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Russia At Least 133 Dead, "Death Toll Will Rise Further"; Russia Suggests, With No Evidence, Ukraine Was Involved; Biden Urges House Lawmakers To Pass $60B Ukraine Aid Bill; William And Kate Enormously Touched By Public Support; Despair Grows As Gangs Control Most Of Haiti's Capital. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 24, 2024 - 05:00   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to all you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is "CNN Newsroom."

The death toll from the terror attack at a Russian concert hall is expected to rise still higher as Moscow tries to shift the blame without evidence to Ukraine.

Back to normal for now, President Biden signs a bill to keep the government open but both sides have reasons to be unhappy and another fight is looming. And Pope Francis is expected to preside at Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican after a recent health problems led him to scale back some appearances

ANNOUNCER: Live from Atlanta, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: The death toll from the terror attack at a Russian concert hall is now 133 and officials say they expect it to go even higher.

Russia has declared Sunday a national day of mourning. People have been placing flowers and stuffed animals outside the hall to remember the victims. Investigators say they've arrested the four alleged gunmen and seven other people. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and an ISIS affiliated news agency has released graphic video that purports to show the attack.

Now, CNN has decided not to show that video. We have geo located the video to the concert hall, but the videos identifying metadata has been erased. CNN Senior International Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen has more on the attacks and the aftermath.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The burnt-out shell of the Crocus City Hall just outside Moscow, even half a day after the attacks, parts of the rubble still smoldering. The local governor surveying the places where gunmen killed so many. Two here and three there, Governor Andrey Vorobyov asks. Three here, they say. Hundreds of firefighters still on the scene of what Russian President Vladimir Putin called, quote, "a bloody and barbaric attack." His security services on high alert.

PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): In all regions of the country, additional antiterrorists and antisabotage measures have been introduced. The main thing now is to prevent those who are behind this bloodbath from committing a new crime.

PLEITGEN: It was Friday evening when the attackers went on their rampage, firing at people point blank, eyewitnesses say, killing men, women, and children, then setting the concert hall ablaze. Friends and family standing by hoping for news of their loved ones. Authorities searching for the many still missing.

I don't know what to do, this man says, desperate for news of his wife. I feel completely hopeless.

Moscow's hospitals flooded with dozens of injured. Russian authorities say the death toll will likely continue to rise.


PLEITGEN: The U.S. said it had warned Moscow about the threat of a terror attack and ISIS has claimed responsibility. But Russian authorities seem intent on blaming someone else. After several arrests overnight, the Kremlin pointing the finger at Kyiv.

PUTIN (through translator): All four direct perpetrators of the terrorist attack, all those who shot and killed people were found and detained. They tried to hide and moved towards Ukraine where according to preliminary data a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side to cross the state border.

PLEITGEN: Ukraine denies the allegations. Kyiv saying they had nothing to do with the attack. Near the scene of the attack, many are laying flowers in memory of the victims. Vladimir Putin has declared Sunday a day of mourning, promising a Russia united in grief, and retribution and oblivion for those behind the attack.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN Berlin


BRUNHUBER: And CNN's Clare Sebastian has covered Russia extensively and she joins us now from London. So Clare, as we heard there Putin keen to tie Ukraine to this attack. What's Ukraine's response been?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've been pretty flatly denying it, Kim, the defense intelligence saying on Saturday that this was absurd that any suggestion this came, of course, from President Putin, that the attackers were trying to escape across the Ukrainian border was simply impossible because this is essentially a front line in this conflict now. It's teeming with soldiers and intelligence officers. And then we've got extremely strong words from President Zelenskyy as well, basically accusing Putin of trying to just pin the blame on anyone. Take a listen.



VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): They have brought hundreds of thousands of their own terrorists here on Ukrainian land to fight against us, and they don't care about what is happening inside their own country. Yesterday, as all this happened instead of dealing with his fellow Russian citizens addressing them, the wimp Putin was silent for 24 hours thinking about how to tie this to Ukraine. It's all absolutely predictable.


