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CNN 10

Officials Attempt To Assess Disaster Damage In Tonga; Labor Shortage Continues In The United States; Soldier`s Letter Found And Delivered After 76 Years. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired January 19, 2022 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: A volcanic eruption in the South Pacific headlines today`s show. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10 and we`re taking you to

an archipelago named Tonga. Located about 1,100 miles northeast of New Zealand, Tonga is a small island nation. Its land area is less than a

third the size of Rhode Island. Its population is around 105,000 and most of them live on the main island of Tongatapu. It`s about 40 miles south of

where the eruption took place.

The country`s government declared a state of emergency after Saturday`s explosion. Experts think it might have been the biggest eruption in more

than 30 years. Satellite images and pictures from the air show trees, homes and fields covered in ash, and on Tonga`s main island it looks like

some buildings have collapsed.

But all of this is only part of the problem, the eruption caused a tsunami sending massive ocean waves across the Pacific. Tonga`s prime minister

says some of these waves were almost 50 feet high. These are tremendous forces of water. They reportedly destroyed all the houses on at least one

Tongan island, other areas look like they`ve been devastated as well.

It`s just impossible to see how bad the damage is because communication lines were cut off. Getting help to Tonga has been hampered by damage at

the capital`s airport, but officials say clean-up crews are making progress and fixing that. New Zealand has sent two Royal Navy ships to the island.

They`re carrying relief supplies and a helicopter and they`re expected to arrive at the end of the week. All of Tonga`s western islands are

volcanic. So, this kind of activity is relatively common here, but an eruption and tsunami in this scale have caused major problems on Tonga and

far beyond.


TOM SATER, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: The first look at the damage. Surveillance planes from Australia and New Zealand take to the skies to try

to assess just how bad the damage is in Tonga, after an underwater volcano erupted over the weekend, triggering tsunami warnings throughout the

Pacific with some waves reaching as far as Peru and the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we know water is an immediate need.

SATER: Countries like New Zealand, Australia and China say they are standing by to send aid, but the scale of the devastation in Tonga is still

unknown. Scientists say Saturday`s eruption could be the worst volcanic eruption the Pacific has experienced in decades. Just a day before, the

volcano belted out an ominous warning of what was to come, shooting ash and smoke some 20 kilometers in the air. But it was the voracity of the next

day`s eruption that unleashed waves of water around the world. In Tonga the swells at time reached heights of more than a meter high. No mass

casualties have been reported so far.

One British woman is reported dead. But the full impact of the volcanic blast is yet to be seen, since the country has been largely cut off from

the outside world. The government says phone networks are working again, but international communication is limited because of damage to an undersea

cable which could take more than a week to repair. That`s making it hard from some aid agencies to plan their next move.

ALEXANDER MATHEOU, INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS: We`re roughly thinking up to 80,000 people could be affected, but how many of them are seriously

affected. We don`t know.

SATER: Over the weekend large wave also hit the coast of Fiji, some 800 kilometers away. Tsunami warnings and advisories were issued in parts of

New Zealand, Japan, Canada and the west coast of the U.S. Coastal cities in Peru were inundated with knee deep water trapping people on the streets.

Police say two people died due to the abnormally high waves. A force of nature, felt for thousands of kilometers. Officials say they hope they`ll

soon get a better picture of what happened in Tonga where not even the volcanic island itself was spared. Satellite imagery shows it has now

largely sunk into the sea. Tom Sater, CNN.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Who is the current U.S. Secretary of Labor? Marty Walsh, Eugene Scalia, Elaine Chao or Janet Yellen. On March 22nd of

last year the Senate confirmed Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor.

The U.S. economy is in a strange place. Wages have gone up, especially in lower paying jobs like those in hotels or restaurants, but in many cases

what people get paid is not keeping up with inflation. The rise in prices and drop in buying power that at its highest rate in decades. The U.S.

unemployment rate, a percentage of American workers who don`t have a job, that`s at 3.9 percent.

