tv ABC World News Sunday ABC August 29, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
i'm david muir. tonight on "world news," five years later. tears, prayers and a presidential visit today marking the anniversary of katrina. and we revisit the faces, from that doctor at charity hospital, to that lone nurse at the convention center, as we ask -- how much as truly changed? the milestone in iraq. u.s. combat operations end this week what does that really mean for u.s. troops? dan harris reporting from baghdad tonight. was it a hate crime? a fire at the site of a planned islamic center. in the heart of the bible belt. and, miracle on the tracks. a woman falls into the path of a racing subway train. how did she survive? good evening. tonight, across the gulf coast, they're marking five years since katrina. there were powerful images today. in new orleans, they prayed
along a rebuilt levee. in st. bernard parish, they sent a wreath into the sea. and in mississippi, they read names etched into that wall. president obama traveled to the gulf, and we'll have his words in a moment. but we begin tonight by asking -- how much has changed? it was five years ago this morning. katrina made landfall. and inside the superdome, where thousands of evacuees sat in those stadium seats, the roof began to tear off. all we had was our cell phone to call out. massive waterfall in the center of the superdome. no one knew that surviving the superdome and the convention center would be even more challenging than surviving the storm itself. we remember jean brown, desperate to find food to help. >> i got to do something to help them. >> reporter: in the kitchen, she found orange juice and packets of sugar. >> i don't want to die like this. >> reporter: this woman told me she'd been without insulin for three days, and as we began to talk with her, she collapsed.
>> do we have regular insulin? >> reporter: the only nurse at the convention center, herself an evacuee, went to work. the young woman survived. and that nurse, we've stayed in touch with her over the years, telling us this right after the saints won the super bowl this year. >> just like -- it's a miracle. >> reporter: the superdome then -- and now. the saints win was symbolic on so many fronts. the city has recovered more than 90% of its population, 1.2 million now call new orleans home. but the return has been slowest in the lower ninth ward, where the horrors of five years ago still run so deep. the cries for help from dogs left behind, some in trees. the holes punched through roof tops from people who were trapped inside. >> my house broke in half. my mother house just disintegrated. >> reporter: the lower ninth ward then -- and now. a new skyline fueled by brad pitt's make it right foundation. still, more than three quarters who lived there have never come back. and those levees? this is the picture now. and we wondered about the
medical care. after that trip five years ago to charity hospital. one of the hospitals where patients have now been waiting five days for boats to come rescue them. this is third world medicine. >> this is worse than third world medicine. >> reporter: because of the rising water, patients in critical condition moved upstairs. an auditorium became the emergency room, a piano to calm nerves. five years later, charity hospital is closed, frozen in time. a lab chart from that day still hanging on the wall. but we also learned that of the more than 4,000 new orleans doctors displaced by katrina, more than 3,600 have returned. and that doctor we met at charity hospital, among them. >> the good news with that is, hey, we learned from this. and you have to be prepared from a personal level, for your own family's level and the people you're taking care of. you have to go that extra step. >> and the doctor from charity hospital we won't forget. our bob woodruff has been back in the gulf for several days now and tonight so is jake tapper, traveling with the president. and jake, we wanted to begin with you, with what the
president had to say today. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, david. five years ago, xavier university was under water. its students had to transfer to other schools. it was shut down for five months. but now, it's back and today it was the setting for president obama talking about how far new orleans had come and how far it still needs to go. this afternoon, president obama lunched with his family at the parkway bakery and tavern in mid-city new orleans. >> going to try this alligator sausage. >> reporter: it's a restaurant that five years ago was under ten feet of water. as was much of the city, as i saw first-hand along with corpses and devastation. president obama today heralded the return of the parkway bakery and tavern -- >> i had the shrimp po'boy, and -- >> reporter: seeing it as a symbol of the city's resurgence and resilience. >> we are helping to make new orleans a place that stands for what we can do in america. not just for what we can't do. >> reporter: though he acknowledged much more needs to be done.
>> there's still too many people unable to find work. and there's still too many new orleans folks who haven't been able to come home. >> reporter: officials here say they need more from mr. obama. mainly, more money. and locals such as roy, who lives along the 17th street levee that breached during katrina, remind us the disaster was not just the fault of mother nature. it was also the fault of man, and more specifically, the army corps of engineers. >> if the levees had held, people would be saying, what was the name of that one that came real close to us back in late august of '05? >> reporter: but the levees did break, and the city began to drown, followed by a shocking level of incompetence by the local, state and federal governments. >> don't you guys watch television? >> we learned about it today that that's what existed. >> reporter: this week, former fema director michael brown said he had told president bush nothing was working, and was shocked when that news was followed by the president's now infamous declaration.
