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Your World Today

United Nations Brings Plight of Refugees to World's Attention Today; Interview with Kofi Annan and Representative of World Food Program; Lord's Resistance Army Wreaks Havoc in Uganda

Aired June 20, 2006 - 12:00   ET


KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: If you want someone, some region to be concerned about your problem, you have to also be concerned about theirs.


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The United Nations takes one day to bring the plight of millions of refugees to the world's attention.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Faced with millions of people displaced by natural disasters, humanitarian workers try to help one family at a time.

GORANI: And we'll take you to one especially desperate place, Uganda, where children are running for their lives, seeking sanctuary from abduction, slavery and torture.

HOLMES: Hello, everyone. 12:00 noon at the United Nations. It is 7:00 p.m. in Uganda. I'm Michael Holmes.

GORANI: I'm Holly Gorani, welcome to our viewers throughout the world and in the United States. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

HOLMES: And we begin with what is being called a message of hope.

GORANI: That's right. Today is World Refugee Day.

HOLMES: The events are taking place right across the globe to remember those who are often forgotten, United Nations and many others paying special attention to those who have been forced to flee their homes and often their countries because of war, violence or persecution.

GORANI: Now the U.N. currently is trying to help nearly 21 million people. That includes refugees, the internally displaced, asylum seekers and others.

HOLMES: The greatest number are concentrated in Africa and nearly half of them are children.

GORANI: Now the U.N. says the vast majority of uprooted people are from developing countries.

HOLMES: That's right, CNN has special coverage all day with reports around the world where millions of people are struggling to survive right now.

GORANI: Our coverage begins with this report from CNN's Soledad O'Brien.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A refugee is defined as someone who flees for safety and whatever the cause, war, famine or natural disaster, the results are still the same.

More than 15 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, five nations, Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, account for nearly half of the total population of people uprooted from their homes.

Nowhere is the face of the refugee problem more dire than in Darfur in the Sudan. Where hundreds of thousands of villagers have abandoned their homes to escape what many humanitarian agencies have described as ethnic cleansing.

U.N. officials say children make up half the world's refugee population. And it's in victims like these youngsters in Niger, forced to leave their homes in search of food. Or these refugees in Southeast Asia forced to seek shelter after the tsunami in 2004.

By focusing on the plight of refugees, the U.N. wants to send a simple message of hope. The hope that millions can be assisted, protected, and most importantly, go home.

Soledad O'Brien, CNN, reporting.


GORANI: Now the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan has led to the deaths of tens of thousands and displaced more than 2 million individuals. Humanitarian organizations are doing their best to help but the task is overwhelming.

Chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports from Sudan.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Jonathan Specter (ph) is at war with Darfur's biggest killer now. Malnutrition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today he's very ill.

AMANPOUR: Dr. Specter is midway through a stint for the aid group Medicins sans Frontiere. In Algenina (ph), the capital of western Darfur. He is a long way from his pediatric practice back in Boston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a developed country, this child would be in an intensive care unit setting. He would be on an monitor. He would be maybe even -- for sure getting oxygen and maybe on a ventilator.

AMANPOUR: Here he doesn't have simple diagnostics like blood tests. And every day he has to make a tough choice about who to treat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's malnourished. Doesn't actually meet criteria for admission to our camp because he's not severely malnourished. He is moderately malnourished.

AMANPOUR: But these children are severe cases. And every effort counts. Mothers are told to force formula into their skin and bones infants every three hours.

With malnutrition comes another killer. Disease. Diarrhea, skin infection, septicemia, and all these patients like the Yaya (ph) family have already been brutalized by the wave of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by government-backed militias over the past 18 months.

"They chased us from our home seven months ago and stole all our cattle. They killed three people in our family," says Halima (ph) as she watches over her starving daughter Zara (ph). In another tent, Dr. Specter relishes success.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's good. She's so much better. She looks marvelous.