SEBASTIAN: So this I think gets to the heart or at least hints at it of Putin's relationship with his people that he is the provider of security in return for their acceptance of ever greater state control over their lives. I think, look, there -- what may well be questions in the wake of this as to how this attack, the biggest in Russia in over 20 years was able to happen. Why the Kremlin and Putin himself publicly dismissed Western intelligence that was warning of an impending attack.

But, of course, we do see Russian propaganda coming out and getting behind this hint from President Putin that Ukraine may have been behind this and running with this I think the effort is there to prevent this to becoming a political problem from for Putin to prevent the people from in any way laying the blame on him for this terror attack, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right. And Clare, in the meantime, we're following an international incident involving a Russian missile. What more are we learning there?

SEBASTIAN: So we know that there was a barrage of missiles launched at Ukraine overnight targeting Kyiv in particular. But also the western City of Lviv, which is very close to the Polish border. And the Polish armed forces have come out and said that a missile actually strayed into their airspace near a town on the Polish side of the border. They said that happened for just a matter of seconds some 39 seconds, and it was picked up on military radar. And both Polish and allied aircraft were activated to secure the airspace.

Obviously Poland is a NATO country. This is unnerving, it hints at the risks of this war potentially spreading, but this missile -- it's not the first time this has happened that did not land on Polish territory. But certainly they are very closely monitoring this and I will say that this missile barrage overnight is something that we've seen as part of a pattern Russia stepping up these aerial attacks in Lviv.

In particular, this was now followed up. We've learned from city officials this morning with another attack involving Kinzhal missiles striking the same they say critical infrastructure facilities that were struck overnight. Luckily, given the number of hours between those two attacks, they say that the firefighters working at the scene were able to get out in time. But the attacks are now fairly relentless. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right, Clare Sebastian in London, thanks so much.

Well, it all went down to the wire but the U.S. has dodged a partial government shutdown after the Senate passed a new spending bill in the wee hours Saturday morning. President Biden later signed the bill into law. Kevin Liptak looks at the law itself and another congressional battle looming in Washington.


KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Biden's signature on this government funding bill does take the threat of a government shutdown off the table until September, but it really does punctuate what was quite a tortured saga over the last several months to secure a funding bill that would provide funding for the federal government for the fiscal year 2024. And in a statement, President Biden emphasizes that this keeps the government open. He says it invests in the American people and strengthens the economy and national security.

But he also acknowledges this was a compromise and not everyone got everything that they wanted. And you are seeing both sides emphasizing what they say they're getting out of this bill. For example, there are 2000 new Border Patrol agents funded as part of this package, 8000 more detention beds for migrants. And you hear Republicans emphasizing how this bill strengthens security on the southern border.

What you hear Democrats emphasizing is the billion dollars for federal child care and education programs like Head Start and the 120 million dollars for cancer research also included new money for Alzheimer's research.

What this bill also does is cut funding to the U.N. agency that's responsible for getting aid to the Palestinians. The Biden administration has accused some members of that agency of aiding Hamas.

Now, in that statement, President Biden does point to the next big funding battle on Capitol Hill, which is this fight over more aid to Ukraine. And you'll remember President Biden has requested 60 billion dollars in additional assistance for Ukraine.


That has stalled on Capitol Hill as many Republicans, particularly those closely aligned with the former President Donald Trump, say that they won't approve any more assistance to Kyiv. President Biden has said that this is necessary. And you are hearing ever more urgent calls from the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has said that if American aid dries up, that Ukraine could lose this war. Now, the House has gone on break for Easter for two weeks, so we won't see any movement on that Ukraine aid in that span. What we do understand is that the House Speaker Mike Johnson has tasked members of the House with coming up with some options for providing that Ukraine aid. But it remains very unclear at this moment how that will move forward. And in this statement, President Biden says that it's time to get this done.

Kevin Liptak, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: The clock is ticking on a huge deadline for Donald Trump, the former president now only one day away from having to post a nearly half billion-dollar bond in his New York civil fraud case.

This week, Trump claimed he has the cash to cover the sum, but his lawyer later clarified he doesn't actually have that much cash on hand.

