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First Move with Julia Chatterley

Zelenskyy Thanks UK in Speech to Parliament; Search for Survivors Continues as Death Toll rises above 11,000; Aid Agencies Warn of an Acute Humanitarian Crisis in Syria; International Community Sending Emergency Aid to Turkey; Six People Rescued from Kahramanmaras, Turkey; Ukraine President Zelenskyy Meets UK's King Charles. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired February 08, 2023 - 09:00   ET




RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN HOST, FIRST MOVE: A very warm welcome to the program, I'm Rahel Solomon in today for Julia Chatterley. We continue to follow two

developing stories as our Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, making a surprise visit to London addressing the U.K. Parliament and meeting with

Prime Minister Sunak at Downing Street Mr. Zelenskyy, thanking the U.K. for its support and bravery and Ukraine's ongoing war with Russia.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: And the United Kingdom is marching with us towards the most, I think the most important victory of

our lifetime.


SOLOMON: Live report on President Zelenskyy's historic visit just ahead from London. Plus, the death toll from this week's massive earthquake in

Turkey and Syria has now surpassed 11,000 people. Desperate search and rescue operations are continuing. And Turkish President Erdogan visiting

parts of his country just devastated by the earthquake today we have complete team coverage of this still unfolding disaster in just a moment.

But first to London, where Ukraine's President has been addressing the British Parliament after making an unannounced trip to the U.K. Volodymyr

Zelenskyy, thanking Britain for its support of Ukraine since the Russian invasion, saying that the U.K. has been by Kyiv side from the very start of

the conflict a conflict that Ukraine is determined to win.


ZELENSKYY: Do you have a feeling that the evil will crumble once again? I can see in your eyes. Now, we think the same way as you do. We know freedom

will win. We know Russia will lose.


SOLOMON: And earlier as we can see here Mr. Zelenskyy had talks with a British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Downing Street. It's only Mr.

Zelenskyy's second trip outside Ukraine since Russia's invasion nearly one year ago. And it comes as Kyiv urging the West to send more weapons to the

country ahead of an expected Russian offensive.

Nic Robertson is outside the U.K. House of Parliament with the latest. And Nic, you know, I think yet another example of the Foreign Minister, excuse

me of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy really fine tuning his message to the audience thanking the audience there. Walk me through some of the other

takeaways from you because at times it also was emotional.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It was very emotional. I think the whole day has been out of kilter with what's normal protocol in

the U.K. The Prime Minister goes out to the airport about an hour's drive outside of London to meet President Zelenskyy right in the car with him

back to Downing Street walks up to the door at number 10 Downing Street.

When President Zelenskyy walked in, there are huge rounds of applause. None of these are things that we would normally witness when Heads of State

arrive here. So it's been different from the get go and as you say is Zelenskyy fine tuning his message talking about his previous visit here in


When he shared a cup of tea delicious British tea he called it delicious English tea. He called it with the house with the Speaker of the House of

Parliament, Lindsay Hoyle, but also commenting on the fact that he went into the war rooms in the U.K., where Winston Churchill led Britain's fight

against Nazi Germany.

And President Zelenskyy saying that the guide invited him to sit in the same chair that Churchill sat in and the guide asked them how did you feel?

And he said; only now can you really sort of feel and understand the weight of those very heavy decisions. But perhaps his finest and most finely tuned

line that was delivering his ultimate message was.

In the U.K., the King is an Air Force Pilot. In the Ukraine, he said, our Air Force Pilots, are Kings, because there are so few of them and they do

such an incredibly heroic job. And he presented Lindsay Hoyle was Speaker of Parliament. He presented him with a fighter pilots helmet and written on

the fighter pilots helmet were the words, we have freedom give us the wings to be offended.

There was a real message here that messages that President Zelenskyy in Ukraine want fighter jets. And it's been replied to in part by the British

today the Prime Minister of the Government announcing that the U.K. will begin training. Ukrainian fighter pilots on NATO standard jets for use in

the future no word that there are commitments on fighter jets right now.


ROBERTSON: But this does seem to be a step and as Britain did in giving tanks to Ukraine, it led the way before the United States announcement

before Germany's announcement. Again, the U.K. seems to be ahead on that President Zelenskyy, of course meeting with King Charles, this afternoon,

and we'll be visiting Ukrainian troops who are training on those British Challenger 2 tanks.

