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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  August 18, 2010 5:30pm-5:47pm PDT

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about twelve inches. twelve whole inches?
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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. forecasters said pakistan's floodwaters won't recede until the end of the month. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the "newshour" tonight, we get an update from special correspondent saima mohsin in karachi. and examine how pakistan's government is coping with the crisis. >> lehrer: then, we talk to law professor valerie hans about the dynamics of a jury's deliberation illinois governor rod
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blagojevich was found guilty on one of 24 charges. >> to give credit to the entire jury-- there wasn't any animosity; there wasn't any yelling or name-calling. they were very professional, they were very thoughtful. >> ifill: judy woodruff explores the latest research on detecting and treating alzheimer's disease. >> lehrer: we have an encore report from fred de sam lazaro about the shortage of clean drinking water in ethiopia. >> ifill: and jeffrey brown gets the views of columnists eugene robinson and ross douthat on the proposal to build an islamic center two blocks from ground zero. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> ifill: three weeks since the flooding beg in pakistan, tens of thousands of villages remain under water. more flooding could be on the way, adding to a disaster which now stretches almost the length of the country from often inaccessible parts of the swat valley in the north, through punjab and on into sindh province in the south, an area the size of the state of florida. 12% of the population has been displaced-- as many as 20 million people-- and the death toll stands at more than 1,500. special correspondent saima mohsin is on the ground in karachi. i spoke with her earlier today. welcome back to the program. you've been out and about covering these floods. any time that the waters are receding. >> reporter: not at all, gwen. that's the sad news that we have to give you, that that water is nod receding. in fact, it's absolutely rising. there was fresh rainfall
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over the last few days, and as we said on monday, there was a fear that some of the rivers and some of the banks that have broken would actually merge together, and those waters are now starting to rise. once again, we're seeing people moving out of those areas. there is a mass exodus right now across pakistan day and night as people try and get away from those floodwaters, get to higher grounds and get to some kind of safety. >> ifill: how about aid? is any of the international aid we keep hearing about, or domestic aid, is it arriving? >> reporter: well, apparently, it is, and we do see that there are aid fleets arriving at various airports across pakistan, but, gwen, the fact is there isn't enough of it to go around. i can't emphasize that enough. we keep saying that. we've been out across sinoh and traveling around karachi at all the camps that i've seen. we're simply not seeing
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enough food, drunking water, anything of that sort. and not anything on the kind of level we saw during the earthquake, for example, or the haiti quake or the tsunami where you saw the road teaming with aid agencies trying to give aid to people desperate for it and they really are, gwen. i saw an aid delivery on the road a couple of days ago. people were fighting over this one bottle of water. there were whole families that were sharing it. it was absolutely something to see. >> ifill: in fact, your reporting was quite remarkable, your special report that we saw earlier this week. you have seen, in addition to the fights over just getting supplies, you have seen any evidence of violence, of other kinds of violence, not only because of lack of supplies but just lack of everything? >> reporter: yes. i mean, desperation is the only word that can really explain what people are going through right now, and you can't really blame them. they've had to suffer
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terrible losses in their homes. some of them have lost loved ones. i met a man last night-- he had lost his wife and daughter to the floodwaters. he arrived at a camp. there was absolutely nothing there for him to eat or drink. and it really is desperation. we have seen pockets of violence across pakistan in various parts, in islamabad , and here as with the in where people have simply come out on to the streets. they've tried to block traffic, not because they want to riot or crete any kind of trouble, but because they want to raise awareness for their plight. they want to say, "please help us." local people are doing the best they can, but as we said, that international aid really needs on come in now. >> ifill: whenever we cover one of these sdaefrtz the first question we ask is what has the government response been, whether katrina here in the united states or haiti, and now in pakistan.