AMANPOUR: But it's only a small success in a desperate bid to save about 2 million people in urgent need of food and medical relief. There's not nearly enough humanitarian aid or enough aid workers reaching the region. The 18 month after this catastrophe began, the world has coughed up less than half the funds the U.N. requested to save this part of Sudan. Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Algenina, western Darfur.


HOMES: And now let's get a little more perspective on the scope of this problem. Our Jim Clancy sat down with the U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan and James Morris from the World Food Program to discuss the plight of the world's refugees.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Kofi Annan, let me begin with you. This week we are going to mark World Refugee Day. In a larger time text that have includes displaced people, where is the need today? How serious is it?

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: It is very serious. I think the greatest needs are in Africa, but there are other areas in Asia and in Europe where people are fleeing conflict. But I think what is important is that I often track governments. There is a tendency not to interfere in your neighbors' affairs. The conflicts do not internal for long. They start internally. But in a relatively short time, it becomes a regional issue.

People flee. They flee for safety and they flee oppression. And before you know, the whole region is destabilized.

We focus on Darfur. The Darfur conflict is also destabilizing Chad and the Central African Republic. So you have these innocent victims spread across borders. Kicked away from their homes who need assistance from their international community.

And in fact there are those who would argue that we need to be careful not to make an artificial distinction between internally displaced and refugees. Refugees are the ones who cross borders. But there are those who are kicked from their homes, never make it to the border and they are equally desperate.

CLANCY: Jim Morris, on that note, World Food Program had to actually 60 days ago cut back on the food rations it was distributing in the Darfur region. What is the situation today? How desperate is the need?

JIM MORRIS, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Toughest decision we ever had to make. IDPs are refugees who are people more often or not in circumstances completely not of their own making. In Darfur, there are today probably 2 million internally displaced people living in many, many camps. These were people who were leaving decent lives by their own standards. Able to provide for their families, their kids going to school.

And suddenly several hundred of their villages were destroyed. They were chased. They were brutalized. The women treated in ways beyond comprehension. And suddenly they are living several hundred miles away from home. They all want to go home, but they won't go home until peace and security is there.

CLANCY: There's a humanitarian dimension that Jim's talking about here. Getting the assistance to keep people alive. More than 2 million of them. At the same time, without a political settlement somewhere down the road, none of this is going to work.

ANNAN: You are absolutely right. The long term solution is a political one. Jim mentioned Darfur. And this is why there are attempts to get all the parties involved to sign a peace agreement. It is absolutely crucial.

I have a team in Darfur at the moment doing an assessment mission on the ground with the African Union to complete the U.N. planning for peacekeeping operations where we will reinforce and transition from African Union force to a peace-keeping force. But that, as I should say, is a short term solution. The longer term solution is a political agreement.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Jim Clancy there speaking with the U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan. And also James Morris from the World Food Program. And a little later, we are going to hear directly from Kofi Annan on why everyone should help.


GORANI: Now as we mark the UN's World Refugee Day, let's note the work of one person in particular. Special U.N. ambassador and movie super star Angelina Jolie. She sat down with our Anderson Cooper to talk about her refugee work and her new baby.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I've read that you gave a third of your income to refugees and other causes. Is that true?

JOLIE: Yeah.

COOPER: That's incredible.

JOLIE: Yeah, well I have stupid income for what I do. You know what I mean? To be fair.

COOPER: OK. Look, there are a lot of people who have that income and more and don't do that.

JOLIE: I'm sure everything -- at the last minute I became the mother. That was sure everything was going to go wrong. And she was healthy and it was amazing.


GORANI: Well be sure to join us for their full conversation. That's Wednesday at 0200 GMT.

HOLMES: And coincidentally that brings us to the inbox question of the day.

GORANI: Now we've been asking, what impact does the work of celebrities like Angelina Jolie have on the refugee problem around the world.

HOLMES: E-mail us at We'll read some of your comments a little later right here on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

Meanwhile time to take a short break. You're watching CNN.