>> and brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. >> reporter: and david, of course, now this region is besieged by another man-made disaster, the bp oil spill and many officials here say one thing really hurting the local economy is president obama's moratorium on offshore drilling. david? >> the politics of disaster. jake tapper traveling with the president. jake, thank you. bob woodruff tonight on the people, and their perseverance. he's back in the gulf, and joins us again this evening. bob, great to see you. >> reporter: well, david, this has been a very emotional day, such a wide range of events. some of them on the streets, other ones in the churches. some of them very sullen and the other ones musical. but the bottom line is, the people who not only want to remember what happened, but also, to really move on. ♪ >> reporter: new orleans marked this fifth anniversary -- ♪ >> reporter: with a mixture of joyous celebration. >> it's a blessing that we are
back home and we have a roof over our head. ♪ >> reporter: and simple poignant ceremonies to honor the 1,800 lives that were lost. >> i came back just to pay tribute to them. i lost everything, but god is still strong and i'm still hanging on. >> to remember the loved ones that are here but remember them, and ask them to go up. >> reporter: alongside the new flood wall in the lower ninth ward -- ♪ >> ruby frazier. ♪ >> reporter: a somber melody accompanied a reading of the names of those who perished in the storm. ♪ >> joyce green. >> reporter: five years have passed, but on this day, the haunting memories have made an unwelcome return. >> seeing the faces, the water just floating through the city. like, it's really -- just hitting me like a flash.
you touch the wall and you just see all of these images of all these people that was just stranded and lost and floating in the water. >> reporter: there is hope here that after today, new orleans can finally focus on the future. robert green lost his mother and granddaughter to the floods, but we found him on his porch today, taking in the sights and sounds of the traditional second line parade. ♪ >> it devastated our lives but it's all about celebrating the fact that we can lose people but we can also keep our faith, keep our hope. we can still do the things we did before katrina in spite of everything else. >> reporter: well, here on jackson square, there was going to be a commemoration event and a candlelight vigil, but because of this weather, it's actually being moved inside. david? >> bob woodruff in new orleans. bob, thank you. robin roberts was back in the gulf this weekend, as well. robin was on the air as katrina hit and did not hear from her family in pass christian, mississippi. she did get word shortly before
going on the air, the next morning. >> robin, i know when you left here last night and flew down you hadn't been able to make contact with your own family yet. have you done so? >> they're okay. >> they're okay? >> i spoke with robin when the two of us teamed up for a program on facebook marking this anniversary. we talked about her role that morning as reporter and daughter. >> in fact, i wasn't going to be on the air unless i found my family, and i was able to. and i thought i admit emotions in check, you know, professional, okay, my family is okay, i've got to report the news, and the sun was starting to come up and i was just looking around me. and this is an area where i've lived since 1969. my father was at the air force base. we moved here then, we never left and i couldn't recognize some of this. where i am right now five years ago was rubble. my old high school. i remember finding it, and it was just rubble everywhere.
and now this opened in the fall of '09, it houses the elementary and middle schools here. >> robin roberts who went home to mark this fifth anniversary. more of our conversation at abcnews.com. in the meantime tonight, forecasters have their hands full on this fifth anniversary of katrina, now tracking three storms in the atlantic. hurricane danielle is causing rip currents along the east coast as it spins northward and now away from land. to the south, hurricane earl is the bigger concern. take a look at the projected paths. the track showing earl moving toward the east coast by week's end. we're following that, and there's also fiona now, forming behind earl. in the meantime, to the political storm. could growing discontent among voters be the driving force heading into the mid-terms? this weekend, tens of thousands gathered in the shadow of the lincoln memorial to listen to glenn beck and sarah palin, and we wanted to bring in our senior washington editor rick klein. rick, when you saw the crowds, what did that say to you? >> reporter: david, this may be the most potent political force in american life today, but it remains a force, despite the presence of palin and beck and others, that doesn't have much leadership and doesn't have much direction. and we saw that most recently in
the surprising election results out in alaska, where joe miller, the little-known republican challenger to lisa murkowski is up by 1,700 voting pending the counting of absentee ballots. this would be the biggest victory yet for the tea party movement and yept another case where national republicans are scratching their heads, saying, they're not so happy with the direction the tea party is taking them. >> a nail biter, all these days later. when should we know? >> reporter: could be two or three weeks. but something that's interesting to note, national republicans who had sent some lawyers up to alaska are pulling them back and saying they'll let the voters have their say in however it comes out, is fine with them. lisa murkowski was their candidate, but joe miller looks likely to win once the votes are counted. >> rick klein, our senior washington editor. rick, thank you. and this promises to be a crucial week for president obama. on tuesday evening, he will deliver a rare address to the nation from the oval office to mark a milestone in iraq. the official end of u.s. combat operations there, now 7 1/2 years after the war began. and that is why our dan harris is on assignment in baghdad which is where he joins us from this evening. dan, good evening.
