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Isa Soares Tonight

Water Levels In Pakistan's Largest Lake Still Dangerously High; Locals Breach Lake To Save Villages In Pakistan; Putin To Meet Xi In Person Next Week; Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Ramps Up Campaign On Country's Bicentennial; British Prime Minister Liz Truss Grilled In Parliament Over Cost Of Living Crisis, Will Announce Energy Plan On Thursday. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired September 07, 2022 - 14:00   ET


ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: Hello and a very warm welcome everyone, I'm Isa Soares. You have been watching the Obamas return to the

White House for their portraits unveiling -- beautiful. A really joyous ceremony as you can see there. Beautiful portraits as well as subjects. We

do want to break away now and bring you the other top international stories.

And we start this hour in Pakistan. Water levels in the country's largest lake are dangerously high, putting thousands of nearby villages at risk of

devastating floods. But a local official now reports the levels at Lake Manchar have subsided after recent breaches following months of course of

relentless rain for a third of the country's underwater.

And with the death toll standing at more than 1,300 people are struggling to bury the dead. Our Anna Coren has the story. And a note, there are

disturbing images in this report.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A metal box is pulled through the floodwaters. "What's in the box?" Asked the bystander. "A dead body",

replies a man. They open the lid and show the body of a man crammed in. "The family doesn't have money for a funeral", he explains. There is no

place to bury the dead. That is how bad the situation is.

They continue to hold the makeshift coffin through the brown murky water, searching for higher ground to bury the corpse. In another district, a

group of villagers drag a makeshift raft with another man's body through the floodwaters. "We came across an official with a tractor", says a man

looking distressed.

"We requested help to transport the body, but he denied there is no ambulance, no support by anyone."

As Pakistan's catastrophic floods continue to inundate one-third of the country, the province of Sindh in the country's southeast is now bearing

much of the brunt of this climate-change induced disaster.

With the water unable to drain away, there is nowhere to give the dead a dignified burial. Instead, these villagers hold a funeral procession for

their relative in the very waters that claimed his life.

Pakistan's unprecedented monsoonal rains, that have been falling since June, have affected at least 33 million people across the country. That's

15 percent of the population.

Millions have been displaced, having lost their homes and crops in the floodwaters. And the government and aid agencies are struggling to provide

enough food, medical care and shelter to those who've lost everything.

The ferocity of the flash floods has been the biggest killer. More than 1,300 people have died, one-third of them children, including a 3-day-old

baby girl, whose family tried to escape their home as the water almost reached the ceiling.

PETER OPHOFF, IFRC: The wife had the baby in her hands. And jus at the end, she couldn't hold it, because the water was too strong. And the baby

swept away. And they found the baby but, unfortunately, the baby died.

COREN (voice-over): The people living near Lake Manchar, Pakistan's largest freshwater lake, a looming disaster supposedly averted, has come at

a very high price. Officials were forced to breach it due to dangerously high water levels.

But tens of thousands of villagers downstream have now been left homeless and further flooding is still expected.

"It destroyed our crops and houses. No one informed us it was happening. No one warned us," explained this farmer, tending to his cattle, barely

keeping their heads above water.

"The village is submerged. There is no way to get to our village," says this man. "Some families are now stranded. We appeal to the government to

send rescue teams and help these people."

A plea to an already overstretched government, grappling to deal with this unprecedented calamity -- Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: The deputy commissioner of the U.N. Refugee Agency, Kelly Clements, joins me now to discuss what's being

done to help the millions impacted across Pakistan.

Kelly, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us here on the show. As Anna Coren just laid out, the situation on the ground, not only is

it heartbreaking; it's also not getting any better with swaths of Pakistan inundated.

What are you hearing from your teams on the ground regarding the challenge here?

KELLY CLEMENTS, DEPUTY, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: Well, it really is a race against time to get aid into the Pakistan and from parts

of Pakistan to the impacted areas.

You mentioned 33 million people who are impacted here. A million people have damaged homes; people are displaced. We see over 600,000 people in

relief camps. It's really trying to get the aid into the impacted areas.

And as we've just seen on that report, it's almost impossible in some areas. We are trying to bring in aid from our regional stockpiles in Dubai.

We've had three airlifts already.

We're bringing aid from Chermez (ph) by road and then using -- basically emptying stocks in the country that we have as one of the largest

operational agencies in the U.N. supporting the government of Pakistan in their hour of need.

