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Connect the World

Ukraine: 20,000 Plus People Killed in Mariupol, Many more Trapped; Ukraine: Hundreds Sheltering in Mariupol Steelworks; Iran says it won't Abandon Plans to Avenge Soleimani Killing; The Horrors of War Through the Eyes of a Teenager; Answer the Call to Protect the Earth; CNN's "As Equals" Highlights Struggle of Women's Fishing Co-op. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 22, 2022 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, London. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, this hour in continuing our coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, we bring you powerful

reporting from Luhansk in the east to suburbs around Kyiv in the center.

But we also today I want to take a moment and mark Earthday to see how our planet has changed over the decades and how we can help protect it? And

finally, this hour a story about pain and separation I sit down with British Iranian citizen Anoosheh Ashoori who was freed from an Iranian jail

cell last month after spending five long years there how he and his family are readjusting is just ahead?

I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World". Well, we begin this hour with an urgent phone call. A chilling warning and what's

being called a catastrophic humanitarian situation on day 58 of Russia's war on Ukraine.

A short time ago the European Council President got on the phone with Russia's Vladimir Putin strongly urging immediate humanitarian access for

Mariupol. Ukrainian officials say more than 20,000 people have been killed in that besieged city and thousands are still trapped there.

Mariupol smear telling CNN and I quote; we need one clear day of ceasefire to evacuate those people. We're also hearing new allegations of Russian

atrocities Ukrainian officials say suspected mass graves had been discovered near Mariupol.

This as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson used the words realistic possibility when asked if Putin could win his unprovoked war. Making all of

this even worse Ukraine says no evacuation corridors for civilians can be agreed upon today.

In the East movement is almost impossible without coming under fire. But one Ukrainian is willing to face that danger to help others escape. CNN's

Clarissa Ward went to meet him. Take a look at this.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's a road few are willing to take anymore. But every day, volunteer Aleksander

Prokopenko makes the dangerous drive towards Russian forces in his hometown of Pasadena to rescue fellow residents from the heavy fighting. They shall

everything he tells us school buses, the Red Cross, anything that moves.

WARD (on camera): So why do you do this work?

WARD (voice over): I love my town and I can't leave it he says. I can't leave the people here, somebody needs to help people. He is hoping the rain

provides some lead up in the relentless artillery. It's better for us but it's worse for the road he says you can't see the potholes and the shrapnel

from the shells.

He arrives at the village of - on the outskirts of - in the last few days it has come under heavy shelling. Anatoly is now being evacuated with his

son Vladimir neighbor shouts at us to show what the Russians have done. Those who stay here are now completely cut off from basic services.

WARD (on camera): So there's no electricity here no water at all. And you can see they're actually collecting rainwater.

WARD (voice over): It's time for Anatoly and Vladimir to go. Their entire life now packed into the trunk of Alexander's car. Leaving the village we

spot a house destroyed by shelling. As we get out taking a closer look a tearful - emerges.

She tells us it happened two days earlier. The first hit was in 5:50 and then there was a second hit she says and that hit my garage. She takes us

around what remains of her home steady thuds of artillery still are heard.

The roof is completely destroyed. This is where the first shell hit she says. She had just woken up in his lying in her bed when it's happened. We

have nothing left. She says in the living room she takes down the drapes that were hung to hide any light. This is how we tried to mask ourselves

she tells us there's no need for them anymore.

Galena and her husband still don't want to leave their home. But she understands that Russia's offensive here has only just begun. It's going to

get much worse. I worked until 60 and now I have lost everything she says.


WARD (voice over): Honestly, I have no words. For those like Anatoly and Vladimir who do leave, there are few good options. Alexander takes them to

a dormitory in the nearby town of --. They can stay five days for free. After that it's up to them.

In the next door bed another couple rescued by Alexandre tells us there is nothing left of their home. But they don't blame President Putin. Thank you

America she says it's a horror. It's a nightmare.

WARD (on camera): So it's interesting. She's saying that she thinks that Russia actually wanted to negotiate here, and she blames America primarily

for this war.

WARD (voice over): Putin wants to find a peaceful solution her husband tells us. Please don't tell this bullshit to the whole world Alexander

says. It's not an uncommon view in these parts of eastern Ukraine making the situation here all the more complex.