SOLOMON: And Nic, I believe we'll be able to pull up those pictures of the meeting with King Charles once it happens. But I want to actually stick

with that point this idea from the U.K. that it will start training Ukrainians on these fighter jets, but not announcing at least not today

that it plans to send those fighter jets. Help me understand how that benefits Ukraine in the long term and what's the thinking here?

ROBERTSON: Part of this, is messaging, part of it is sequencing. The Ukrainians have been ahead of the curve, if you will, understanding what

their military needs is? They were asking for air defense systems, long before the Russians began bombing their energy infrastructure, their

electrical power plants.

When that need became really apparent to the west and the west began to step up to that. What Ukraine asked for in terms of tanks to hold back

Russian attempted gains on the ground in the eastern take back territory? They've been asking for a long time it took a long time to build that

coalition to do that.

The U.K. led the way the United States followed with its Abrams tanks. And indeed President Zelenskyy going to Washington his first trip out of the

country during the war, a timed when President Biden made that announcement about the Abrams tanks so I think what we see here, the way to understand

it feels at the moment from where we are today.

That while there is still division among Ukraine's allies about whether or not to send fighter jets and most at the moment saying, that's not on the

table. When the U.K. makes a statement and does begin to put into practice training Ukrainian fighter pilots to fly on those planes should they ever

be given?

It appears to be a statement of longer term intent. Obviously, NATO has said it will bring Ukraine's Military up to NATO standard over time. But it

does seem to indicate that movement towards what Ukraine says it needs now and what are Western allies have been slow to provide in the past, but it

does seem to be a movement down that track.

SOLOMON: Nic Robertson, good to have you, thank you. And let's now get reaction to this visit from Ukraine itself. Fred Pleitgen is in the capital

Kyiv. So Fred, we know after Zelenskyy's first visit to the U.S., his first trip out of Ukraine that was viewed as a success both among the Western

world and Ukraine. Help me understand how this visit so far is being received there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's also going to be seen as a big success. And I think his speech in

itself is going to be something that's going to be seen as ground breaking. I mean, just going in front of that audience in that place and speaking in

English in such an eloquent way.

I think that's something that'll certainly do a lot for President Zelenskyy here at home. But of course, we have to understand that President Zelenskyy

is on a mission. And that's absolutely what Nic was just talking about before. He's right now trying to secure Western combat jets for the


And you know, before we went to air, Rahel, I was actually on the phone with the spokesman for Ukraine's Air Force. And he also said it's extremely

important for the Ukrainians to try and get those jets as fast as possible. They've gotten the tanks support for them. And now they want the jets as a

next step.

And there are several reasons for that. And there are strategic reasons and there are tactical reasons. On the one hand, the Ukrainians understand that

so far, their air force has been really outperforming what anybody would have thought. It's still in the fight many people believe that's a miracle.

They are still operating on the front lines, but there is a lot of attrition, one of the things spokesman told me, she said, look, our newest

jets, our newest combat jets are from the 1990s. And so their stuff is old, they're having a lot of difficulties getting spare parts, and of course,

they're losing jets in combat as well.

So they understand they're going to have to rebuild their air force. And that air force is going to have to have Western planes because they're

certainly not going to be able to buy any new planes from Russia, in the near term in the medium term future, at least. And then the other thing

they say is that look, Western combat jets are just much better than the jets that they have from the Soviet Union from Soviet stocks.

The accuracy is better and also integrating some of those Western weapons systems that the Ukrainians have gotten. For instance, from the U.S. like,

for instance, anti-radar missiles are able to use much more effectively if they're coupled with Western jets. Now, the Ukrainians we know are looking

at F-16.

But of course, they would also be happy with any other Western combat jets that they would get. So I think that this pilot training that they are

going to get from the United Kingdom, and that being officially announced is something that is seen as a huge victory for President Zelenskyy and for

Ukraine, because it sets the groundwork for that transition for Ukraine to becoming a modern Western air force.


PLEITGEN: That is essentially set in motion with that and we know, Rahel, that for the time being the Biden administration. President Biden himself

says he does not envisage giving Ukraine combat jets. But we also know that he said the same thing about modern combat tanks as well.

And we've been speaking to a lot of high level Ukrainian officials here in Kyiv. And elsewhere and they are quite confident that in the long run, they

are going to be getting jets from the west. And certainly this is a big step their pilots already being trained to try and make that happen in the

future, Rahel.