Investors did approve a deal on Friday that made his struggling social media platform a public company, which could technically make him billions. But that is just the first of many steps before Trump could actually get his hands on any cash from such a deal.

Meanwhile, New York's Attorney General is now taking steps to possibly seize Trump assets and properties if he can't pay up.

And turning to another of Trump's legal cases, District Attorney Fani Willis is defending herself after she recently avoided being disqualified from prosecuting the former President's election subversion allegations here in Georgia. CNN's Rafael Romo has more.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis spent her Saturday at an Easter egg hunt. The event was put together by WAVE. This is an organization of law enforcement officers dedicated to helping children and the homeless throughout the year.

Willis was surprisingly candid regarding questions about the last few months of her life, including her Georgia election interference case against Donald Trump and this candle brought about by her prior romantic relationship with a special prosecutor she appointed for the case.

After everything that's happened, we wanted to know if she feels she needs to reclaim her reputation, and this was her reply.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I don't feel like my reputation needs to be reclaimed. Let's say for the record, I am not embarrassed by anything I've done. You know, I guess my greatest crime is I had a relationship with a man, but that's not something that I find embarrassing in any way. And I know that I have not done anything that's illegal. ROMO: The racketeering case was delayed by two months following the revelations about her personal life. Her decision-making credibility was also damaged in the eyes of Judge Scott McAfee, but the embattled Fulton County district attorney said the main case was not delayed because her team never stopped working on it.

WILLIS: No, my team's been continuing to work it and I think the media and especially organizations like your own I've been paying attention. All while that was going on, we were writing responsive briefs. We were still doing the case in the way that it needed to be done. I don't feel like we've been slowed down at all. I do think that there are efforts to slow down this train, but the train is coming.

ROMO: CNN reported exclusively on Thursday, Willis plans to press ahead with her goal of putting Donald Trump on trial before the November election. According to three people familiar with her plans, she also intends to ask the judge presiding over the Georgia criminal case to schedule a trial date as soon as this summer.

And finally, let's remember that Willis is seeking to get reelected in November.

Rafael Romo, CNN Atlanta.


BRUNHUBER: Today marks the first day of Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday for Christians, and right now at the Vatican Pope Francis is presiding over Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square. CNN Vatican Correspondent Christopher Lamb joins us now from London.

So Christopher, the Pope has faced recent health concerns many relieved to see him now. So take us through what we're seeing today in the Pope's plans for the Holy Week?

CHRISTOPHER LAMB, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Kim. This is the start of Holy Week today, marking the beginning of the most sacred week of the church's calendar when Christians across the globe prepare for the celebration of Easter.

Now Pope Francis is presiding over Palm Sunday Mass as you can see, but he has had some health challenges which has led him to cancel some appointments and to stop reading speeches he had what he said was about a flu. But it seems though that he is determined to preside over all these liturgical celebrations in the Vatican and in Rome.


He has arrived for the Palm Sunday service as you might see from the images. This service begins with a procession of Cardinals bishops and ordinary Catholics carrying large palms, the palms are there to recall Jesus' entry into Jerusalem which Christians believe was marked by people laying palms onto the -- onto the floor as the -- as Jesus arrived. So this is a very sacred and important liturgical service as I say it begins the beginning of Holy Week. The Pope didn't take part in the procession. He has had some mobility

problems for some time. He's been using a wheelchair for almost two years now. But he's not a Pope who kind of tries to hide his physical vulnerabilities.

Yesterday, he was with a group of journalists and he said that in the past Popes were carried around in a ceremonial chair, but he uses a wheelchair which he says is very practical later in the week. He's going to be going to a female prison where he's going to take part in the foot washing ritual for Holy Thursday. And then obviously on Good Friday, he will be taking part and presiding over the services to mark the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in St. Peter's Basilica and at the Coliseum.

And, of course, on the evening of Easter Sunday, Saturday evening he will preside over the high point of the liturgical year of the church, the vigil celebration of Easter. And on Easter Sunday, deliver his message to the world as he does each Easter Sunday, a reflection of what's going on in the world and also a blessing to the city of Rome and to the globe. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much, Christopher Lamb in London.

