tv PBS News Hour PBS August 26, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
>> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. u.s. officials said insurgents may be targeting flood aid workers in pakistan. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight. special correspondent jeffrey kaye reports from one of pakistan's northern provinces on outbreaks of deadly waterborne diseases. >> lehrer: then, judy woodruff interviews a medical anthropologist about the hurdles ahead for the trapped miners in chile. >> brown: we have two stories from the louisiana coast. betty ann bowser examines the mental-health toll that began with hurricane katrina. >> even five years later, people here in the gulf are still experiencing emotional trauma. and for some, it's gotten worse since the oil spill. >> lehrer: and we assess the state of the levees protecting new orleans from another storm. >> brown: plus, paul solman talks to author robert mnookin about the rewards and challenges
of negotiating. >> bar gaping with the devil is a book about the most difficult kinds of negotiations, where your adversary is someone you don't trust, you think may be out to harm you. you may even think they're evil. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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.
>> lehrer: the united nations made a new plea for more aid to pakistan today, nearly a month after the flooding began. so far, the international community has pledged $800 million. the crisis continues amid concerns that relief workers are now being targeted by the pakistani taliban. with tides rising in the arabian sea, water is actually flowing back up the indus river worsening the flooding in pakistan's south. in sindh province, the choked river is prompting new evacuation orders. a month into the floods millions are in need; food and medical materiel are in short supply; wide expanses of the country's agricultural hub remain under water. and now, the pakistani taliban is hinting at attacks on foreign
aid workers. a taliban spokesman told the associated press about support personnel on the scene: "when we say something is unacceptable to us, one can draw his own conclusion." a state department spokesman said the u.s. had information on the possible targeting of aid workers. a u.n. official in islamabad said those types of threats are nothing new, but that in this case it is particularly dangerous. >> it would be totally inhumane for anyone to target us as we try to save lives. if any groups, any individual targets humanitarians at this time, they're not really harming us, they're harming the millions of people whose lives we are trying to save. >> lehrer: 800,000 people are completely cut off, accessible only by air. disease is spreading, and the medical emergency is becoming acute. kanjo mai is pregnant and in a
tent camp with her four children. >> ( translated ): i am seven months pregnant and lacking food. i don't have money for treatment. i am poor. we lost every thing in the flood. i don't have a proper diet. i have pain all over my body. >> lehrer: medical personnel are dealing not only with the flood, but a surge of women in need of specialized attention. gynecologist syma ismyel. >> ( translated ): every day 60 to 80 patients are coming to us, most are for abortions and some are going into labor early, and because of this maternity, mortality is increasing and prenatal mortality is also increasing. >> lehrer: to date, nearly 1,600 people have died and more than 17 million have been directly affected by the deluge. in northern pakistan, disease is overwhelming the local health care systems. we have a report from there by special correspondent jeffrey kaye. >> reporter: more than a month of heavy monsoon rains are
continuing to trigger epic floods throughout a major swath of pakistan. but even in areas where flood waters are receding, medical personnel are coping with rising numbers of waterborne diseases. and the most-feared diseases are appearing here in khyber pakhtunkwa, the northern province where the vast majority of flood-related deaths occurred. in nowshera district, the devastation in both rural and urban areas has been widespread. the water supply has been compromised, and even people who managed to escape the flood's initial ravages are showing up in hospitals as the toll of its victims lingers. >> we have seen malaria, we have seen typhoid, we have seen skin allergies, infected scabies. >> reporter: doctor asad ullah works for the british aid group merlin, medical emergency relief international, specializing in a
particularly pernicious infectious disease, a.w.d., acute watery diarrhea. a surge of cases has appeared in the last few days. >> reporter: six-year-old faiza fell ill the day before. her family gets their water from a well. her mother, shahgul, describes her symptoms. >> ( translated ): she was conscious but she was having this continuous vomiting and diarrhea. >> reporter: doctor ullah says she was in acute shock; he couldn't find a pulse or record a blood pressure when she came in. >> ( translated ): last night, i thought she was going to die. >> reporter: faiza was started on i.v. rehydration therapy and immediately improved. she's being sent home, so another patient can take her bed. according to doctor ullah, contaminated drinking water in pakistan made diarrhea the number one killer of children under five.
acute watery diarrhea, its most virulent form, is easily transmitted and spread. it can be fatal if not caught early. but it can be easily treated. it strikes mostly the very young and the very old. in response to the outbreak here, dr. ullah and merlin opened these two special treatment wards, one for males and one for females. more than 200 patients have been treated in the two days since it opened and been sent home. dr. ullah says that's a lot of cases from just a small area. the wards are designed to be quickly expanded into neighboring buildings at a local government hospital that was itself devastated by the deluge. the hospital had been completely evacuated and closed for a week. you can see the line where three feet of mud inundated the hospital.