SOARES: I'm guessing, as we look at these pictures, as we saw in Anna Coren's report, infrastructure has been completely devastated. So getting,

I'm guessing, to these people, to the hardest hit areas, that's probably the biggest challenge for you.

CLEMENTS: It's a huge, huge logistical nightmare, not only are -- I mean, just horrific stories: loss of life, damage infrastructures. It's the

logistical challenge of actually launching a major relief operation like this.

And Pakistan, this is not new for Pakistan; 2005, 2010, the U.N. stood with them then. And there -- and we're standing with them now. Secretary general

will be there on Friday. There is a lot of aid relief coming in to support Pakistan.

But this is a country that has hosted refugees, hosted 1.3 registered -- million refugees now. And now they need help from the international

community to deal with this devastation but also to support those that are finding solace in Pakistan.

SOARES: And millions, of course, of people have been displaced, as we heard in that report and you just said. Many as well, as we just heard

there, are pretty frustrated by the government response.

Is this a sentiment that's been shared by your teams in the country, Kelly?


CLEMENTS: Pakistan has enormous logistical capacity but they're also a country that is under tremendous strain.

This is where the international community and the U.N. -- and we're part of that U.N. response -- we need to get the relief supplies to Pakistan quite

quickly. They are leading the response. We are behind them.

But it needs to go from central level obviously down to the local level. And that is a huge challenge for Pakistan. But we're going to stand with

them and help them to the absolute possible extent.

SOARES: Like you've pointed out, Kelly, you have been appealing to the international community.

What is the response so far?

And are you satisfied with the response?

CLEMENTS: We've appealed for $160 million. But that's just for a three- month period. And that's really just the initial response. This is something that we, working with the government in terms of what the

requirements will be, it will be much, much larger than that.

They need everything from the basics, from sleeping mats to tarpaulin to keep additional rain off. There will be a need for large infrastructure

repairs, reconstruction and basic housing with all the houses that have been lost in these torrential monsoon rains.

And the rain isn't going to stop. We hear that more rains are coming. And this is something we need to prepare for and help the government be able to

respond at every level.

SOARES: Kelly Clements, really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us on the show, appreciate it. Thank you.

CLEMENTS: Thank you.

SOARES: Now Ukrainian forces say they have been making gains in the south as its military conducts its most ambitious ground assault since the

beginning of the Russian invasion.

Ukrainian officials say they hope to retake most of the Russian occupied Kherson region by the end of the year. They've also stepped up attacks on

Russian held territory in Eastern Ukraine. New video appears to show Ukrainian troops going through a village in the Kharkiv region, being taken

back from Russian forces.

Meanwhile, Russia's president admits his military's invasion of Ukraine has created polarization in the world and inside Russia. Despite Western

assessments that Russia's facing severe shortages of military personnel and equipment, Vladimir Putin is painting a rather different picture. Listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I am sure that we've not lost anything and will not lose anything over actions in Ukraine.

When it comes to the gains, I can say that the main gain is the strengthening of our sovereignty. That is the inevitable result of what is

going on now.


SOARES: Let's talk about these comments with Jill Dougherty, who joins me from Washington.

Jill, great to have you on the show. So let's break some of those comments down and really what we've seen so far, six months into this war.

If like Putin says, Russia has lost nothing, what exactly has Russia won?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think if you listen to what the president said today, he would define it as sovereignty, that Russia has

strengthened its sovereignty. I think other people might look at that as more isolation of Russia.

But if he believes that this sovereignty is the primary thing that Russia has to have, no modern country can survive without it. But I think it's

really important to pay attention to that comment about polarization.

That's a very worrying thing because, in my estimation today, this is essentially a declaration of war by President Putin against Europe and also

a declaration of war against anybody inside Russia who opposes his war or opposes him.

He's saying, essentially, we're going to eliminate things that hold us back.

And what holds them back domestically?

It's people who are not on board with the war. But if you want to continue, we could look more specifically at what did he win and what did he lose.

SOARES: Let me pick up on what you just said, that polarization. These comments coming as we're hearing that he's about to meet with Xi Jinping.

So he's clearly building alliances with China.

What do you make of that meeting, of really, what they call the best and bosom friendship, I think.

How important is this relationship right now for Putin with Xi Jinping, Jill?