Still to come worldwide support pours in for Princess Kate after a heartbreaking cancer diagnosis. We'll head to Buckingham Palace for a live update. That's next, stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: The prince and princess of Wales are, quote, "enormously touched" by the public support she's received after revealing she has cancer and is in the early stages of treatment. That's according to a statement from Kensington Palace.

Now, it comes as good wishes and sympathies have been pouring in from around the world.

With more let's go to CNN's Nada Bashir live outside Buckingham Palace. Nada, so much goodwill for the princess and her family. You've been monitoring reaction. What have people been saying?

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly has been an outpouring of support not only here in the United Kingdom from the British public, but also of course from around the world. And also her own family as well. We did hear upon that announcement statements of support from King Charles III saying that he was extremely proud of his daughter- in-law and of the courage that he she had shown in sharing her diagnosis.

We heard, of course, in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Harry and Meghan. They issued a short statement saying, we wish health and healing for Kate and the family and hope they are able to do so in privacy and in peace. Because we also heard from Kate Middleton's brother James Middleton saying that the family had climbed many mountains together in the past, that they would climb this one together also.

Of course, in that video message shared by the Princess of Wales, she expressed her thanks for the understanding people had shown towards her for the concern and support that people had shown her. But also she expressed a willingness a wish for privacy for our family during this difficult time. And that has been a very big focus for the royal family in particular the Prince and Princess of Wales during at this difficult time.

There has been quite a bit of media frenzy around the whereabouts and condition of the Prince of Wales over the last few weeks, her last public appearance was at a church service on Christmas Day. And, of course, it was later confirmed in January that she had undergone what she has now described as major abdominal surgery. So she hasn't been taking part in public appearances or engagements since then sparking concern. But also sparking many conspiracy theories and rumors around where the Princess of Wales might be.

And this has certainly mounted pressure on the royal family. In this video message, which was quite unprecedented for a senior member of the royal family to share such intimate and private details directly via a video message address to the nation.

It was clear that the Prince of Wales had wished for further privacy during this difficult time particularly, of course, because of her three young children. And she mentioned as such in that video message the timing of that video message, of course, important being released just as the children go on their Easter holiday from school. So this is a time, of course, when the family will be together, very much focused on keeping out of the public eye for the time being.

But the Princess of Wales seemed upbeat and positive. She said, she hopes that she'll make a full recovery and that she needs the time and privacy to focus on her healing at this stage.

But again, an outpouring of support from world leaders including the U.S. President Joe Biden as well as the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who not only expressed support for the Princess of Wales, but also criticized the media for the frenzy it caused over at the Princess of Wales as private and personal matters. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much. Nada Bashir in London, appreciate that.

All right, we want to give you a live look at the concert hall outside Moscow that was the site of a deadly terror attack. We'll have the latest just ahead.

Plus, a closer look at the group claiming responsibility.

And we're learning more about high-level talks to free hostages held by Hamas. What issues are still holding up the deal? That's just ahead. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is "CNN newsroom."

Russia says the death toll will go higher from Friday's terror attack at a concert hall outside, Moscow. Investigators say they've arrested the four gunmen who opened fire inside the hall. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. The U.S says it warned Russia that it had information that ISIS-K or ISIS-Khorasan was planning an attack inside Russia.

So for more on the group, I want to bring in Colin P. Clarke who joins us from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And he's the Director of Policy and Research at the Soufan Group, and the author of "After the Caliphate: The Islamic State and the Future Terrorist Diaspora."

Thanks so much for joining us here. So just to start off, how certain can we be that ISIS was in fact behind this?

COLIN P. CLARKE, DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND RESEARCH, THE SOUFAN GROUP: Well, I'd say we can be pretty certain. We have a number of pieces of evidence or data that lead us to that conclusion. One, we have the ISIS claim itself. And this is a group that rarely issues false claims for attacks. Two, and far more credible, we have the U.S. intelligence warning just about a week ago that an attack like this was imminent. And this is something that should come as no surprise to anybody that watches ISIS particularly, ISIS-K. It's a group that's been threatening Russia through the release of its propaganda for a long time claiming that Russia has Muslim blood on its hands from wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syria.