SOLOMON: Look, a lot can change and as Nic said, messaging is very important, and certainly a lot of messaging from this visit. Fred, before I

let you go, please remind us just why in terms of the timing, why this visit is so critically important in terms of this idea that the window for

Ukraine to effectively defend itself against what we expect to be a major Russian escalation in the spring is narrowing?

PLEITGEN: I think you're absolutely right. I think it's extremely important for President Zelenskyy to make that visit now and essentially keep all the

allies on board. And I think with that, it's very clear that he would start in the United Kingdom because as he said, the support that Ukraine has been

getting from the U.K. has always been steadfast.

The U.K. never asked the Ukrainians to make any sort of compromises on their territorial integrity. And the U.K. has always been driving other

allied nations, like for instance, Germany, other European nations, and even the United States to do more for Ukraine. I think the Ukrainians

understand that right now, it's important for them to get more support from the West in order to stay in the fight.

They know that the Russians are amassing a gigantic force, especially in the east of this country. A lot of those offensives are already beginning;

they believe that big offensive could already be in the early stages. So on the one hand, for the Ukrainians; it's about staying in the fight being

able to defend them.

But also if they get things like for instance, jets, if they get once they get those modern battle tanks, but also longer range missiles is something

that they've also been talking about as well. They believe that they might be able to go on the offensive, but they certainly believe that Russia is

about to drastically escalate the fight in the east of the country.

They know that the next two months are going to be absolutely brutal. It's something that the government has said, and they certainly need unwavering

support and big support from the U.S. allied nations. And of course, they understand that the U.K. so far has been firmly in their corner.

And it's something that, you know, President Zelenskyy today has showed that the Ukraine values and that Ukraine is going to count on in the coming

months and in the coming years as well, Rahel.

SOLOMON: And that message becoming just increasingly more important thank you for the support, but we need more. Fred Pleitgen live for us in Kyiv,

thank you.

The death hole in the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has now climbed to more than 11,000. Striking new footage of the damage

near the epicenter shows the extent of the destruction. As crews race against time to find survivors beneath the rubble, cold weather making the

rescue efforts even harder.

Earlier Wednesday, Turkey's President visited an Emergency Relief Area and Kahramanmaras that's near the epicenter of the powerful quake. He says that

the goal is to rebuild the city within a year and acknowledge that the government's response has had problems.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: On the first day, we experienced some issues. But then on the second day, and today, the situation has been

taken under control. In some areas, first we had problems in the airports. We had troubles on the roads. But we are more comfortable today. We will be

more comfortable tomorrow. Then later, I believe we will be more comfortable. There are some minor problems with fuel and so forth. But we

are handling them step by step.


SOLOMON: And we will get back to the earthquake in just a moment. But for now, we want to bring you these live pictures of Ukrainian President

Zelenskyy's visit to the U.K. what we are watching now is his arrival at Buckingham Palace. As we have been telling you this hour he has met with

the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

He has met with the Parliament and he is soon expected to meet with King Charles. That's Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy there at Buckingham

Palace just moments ago expected to meet with the King, King Charles as part of this historic visit to the U.K only his second time leaving Ukraine

since Russia's invasion almost a year ago.

Now back to the earthquake, Turkey's Health Minister said that the government set up 77 field hospitals in 10 provinces. Some of those

hospitals will be able to perform surgery. And we'll bring you much more on that in just a moment. But since Monday's earthquake, the U.S. Geological

Survey has detected more than 100 aftershocks, some nearly as powerful as the quake itself. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is near the epicenter.


SOLOMON: We do want to warn you that this report contains graphic images.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice over): You can still almost feel the enormity of the tremors here. This is Kahramanmaras

closest to the epicenter. One older neighborhood shredded its family warmth huddling on the street. Dochek's (ph) father is trapped under the rubble

here, only his feet protrude.

They can't get him out, but can cover his toes. It would be really nice he says if the government has come by. Torand (ph) retrieved his 8-year-old

daughter, wife and daughter-in-law; pray you never stand over so much of your life their final dignity from a carpet.

Push down and there are glimmers of hope. These rescuers have spotted a 12- year-old Mustafa (ph) in the rubble and have to dig down to him. Further along Ali (ph) help them find his 65-year-old mother. She's in her bed down

there he says we'll get her out soon.

There is not much sign of government here perhaps as the scale of this is all too massive. Dusk makes the dust and the immense bulk of the mess

harder still. The cold just an insult in the days of emptiness that lie ahead. And the news from the rubble is as often as bad as it is good.