Alexander says he evacuated anyone, whatever their political views. He knows there are still so many out there who need his help. Clarissa Ward,

CNN, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: The brutal reality of Russia's war on Ukraine. For more on the situation in Mariupol I want to bring in Matt Rivers he is reporting from

Lviv in Western Ukraine. And let's be quite clear once again with our viewers we are not on the ground in Mariupol, but you have been keeping a

keen eye on what's going on in that besieged southern port city? What do we know at this point?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unfortunately, Becky, we don't have a lot of good news to report with the goal there being to get as many evacuees

out as possible according to Ukraine's government and yet that is not happening yet another day today where there is not a humanitarian corridor

setup you know to get people out of Mariupol.

This as we're getting some unique insight into what is going on inside the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in that city in the Azovstal Steel

Plant complex.


ILYA SAMOYLENKO, AZOV REGIMENT STAFF OFFICER: We destroyed one tank today, two armored fighting vehicles, one armored personnel carrier. The numbers

of enemy losses are still increasing.

RIVERS (voice over): This as Ilya Samoylenko an officer in the Azov Battalion currently fighting for his life and others inside the besieged

Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. The plant has taken constant bombardment for days on end, though he strikes a defiant tone.

SAMOYLENKO: Right now you claim just not just fighting for ourselves; we're fighting for the freedom.

RIVERS (voice over): And yet the reality in Mariupol is that Russia controls the vast majority of the city apart from the last remaining pocket

of Ukrainian resistance, enough that Vladimir Putin felt compelled to declare victory in the city he first tried and failed to capture nearly 10

years ago.

Completing the military task of liberating Mariupol is a great achievement he says I congratulate you. But Ukraine and its allies have rejected the

notion that Mariupol has fallen. How could that be? The argument goes when the Russians had yet to force out the remaining Ukrainian fighters.

Putin seemingly aware of this acknowledge that fighters remain in the steel plant and essentially said no problem. Just wait them out.

He says there is no need to climb into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial facilities block off this industrial

area. So a fly cannot get through. For those inside the plant this new blockade strategy a sign of weakness of the Russian military, a force that

has tried and failed for weeks to force out remaining resistance.

SAMOYLENKO: Russia right now is cowardly hesitating with the assault final assault how do we call this Azovstal Steel Works, because they know that

they will fail and they will fail.

RIVERS (voice over): No matter whether the Russians cannot or will not fight their way into the steel complex. The end result is the same.

Ukrainian fighters inside are not only responsible for themselves, but for the hundreds of civilians they say are sheltering there some scene here in

unverified video from Ukraine's government.

SAMOYLENKO: Most heartbreaking thing is that we have limited supplies here and we're trying to share everything with civilians. But Russia claims that

we use them as a human shield. It's complete - because you know, the real military doesn't do these.

RIVERS (voice over): And even outside the steel plant in areas firmly under Russian control tens of thousands of civilians that need to be evacuated



RIVERS (voice over): Only a fraction managed to leave in the last few days, some seen here arriving in the Ukrainian City of Zaporizhzhia, not

thousands, not hundreds, but near dozens after Ukraine says Russian forces violated ceasefire agreements.

VOLODYMYR ZELENKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: It is more like not a war, but a terrorist operation by Russia against Mariupol and the people that are the



RIVERS: And Becky, we got a view for ourselves today of the frankly, the lack of people arriving here to Lviv from Mariupol, there was an evacuation

train specifically designated as such, that would have included hundreds of people from Mariupol, have they been able to get out of the city, and yet

only a handful of people got off that train that we saw earlier today in Lviv, very emblematic of the fact that people cannot simply get out of

Mariupol because what the Ukrainian say is that the Russians continue to violate ceasefire agreements that would allow them to do so.

ANDERSON: Yes, and let's be quite clear, I guess not everybody is going to want to or is in a position by any stretch of the imagination to go. I

mean, how will they be getting information about these buses leaving when they are able to go?

RIVERS: That's a fantastic question. And probably it's through word of mouth, at least at the moment. I mean, part of the reason why we have to

continually say that we can't independently verify a lot of the information that's coming out of Mariupol is, because it's really hard to get in touch

with people.

I mean, that commander that we just talked to you about, as I showed you in that story. We've been trying to get video of him for days. We've been in

touch with him for the better part of a week and he simply didn't have enough service to get us those videos. And if he can, and he's, you know,

has more equipment than most as a member of the military.

What is your average family inside an apartment building getting in terms of connectivity? Not much and so it's a good point you bring up Becky that

how do they know where to go? How do they know what is the collection point for evacuees, if they are only getting word of mouth if that?