BRUNHUBER: OK, so take us through that a bit more specifically. I mean, generally we we've been using the term ISIS and ISIS-K sort of interchangeably as shorthand here. But tell us more specifically about this group that -- that's behind it. ISIS-K, I mean, who are they? How are they linked to the broader ISIS group and then build on what you were talking about -- about why they would target Russia specifically?

CLARKE: Yeah, so ISIS at this moment is really a global network of affiliates or think about it as franchises. These are groups that exist from the Sahel in Africa all the way to Afghanistan and South Asia.


I would say ISIS- Khorasan, the South Asian group, probably the strongest right now out of all of the global network of affiliates. This is the same group if you recall in August 2021 when the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan that detonated that deadly suicide bombing at the Abbey Gate. So this is a group that's targeted Iran, Turkey, the United States, Russia. It really kind of lumps all of these groups together as what it sees as apostates or infidels.

BRUNHUBER: All right. So what do you think the goals were here there? What kind of message were they trying to send with this attack and the timing so soon after the Russian election?

CLARKE: So I think in many ways, it's revenge again. So you go back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 1979 to 1989. That seems like ancient history to some. It's very modern to jihadist groups. They're still talking about this.

Again, the wars -- the brutal wars that the Russians fought in Chechnya in the 90s, and then the Russian intervention in Syria, where Vladimir Putin sent his air force to prop up Bashar al-Assad, the Dictator of Syria, who's got a lot of blood on his hands from the civil war in his country. So all that together, this is very much revenge as a motivation.

And I think you're right about the timing. There's a couple of interesting things here. But let's also think about Russia's involvement in Ukraine. The bandwidth of the services are stretched, making something like this on Russian soil more likely. ISIS saw this as a vulnerability. And, you know, it's a highly opportunistic group put together this plot. And in this case, it succeeded.

BRUNHUBER: All right. You mentioned Ukraine. I mean, Russia and Vladimir Putin clearly trying to link the attack to Ukraine, given the history and patterns of ISIS. I mean, how likely or unlikely, more precisely, is it that there would be any link there, not necessarily with the Ukrainian government, but for example, that ISIS could be operating out of Ukraine?

CLARKE: It's extremely unlikely that that's the case. We think there could be some linkages to Turkey. Now, you have to think about the kind of Central Asian diaspora, including a healthy Tajik diaspora that the Islamic State Khorasan pulls its leadership from, pulls its kind of mid-level commanders and foot soldiers from.

So I'd say very, very unlikely that Ukraine had anything to do with this whatsoever. But that's not going to stop the Russians and the Kremlin from claiming that just to make the Ukrainians look bad and basically confuse everybody that's trying to figure out what exactly happened.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. All right. Here in the U.S., according to the FBI, the threat of domestic terrorism from far-right groups, for example, has eclipsed the jihadist threat. But for some, you know, this is a wake-up call. How worried should Western countries like the U.S. be of a similar type of attack?

CLARKE: Look, we always have to be on guard against these types of attacks. I think we can't let, you know, let our defenses down. I do think that assessment is right. There's a probably a greater likelihood of a domestic attack than something international. For Europe, it's a little bit of a different story. ISIS-K has been knocking on the door there for several months. A number of disrupted plots, including plots linked to Germany and Sweden. So I'd be very concerned about that. Something to be aware of for sure.

BRUNHUBER: All right. We'll leave it there. Really appreciate your analysis, Colin Clarke, thanks so much. CLARKE: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is heading to the U.S. today for meetings with top officials, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The White House says the two will discuss the humanitarian crisis and the efforts to free hostages in Gaza. That comes as the CIA Director wraps up hostage negotiations in Doha between Israel and Hamas.

Israel has reportedly agreed to a so-called bridging proposal from the U.S. regarding the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released for every hostage held by Hamas. That's according to CNN Analyst Barak Ravid. He says the delegations are now waiting for a response from Hamas.