A body found here carried out and lay next to this man's 9-year-old daughter Baren (ph). The black here hiding the intimate agonies buried in

it. The stories with the wrong ending but suddenly, there is a call for quiet hush they think they hear a voice a pause and then the best noise

joy. Rescuers think they might have found six people alive but there are hours more ahead of checking.

But nothing really goes to plan here even the joy seems random where Ali's mother is being rescued two young people are unexpectedly found and pulled

out. A 16-year-old girl apparently still alive--

WALSH (on camera): Extraordinary moment of joy kind of thing that really all of Turkey is desperately hoping and waiting for. But as the

temperatures drop and time goes by there will be some harder to come by that extraordinary see somebody pulled so helpfully straight out of this


WALSH (voice over): Abdullah (ph) seems unscathed; almost untouched by the tremors that altered everything else he emerges into. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN

Kahramanmaras, Turkey!


SOLOMON: And Jomana Karadsheh joins me live from Adana, Turkey. Jomana, just hard to even fully fathom the pictures, the stories, the scale of

destruction what's the latest you can tell us there?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rahel, it's really unimaginable what people are going through here right now. We are in Adana, as you mentioned,

OK; they have just called for quiet. This has happened several times over the past few hours.

You've got a search and rescue teams that are searching for any signs of life or any survivors. They think they have heard something. This is a 14

storey building where we believe about 100 people were living in that building. And they have been working around the clock trying to locate


But unfortunately, so far they have only been able to find bodies people who have been killed in this earthquake in the past hour. So they found

these 3 bodies, 10 bodies in the past 48 hours before that. And now as you can see, quiet, they've stopped digging as they're trying to search and


I mean, so far we've seen this happen in the past few hours and every time it's this disappointment at the end where they are not able to find anyone.

I can tell you there are so many people, Rahel, here who have gathered, waiting, trying to find out what happened to their loved ones to their

friends or relatives who they believe were inside that building.


KARADSHEH: One man just heart wrenching seen just a short time ago, crying, wailing, and saying why can't they find him? Why can they get him out? OK,

they're asking everyone to be there quite complete quiet. We're going to have to be very quiet. Rahel, I'm going to have to send this back to you as

we wait to see what happens because they've asked us all to be quiet here.

SOLOMON: Absolutely as a priority remains finding any survivors. Jomana Karadsheh thank you for being there! Straight ahead, concerns over crucial

aid reaching Syria grows after that devastating earthquake. We have more on the humanitarian crisis after this break.


SOLOMON: Welcome back to CNN you we're looking at live pictures here of rescue efforts in Gaziantep, Turkey. As we know that this is close to the

epicenter of this massive earthquake that has now left more than 11,000 people killed. We know 50,000 people have been injured and this is a

humanitarian crisis at this point both in Turkey and Syria.

We will continue to follow these live pictures, but through the damage and despair. We sometimes also get tiny bright spots on Tuesday, crews managed

to pull a newborn baby from the rubble in Northern Syria. Her umbilical cord reportedly still attached to her mother that baby is the sole survivor

in her family.

But as pledges grow from around the world agencies are especially concerned about quick victims in Syria, where nearly 70 percent of the population was

already relying on humanitarian assistance even before this disaster. Years of civil war only complicated search and rescue efforts, leaving many to

dig through the rubble with their bare hands.

One humanitarian organization responding to the crisis is care. Its Turkish division has continued its cross border operations to respond to the worst

affected areas in Northwest Syria. A team on the ground there is working to deliver blankets, food, mattresses, tents and more to people in need amid

harsh weather conditions.

Joining me now is Ayham Taha; he's a Technical Advisor with CARE. Ayham, good to have you on the program today, I wish it was under better

circumstances. I want to get to the need in Syria in just a moment. But as we can see, here you are in Gaziantep, Turkey. Help me understand from your

perspective what you're seeing and what's happening on the ground there?



I am in Gaziantep and as you can see maybe I'm in my car which is the safest as per the security and safety guidance. As we cannot go back to our

houses, there are cracked walls or they are actually damaged.

So they need to be assessed or unfortunately they are not there anymore. So we are spending the time in cars, shops are closed; there is limited access

to food items, drinking water. Some few restaurants based on their personal initiatives opened and started to cook some warm soup and offer it to

people were in their local neighborhoods, which meant me to meet personally a lot because I used to deliver and distribute a lot of hot meals.