ANDERSON: Matt Rivers is in Lviv, thank you for your reporting, Matt. Well, Russia is making small gains in its eastern offensive. Let's be quite clear

Ukrainian official says Moscow has captured dozens of settlements in the Donetsk region. There's also been heavy fighting in Luhansk, where

authorities say Russian troops opened fire on a bus evacuating civilians today.

Well, earlier this week, I talked with the Head of Luhansk Military about the shelling day in and day out. And I asked him if he agrees with Putin's

pronouncement that the second phase of this war has begun. Take a listen.


SERHIY HAYDAY, LUHANSK REGIONAL MILITARY GOVERNOR: Well, I guess, I think you can say that the second stage has begun, although it isn't a complete

and total invasion. But certainly they are spreading out a lot. We've established our defense in a lot of towns; they're trying to encircle our

troops, a lot of nasty businesses going on there. But so far, they are not successful.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN's Ben Wedeman traveled to a town in Luhansk that is being heavily contested every day, practically every minute, brings new

shelling and new terror there.

Ben found a group of people forced underground who haven't seen the light of day in weeks. Have a listen to this.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky Russian forces continued to try to take control of the town of Rubizhne, which is about an

hour and a half drive east of here. But they are running into stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces.

We were able to go to a vantage point overlooking the city and saw that there is artillery falling on the northern part where the Russians are in

control and in the southern part, where Ukrainian forces are still holding.

And when we entered into the southern part, we found a small group of people barely surviving hiding under fire.


WEDEMAN (voice over): And it begins again. Hel rings down, a dozen people are hiding in the basement of a bombed out theater in the town of Rubizhne.

Let it stop Oh Lord, he says now there's incoming.

White flag hangs outside to no effect. The theater above has been bombed and bombed again and again. Yet they stay, too poor, too old, too

frightened to flee. Nina 89 years old has been here for five weeks. I want to go home, she says, I've suffered too much, I've seen the fire and the

smoke, I've seen it all I'm scared, Nina's plea simply.


WEDEMAN (voice over): Help us, help us, her daughter - Liudmyla struggles to comfort her. We're praying to God to stop it, she says to hear us. Nina

says I have nowhere to go; I have no friends, no relatives.

With the shelling intensifying, volunteers are finding it hard to deliver food. As Russian and Ukrainian forces fight for control of Rubizhne, there

are people down there praying as hell rains down.


WEDEMAN: And Becky, these people in the shelter they are suffering from what you might call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But it's not post, it's

ongoing. They've been there for weeks.

You know, we brought with our TV camera, a bit of light, but normally all they have is candles. They have no electricity. They have no running water.

They do receive supplies occasionally of food and water, we brought them some.

But it's questionable how much longer they can hold out. We were there and I timed it just 36 minutes. And in that time six, seven, perhaps more

artillery shells landed very nearby.

And it's really just hard to imagine what it is like in that dark shelter as that artillery rains down around them. Becky?

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman reporting. Well, you're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live from London today, still ahead, the glaring

impact of Russia's war on Ukraine's children.

CNN talks one teenager about the horrors that he's witnessed firsthand. And up next, a heartbreaking look at one man's time in a notorious Iranian

prison, do stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran have hit a snag over the status of Tehran's Revolutionary Guard Corp. A top Iranian

official says that Iran will not abandon its plans to avenge the 2020 U.S. killing of Qasem Soleimani a top commander.

Well, that's a key demand from Washington in order for the U.S. to lift economic sanctions against Iran and drop the IRGC designation as a foreign

terror organization.

The U.S. State Department says if Iran wants sanctions relief, it must address U.S. concerns. Caught up in what are these ongoing negotiations,

the fate of dual nationals imprisoned in Iran. Regular viewers at this program and I hope you all know that we have covered their plight



ANDERSON: It's been just over a month since two British Iranian nationals were released, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori. Well,

earlier this week I had the great opportunity to sit down with the Ashoori family at their home in South London. Have a look at this.


ANOOSHEH ASHOORI, IMPRISONED IN IRAN FOR FIVE YEARS: This is the yard and there will be two trees here. That is before I had made that shelter for


ANDERSON (voice over): Anoosheh Ashoori showed me the yard inside Tehran's notorious - prison, where he worked hard to create a semblance of


ASHOORI: So I used to sit here even during winter and when it was even snowing.