DOUGHERTY: It's extremely important for President Putin because that is the main friend that Russia has right now. China has played kind of a

careful hand with the sanctions against Russia because of the war.

But essentially, China has supported Russia in this endeavor, especially kind of an anti NATO approach. So Putin really needs China. I would say

China doesn't need Russia as much as Russia needs China. So it's an easy meeting. They both apparently personally get along.


China is an ally of Russia. And so I think this is symbolic for President Putin, to show they have friends and they have important friends.

SOARES: So when we hear comments from Putin, saying he's lost nothing, how do you think that will play at home?

Of course, families, the mothers of the thousands of Russian soldiers who have died or have been injured in Ukraine, who have listened to this and

thinking, what, Jill?

DOUGHERTY: Obviously, people who have families, who have lost boys in Ukraine, will be feeling loss. But it doesn't always compute that they will

be against the war. There actually are some Russians who think this is the price you have to pay, because NATO is at our door, et cetera. They've

accepted the rationale that Putin has presented.

But it's very hard -- there are some polls out there, some indications that support for the war is going down but minimally. You'd have to say that the

majority of Russians still appear to support the war.

But you have the losses from the war militarily. And then you also have the economic losses. And those continue to mount. I think that's one of the

reasons right now that Putin was so vehement today because the decision by the -- by Europe to impose -- to put price caps on Russian oil and gas are

very significant.

And you can see that he's very disturbed by that; hence, this kind of emotional statement today. So the economy is in trouble and also,

domestically, again, he mentioned that polarization.

It is not good for President Putin to have a polarized society. He would say, of course, well, the people who don't support it are troublemakers,

let them go. But they already have brain drain and a vast number of people who are now abandoning Russia. So this is a problem for President Putin.

SOARES: Analysis from Jill Dougherty. Jill, always wonderful to have you on the show. appreciate it.

DOUGHERTY: Thank you.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, Jair Bolsonaro celebrates Brazil's independence day and takes the opportunity to show strength and campaign

hard. That's next.





SOARES: Critics are lashing out at Brazil's far-right leader for coopting the country's independence day as he runs for reelection. Brazil is marking

200 years since it declared independence from my country, Portugal.

And even though the holiday is supposed to be a nonpartisan celebration, president Jair Bolsonaro spoke to supporters after the traditional military

parade, urging them to fight for their freedom ahead of next month's heated election. Have a listen.


JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We face a battle between good and evil. The evil lasted for years in our country and almost

broke it. Now they want to go back to the crime scene.


SOARES: That is a reference to his rival, former president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva and these you are looking at now are live pictures coming to

us from an event in Rio de Janeiro. You can see very large crowds and lots of yellow and green flags there. Everyone is draped in those flags.

I want to bring in CNN's Shasta Darlington, who joins us now from Sao Paulo.

As we look at these pictures, these are huge crowds. This is an important date, of course, full of Patriotism. And as we just heard from Bolsonaro,

politics, too.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Isa. As you mentioned, there are thousands of people coming to these events in both

Rio de Janeiro and earlier today in Brasilia, where big military parades were organized.

Everyone showed out in the color of the Brazilian flag to celebrate Brazil's 200 years of independence from Portugal. But simultaneously, there

are dozens of rallies happening around the country that are very explicitly political.

They are pro Bolsonaro rallies ahead of elections on October 2nd. And he has managed to mix the two. So even at the events that were supposed to be

more about an independence day celebration, they have become very pointedly electoral and political.

And part of this, what we heard from him, is he called the polls a lie during his speech in the morning. And part of this show of strength and

force is really to convince his followers that he has the support, that he can win the elections, despite a disappointing turnout at the polls.

This is because polls have shown that his main rival is ahead by a comfortable margin. So critics say he is really lining up all of these

photo ops and all of this big turnout to continue to accuse the polls of being unreliable and also the electoral system itself.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly called the widely respected electronic voting system here in Brazil vulnerable to fraud. So critics say he is using this

event, with all of the massive turnout, as evidence that he can later pull out to say, you see?

I told you. I've got the public behind me, we can't trust the polls and we can't trust the elections themselves.

Now another thing that was interesting this morning in Brasilia, noticeably absent from the activities were any other institutional leaders -- the

president of congress, senate, supreme court. None of them were present at the events because they had become so political.