GORANI: Now, more than 70,000 people were killed by the devastating Pakistani earthquake last October.

HOLMES: Another 3 million were left homeless. And for many, the suffering still has not eased. Dan Rivers now and a crew hiked to the area back in January and stayed ten days in the cold Himalayan mountains.

GORANI: They wanted to get a real sense of how people were surviving in tents. Here is one of his reports from remote Moori Patan.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The children of Moori Patan have survived another night. Their bedding is damp. Their tents freezing. Their shoes, wet through. Their day starts with a walk to the village spring. They wash in icy water.

Ten-year-old Nasim (ph) helps her four year old sister, Tairu (ph). Nasim has had to grow up fast. Their mother died in the earthquake. They take breakfast in one of the few standing houses. Tea and biscuits is all that's on offer. As I chat to the children, it's obvious many are suffering illnesses because of the total lack of medical supplies.

Sadiq (ph) is eight. He seems healthy, so he removes his hat. He has scabies. Like the eye infection, it's easily treated. If only he could get to a doctor.


GORANI: All right. That was a report from Dan Rivers which originally aired in January. You saw there it was wintertime. And the climate is just one thing among the many of the thousands victims of that earthquake need to face.

Let's get more on the earthquake relief efforts on this World Refugee Day. We go to Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, the minister of state for foreign affairs of Pakistan. He joins us now on the line from Islamabad. Minister, thanks for being with us. We saw their in Dan Rivers report. It was winter then now monsoon rains and you still have hundreds of thousands people who do not have homes to go to.

MAKHDUM KHUSRO BAKHTYAR, PAKISTAN MINISTER OF STATE (on phone): Thank you. I'm sure it's a very timely question. Let me give you an update to how the Pakistani government and its people with the help of the international community have caught up with this disaster in all its formidable manifestations.

As you rightly said, there were 3.5 million people who were affected. And there were 300,000 refugees that came down from the heights into the camps. You will be happy to note that 70 percent of them have voluntarily gone back and the rest, 30 percent are going back now.

But the problem you rightly highlighted the earthquake and devastation coupled with severe weather and inaccessible terrain. So what happened is now we started a policy where we started attending to the people who were left homeless at the level of 400,000 to 500,000 (ph) above sea level. Where the temperatures are severe. And those are the first ones getting affected. And there were around 400,000 people who were actually affected there. GORANI: All right. And that leaves hundreds of thousands of people, minister, who don't have homes with pledges of money that were made when the earthquake had happened that has not necessarily come through. What is urgently needed today?

BAKHTYAR: Yes. Let me tell you that I think I think the report you were showing was somewhere earlier this year, the operation in totality to date we have provided with the help of international community and with the help of the people of Pakistan and the government, 950,000 tents,6.5 million blankets, 250,000 tons of rationed food and 30,000 tons of medicine.

And in order to get these things over to the people, there were 128 helicopters operating on a daily basis which had 30,000, now let me tell you, there were around 70 camps which was established in different medical camps. In different parts of the affected area. But they were not equipped to treat most of the people who had suffered -- injuries were really serious. We evacuated around 50,000 patients to helicopters to the main hospitals down in the cities in Pakistan.

GORANI: Minister Bakhtyar, I'm sorry to interrupt. In the interest of time, one last question. What would Pakistan need right now to come to the help of the hundreds of thousands of people who are still in camps? What is the most urgently needed thing for them today?

BAKHTYAR: My message would be that the spirit of humanity as we saw it in the relief operation needs to continue. The pledges need to translate into real transfers. And the reconstruction phase to house these people with better standings of healthcare, education, infrastructure. The construction phase which are drawn out to three to five years should not see - donor fatigue should not come across.

It should not be out of the media attention. Because these are the people suffering in one of the biggest cataclysmic disasters.

GORANI: All right. Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, the minister of state for foreign affairs from Pakistan joining us from Islamabad. Many thanks for being on CNN. Michael?