>> reporter: hey, david, good evening to you from baghdad, where the prime minister has just placed this country on the highest possible terror threat level alert. they're very worried here about more attacks in the final days of america's combat mission. we sat down tonight with major general stephen lanza to ask him what the end of the combat mission actually means. when you say the combat mission is over, isn't that just a little bit misleading? because this is still a war zone, right? >> it really is not misleading. it's really about a change of mission. obviously, we'll be here to train, advise and assist the iraqi security forces, and they will have the primary responsibility for security in this country. >> reporter: as of september 1st, u.s. forces will need permission from the iraqi government for any operation they conduct, except, of course, for any action they take in self-defense. if you find out osama bin laden is coming across the syrian border into iraq, you can't go get him without prime minister maliki saying it's okay? >> it is the responsibility of the iraqi security forces. they have the lead. >> reporter: this whole drawdown
is contingent upon having somebody to whom you can hand power. having an iraqi security force that you trust and can do the job. people are very concerned that the iraqis aren't yet ready to do that. >> well, we're not leaving, dan. we're here. we have 50,000 forces here with significant capabilities, significant influence and our mission has not ended. >> reporter: so, when iraqis on the street say to me, i'm worried with these combat troops leaving. your message is, we're still here. >> our message is, we're still here. and our mission continues. >> reporter: but he says american forces remain concerned about al qaeda in iraq, which has become increasingly aggressive recently, launching a series of devastating coordinated attacks this past week. >> al qaeda has attempted to reassert itself, as we saw on the 25th of august. and i think the iraqi security forces have taken a blow. but they're not on the ropes. and they continue to move forward to meet the challenges that are out there. >> reporter: our interview ended with this assertion. >> this is not a war, dan. this is not a war. this is a sovereign country that is experiencing terrorists and
extremists that want to stop the government from moving forward. >> reporter: at what point did it stop being a war? >> i think where it stops, you have a country, a sovereign country, that is capable of political decisions. >> reporter: one thing general lanza said the american forces are very worried about right now is that five months after this country held national elections, the politicians still cannot agree on forming a new government. that, of course, leaves a major power vacuum which the insurgents and the terrorists are scrambling to exploit. david? >> and dan, i know you returned for some time now and there have long been concerns about iraqi soldiers and whether or not there truly are connections possibly with al qaeda and the people planting these ieds. you asked the general about that? >> reporter: i did. you know, it's fascinating. 3 1/2 years ago, i was here and i spoke to american soldiers who were harsh in their critique of the iraqi soldiers, saying they were dirty, they worked with the terrorists, that in fact the iraqi soldiers would call ahead to their friends and plant ieds along the routes where americans
were going to be traveling. i asked the general about that today, and he insists in the past 3 1/2 years, the forces have been professionalized. that people with sectarian loyalties have been purged. however, he does say that this process of professionalization does need to continue in coming years. >> all right, dan, thank you. we'll see you shortly. as we continue here on "world news" this sunday night, a suspicious fire at an islamic center under construction in the heart of the bible belt. a woman falls onto the subway tracks as a train races toward her here in new york. what happened next? and later here, we'll go back to dan in baghdad, and why a simple ice cream for a child says so much about where things stand there. it's pain relief without the pills. no pills, no pain. how can you get pain relief without taking pills around the clock? try thermacare heatwraps, for all day relief without pills. i was surprised, thermacare worked all day.