And joining us now is CNN's Paula Hancocks in Doha. So you've been tracking the latest on all these attempts to make a deal here. What is the latest?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kim, a diplomat briefed on these talks confirms that that information you gave was accurate and also said that there are a couple of outstanding issues that need to be addressed at this point, most notably the agreement on the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and also of Israeli military repositioning in Gaza.

Now, we've heard from Hamas' counterproposal just about 10 days ago now that they wanted all Israeli military out of Gaza when there was a temporary ceasefire. This has been a longstanding demand of Hamas, and it's been a longstanding refusal by Israel, saying that they would not adhere to that.


So there are still differences between the two sides. One source telling us that the talks did make steady progress in their words, but there were still differences between the two.

Now, what we heard from Hamas just 10 days ago when it came to these Palestinian prisoners specifically was that they were suggesting between 700 and 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to be released as part of this deal. And it was understood on the other side that there would be Israeli and foreign hostages, there would be the female hostages, including IDF soldiers, also the elderly, the sick and the wounded that would be released as part of that deal, somewhere in the range of 40 people. So at this point, we know that here in Doha, the technical teams are still here.

The intelligence chiefs of the U.S. and of Israel have left, that they have left their technical teams in place. And as we heard earlier, that report that now what they are waiting for is some kind of response from Hamas. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. And Paula, still so much concern over the situation at the Al-Shifa Hospital and the growing death toll across Gaza. HANCOCKS: So, Kim, the IDF has said that they will continue this operation inside and outside Al-Shifa Hospital, they say, until they have targeted all the terrorists. Now, they say that they have killed hundreds, that they have detained hundreds. They say that they have located weapons and terrorist infrastructure within the building itself.

Hamas continues to deny that it uses hospitals as cover. But we do know that there are still hundreds of civilians inside Al-Shifa Hospital that are trapped. There are patients, there are medical staff, also civilians. Many displaced people had considered a hospital to be a safer area than others in order to be able to shelter, which doesn't appear to have been the case, certainly in Al-Shifa's case.

And there are also, we understand now, two more hospitals, Al-Almal and Nasser Hospital, in the southern part of Gaza, which we have heard from the Palestinian Red Crescent, have now been surrounded by Israeli military. The Israeli military say that they are working in that area. But the Red Crescent saying, quote, "all our teams are in extreme danger at the moment and are unable to move at all."

So we are seeing these military activities by the IDF continuing specifically around hospitals. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Really appreciate the updates there. Paula Hancocks, live in Doha. Thanks so much.

Well, there's no end in sight to the grueling crisis in Haiti. Still ahead, a story about a brutal gunfight between police and gangs, a firsthand account of the horrific humanitarian situation on the ground. That's coming up. Please do stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Well, we've received some gruesome images after a deadly gunfight between gangs in Haiti and police. So we just want to warn you, what you're about to see is disturbing. Police say they eliminated a major gang leader on Thursday, the second one to be killed in as many days. But the operation left about a dozen charred bodies reportedly belonging to gang members lying on the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Officials were later seen picking up those remains before they were buried in a mass grave at one of the city's cemeteries. It's not clear if the gang leader himself was laid to rest there.

Haiti has been rocked by a massive wave of gang violence amid a political crisis that's also gripping the country. Now, gangs still control an estimated 80% of Haiti's capital. They've been terrorizing the city's population, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Many of them now live in displacement camps in their own city, just like this one, as the head of a local hospital explains. Have a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN MARC DEMATTEIS, CEO, HOPITAL ALBERT SCHWEITZER: We're here at the IDP camp. There's over 1,500 displaced people here. There's 525 children amongst that population. As you can see here, they've even organized their own children's events.


BRUNHUBER: And we're now joined by that official in that video. Jean Marc de Matteis is the CEO of Albert Schweitzer Hospital, one of the few hospitals still working in Haiti. And he's in Port-au-Prince.