HOLMES: All right, hundreds of thousands of people in more than 11 countries were killed when those tsunamis were brought ashore 18 months ago, now. Tens of thousands lost their homes and everything else.

GORANI: The death toll in Indonesia and Sri Lanka clearly dwarf that of the tiny nation of Maldives in the Indian Ocean. But the country made up of around 1,200 islands was devastated by the tsunami.

And sits very low, too. Only armed with a camera, CNN Seth Doane caught up with a resident of the Maldives up as he made his first trip home.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SETH DOANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): On the horizon is this island of Gemendoo. For Ismail Rasheed this is not an easy trip. The pier is an abandoned project left like the rest of this island. Ismail helps to navigate the shallow waters. He knows this place well. It was home.


DOANE: (on camera): What is it like to come back here?

RASHEED: Scared -- To remind me of everything again.

DOANE (voice-over): Eighteen months later, the island is just as it was after the tsunami overwhelmed it and 50 other inhabited islands in the Maldives. There are no plans to reinhabit Gemendoo.

RASHEED: As good as we can keep a place like this, for the next generation, they make no -- what happened. They can create them. But how else the people might have suffered.

DOANE: Ismail remembers the day well.

RASHEED: We were in a match. But it was altered (ph). All the things -- You can see this still standing.

DOANE: We keep walking. He wants to show me something.

RASHEED: This used to be my house.

DOANE: What's this like to see this?

RASHEED: It's dreadful. Really makes me down.

DOANE: There are many reminders here of a life interrupted. Ismail was one of 30,000 Maldives Islanders displaced. The job of finding them new homes is taking time and a psychological toll.

RASHEED: We would like to see everyone in permanent shelters. To start a new life. I mean, just think about this in the future. So you must start something. But we need to clear out this cloudy picture and start a new bright day.

DOANE: Ismail and his extended family are living in this shelter on a neighboring island. He seems embarrassed to bring me here.

DOANE (on camera): Ismail didn't want to be on camera here in his temporary house where he is living right now with 10 family members. But he did show me his bedroom which is this room here. He and his wife just put a mattress on the floor and sleep right here.

(voice-over): The Federation of the Red Cross is working to house some of the families like Ismail's who are still displaced.

JOE LOWRY, INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS: People in temporary housing displaced people from the neighboring Gemendoo Iland that was destroyed by the tsunami. Hopefully in a few week's time, they'll be living normal lives here.

DOANE: There are around 50 homes being built here. In all, the Red Cross network is building some 2,000 homes in the Maldives. Ismail says he's looking forward to settling into a new house. But that the island of Gemendoo will always be home. Seth Doane, CNN, the Maldives.


GORANI: Well Americans responded to these disasters by giving in record numbers, 2005 in fact was a record year for that.

HOLMES: It was. Americans responding to the urgent needs created by the tsunami in Southeast Asia. The Pakistan earthquake, also Hurricane Katrina. And they responded with an outpouring of aid.

GORANI: Well the giving U.S. as a foundation says Americans give nearly $7.4 billion to disaster relief in 2005 alone.

HOLMES: Now that pushed total contributions up nearly three percent last year to more than 2$260 billion. It was the highest total since the U.S. stock market bubble burst. That was back in 2000. Coming up on this special hour of YOUR WORLD TODAY, Palestinian refugees.

GORANI: Now, thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes decades ago and have not been allowed to return. We will visit with one family that still dreams of going back to its village.


GORANI: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. Many Palestinians were displaced from their homes nearly 60 years ago when Israel was established.

And to many, this day, they remain crowded in camps scattered throughout the West Bank, Gaza, also Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. As Paula Hancocks now reports, what was a difficult existence has recently become nothing short of desperate.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Palestinian refugee camp houses more than 12,000 refugees. An over-populated concrete jungle.