But I never knew the value of it to be honest, but now I know it very well. Unfortunately, this is the situation and on both sides of the border and

that unfortunately the both sides are sharing the same pain in Antakya, Kahramanmaras, and Gaziantep and many several Turkish cities and also north

of Aleppo and Idlib. There are huge distractions and high number of lost lives.

SOLOMON: Ayham, you say both sides of the border have obviously equally been felt and hit by this destruction or both sides of the border equally

receiving aid and support. What does Syria need?

TAHA: That like very good question, basically, you know that as you have mentioned already, majority of the scene and community now in the Northwest

Syria, which is the scope of work of CARE, Turkey geographic scope of work, they are dependent on support and aid. And currently they have been

affected strongly by the snowing and raining and the cold, harsh winter, which affected their livelihoods, their food consumption etcetera.

This is happening at the same time, with very limited logistic support. The machinery available to rescue people is very limited in Northwest Syria,

while in Turkey, when that earthquake happened. It was very early energy cut, which made it more difficult for the evacuation team to access, assess

and start rescuing, which you know the clock is ticking for both sides of the borders, every minute counts.

And every minute delay that means we might lose the chance to rescue one life. And there is there is a lot of hope still. We are seeing good news of

rescuing babies, adults, everyone. But unfortunately, we're also hearing about losing a lot of people including my colleague who we learned

yesterday that we lost him, his wife and his lovely daughter, but the rescue team rescued his two years old son in Antakya.

SOLOMON: I'm so sorry for your loss. And to that point, I mean, have you been able to locate your staff working in Syria, working in Turkey have you

been able to account for and locate your staff?

TAHA: Yes, basically like our safety and security team immediately like we have a procedure to do that. Reporting to CARE Turkey management and staff

were safe except for couple one of them was Anna's who actually was like under his building which collapsed on top of him. And the rest are located

now and we know where they are.

They are mostly they are going through harsh circumstances CARE Turkey is supporting them. Some of them have been helped to be evacuated to safer

places, nearby cities, nearby governorates in both Syria and Turkey.

SOLOMON: You know, we've talked a bit Ayham, about some of the needs in terms of mattresses, bedding, et cetera, food, of course, medical

equipment. Can you help me understand perhaps in terms of infrastructure, what Syria needs in order to make some of these roads passable so that aid

can actually get to where it's needed?

TAHA: Like a wonderful question on both sides and see what for Syria, that reconstruction is an immediate need. Now, and this is hitting at the same

time as the immediate need for basically. It's like we have elevated some communities to a next level of immediate need to livelihoods and


Well, now, we went back to the zero point where people are looking for food aid, drinking water, very basic needs. And this is really essential at the

moment while in Turkey the same, also the construction is needed. But also people are not able to access a shop to buy a bundle of bread because for

example, in Gaziantep there is no natural gas or energy.

So that bakeries cannot produce bread for example so needs are really severe in terms of basic needs. Now for the reconstruction, in Syria, we

don't have the equipment. We don't have the machinery needed. It is very limited capacity existed in Syria while in Turkey; I think the government

will have efforts in coordination with different support.


TAHA: And agencies to start the reconstruction as soon as possible.

SOLOMON: And who would you like to step up? Who would you like to see more support from for that reconstruction effort?

TAHA: I mean speaking about resources, like we as CARE Configuration, we started resources, mobilization immediately, to deliver support, whatever

it is, because CARE Turkey received several requests from different authorities - local authorities in both Syria and Turkey for different

aspects like shelter, food, and reconstruction, of course.

And we now reconsider every dollar or pound counts, because it could, one mattress could improve the living condition or the sleeping night of that

young boy who is sleeping on floor outdoors. So tent, mattresses, food items, everything is counted.

So we are working on resources mobilization, and having this opportunity to deliver the reality on the ground, no matter how much I'm trying to

describe it. It is still need, comparing to what it is on ground. It is like very cold for those who are living outside now waiting for any support

could be delivered.

SOLOMON: Ayham, you know, we talked a lot about the physical basic, most urgent needs. I also wonder though, how concerned are you for both your

organization, but also the millions of people who have had to live through this disaster about the psychological impacts the trauma of living through

something like that? I mean, how concerned are you about that?