Thank you so much for being here with us. So, to start, no way in or out of the country for people or supplies generally, as you describe it. It's a city under siege. What's the latest now in terms of what you're seeing in the streets of Port-au-Prince?

DEMATTEIS: Well, unfortunately, the situation is only getting worse. It's been almost three weeks now that the country, the city of Port- au-Prince and the country of Haiti has been completely cut off from the rest of the world. There's no passenger traffic in or out possible. And there is no cargo coming in or out into the port, which means there's certainly no medical supplies, but no food at all coming into the country.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, it's hard to believe. I mean, most hospitals aren't working. Yours is. In terms of the patients, what are you seeing coming through your doors these days?

DEMATTEIS: We're completely overwhelmed. We have a 200-bed hospital that is well flooded over capacity. Gunshot victims for the first time in our history have surpassed any kind of traffic accidents or the normal trauma cases that we see. We're completely overwhelmed.

BRUNHUBER: I mean, how exactly are you able to work, given the conditions?

DEMATTEIS: We are about an hour and 45 minutes outside of Port-au- Prince in a region called the (inaudible) that has also been overrun by gangs. Our campus, however, we have our own solar power plant. We have our own oxygen generating plant. We have our own water treatment plant. And we have our own campus where over 540 of our Haitian heroes, our staff is 100% Haitian -- 100% Haitian have been able to stay on their posts. And we have prepositioned a large amount of supplies in anticipation, but, you know, that can't last forever.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. And, you know, the collapse of the health care system, I mean, it's just another crisis that people are going through, you know, obviously, beyond the immediate threat of being killed or starving. I mean, what effect is that having?


DEMATTEIS: It's been devastating. And you said it right, it's the complete collapse of the health care system. No -- the population does not have any kind of access to health care and now food. There is now over 1.4 million Haitians at risk of starvation, famine.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, it's just incredible. I mean, I was in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, and you saw people having to sort of live in camps and in their own city. It's incredible that people are having to do this now because of gang violence.

DEMATTEIS: You know, the earthquake here on the ground, I was here as well on the ground. As catastrophic as that was, this is now superseding that because there is simply nothing, no supplies, no food coming into this country. There are 12 million Haitians living here. There is no food coming into the country. And if something doesn't change, and it changed yesterday, this is going to turn into a massive catastrophe.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, you talk about change. I mean, there had been plans for an international peacekeeping force. There was a lot of negative reaction to that from some Haitians as well. What do you think is needed right now in order to help restore order and allow those critical supplies for those who need it most?

DEMATTEIS: That has been a bit of the narrative. I do want to clarify a couple of things. There have been two public opinion polls, one conducted by Reuters and one conducted by the Haiti Health Network, which represents 250 healthcare organizations that are operating right here on the ground in Haiti.

Large polls, 3% error rate. Both of them have shown over 70% support from the people in Haiti for the immediate deployment of a multinational security force. So that is a bit of a misconception. And at this point, there is no other option available.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, it is frightening. You talked about the need for food and how people don't have food. I mean, you are trying to help feed people. Take us through how you're doing that.

DEMATTEIS: World Central Kitchen, which has been a long-time supporter and partner of our hospital, a leader in global relief efforts in Ukraine and Gaza and elsewhere around the world, is allowing us. We've set up 15 community health kitchens in the past few days. The demand has been overwhelming. We are now, as of tomorrow, going to be feeding 7,000 hot meals a day. And it's a drop in the bucket.

BRUNHUBER: Listen, I want to end with this. I mean, obviously, your focus is very much on helping the millions in need there who live with less and who are facing that day-to-day threat of violence. But your wife, your two children, they're with you. On a personal level, it can't be easy. How worried are you for their safety?

DEMATTEIS: Yeah, it is a difficult situation for everybody here on the ground, I can tell you that.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. I guess we'll have to leave it there. But I certainly appreciate everything that you're doing there to help people there in Haiti who need it so desperately.

Jean Marc deMatteis, thank you so much for speaking with us. DEMATTEIS: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: We'll be right back.



BRUNHUBER: Well, Creighton outlast Oregon in double overtime thriller to earn a spot in the Sweet 16 of March Madness. Andy Scholes joins us now with more.