This has been Abu Nidal Abu-Aker's temporary home for half a century. At the age of five, he fled his home with his family during the 1948 Arab Israeli war along with hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians. His family lived in a tent in this Bethlehem refugee camp for 10 years. Then one room served as kitchen, bathroom and bedroom for the next 15 years.

ABU NIDAL ABU-AKER (through translator): This picture always reminds me of my land. And the suffering that I experienced. This picture represents history for us. And that's why I'm keeping it. HANCOCKS: Abu Nidal paints furniture by day and works in a gas station at night. The main breadwinner for the 16 family members that live in his house.

ABU-AKER: I'm exhausted. But I have to work. Especially as I'm 63, my sons are in prison. I have to take care of my family. I have two jobs. And I have to work.

HANCOCKS: But he never loses hope of returning to his hometown. Now on Israeli soil. He's even kept the keys to his home that was demolished decades ago.

His wife tells me even if she cannot go home in her lifetime, she has faith her children will.

(on camera): The Abu-Aker family's story is mirrored in Palestinian refugee camps across the region. Now the World Bank says that 44 percent of all Palestinians live below the poverty line. That number rises when you come to a camp like Gratia (ph).

And the conditions have been worsening for the past six months.

(voice-over): Poverty in refugee camps has risen nine percent since the surprise win of Hamas in the Palestinian election in January. The West halted millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinian Authority. And increased restrictions on movement between Israel and the West Bank. Effectively denying many Palestinians lucrative work in Israel. The United Nations office for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, says the situation is dire.

ANDERS FANGE, DIRECTOR, UNRWA WEST BANK: If you talk to the old hand employees among refugees and so on, they are actually telling you that they have not seen as bad times since the beginning of the 1950s.

HANCOCKS: In the past six months, UNRWA has doubled its emergency appeal for this year. Saying the minimum refugees need here is $75 million for the absolute basics of food and health care. It's appealing to some of its biggest donors, the United States and the European Union to help. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Dehesha (ph) refugee camp, West Bank.


HOLMES: And one quick note for you. The "Jerusalem Post" newspaper is reporting that Israeli and European teams are expected to begin talks either today or tomorrow on a plan to provide aid to the Palestinian Authority while bypassing the Hamas-led government.'

GORANI: Now our special coverage of World Refugee Day continues in a moment.

HOLMES: It does. It has been called one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) come and kill people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They arrest people. And they kill and they destroy our homes.


GORANI: Ahead, we'll take a closer look at the brutal rebel insurgency in northern Uganda and the conflict's forgotten victims. Stay with us.


GORANI: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY, and our special coverage of World Refugee Day. I'm Hala Gorani.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes.

GORANI: Now the United Nations created World Refugee Day six years ago. It remembers the victims of war or natural disaster.

HOLMES: Hundreds of special events and activities are focusing on the theme hope.

GORANI: The U.N. Refugee Agency currently cares for nearly 21 million people, as we were saying, and that includes refugees, as well as what we call internally displaced people, the refugees in their own country, if you will, plus those qualified and classified as state list returnees and also asylum seekers.

HOLMES: The positive news is that the global number of refugees has fallen to its lowest level in 26 years.

GORANI: But returning refugees often face a bleak future back home. The U.N. says greater efforts are needed to ensure that those countries recovering from years of violence receive the necessary help.

HOLMES: Well, tortured, raped and forced into slavery. The victims of the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda have been subjected to acts of unspeakable brutality.

GORANI: And most are between the ages of five and 16 years old.

CNN's Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange brings us their harrowing story.


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's nighttime in Gulu in northern Uganda and the dusty roads leading into the town are busy with the patter of tiny feet rushing as if to beat the darkness. They are running from small villages far and wide, running from a man they've never seen, but they are running from real terrors in the night.

His name is Joseph Kony and he leads a violent rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA, which claims to base its principles on the 10 Commandments. The LRA has forced more than 2 million civilians to flee their homes. And now, after 20 years on the run, Kony recently came out of hiding for the first time claiming he wants to talk peace with the Ugandan government.