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is there evidence of government action or inaction in responding to this disaster? >> well, the pakistani government has set up the national disaster management authority. it's a very comprehensive one. it's spread out right across pakistan in every province. but pakistan is not wealthy in terms oinfrastructure or financially right now, which means that they simply don't have enough boots on the ground to actually get across the country to get to everyone. we saw the navy helicopters over the weekend. i've seen military trying to deliver and get to those hard-to-reach areas, but there simply aren't enough people to get around, 20 million or so. as we keep saying, this is a worst disaster than haiti, tsunami and the south asian quake put together. just to read a few facts and figures for you that i came across today, gwen. in the first week of pakistan's appeal for these flooding, 7.5 million
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dollars of aid was pledged. compare that with $100 million for the tsunami, $38 million for haiti, and $15 million for the south asian quake. the pakistani government simply cannot cope with this alone. it needs international help. and that isn't coming through fast enough. >> ifill: saima mohsin reporting for us in pakistan tonight, thank you very much. >> reporter: thank you. >> ifill: as the humanitarian crisis worsens, new questions are being raised about whether the government of pakistan is equipped to handle both this and ongoing regional security concerns. for more on that we turn to: shuja nawaz, director of the south asia center at the atlantic council. and moeed yusuf, director of the pakistan program at the u.s. institute of peace. mr. nawaz, as we hear about whose happening on the ground here and the magnitude of it , to what degree is there beginning to be worry that this is contributing to
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preexisting instability, not only in the government, but in pakistan at large? >> i think the worst is yet to come, even in terms of the flood, because the big wave has not yet reached. and clearly this is such a vast area affected as your reporter indicated, that even with the government doing a lot , it has not been seen as having done a lot. the government faces a huge mountain of negative perceptions, being inept and being corrupt, and it needs to show the people in a very transparent manner that it is actually doing something with what it has. and the aid is still not coming . a lot of it is pledged. it hasn't hit the ground yet. >> ifill: mr. yusuf, is pakistan's government, as perceived, a weak civilian government in terms of running itself, let alone disaster. >> i think the perception is true, to a large except, but i think perceptions are
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greater than reality in this case. i think there is a lot being done. the problem is, i've just come back, the damage is colossal, and i would argue even a developed country would have really found it hard to cope with this kind of challenge. so, i mean, given the inefficiencies and given the weakness in the system, you would expect this. now, on the front line it's really the pakistani army that is going out, that is better equipped to deal with these kinds of situation. they've traditionally been very active in relief. i saw more of them than civilian government and civilian authorities out there. >> ifill: prior to this, the pakistani army, mr. nawaz, was very much involved in the counter-insurgency that was supposed to be under way, especially in the swat valley, and that the united states had special interest in. now that's being replaced by relief work. does one preclude the other? >> over time it will have an effect. for the time being, the army is saying it will carry on its counter-insurgency
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efforts in the northwest frontier in the border region with afghanistan, in particular. but, clearly, with the infrastructure destroyed, with communications damaged , their own lines of communication will be affected and their ability to supply and rotate those troops will be hindered. >> ifill: and our ability to rely on them and help with the war in safg also compromised? >> over time, yes, it will be, and this is going to be a long-term situation in pakistan. this is not something that will have a quick fix. there will be the three "rs"-- relief, reconstruction, rehabilitation. all three have to take place, and the economic effects of this are going to be around for many years to come. >> ifill: mr. yusuf, there have been many questions raised to the degree the taliban, the pakistani taliban have basically beat the government to the punch here, and, therefore, have strengthened their role to the detriment, i guess, of the
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anti-terror effort that the u.s. and pakistan have been working on. >> these people were always prey on misery of the average citizen. any time there is state failure, those who are most organized will come forward. you saw this in the earthquake in 2005. islamic charities in pakistan have traditionally been better organized than the government. all of them are not associated with militant organization. some of them, unfortunately , are, and there you have a vacuum which may be filled and you can find more recruits out of the helplessness that people are face at this point. so that's always a worry, quite frankly. in pakistan, the discourse always becomes one of despondence very, very quickly, and you may get some people going in the other direction out of this. >> ifill: that's the question-- aienation. how much of a risk is it that this response, or the government's seemingly lack of response, increase alienation among people who
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were alienated in the first place? >> i think first on the militant groups and their social services arms, these are the punjabby militant groups, not the taliban at work, and they are a small minority among the char itz operating in pakistan. so we should put it in perspective. but you're right. the possibility of civil unrest and protests growing of the kind that your reporter also talked about exists, particularly -- we expect this tragedy to linger for quite a while, and if the supplies do not reach people, if their homes are not rebuilt efficient infrastructure isn't there, then there's a huge danger. one other thing i do want to mention-- i think there's always a temptation on the part of the government, when you're getting aid, you postpone some of the other tougher economic decisions that you need to make to restructure the economy. now, this government is actually in the process of trying to restructure its economy, and with those
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structural adjustments looming, particularly in the conversations with the i.m.f., it's critical that they not postpone though if aid comes in. >> ifill: we heard saima mohsin comparing this to other disasters. let's compare it to the 2008 earthquake. we know it's much bigger but how would you gage the response? how would you compare it? >> quite frankly, i'm a bit struck by the lack of enthusiasm in the international community when it really comes to going out and helping pakistan this time around. there could be a number of factors. i don't know, there's the financial meltdown that's taken place. there's a perception problem pakistan sfrfrz, its government at least, in terms of its image, the corruption, the inefficiencies there. there could be an issue of the wikileak stories coming out, and people already-- i was somewhere this morning where there was a lot of resentment towards pakistan for having not supported the u.s. , difficulty for people to
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sort of go out and help pakistan. there could be a number of factors. the fact of the matter is, this is the best opportunity the u.s. and the international community could have if you really wanted to turn the tide of anti-u.s. perception in that country. this is the chance to go out, put a big number to aid, and present to the pakistani people that the u.s. and other international actors are coming in and doing what is required in this hour of need. >> ifill: do you agree with that? >> i think it is a good opportunity, but it's not just for the united states. i think it's very important that the europeans and pakistan's neighbors and the muslim world also contribute. but to date, they really haven't. we know the saudi arabia has surpassed the u.s. as the leading aid giver for this particular flood relief. but china has only given a few million. iran has given $800,000. the u.a.e. has not given anything. there is an n.g.o. from the u.a.e. working in pakistan. so there needs to
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be much broader effort sfwlen. >> ifill: i have to ask you both about president zaidary, who was kind of missing inarchs not in the country at the time this happened, has made brief visits to the flood region and is now, i suppose, out of the country again. i read today he is in russia. how is he perceived in this, especialy


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