TAHA: I mean I can give you a - this is sad. And I never thought about it. I considered myself lucky because my son was born outside of Syria, in

Gaziantep, because he never knew, like his peers same age, who are his cousins, who lives in Syria, and they know about war, ruminants and

whatever conflict materials.

He doesn't know anything. Now yesterday, I was telling him, let's go indoors, its warmer. He said, no, we have earthquake we should stay

outside. So now kids and women are prioritized, but they are severely affected. We can see that on their faces.

They cannot express what they feel. Everyone is traumatized now including me, of course, what we are trying to get up to speed to start the response

and support CARE Turkey Team which they are on the front line and our implementing partners as well who are assessing the situation in Northwest

Syria and about to start the response as soon as possible once resources are in hand.

SOLOMON: It's an interesting point to think about the children, those who are too young to even fully wrap their head around what is happening. We

thank you for your work Ayham and we thank you for being on the program today. Thank you.

TAHA: My pleasure. Thank you very much.

SOLOMON: And our live coverage of the devastating earthquake continues after this break, stay with CNN.



SOLOMON: Welcome back to CNN! You are looking at live pictures from the City of Gaziantep, Turkey. The death tolls from Monday's devastating

earthquake now surpassing 11,000 people in Turkey and Syria, about 50,000 others have been injured and that's just in Turkey alone.

Many people are still trapped under the rubble, but freezing weather conditions are hampering rescue efforts. And today, Turkish President

Erdogan visited an area near the epicenter. Emergency aid me time from all over the world continues to arrive in Turkey. Salma Abdelaziz is live at an

aid distribution center in Istanbul. Salma this is a huge effort, of course, requires a lot of people, a lot of supplies, walk me through what

you're seeing there?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, this massive space is essentially three hangers, and it's an absolute hive of activity. I want to

start by just showing you around. You can see here that these men have formed here a human chain.

They're passing down boxes, each of these boxes is packed with donations, non-medical goods, you're talking about food, dry goods, diapers, blankets,

close to keep people warm, every single thing you are looking at has been donated by individuals, businesses, religious groups, mosques, all people

who just want to help.

There's such a sense of solidarity in this place. If you speak to these volunteers, the first thing they're going to tell you is I can't stop

looking at the images of my people suffering in that earthquake. So I have to do something to help.

I can't sit still. And forgive us I know we're moving around a lot. And it looks like absolutely manic. But this is a well-run machine here. The

groups here the aid groups here tell us they've already been able to get trucks, several dozens of trucks straight to that earthquake zone.

And what's really important to remember Rahel and I'm just going to keep walking, I'm going to let these men pass through. They've got these big

crates; everything has to move through here so quickly time is of course of the essence.

And the thing everyone keeps saying here is there's a gap, right? The government can't reach everyone. There are not enough resources. You're

talking about an area where over 20 million people are estimated to be affected. And they want to fill that gap themselves.

Let's keep walking through here. Again, they're stacking these boxes as quickly as they can. They're going to load them up into trucks and they're

going to drive them straight into the quake zone. Volunteers as soon as they arrive they come in, they sign up and they just start helping.

Orders are actually shouted down loudspeaker that's how they organize this whole big space. And it's so heartening to see all of this because even for

these volunteers here they've told us they say we sat at home. We were so upset. We were so hurt by what we were seeing and it is here that they

begin to feel a sense of solidarity.

Yes, of course, you see dozens of countries helping bringing aid sending in rescue teams. But for the Turkish community for Turks, they say they want

to help themselves. They want to help each other. They feel that this is the way that they can begin to contribute; begin to alleviate from that

unimaginable suffering that we're seeing on the ground.

SOLOMON: Salma Abdelaziz with a rare look inside of one of those distribution centers. Thank you! A well- oiled machine there she said.

Well, one of the International Organizations helping Turkey and Syria is Direct Relief.

The California based nonprofit is one of the world's largest distributors of donated medical supplies. And joining us now is the CEO of Direct

Relief, Thomas Tighe. Thomas, thank you for being on the program today!

THOMAS TIGHE, CEO OF DIRECT RELIEF: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

SOLOMON: So help me understand how Direct Relief is trying to be of assistance to both Turkey and Syria here?


TIGHE: Well, in both countries directly has a history of working with local groups that are, you know, doing important work, both in Syria, the Syrian

American Medical Society, in Turkey Acute, which is the National Search and Rescue Team.