KOINANGE: But until that happens, these children will continue to run.

(on camera): They wait for the sun to go down and every night, under the cover of darkness, these children, ages between five and 16 years old, make the long commute from their villages to the comfort of the big towns. In fact, locals here have coined a phrase for them. They call them the night commuters.

(voice-over): They arrive at one of several shelters in Gulu, exhausted but exhilarated. This one is appropriately named Noah's Ark. And like the biblical sanctuary, they enter in twos, escaping what they call the madness outside.

I asked the children how many of them know of someone who has been abducted? Almost every hand is raised. I asked them how many have family members who have been abducted? Just as many hands are raised.

But the center is both ill-equipped and underfunded. The only comfort the children get is a canvas roof, a cold, hard floor and, if they are lucky, a blanket. But all they are looking for, it seems, is a place to lie down without having to worry about becoming the next group of child slaves.

And in the morning, they are up early, ready to take the long walk back home to their villages. No breakfast. No shower. No change of clothes.

At a rehabilitation center for escapees not far from Noah's Ark, former kidnapped victims gather for a morning therapy session. Many of these girls bearing the physical scars of rape, and the boys the mental scars of torture.

Among them, 19-year-old Alice Abalo, who recently escaped from the LRA with her four-year-old daughter Nancy, a product of rape. Alice shows us the physical scars of her eight years in captivity -- bullet wounds on her leg, shrapnel scars on her chest.

ALICE ABALO, FORMER KIDNAP VICTIM (through translator): One day, the group we were in had just killed about six people and proceeded to decapitate them. Then I was asked to light a wood fire using the victims heads as support, the same way one would use three stones. I still have nightmares of their burning hair and brains oozing out of the burning heads. It was horrible.

KOINANGE: Florence Lakor is responsible for the twice a day counseling sessions for the escapees. FLORENCE LAKOR, WORLD VISION, UGANDA: Their stories are really horrible. We have had cases of children who were ordered to -- to cook a human being. Said you cut the body into pieces and cook it up. Then they mobilize the village to come and eat the cooked body.

KOINANGE: Alice and the other kidnapped victims are allowed to stay here for 45 days. A brief period to adjust before going home. That is, if their home has survived the rebels.

As for the others who so far manage to evade the Lord's Resistance Army, the tiny feet of the night commuters remain on the move.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, Gulu in northern Uganda.


GORANI: Well, for more now on the plight of the world's refugees, we go to more of Jim Clancy's interview with the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and James Morris from the World Food Program.


CLANCY: People ask what's going on today? The appeals from the United Nations, from the World Food Program? It just seems it's costing us more money, it's affecting millions more people every year. How do you explain this? What's going on in the world?

MORRIS: Well, the fact of the matter is the world is giving more money to save lives and to protect livelihoods. Now what has to happen -- we all simply need to do more. There is this target of .7/10 of 1 percent of GDP to be committed for humanitarian development kinds of activities.

The U.N. has made it very clear with every country in the world supporting this, saying we are committed to eliminating hunger and poverty, being serious about HIV, gender equity, universal primary education, infant mortality and maternal health.

And from my perspective, it's a food-first agenda. We can make progress on none of these issues as long as people are hungry and starving. And the number of hungry people in the world is increasing, five million, six million a year. But it is not rocket science to figure out how to see that a child is fed. There's plenty of food in the world. And there are places in the world that need to have just simple additional investment and basic agricultural infrastructure, so they can become productive environments.

CLANCY: Some people would listen to this, and they would say, Kofi Annan, he wants to do everything for everyone. It's too much.

ANNAN: Well, I think the truth of the matter is that if we are going to survive, you have to do both. You have to do prevention. You have to do mitigation against disasters. The threats that we face today includes poverty, communicable diseases, environmental degradation, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and internationally organized crime. And (INAUDIBLE) international community. As a human community, we need to try to tackle these issues. And we need to tackle them. Because if you want someone, some region to be concerned about your problem, you have to also be concerned about theirs.