As you mentioned, Bolsonaro is now in Rio. We will see more military acrobatics and Bolsonaro himself will be riding around on motorcycles.

SOARES: Yes, the margins are still quite wide. But it is getting tighter, that's for sure. We've got less than a month or so until the elections.

Shasta Darlington, thank you very much.

A new report is raising concerns about the possible national security consequences of having classified U.S. documents stashed for months at

Donald Trump's Florida resort.

"The Washington Post" says one document seized during a recent FBI search described the nuclear defense capabilities of a foreign nation. It didn't

identify the nation or disclose whether it was a U.S. ally or enemy.

But it said some information was so highly classified that it required security clearances beyond top secret.

And still to come tonight. Britain's new prime minister faces Parliament amid a cost of living crisis. How Liz Truss did on her first full day on

the job. Bianca Nobilo joins me.





SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

Liz Truss had a busy first full day as Britain's prime minister, leading her first meeting at Number 10 Downing Street with the newly formed

cabinet. You can see there. She's facing some really tough questions in Parliament. U.K. lawmakers grilled her on how she plans to deal with the

country's cost of living crisis. Have a look at this.


LIZ TRUSS, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: We can't just deal with today's problem. We can't just put a sticking plaster on it. What we need to do is increase

our energy supplies long term.

And that is why we will open up more supply in the North Sea, which the honorable gentleman has opposed.

That is why we will build more nuclear power stations, which the Labour Party didn't do when they were in office. And that is why we will get on

with delivering the supply as well as helping people through the winter.


SOARES: Truss says she will unveil her plan to tackle soaring energy costs. That's going to happen on Thursday. Bianca Nobilo has been following

this story closely for us and she joined me here in the studio.

I actually thought she did better than many people were expecting.

But what did you -- what stood out to you from what you heard?

And how do you think this is going to define, perhaps hint at how it defines her premiership here?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: She was consistent with her messaging. There was no departure from what we've heard the last six weeks.

She's benefiting from the exceptionally low expectations that people have of her.

Also she's avowedly a wobbly communicator. She said many times during the leadership contest, I'm not the slickest performer. I'm not great at public


But obviously, she's had experience in the House of Commons chamber before. We saw the benefits of that today. I was quite surprised at how she seemed

free of nerves. She was very deliberate. Her messaging was simple.

But that's the kind of thing that can translate well to the public at large. Bearing in mind, unless you are a weirdo -- and I can say that

because I do this -- nobody is watching Parliament unless it's --


NOBILO: So this is what people will see. And she was staying very clear on her messaging, blaming Russia for the energy crisis, saying that she had

clear economic arguments that justified the moves that she's about to make. That is the kind of thing that might help endear her to the British public

at large.

SOARES: She did stick to her messaging. And the messaging was so different, coming from very different sides. For the first time, I am

seeing the diversion between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party.

How do you think she will fare tomorrow, once we have the cost of living crisis, the detailed plan, how much expectation is there on this plan?

NOBILO: Oh, huge; from the public, from those in government, obviously from the opposition. All the scrutiny is on this because this, as you've

been reporting, will determine whether or not people get to eat or heat their homes over this winter. So all eyes are on it. And the scrutiny will

be immense.


NOBILO: We'll be hearing from all the economic think tanks, from the Bank of England and others. So it's a huge deal. It is the first true test of

her premiership.

But you make an interesting point about that reemergence of that clear, ideological divide between the Conservatives and the Labour Party because

even though many people associate Boris Johnson with being quite right-wing because he leant so much into the culture wars and into certain populist

currents, he wasn't traditionally Conservative in some respects and was happier to have more public spending.

Whereas Liz Truss has been very clear, you don't tax your way to growth. Keir Starmer obviously in favor of progressive taxation.

It seemed like more a regurgitation of the older arguments that we're used to and a return to form in some ways without the flourish and the bombast

of Boris Johnson with the deliberate focused attempt of Liz Truss on her first occasion as prime minister and Keir Starmer's prosecutorial direct


Nothing that's immensely inspiring or exciting but perhaps a little more traditional than what we're used to.

SOARES: It'll be interesting to see tomorrow whether she'll be able to deliver. It sounds like there's a lot of spending, a lot of questions

exactly how she's going to fund all this, the expectations very high indeed. Bianca, thank you very much.

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