ANDERSON (voice over): It's been just over a month since Anoosheh was released from Evin Prison, along with the British Iranian aid worker,

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. At his home in South London, he's far from the Iranian prison. He spent nearly five years.

ANDERSON (on camera): How does it feel?

ASHOORI: Fantastic, unbelievable. Still, I am adjusting to my new environment, I'll wake up sometimes. And our fear that it may still be a


SHERRY IZADI, ANOOSHEH ASHOORI'S WIFE: It still doesn't feel quite real sometimes. Because you know, it was so unexpected. We didn't have any time

to prepare mentally for his return.

ANDERSON (on camera): You left here to go and see your mom, back in 2017, take me back.

ASHOORI: She was living on her own. And she needed my help. And as I was walking down the street, because my mom lives on the top of a hill in north

of --, four men jumped out of a car in front of me.

And they asked, are you Mr. Ashoori? And I said yes. And the others actually told me to go and sit in the middle of the backseat. And we

suddenly took off.

ANDERSON (on camera): The charge was--

ASHOORI: Spying for Israel.

ANDERSON (voice over): It was the beginning of what would be a horrifying ordeal for Anoosheh and his family.

IZADI: To describe it as a nightmare would be an understatement really, because every second of the day, I'd be asking myself what's happening to

him now. Is he alive? Is he being tortured? Is he being interrogated?

ASHOORI: Because I was threatened that my wife and my kids would be harmed. So I said, if I don't exist any longer, then they will be out of harm's

way, I did make a few attempts.

You don't need to be physically tortured, to go through hell. In fact, psychological torture is more effective than physical torture.

ANDERSON (voice over): As he languished in prison, the UK Foreign Office advised the family to stay quiet. That diplomacy will be their best chance

at freeing Anoosheh.

ELIKA ASHOORI, ANOOSHEH ASHOORI'S DAUGHTER: I knew that wasn't going to be productive. So when we did make that decision, and when we were free to

really campaign, I was very, very happy. And that's almost in a way therapeutic because you can channel everything that you're feeling into

your campaigning.

IZADI: I should have started immediately after it was taken. And I honestly urge all families to do the same because it's very easy to be forgotten.

ASHOORI: Thursdays and Fridays it was closed. So we had to do something--

ANDERSON (voice over): Anoosheh moved down to the interrogation center and could meet his fellow detainees in what they called the University of -

forming poetry societies and creating art.

IZADI: This is just fantastic.

ANDERSON (on camera): And how did doing this help you?

ASHOORI: You forgot that you were in the prison because you were so engrossed in doing these things. So to finish the day it takes centuries.

But then yes, pause very quickly.

ANDERSON (voice over): And it took years for the family to realize this Anoosheh's ordeal was linked to a decade's old debt that the UK owed Iran

worth more than $500 million.

ANDERSON (on camera): What did the Foreign Office tell you about that debt when you first asked them? Do you remember the day that you raised it with


IZADI: The foreign office up until I would say perhaps last year even maybe later denied that there was any link between the two cases between the

deaths and the cases of my husband Anoosheh.

ANDERSON (voice over): Once the UK paid the debt, both Nazanin and Anoosheh were released and on a government plane back home. In a statement after

their release, the UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, in parallel we have also settled the IMS debt as we said we would.


IZADI: There we go. Yes.

ANDERSON (voice over): Iran's Foreign Minister acknowledged the debt had been paid, but denied there was any link to the prisoner release.

ASHOORI: When we arrived in Britain, and I saw Sherry, the way Nazanin saw her daughter, and she burst into tears, and I'm trying to stop my tears

now. And she hugged her daughter. I just forgot about him. It was, it was something and this should happen to all the other people who are there.

They should get back to their families. People should not be traded for money.

ANDERSON (voice over): Are you angry?

IZADI: I'm enormously angry. Actually, I'm much angrier than he is, I think. I think he's come to terms with it much better than I have. I am

annoyed that we've lost this huge chunk of our lives for nothing. Yes, I am angry.

ANDERSON (on camera): Boris Johnson has said that he'd liked to meet you. Is that something that you are prepared to do at this point?

ASHOORI: This is an incomplete job. If they are back, then I may consider but until there were two people you cannot actually call yourself a winner.

You have paid 400 million pounds for two people. What about the rest?

ANDERSON (voice over): The fate of these prisoners remains uncertain as the geopolitical game between Iran and the West continues. But for now, one

family is trying to move on with normal life.