CLANCY: Jim Morris, executive director of the World Food Program, and of course Mr. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, thank you, gentlemen, both of you, for being with us.


GORANI: All right, well, that was our Jim Clancy there, speaking with Kofi Annan and James Morris.

HOLMES: All right, don't go away. Still to come on YOUR WORLD TODAY...

GORANI: The lost boys of Sudan. How the child victims of a bloody civil war found a life half a world away.

Stay with us.


HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone, to YOUR WORLD TODAY. Well, they are known as the Lost Boys.

GORANI: But it's no tale of Peter Pan. The war in Sudan caught the world's attention when young children were seen fleeing from Sudan to Ethiopia.

HOLMES: Those children were turned away from Ethiopia and so they walked all the way to Kenya. Many died along the way, but these pictures that you're looking at now prompted the U.S. government to give a home to some 4,000 youngsters.

GORANI: Well, we're joined now in the studio by one of those so- called Lost Boys. His name is Nathaniel Nyok, and he was once a Sudanese refugee, who went through and lived through that harrowing journey in Africa and ended up in Atlanta.

Thank you so much for being in the studio with us.

Tell us a little bit about your journey. What led you here to the U.S.?

NATHANIEL NYOK, SUDANESE REFUGEE: Uh, well when my journey started, I didn't really know where I was going. And 20 years ago, I didn't know what it was like to travel. And I had been a refugee now for nearly 20 years. And these are actually (INAUDIBLE) because left home when I was only eight years. I ate mud, I drink my own urine and I eat leaves.

GORANI: You eat leave, drink your own urine, had to walk all the way to Kenya. And that's where you were then taken and brought to the U.S. in 2001.

NYOK: Yes, and that was basically to keep me off from hunger and thirst.

GORANI: And this is -- your story illustrates what so many millions of refugees have to go through just in order to survive and find a home somewhere. How has your integration been in the U.S.? Do you feel America is now your new home?

NYOK: Well I know I am trying. Staying positive is one of the values that I have learned from my experiences. And when I came to this country, I have seen many people have welcomed me. And I have realized that the dream of Dr. King is alive. I was not being treated from where I came from, nor the color of my skin. Many people welcomed me into America. They introduced me to this country. And now I am by my own, but still I'm getting help from them.

So it's my new home,. Though it is a home away from home, it's home.

GORANI: How often do you think back to where you came from, what you had to go through in Africa in order to find a life in the U.S.?

NYOK: Well, always. Because many individuals like me are still suffering. But me, by myself, I know I am comfortable, but still I am being troubled a lot always bit situation of the people that are there. So all the time I am not comfortable. I have a lot of inner feelings about the people that I left. So I am always thinking of what I should do to help them.

GORANI: For them? For those who are left back there?

NYOK: Yes.

GORANI: Now here you got married. And you actually married, if I understand this correctly, a lady who was a lost girl. So she had to go through the same experience. So you found yourself that way?

NYOK: Yes, of course.

GORANI: And it's an experience you were able to share.

NYOK: Yes, it's -- I'd been alone for a long time. But in 1997, when I was visiting in Kenya, I met her. And I feel like she would be the right person in my life. So we came together, we engaged and we got married in 2001 when I came here. It was a little harder, though, because we were separated. I came here, and she was in Kenya for another four years.

GORANI: But she joined you in the end.

NYOK: Yes, she joined me in 2005.

GORANI: Thank you, Nathaniel Nyok, so much for sharing your story of survival and courage. And very good luck to you.

NYOK: Thank you so much.

HOLMES: All right, don't go away. Still to come on YOUR WORLD TODAY, a firsthand look at what life was like for those who stayed behind in Sudan.

GORANI: Now a journalist lived the life of a refugee and documents his experience for us. Details ahead.


HOLMES: One person who has extensively documented the plight of the world's refugees is the award-winning journalist Sorious Samura. His latest project, entitled "Living With Refugees," takes reality television to the extreme.