>> so when we came here, it was a big mess, mud everywhere, it was water everywhere, it was bad smell everywhere. and we cleaned this place within one night i would say. we spent the whole night, cleaned this place, we sterilized this place, you can see the white powder everywhere, it's basically chlorine compound which is used to disinfect every place. within the first hour, we were not even unpacked, yet we received two or four patients with severe dehydration and we were not even completely unpacked our drugs and our whole system but we have to treat them. and they were so malnourished and dehydrated that we were trying to get an idea of what we were expecting in the coming few days. >> reporter: a.w.d. is only one of a host of waterborne diseases breaking out across the flood- ravaged areas of pakistan. at least 400,000 are known to be afflicted according to un
estimates. dr. rajiv shah, the administrator of a.i.d., the state departments agency for international development, visited the newest areas desolated by the floods in the south near the city of sukkur where more than three and a half million more people have been affected. shah is the highest ranking american government official to visit the country so far. >> main health concern now is spread of waterborne disease. u.s.-aid is putting together early warning system to detect. will dispatch teams when necessary.
>> reporter: the flood has demolished roads, buildings and bridges. the water that reached ten feet at this ruined auto parts market. families are living in tents along the road with no sanitation, no toilets and no access to clean drinking water. >> the drinking water system and the sewage water system, they have been mixed and they are a cocktail of sewage water, drinking water and flood water is everywhere. >> reporter: even those still living in their ruined homes are vulnerable. abdul nasir, whose elderly uncle is near death from a.w.d. says the tap water in their home is muddy. >> the main cause of his situation is the water. the water is not clean.
>> reporter: stress is also taking a mental toll among a destitute population. nurse tehmeena falak does her best to console the patients with physical ailments. >> ( translated ): because of the flood, people are suffering from anxiety and depression. people have lost their relatives, old ones, young ones. >> reporter: relief operations are shipping bottled water to camps and distributing purification tablets. but providing safe water to the general population is just one of the many and massive challenges for the pakistani government coping with the worst disaster in its history. >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": the long ordeal ahead for the chilean miners; the mental-health toll after
katrina and the oil spill; the state of the levees in new orleans and lessons in negotiating. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: insurgents in afghanistan today killed eight afghan police. they stormed a checkpoint near the northern city of kunduz. the police fought back, wounding several of the militants. meanwhile, afghan president hamid karzai warned the u.s. timetable for withdrawing troops next july is empowering the insurgency. karzai told a visiting u.s. congressional delegation the deadline gives the taliban morale value. a report in the "new york times" today revealed one of afghan president karzai's aides is being paid by the central intelligence agency. the article cites officials in kabul and washington and says the aide has been paid by the c.i.a. for a number of years. the aide-- mohammed zia salehi-- is at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation. he was arrested in july and released after karzai intervened. in iraq today, gunmen killed a group of six pro-government
sunni militiamen in an ambush. the attack happened about 60 miles north of baghdad, in diyala province. the victims were all members of the anti-al qaeda awakening council. today's violence comes a day after a wave of attacks targeting government forces that killed nearly 60. iraqi foreign minister hoshyar zebari said iraq's political deadlock and u.s. troop withdrawal is contributing to the violence. >> in such environment, these terrorist networks flourish actually and would love to deepen division among iraqi politicians to apportion blame on each other in order to create as much chaos as possible. >> sreenivasan: president obama will address the nation next tuesday evening about the formal end to the u.s. combat mission in iraq. north korean leader kim jong-il made a surprise visit to china today, for the second time since may. it was widely reported kim took a special armored train, possibly with his son and likely successor. the visit came as former president jimmy carter was in
north korea as a private citizen, negotiating the release of an american prisoner jailed for illegally trespassing. carter was expected to return to the u.s. today, but has extended his trip. u.s. food and drug administration officials have found positive samples of salmonella that connect two iowa farms to an egg recall. the salmonella was discovered in chicken feed that was sold to the two farms. more than half a billion eggs were recalled this month after being linked to some 1,300 cases of salmonella poisoning. f.d.a. officials said tests indicate the contaminated feed is likely not the only source of the outbreak. former illinois governor rod blagojevich will face a federal retrial early next january in chicago. but a judge today stopped short of setting a specific date. last week, jurors deadlocked on all but one of the 23 corruption charges against the democrat. prosecutors also dismissed all charges against his brother, robert. he was accused of plotting with the former governor to sell an appointment to the senate seat