ANDERSON: Well, Iran had previously defended its judicial process in Ashoori's case and insists that it respects the human rights of prisoners.

Well, ahead on "Connect the World" how a Ukrainian teenager is enduring the horrors of war and why he says he wants the world to see Russia's


And as CNN marks Earthday, we take you to Zimbabwe where all-female fishing - has become a symbol of gender equality and the threat brought on by

climate change to entire ways of life.



ANDERSON: Newly released satellite photos - show mass graves in a village outside Mariupol. The city's mayor tells CNN the graves are evidence of

Russian war crimes and its assault against Ukraine. He estimates about 20,000 people have been killed in Mariupol since the start of the Russian

siege there.

Now CNN cannot confirm that and is not in Mariupol on the ground. The mayor there also saying the city needs in his words, one clear day of a ceasefire

so that civilians inside what is a giant steel plant can evacuate. These pictures of smoke outside the plant yesterday from Reuters with little food

or water conditions inside are said to be near catastrophic.

Well, the horrors of Vladimir Putin's war are seen all around Ukraine. CNN's Ed Lavandera visited a village outside Kyiv, where young and old

alike are coping with unimaginable grief a warning as we have to warn you most days. It is report contains some very disturbing images.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Hidden behind a row of homes in the town of Borodianka Ukrainian police exhume the bodies of nine

civilians killed by Russian soldiers. They're documenting evidence of war crimes. This mother stands over her son's body left in a makeshift grave.

On the other side of the graves, we notice Ivan Onufrienko staring quietly at the grave of another victim.

LAVANDERA (on camera): One of your friends is buried here?

LAVANDERA (voice over): Ivan says his friend was killed by Russian shrapnel as she tried to escape the city. The cross bearing - name was made by his

grandfather who dug this shallow grave because they couldn't store the bodies at the hospital.

IVAN ONUFRIENKO, 16-YEAR-OLD BORODIANKA RESIDENT: I can't take this well, when I see this. I cry but I'm not showing this. I feel weak, weak because

I cannot do anything.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Ivan is 16-years-old. In two months of war he's witnessed the innocence of childhood died before his eyes. Watching Ivan

makes you wonder how a teenage mind copes with the horror in front of him. His family says to understand we must see what they experienced.

Ivan's family never left this backyard shed for more than 30 days while Russian troops occupied the city. Ivan's grandfather and father showed us

how they survived on nothing but homemade bread.

LAVANDERA (on camera): So basically, they would take the grain the raw grain and grind it down into flour, or a version of flour. And then they

would make their own bread in this oven. And that's what they lived on for more than a month.

LAVANDRA (voice over): Five adults and four children hid in this underground bunker. This is where Ivan heard weeks of artillery blast and

cries for help, the sounds of war that will haunt survivors forever.

ONUFRIENKO: I slept here. My sister and my mom slept here and another family slept here too. We tried to curl up and sleep here together.

Sometimes when things got really scary, our dads would come down and stay with us.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Ivan's grandfather - says Russian soldiers told him the family would be killed if they tried to escape. Police say more than 50

people were killed here. Many of them shot as they tried to run away. The death toll is expected to climb.

LAVANDERA (on camera): How frightening was this experience for you?

LAVANDERA (voice over): He is stoic as we talk about surviving the Russian siege, but there's one question that accuses his--

LAVANDERA (on camera): Do you worry about your grandchildren witnessing this war?

LAVANDERA (voice over): Grandfather and father know their children will never be the same.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Why do you feel it was important to be here at this moment?

ONUFRIENKO: So people can see for themselves. The whole world should see how the Russian world comes and kill civilians for nothing.

LAVANDERA (on camera): When you get older, what do you think you will remember about this moment in this day?

ONUFRIENKO: I'll remember everything. I'll remember every day. And I will tell my children and my grandchildren. I will remember this all my life.

LAVANDERA (voice over): He's a teenager who refuses to look away from the raw reality of this war Ed Lavandera, CNN, Borodianka, Ukraine.



ANDERSON: Well, this just into CNN, we're getting word of another deadly blast in Afghanistan. This one struck a mosque in Northern Kunduz Province.

It happened during Friday prayers. And Reuters reports at least 20 people were either killed 33 people I'm sorry, were killed including children more

than 40 injured.