Its lowest point since the pandemic hit, and that would normally be a good thing but America still has the shortage of workers. In some cases that

are available are different than the ones people are seeking, or they don`t pay as much. Critics of vaccine requirements say they`re keeping workers

away, and some people only want jobs with a work from home option. Here are some other reasons.


JON SARLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Where have the workers gone? It`s a question politician, economists, journalists all have been asking. Right

now the unemployment rate is low. People are quitting their jobs in record numbers, but the time that it takes to fill an open position is the highest

that its been in decades.

So, what`s really going on? Here are four reasons behind the labor shortage. The first reason, daycare. If you have younger kids, right now

there`s a shortage of daycare workers and that`s even if you can afford it with cost rising across the board. Older kids were stuck at home during

the beginning of the pandemic learning remotely. Even now, some schools are adopting a hybrid model which requires students to stay at home some of

the time.

If kids aren`t in school, someone has to be at home looking after them. Inevitably the burden of childcare falls more on women. In one survey,

women cited as the second highest reason for not getting a job as having to take care of someone, a child or a parent. The same survey, men cited it

as nearly the last.

The cost and complications of being a parent during the pandemic has led people to weigh the pros and cons of getting a job or staying at home. For

many, getting a job just isn`t worth it. The next reason, immigration. So, in the U.S., we`ve seen immigration rates plummet due to COVID

restrictions and processing delays.

With fewer immigrants coming into the country, there are fewer immigrants able to enter the workforce and, in some industries, that`s had a profound

effect. Take agriculture, in the U.S., immigrants make up 13 percent of the population but 73 percent of the agriculture industry. Fewer

immigrants, fewer workers.

The next reason, benefits. Now this is by far the most controversial of all the various reasons. There`s a huge debate going on amongst

politicians, economists, policy makers, all about what kind of effect the various COVID government benefits have had on the workforce. Things like

extended unemployment benefits, the stimulus checks, the child tax credits.

Now if you ask a business owner they will say, yes, it`s had a huge effect. We just can`t compete with the government sending out checks especially

with low wage workers, but on the other hand many of those emergency benefits have already ended. The stimulus checks were one offs. They`ve

already been spent by people. The extended unemployment benefits in many states have been unextended, and yet we`re still seeing many workers decide

to stay at home. The next reason, retirements. Baby boomers are trading in their desk chairs for beach chairs.

Our labor force is getting older. Over the last few decades, the average age of the worker has gone up three years and population growth,

immigration, all haven`t worked fast enough to counterbalance that trend. So, we`re left with fewer workers in the workforce. So, in some way this

was a trend that`s been going on for some time, but COVID has supercharged it.

In the 3rd quarter of 2021, more than half of the population age 55 and older are retired. And unlike the last recession where we saw housing

prices plummet, now we`re seeing housing prices boom alongside the stock market. And old people are statistically more likely to own these stocks

and houses that are now worth more money, so more money means more retirement.


AZUZ: On December 6th of 1945 in the aftermath of World War II, a U.S. Army Sergeant stationed in Germany wrote a letter to his mother in the

states. Nothing unique about that except that his letter got lost in the mail, and it didn`t turn up until 2021 at a U.S. postal facility in

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The man who wrote it, John Gonsalves had passed away six years before that, but the postal service tracked down his widow

Angelina who`d shared 61 years of marriage to John after the war, and the letter was delivered to her home in Massachusetts 76 years after Sergeant

Gonsalves wrote it.

ANGELINA GONSALVES, WIDOW OF SERGEANT JOHN GONSALVES: I couldn`t believe and then just his handwriting and everything. You know, it was just so


AZUZ: You can`t say we mailed that in. It`s an amazing story to the "letter". As it "unfolded" you could read how it was "signed" in history,

"sealed" with sincerity, "delivered decages" later. Yet still by "hand", just like it was written and still stamped for the low price of six cents,

an extraordinarily special delivery. I`m Carl Azuz delivering today`s show to Barnegat High School in Barnegat, New Jersey. Our You Tube channel is

the only place we look for the schools we mention. That`s