BRUNHUBER: Andy, you know, nothing more heartbreaking than to lose in double OT, but I guess nothing is as exciting as winning, right?

SCHOLES: Yeah, yeah, you got that right, Kim. And you know, if you have Creighton in your final four of your bracket, you're breathing a sigh of relief this morning because they just played an absolute thriller with Oregon yesterday. And this one was just a tight game throughout.

The Bluejays down two in the closing seconds. Baylor Scheierman knocks down the jumper to tie it with nine seconds to go. So we go to overtime in the extra period. Creighton now up three with time winding down. Jermaine Couisnard, the clutch three to tie it with 18 seconds left. So we go to a second overtime.

And that's when the Bluejays would run away with it. Creighton outscoring Oregon 15 to two in that double OT. They would end up winning easily 86 to 73.


GREG MCDERMOTT, CREIGHTON HEAD COACH: Epic game. Not sure I've been one, been part of one quite like it in 35 years.

TREY ALEXANDER, CREIGHTON GUARD: We're going to try to stay in the moment and just continue to love each other and continue to play at a level that we feel like we can play it. And then, you know, from there, we just kind of let the dominoes fall where they do.


SCHOLES: All right. NC State and Oakland also playing a thriller. Jack Gohlke following up his 10 three-point performance by making six more. And Greg Kampe's 14th seeded Golden Grizzly. They take the Wolfpack to overtime. But that's when NC State, they'd go on a 9-0 run. They would win 79-73. And the magical run in March for the Wolfpack just continues. They won five games in five days to win the ACC tournament and just make the tournament. Now they're on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2015.

Gonzaga, meanwhile, just owns the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs roll in Kansas 89-68 to book their ticket to a nation-leading ninth straight Sweet 16. And Mark Few having some fun with his players with a whole water bottle bath in the locker room.


The Zags, they're going to play today's winner between Purdue and Utah State in that Sweet 16. While Few entered his locker room celebration armed with just one water bottle.

Illinois coach Brad Underwood, well, he came ready with a super soaker. That looks like lots of fun. The fight in the Illini beat Duquesne into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005 They'll play Iowa State next.

All right. Well, all four one seeds end up making that Sweet 16. Purdue, UConn, and Houston all in action later today. And you can watch them across our sister networks, TNT, TBS, and truTV.

All right. Finally, Caitlin Clark's quest for her first national title off to a good start. Clark and the Hawkeyes took a little while to get going, but Clark would end up scoring 27, dished out 10 assists as well as Iowa easily beat Holy Cross 91 to 65. And afterwards, Clark was asked about being a little too hard on herself.


CAITLIN CLARK, IOWA GUARD: I should probably smile more, but I'm just a competitor. I love having fun. I love this game. I'm a perfectionist. But yeah, I think, you know, smile a little more. Obviously, I only got one more time to play in this building. And I love this place a lot. So I'm going to enjoy every single second on Monday.


SCHOLES: Yeah, so Clark gets one more home game in her career. She's going to face West Virginia tomorrow night, Kim. That one's at 8:00 Eastern. And I'm sure lots of people are going to be tuning into that one. Because I tell you what, Caitlin Clark, she's always putting on a show. And lots of people interested to see how far she's going to be able to go this time around in March Madness.

BRUNHUBER: Well, that's it. Another day, another 20-point performance for her. I mean, are they unstoppable? Or I guess, you know, South Carolina might have something to say about that, right?

SCHOLES: Well, yeah. We shall see. You know, the women's tournament in Iowa is one of those one seeds. But they've got a date with, a potential date with LSU in the Elite Eight. And that'd be a rematch of last year's title game. I know we've got a little ways to go to get to that. But a lot of people looking forward to hoping we get a rematch there in that Elite Eight.

BRUNHUBER: Absolutely. All right. We'll have to leave it there. Thanks so much, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

BRUNHUBER: I'm Kim Brunhuber. For viewers in North America, "CNN This Morning" is next. For the rest of the world, it's "Spirit of Seoul."