and his cronies crooks and thieves. And he called Putin's party the party of crooks and thieves.


And I thought that was a way of trivializing the regime. I thought it was a regime of murderers and terrorists. So I said, you know, now, are you convinced that they're murderers and terrorists? And he said no. No, they killed to protect their wealth.

And I think this was what he believed. I think he believed that they were motivated primarily by greed. I think it was wrong. I think there are motivated primarily by power and by fear and I think that's what makes the murderers. It's not, you know, it's not a deep disagreements. I think he has being wrong was probably part of what enabled him to be so fearless.

I think there was a part of him that believed that he could go back to Russia and survive for however long Putin was going to keep him in prison perhaps because he didn't believe that these people were fundamentally murderers, but they are.

CHURCH: Masha Gessen, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

GESSEN: Thank you for having me. CHURCH: Mexico City residents are struggling amid severe water shortages, with experts warning the region could run out of drinking water in the coming months. We'll have details, when we come back.


CHURCH: Mexico City, one of Latin America's largest cities is facing a severe water crisis. The city is struggling to cope after years of low rainfall blamed on climate change chaotic urban growth and an outdated infrastructure. Now authorities have introduced significant restrictions on water pumped from reservoirs.

Gustavo Valdes has details.


GUSTAVO VALDES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lorena Cruz knows she's breaking the law every time she pulls water from this underground reservoir.


VALDES: She says it is a miracle the city tank has water and without it, the whole neighborhood would suffer because they've got no running water for over a month.

And the city she says still wants them to pay for the surface.

Lorena and her neighbors are not the only ones struggling to find water for their basic needs. Old 21 million residents in Mexico City's metropolitan area are experiencing shortages in part because of a severe drought. Mexico's capital gets its water from two sources he system of reservoirs known as Cutzamala, and underground aquifers.


VALDES: Raul Rodriguez Marquez, director of the Consejo Consultivo del Agua, a civic organization promoting water conservation says, the reservoirs are at historic low levels, well below 40 percent capacity and the aquifers are over extracted.


Part of the problem has been drier than normal rain season that typically run from May to August. And experts say the situation can worse and for the city built over lakebed before the Spaniards arrived five centuries ago.

Some experts warn the city could run out of water this summer on what it's being cold day zero.

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. This means those claims calling them an attempt from the opposition to influence the presidential election in June and said, his government is working to get more water to the city. The city's mayor assured residents that the water supply is guaranteed. But frustrated residents have taken to the streets in protest and many neighborhoods depend on water delivered by trucks. Some paid by the government. Many paid by local residents.

Maria Mernia Collin (ph) says each drug costs about $200 and it's just enough for 20 days of water for a handful of families. If they use it wisely and recycle, like using water from washing dishes to flush toilets. But the lack of rain is not the only reason experts say Mexico City is suffering from water shortages. A study by Universidad Autonoma de Mexico shows that 40 percent of the water supply is lost due to leaks. Some because of breakage of pipes during the frequent earthquakes. Some because the city still relies on pipes over 100 years old.


VALDES: Rodriguez Marquez says that instead of investing to improve the infrastructure, the money spent on water project has decreased for many years.

We CONAGUA, Mexico's national water management agency, and they declined our request for an interview. They also declined to answer the written questions we submitted about the water supply levels and the state of the infrastructure for now, the government will continue to ration distribution and continues to call on its citizens to conserve the precious liquid, forcing residents to patiently wait for water to come their way or get what they need, wherever they can.

Gustavo Valdez, CNN, Atlanta


CHURCH: Thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church.

"WORLD SPORT" is up next then, then I'll be back in 15 minutes with more CNN NEWSROOM.

Please stick around.