vacated by president obama. toyota announced a recall today of more than a million cars in north america because their engines may stall. the recall affects corolla sedans and matrix hatchbacks from the model years 2005 to 2008. the company will replace engine control modules on the recalled vehicles at no charge. toyota has recalled more than ten million vehicles worldwide over the past year for a range of problems. on wall street today, the dow slipped below the 10,000 mark for the first time since early july, as investors braced for the latest reading on economic growth due out tomorrow. at 9,985.81, the dow jones industrial average lost 74 points to close above 9,985. the nasdaq fell more than 22 points to close above 2,118. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to the continuing drama of those trapped miners in chile. they've survived the initial mine collapse, but still face enormous challenges. we begin with this report narrated by tom clarke of
"independent television news." >> reporter: this lifeline to the 33 trapped miners is now supplying the men with everything rescuers think they will need to survive this marathon rescue effort. last night, four days after contact was made, officials decided to break the news that rescue was far from imminent. government officials aren't just here to manage operations, but also the p.r. disaster of another major accident in a notoriously unsafe mine. the men are trapped 700 meters down several kilometers along
spiraling roadways, leading to seams of copper and gold. on august 5, this is where the main tunnel collapsed 500 meters down, trapping the men. the first attempt to rescue them down these ventilation shafts was abandoned half way after another collapse. there are currently two main options for rescuing them. the first, using a heavy drill to bore a man-size hole through solid rock direct to the men. it's said this could take months. a quicker option is to drill around the collapsed areas exploding the existing tunnel but this more risky. eight of the men are said to be under mental strain, a few others have minor physical ailments. officials say each is being treated individually by doctors. nine of the men are said to be too fat to fit through the proposed escape shaft.
the family of trapped miner franklin ramirez have joked that he could do with losing some weight. a former professional footballer, ramirez was a truck driver in the mine. chile's national side sent this authorgraphed shirt in support. >> (translated): we sent him a card after finding them and we had a reply from him yesterday where he said he loved us very much, that he wanted to be with us soon just as soon as we wanted to be with him. >> reporter: a chilean submarine crew arrived at the mine to offer tips on dealing with life at close-quaters. but though these men are trapped, they're not confined. this footage from a neighboring mine shows the scale of block mining operations in chile. in the two kilometer expanse of tunnel available to them, they have already set up separate areas for eating and washing daylight lamps are due to arrive soon. however, many comforts are sent down these narrow lifelines -- the experienced miners will be acutely aware there is still half a mile of rock between them and the lives they left at the surface.
>> brown: judy woodruff takes it from there. >> woodruff: what is the psychological effect of such extreme confinement for an extended period of time? for that we're joined by lawrence palinkas, professor of social policy and health at the university of southern california. he has studied how people live under conditions of isolation and confinement in antarctica and outer space. professor palinkas, that you thu very much for talking with us. >> it's a pleasure to be here, judy. >> woodruff: how does their situation compare with other extreme situations you've studied or been familiar with? >> well, there are some similarities and there are some differences. they are going to be undergoing an extended period of isolation and confinement. the environmental conditions will be quite severe. similar to being at the south pole, for example, they'll be deprived of sunlight and will
have very little sense of day and night. but on the other hand, many people who go on polar expeditions or astronauts in space know what they're getting into when the expedition begins. these miners on the other hand have very little understanding of the likelihood of being under the ground for four monos when they went in for the day of work the uncertainty as to how long it will take for the rescue to occur is also a significant difference compared to other isolated, confined situations where a mission has a very defined temporal parameter. >> woodruff: how will the uncertainty affect them, do you think? >> well, it will certainly lead to anxiety. it will lead to fear. the longer they are under the ground, the greater the likelihood of an additional cave-in, for an example.