This is the latest in a wave of explosions to strike Afghanistan this week, and we'll get more on that story of course, as we get it into CNN. Coming

up, the stronghold of the Jaguars faces increasing threat from deforestation. One strip of forests could mean life or death for these

elusive big cats, that coming up after this.


ANDERSON: Fact protecting wildlife means protecting its habitat. A tiny strip of forest in Belize has outsized consequences then for the country's

Jaguars. It forms a vital wildlife corridor that is increasingly under threat.

Rolex Awards Laureate Shafqat Hussain is our Guest Editor on our #calltoearth series for this quarter of the year. He's chosen the third of

our special reports on Big Cats under threat around the world, have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Growing up surrounded by forest in rural Belize. Reynold Cal heard stories of an animal sacred and fearsome.

REYNOLD CAL, MANAGER, RUNAWAY CREEK NATURE RESERVE: I'm - one of the three Maya tribes in Belize. So I would go in the forest at a very young age, and

when I saw those big Jaguar trucks is usually give me a fear in my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now Cal's job is to track and protect these animals.

CAL: These are ancient Maya drawings. The Jaguar is the symbol for strength and might.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a passion that's more than skin deep.

CAL: These tattoos are from actual Jaguar patterns. This one is from a Jaguar that we call Romeo. It has a hardship is part of me now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cal is the manager of Runaway Creek Nature Reserve in Central Belize its part of a crucial wildlife trail called the Maya Forest

Corridor which connects protected habitats in the north and south of the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corridors like this offer a lifeline for far roaming Jaguars to more prey, mates and territory. Today, Cal's working with Emma

Sanchez of Panthera, a Global Wildcat Conservation Organization, and they are on the prowl for Jaguars. Conservation experts say that Jaguar

populations are declining across their range from Mexico to Argentina, but not here Sanchez says.

EMMA SANCHEZ, BELIZE JAGUAR PROGRAM PANTHERA: We consider Belize a stronghold for Jaguar population, because they're found in all of the

protected areas and even outside of protected areas.

ELMA KAY, MANAGING DIRECTOR: Populations of wildlife need genetic diversity to be able to survive. You get that by having mixing of Jaguars from the

northern part of Belize with Jaguars of the southern part of Belize, and that means that wildlife need to find their way through that tiny sliver of


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once surrounded by jungle, the Maya Forest Corridor is now a bottleneck less than six miles wide. Over the past 10 to 15 years,

Biologist Elma Kay has seen much of the forest chopped away.

KAY: Imagine you're getting squeezed on both sides, right? It's mostly due to large scale mechanized mono-crop, or agriculture that's taking place.

SANCHEZ: The last remaining gateway for those animals--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kay has been working with a coalition of local and international supporters to buy up patches of Belize for conservation.

KAY: We are here at the Cox Lagoon Wetland which is actually a very critical and important part of a 30,000 acre parcel of land that we have

just purchased to protect in perpetuity for the people and government of Belize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks to this effort and existing conservation sites like Runaway Creek. Kay says just under half of the Maya Forest Corridor is

now protected.

KAY: The hope is the last thing to keep you standing we have to get up and do the things that we want to see happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is hopeful that one day this whole precarious patchwork of Jaguar habitat will be safe from destruction.


ANDERSON: What you are doing to answer the call #calltoearth, we'll be right back, stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, today we are marking Earthday here on CNN, highlighting the fight against global warming and the suffering climate change is bringing

to the world's most vulnerable populations. The women you are about to meet worked for a fishing co-op in 2015 a local NGO helped them set it up here

in Binga, Zimbabwe along the banks of Lake Kariba.

In an industry dominated by men, the group has become a symbol of female empowerment. Now climate change is threatening the way of life for an

entire community.





ANDERSON: Well, joining me now are two key players for CNN's award winning Global Gender Inequality Project As Equals Editor Eliza Anyangwe and Senior

Video Producer Ladan Anoushfar who produced that piece that you just watched. Just tell me a little bit more about that.


LADAN ANOUSHFAR, CNN SENIOR VIDEO PRODUCER, AS EQUALS: So for this film, the local journalist - had found a story. And we decided to do an article

about it. And we thought that the best thing would be to find a local videographer who had the knowledge of the area to send along with the

journalist - Antoni.

And so they went there spent a couple of days with a woman who had set up this cooperative, but it was really hard because climate change was really

putting some strain on their project. So we wanted to look at not only how they did this cooperative, but also how does it survive after a woman do an

amazing project? That is, how does it continue?