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>> rep >> reporter: for muslims, this e togethery month of ramadan, and families usually come e togethery month of ramadan, and families usually come together in the evening. this woman says they are now afraid to leave their homes. >> sometimes people are friendly afraid to leave their homes. >> sometimes people are friendly riendlye to us. us r times they're blowing the us r times they're blowing the horn and giving us the finger. >> >> reporter: many of their havetian neighbors have fought m the beginninmic center from leaders weginning, and threatened county leaders who approved it. >> they m ni'm sorry, but they seem to be against everything i believe in. i don't want them necessarily in my neighborhood. >> reporter: today, this family told us they've lived here peacefully for 30 years and now told us they've lived here peacefully for 30 years and now this. this. >> i think we're all agree that agreeebody come in the middle >> i think we're all agree that agreeebody come in the middle f the night and burned something, this is a coward arson. >> reporter: this is one in a idents of recent incidents suggests that t many americans don't care for muslims. er theck and forth over the nd zero, theer near ground zero. the cab driver who was stabbed, for being 9/11y for being muslim. >> even after 9/11, there was a reservoir of good will. we had people bringing flowers to mosques that were vandalized nationwide. to mosques that were vandalized nationwide. he i really never seen the
level of islamophobia that we're experiencing today. >> reporter: residents that oppose the center in tennessee teve vowed to fight it to the osunsa , at la unsami, abc news, atlanta. on and when we come back here tonight, the miracle moment on on and when we come back here tonight, the miracle moment on the subway. ate. the image that was so close. ost? so i asked my doctor about reclast because i heard it's the only once-a-year iv osteoporosis treatment. he told me all about it and i said that's the one for nana. he said reclast can help restrengthen my bones to help make them resistant to fracture for twelve months. and reclast is approved to help protect from fracture in many places: hip, spine, even other bones. [ male announcer ] you should not take reclast if you're on zometa, have low blood calcium, kidney problems. or you're pregnant, plan to become pregnant or nursing. take calcium and vitamin d daily. tell your doctor if you develop severe muscle, bone or joint pain, of if you have dental problems, as rarely jaw problems have been reported.
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have to clear away thousands of tons of rock that will likely fall as the rescue hole is drilled. that operation begins tomorrow. here in new york tonight, a subway story right off the front page of the papers. here's the picture from "the new york daily news." this woman fell to the tracks just as the 370-ton train was barrelling into the station. bystanders waved their arms, and amazingly, the driver stopped with just 70 feet to spare. he then jumped down to help her, saying he was just doing his job. and it's hard to believe you might soon not be able to reach for that dictionary. publishers of the oxford english dictionary, a giant 20-volume, 750-pound set say they'll only print the next edition if there's demand. they say you'll have to go online instead. or use spell check. when we come back here on the broadcast, dan harris doing what would have been impossible just a year ago.
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to irailestone for american troops there. >> reporter: indeed. r: end of the combat mission in nraq. i could tell you, david, i've i'vetraveling to this country years.efore the war. seven trips over 7 1/2 years. and i have not been back since sinsurge. t's my first trip since the sinsurge. t's my first trip since the surge took place. and the changes i've seen recently are remarkable. have been have been impossible the last time i was here three have been have been impossible the last time i was here three years ago. an american walking freely through a busy market in baghdad. this would have been impossible, baghdad. this would have been impossible, too. eam shop. ice cream shop. eam shop. ice cream shop. new restaurants are opening up here, as well. new restaurants are opening up e places whereaces where i used to eat in the old days have been new spo hey dois fancy new spot just opened its doors, though they do check you for guns before you can get in. me wronet me wrong, this place can get in. me wronet me wrong, this place is by no means what an american is by is by ould consider normal. ande are police and army checkpoints all over and we have to travel with a lot of security.
what's more, there's pervasive what's more, insecurity here about the withdrawal of those american kipst troops. withdrawal of those american kipst troops. but that is because resiraqis so children out desperately do not want to lose what we americans take for granted. the freedom to take their children out for an ice cream on a summer night. and that's going to do it for tworld news" on this sunday. on thishere through the early days of this week covering the final days of america's combat combat in iraq. will bewyer will be back in the night chair tomorrow night and resident be anchoring or special coverage of president obama's speech from the oval office on tuesday night. colleague nd and colleague david muir, i'm dan harris, in baghdad, thanking you for watching and wishing you a good night.