Samura himself becomes a central character in the film, living the lifestyle of a Sudanese refugee. I spoke with Sorious about the project a short time ago. We began with a clip from the documentary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ardom (ph) and his family join a sea of people, many thousand strong, who are fleeing Darfur in search of refuge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you expecting to get in the camps?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are going to the camps because we have lost everything. We are expecting support and that our human rights are recognized. We are suffering and we want our homes back. We are going to complain about what's happening in our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we can't carry enough water, we have to find it in places like these, a dried out river beds.



HOLMES: For most people in the world, certainly, I think many people watching right now, those conditions are horrific, a journey like that. Horrific what they were leaving behind. Horrific, and yet you find hope among refugees?

SORIOUS SAMURA, FILMMAKER AND PRODUCER: First of all, I want to say that I do understand how difficult it is for UNHCR under the conditions that they operate. But, you know, for most of these refugees, I mean, they are aware. You know, not most, but some of them are aware that, you know, the UNHCR has been operating for over 50 years.

And when people like these -- I mean, we walked for over three days. Well, we walked for about three days, but some of these people have walked for weeks, you know, and they get to these places. There is no proper structure for them to go and report straight away for some people to receive very traumatized people like this.

And, you know, in the middle of all that confusion, they're left there. We were lying on the trees for some four weeks, for about four weeks. And, you know, you talk to these people, you know, they are not sure where the hope is coming from because, you know, back home, you know, they've lost everything.

And the places that they hoping that they will come and be rescued, and be supported, you know, and be counseled, you know, there's nothing there. There's no one. The actually aid agencies when we even got there were the fellow refugees themselves.

HOLMES: Yes, that was interesting in the documentary, that once they got to the camp, there was pretty much no infrastructure there to support them. Aid agencies are all over this world. They are in all kinds of places, but they can't reach everywhere.

This sometimes appears to be an almost insurmountable problem. Millions of displaced people around the world. What needs to be done so that when people like Adam get to a camp, they reach something?

SAMURA: It's a tough one. I mean, I know -- I mean, the answer it is not easy. And I know we (INAUDIBLE) and UNHCR have been trying their best to turn things around. But, clearly, you know, I know they are not replacing this government. It's difficult to find the answers because host nations, the people that have problems with these refugees -- I think, you know, this is not just UNHCR a question.

I think we, the West, America, have got to try and help these people, deal with the problems in the countries that they are leaving. We have got to try and help them to live in these countries so that they won't leave because, I mean, history shows that poor nations, poor people, have always been heading for richer countries. And they will still continue to come no matter what we do, whether we let you fight the season or -- they will continue to come.

The bottom line is we've got to try and help them back home so that the reasons that make them leave -- for instance, take my country, Sierra Leone. Even though they are getting aid from the western world, you know, half of that aid is not even reaching the ordinary people.

It's landing in the pockets of politicians. We have to start dealing with that to make sure that it reaches these right people so that they don't leave these countries to come and create more problems for the richer nations.


GORANI: All right, Sorious Samura there speaking a bit earlier. Now it's time to open our "Inbox." We've been asking for your thoughts on celebrities and refugees.

HOLMES: That's right. Today's question was this: What impact does work of the celebrities like Angelina Jolie have on the refugee problem around the world? Just a couple of your answers now. GORANI: Now, Lin Amos in the U.S. says, "It is not just her actions, but the media coverage of her work that inspires and educates others. Her actions are noble and unselfish."

HOLMES: Nick Anderson from Australia says, "While probably well intended, the issues they draw attention to always become secondary to the stories of the celebrities themselves."

GORANI: Now, Sara writes from Croatia: "Since Angelina became a U.N. ambassador, I've learned a lot about refugees. The way she diverts focus from her to the people who need help is admirable."

All right. That's all for this special hour of YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Hala Gorani.

HOLMES: I'm Michael Holmes. Bye for now.