And so it was very important for us in the whole process to have also people with local knowledge. So the filmmakers the team who was there so

that we have a story, which is a little bit less thin from outside, but also from people telling their own story there.

ANDERSON: And it's a super piece, and it is a part of course of your art As Equals Project. This is an award winning project out of the gate. I mean,

it's been - it's been super to see the sort of work, Eliza that you've been able to achieve with your team. Just tell our viewers a little bit more

about the project.

ELIZA ANYANGWE, CNN EDITOR, AS EQUALS: Yes, absolutely. Thank you, Becky. So As Equals is funded by Gates Foundation. And what that really gives us

is the distance from the breaking news, the daily grind, to be able to really think about not only what are the stories of women in the world,

which if you're moving at a really fast speed, you end up telling two types of stories, woman is victim or, you know, superhero woman.

And you don't really get to explain why is it that women consistently around the world, even in the countries where we think are more gender

equal, women still earn less than men still do more of the care work.

How do we arrive at those more systemic questions? And how do we do it in a way that is really engaging for audiences? How do we just tell cracking

stories? And so yes, we built a team.

The funding allows us to slow down, think about great stories, work with more local journalists work with our teams across CNN, to just tell really

impactful stories about women.

ANDERSON: Yes. And you got the team really spread out around the world, which is absolutely fantastic. How, through the work that you are doing,

how is climate change and climate crisis affecting the issue of gender inequality?

ANYANGWE: Yes, that's an important question, because I think you tend to find that these things are reported separately. There's climate change over

here, and it's more of a technical subject. And then there is gender over here, and it's more social, whereas actually, climate change affects


And so you find that because women, particularly in remote communities are the ones fetching water, or the ones farming are the ones who have to feed

the children. The impacts of climate change are also making their lives really difficult.

And the story, though, it's very gently told really comes at these really big themes, such as climate change, such as overfishing, and poaching,

really to help viewers understand that there's an overlap of these issues.

And that climate change is a little bit like AIDS, people die not of AIDS, but Associated Diseases. And climate change isn't going to necessarily

directly kill us, but it will cause all these sorts of things that will make people's lives really difficult and really life and death situation.

ANDERSON: When I say this is an award winning team, folks, and they are out of the gate with the awards. I mean, this is a project that's been going on

for about 14, 18 months now in this format.


ANDERSON: And they are multi award winning it is - this has been a really impactful project. What else is coming up at this stage?

ANYANGWE: Oh, well look out for me, because we have a lot coming up. So another topic that is really underreported is maternal mental health,

right? Whether you are in the U.S. or you are in Zimbabwe, if you are struggling with the impact of being pregnant or having a baby, those mental

health impacts are really not reported. And so for the month of May, we are going to have at least five stories.

Ladan is working on two films, one out of India, one in the UK, focusing on a Thai family, which will just really help bring attention to the issues of

maternal mental health.

ANDERSON: And how can our viewers better engage with your team? I mean, what's your advice?

ANYANGWE: Well, you can write us as tells us what's happening where you are. We have an open call at the moment because we're

working on a story on skin whitening.

So we want people to tell us what skin you know, how do people whiten their skin in different parts of the world and why especially?

You know, yes, pitch us your stories if you're a local storyteller. But otherwise, just read and share like we better conversations about gender

equality should hopefully lead to change.

ANDERSON: And it is Earthday today this piece is embedded within the sort of CNN system on the Earthday, you've explained about climate crisis and

just how that is so impactful on the issue of gender inequality? And I'll leave the last word to you.


ANDERSON: Let's get back to that piece that you just shot which we're playing out here on Earthday. I mean, what really struck you as you weren't

working on that piece?

ANOUSHFAR: So what really struck me is the resilience of this woman, which is very important. And that's what we wanted to show. We wanted to move

away from a picture of victims. We wanted to kind of show something else in the arc there is climate change.

But there are also people who are really working to, to overcome some issues.

ANDERSON: Yes, it's good to have you both on. Thank you very much indeed. That is it from me, and this is my last show for about a month or so, I'm

going to be taking a short break.

"Connect the World" though will remain on air, of course Monday through Friday, as usual 10 am Eastern Time 3 pm London and 6 pm Abu Dhabi time

where the show will be anchored from our home studio by my colleague, Eleni Giokos.

I hope you will tune in and I will see you very, very soon, have a lovely weekend. CNN's continuing coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine after

this short break.