So our first step was just to contact them provide financing, because they had to move immediately. And Acute, we spoke earlier this morning with the

Director. They have 650 Search and Rescue volunteers who are deep in the rubble, a lot of the images that you're showing, involve them.

And I think that's the priority now. So I think as the immediate needs are to find the people who can be saved. In the background, there's a large

mobilization of what is either been already requested or anticipated, just given the size of this disaster.

And it's heartbreaking to see as your reporter just talked about. And, you know, I'd be remiss, you start running into the numbers and the statistics,

but the loss of life is just a sheer tragedy. And we want to make sure that whatever we can do.

And we deal with prescription medications, which are heavily regulated, so we have to be careful working with the World Health Organization, the

Turkish Government, but you know there's massive desire to assist. So we're trying to mobilize that.

We have a few shipments leaving today that have been requested with specific items, but it'll be a large scale mobilization effort that will go

on for a while just given the sheer size of this disaster zone, it's affected as your reporter said 20 million people, it's hard to find them.

SOLOMON: It is really hard to fathom the level of disruption, especially when you're talking about numbers this large; I think the video sometimes

really drives how disruptive this has been home? Thomas help me understand in terms of shipments how much of this is coming from California versus how

much are you able to tap into maybe European center so that it gets on the ground faster?

TIGHE: Yes, in our case, it's both. I think we have a large distribution center pharmaceutical distribution center in the states where things will

be leaving from today, but also in the Netherlands, where we have maintained a large inventories.

For the past year, a lot has gone to Ukraine. But I think the ability to drive down from Europe, to the border area, I mean, the weather isn't great

right now. So that kind of compromises it. But the desire on the part of corporations that manufacture this material has been strong.

They've been reaching out. They will respond. I think they just don't want to clog up the distribution arteries with non-essential items. I mean, that

desire sometimes leads to people's throwing things that aren't appropriate for the circumstances.

So just the triage of material aid is important to do, so that is the coordination effort that we're undertaking right now with both the national

government, the municipalities, as well as the organizations we've worked with, who are both in Syria, and in Turkey in operational today.

I mean, I think Syrian American Medical Society reported thousand patients had come in the first several hours after the quake. So they just

obviously, it's such a change in status quo, that you wouldn't have the supplies to treat all those people and care for them and medevac them.

So it's a huge operation that I think your pictures as you said, do better justice than my words could. But we certainly understand having seen how

this unfolds in other areas. And it's deeply sobering. And we just want to do everything we can do to help and stand in solidarity with the people

whose lives have been upended.

SOLOMON: And Thomas, unfortunately, we don't have much time. But I did want to ask, because Direct Relief does provide medicine. You know, one thing

that we maybe haven't spoken about as much is that Syria was already dealing with a cholera outbreak. Help me understand when a natural disaster

like this happen, how that complicates what is already an existing outbreak and how Direct Relief is trying to help there?

TIGHE: I think these events; they put an acute injury on top of a chronic problem. And cholera is a big one, I think directly for just send a

substantial set of cholera treatment material last month to Syria to deal with the outbreak. So that actually has people who are already vulnerable

now having to experience being, as your last guest said, out of shelter, no food, no heat and a freezing temperature.

So it's acute on top of acute on top of chronic, so it's a compounding factor and I think you just have to deal with them as best you can in

sequence at scale. And that's what we're trying to mobilize right now.

SOLOMON: Well, so much needed and certainly so good to have organizations like yours, trying to help where you can. Direct Relief, CEO Thomas Tighe,

thank you!

TIGHE: My pleasure. Thank you.

SOLOMON: We have just learned that six people including a child had been rescued north of Gaziantep the amazing extraction coming 60 hours after the

quake. That information coming to us from CNN Turkey, small bit of good news there and what is otherwise just massive destruction. We have more

coming up after this.



SOLOMON: Welcome back! U.S. President Joe Biden delivering a spirited State of the Union Address to a divided Congress on Tuesday night, the President

urging politicians to work together to solve the nation's problems and protect entitlement programs like Social Security. The speech will also be

remembered for a series of angry outbursts from Republicans. MJ Lee reports.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong

because the people of this nation are strong. The State of the Union is strong.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Biden seizing on a major primetime address to a joint session of Congress to

reflect on the past two years.

BIDEN: The story of America is a story of progress and resilience.

LEE (voice over): And lay out his vision for the next two.

BIDEN: Let's finish the job.

LEE (voice over): Biden describing an inflection point for the country, arguing that the U.S. economy has made a turnaround.

BIDEN: Two years ago the economy is reeling. I stand here tonight, after we've created with the help of many people in this room 12 million new


LEE (voice over): That the COVID pandemic is now in the rearview mirror.

BIDEN: Today, COVID no longer controls our lives.

LEE (voice over): And also touting some of his major legislative accomplishments.

BIDEN: I signed over 300 bipartisan pieces of legislation since becoming President.

LEE (voice over): A notable difference from Biden's last State of the Union Address Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy seated behind the


BIDEN: The new Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.

LEE (voice over): At times stoic as Democrats applauded the speech.

BIDEN: Our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken.

LEE (voice over): And at other times, visibly trying to quiet his colleagues as they heckled Biden, including on the topic of entitlement


BIDEN: Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security sunset. I'm not saying it's a majority. Let me give you anybody who doubts it, contact my

office, I'll give you a copy of the proposal.

LEE (voice over): Still, the President insisting that he will work with the other party.

BIDEN: There's no reason we can't work together and find consensus on important things in this Congress as well.

LEE (voice over): Foreign policy also in the spotlight following the dramatic downing over the weekend of a Chinese spy balloon Biden only

making a passing reference to the incident and instead emphasizing America's readiness to compete with China.


LEE (voice over): The guests invited to Tuesday night's speech by First Lady Jill Biden painting a story of some of the President's top priorities

and challenges over the past year. Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. a reminder of how much the war in Ukraine has tested and dominated Biden's

second year in office.

BIDEN: We're going to stand with you as long as it takes.

LEE (voice over): Paul Pelosi husband of Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was violently attacked in his home and raised alarm about political


BIDEN: It is such a - should have never happened. We just all speak out.

LEE (voice over): And the parents of Tyre Nichols, a man whose death after a violent beating by police officers prompted outrage and grief across the


BIDEN: Let's commit ourselves to make the words of Tyre's mom true. Something good must come from this all of us in his chamber we need to rise

to this moment. We can't turn away.


SOLOMON: That was MJ Lee there. And still ahead, a historic meeting currently taking place between Ukraine; President Zelenskyy and Britain's

King Charles III. We have the latest from London right after this break.


SOLOMON: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continues his unannounced historic trip to London at this hour. Mr. Zelenskyy meeting with King

Charles at Buckingham Palace. These are two pictures of that meeting here we can see Zelenskyy in his traditional fatigues. And we've also just

learned that Zelenskyy will also meet the French President and German Chancellor in Paris later today.

Nic Robertson is outside the UK Houses of Parliament. Nic, look both of these trips coming on the back of that major announcement about tanks from

Germany from the U.S. just set the scene here in terms of the importance of this visit?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. And the UK, of course the first to give tanks to Ukraine and Ukrainian tank - Ukrainian military soldiers are currently

training on those British challenger two tanks and that's something President Zelenskyy will get to see.

Of course, he campaigned for a long, long time to get tanks and it will take a lot of heavy political and diplomatic lifting behind the scenes. But

of course the first calling for it came from President Zelenskyy came from Ukraine and very much that's the case that we're seeing again with his main

message today of course to thank the British people to connect with the British people to thank the King as well.

King Charles who he's met this afternoon and he made note already that King Charles is he said the UK's King is a fighter pilot but he said in Ukraine,

the fighter pilots are our kings because they're in such short supply, and he repeated his message that he wants fighter jets.


ROBERTSON: He gave a fighter jet helmet to the Speaker of Parliament, Lindsay Hoyle emblazoned on it where the words we have the freedom give us

the wings to defend it. So I think we can expect behind the scenes in his conversation with Prince Charles which will likely touch on many issues.

That theme of the King being a Former Air Force Officer and pilot is something that's going to come up in that conversation. But this is a big

day for President Zelenskyy. It's a big day for all the EU politicians here the Prime Minister the Former Prime Minister's Liz Truss, Boris Johnson and

Theresa May whom the Ukrainian President thanked.

But also clearly the agenda for him much broader scope than the UK going to France as we've just heard meeting there with President Emmanuel Macron.

Meeting we understand with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. But again, I think central to the themes and all his touchdowns here are going to be the

need for fighter jets.

SOLOMON: As we said thank you for the support. But we also need more. Nic Robertson, thank you! And that is it for the show. I'm Rahel Solomon.

"Connect the World" is coming up next.