or disruption in the supply of food and water. certainly not knowing what's the progress being made with respect to rescue efforts, what's happening to family and friends on the surface, l also be a source of concern for them. >> woodruff: does the fact that there are 33 of them, that there's a group of them, affect... do you think that max it somewhat better for their circumstances or not? >> well, it can work in one of two ways. on the one hand, larger groups do seem to adapt or adjust better to conditions of isolation and confinement. on the other hand, it creates the possibility of the formation of subgroups or cliques. workers who find a certain affinity or identification with one another who tend to spend more timwith one another, that creates the possibility of conflict or tension within the group as a whole. >> woodruff: if you were asked, professor palinkas, what
advice would you offer to the rescuers and others who are communicating with them? >> well, i think there are three specific things that could potentially be done to aid the workers during the period of time that they're under the ground. the first relates to the leadership of the group itself. now, i understand the miners have elected someone within their ranks to represent them. but it's really that person who plays a pivotal role in keeping the group together and minimizing the possibility of conflict, of tension within the group. it also helps to facilitate the ability of individuals to cope with their circumstances and to adjust appropriately. however, that's going to take a lot of support on the part of the rescuers to assist that individual. so providing advice, guidance, and information is going to be absolutely critical.
a second thing that i might recommend is scoj clal support... psychological support, even if it occurs 700 meters away above the surface. nasa, for example, has successfully had a program program for years whereby their operational support personnel at johnson space center have sent care packages to astronauts aboard the space station that not only give them a link to home, but an ability to cope with whatever stressors they happen to be experiencing in space. something similar to that, i think, is probably feasible in these circumstances as well. and then the third thing that i might recommend, which it seems the rescuers are already beginning to adopt, is being very open and forthright with the miners about the prospects of rescue, when it's likely to occur. and anything that might actually
facilitate or impede that progress. one of the greatest risks that a group like this might experience is the lack of trust with the people they are depending upon to rescue them. and anything that might interfere with the existing trust or even the things that might serve to help the group to adapt, for example, by displaying their own anxiety on the rescuers is something that the rescuers need to take into consideration. >> woodruff: so the fact that they've been told, we understand, how long this is likely to take you're saying is a good thing. >> i believe it is. inevitably even with 2,000 feet of rock separating you, information about the progress or lack of progress is going to be made available to the miners, perhaps through inadvertent messages that family members provide them.
and the fact that they know that they can trust the rescuers to provide them with accurate and up-to-date information will enable them, i think, to be better prepared for whatever may happen in the next few months. >> woodruff: professor lawrence palinkas, thank you very much. >> you're quite welcome. >> lehrer: now, two takes on new orleans and southern lousiana after hurricane katrina. we begin with a look at the psychological impact, first from the storm and then from the gulf oil spill. "newshour" health correspondent betty ann bowser reports for our health unit from st. bernard's parish. the robert wood johnson foundation. >> reporter: to watch him sanding a boat engine cover on a hot louisiana afternoon, you'd never know it, but marty nunez is stressed out.
>> this was going to be our year to where you know get our two feet on the ground. >> reporter: five years ago, the 46-year-old's shrimp buyer's business at yscloskey in st. bernard parish was destroyed by hurricane katrina. virtually every structure in the parish was under water for weeks, leaving residents traumatized. now the oil spill has increased the psychic toll. with a lot of sweat equity and a $70,000 loan from the small business administration nunez and his wife dawn rebuilt their marine store, and were back in the shrimp buying business once again. >> i think we would have did pretty good this year, then comes the oil spill. we got blindsided by this. >> reporter: even though fishermen who aren't working cleanup for b.p. are back out in the gulf shrimping again, few processors are buying from nunez. and at the store, customers aren't showing up for dawn's home made meals. >> i've never been this far in
debt than i am right now. i mean, i owe you know i'm borrowing everytime i turn around i'm borrowing money. it's scary you know how we come out of this. >> reporter: the last thing nunez needs right now is anxiety. in the months after katrina, he had double by pass heart surgery to fix a total blockage of one of his main arteries. have you ever had this much stress before? >> no, no. you know, not getting any shrimp, i'm not going to be able to pay the bills, so i'm going to try to hang in there as long as i can to see if more shrimp come in or, you know, if we can make it work, but it's scary. >> reporter: nunez knows he could use some help, but... >> there's a group you know and that's what they come down here, and they was down here today and they trying to get you know people to talk and put emotion on stuff. we just avoid that, you know, we don't we throw that on the side, we ignore that. you know, i know it's not good for you, for your health, but
that's what we do, we don't... we don't seek out that. >> reporter: you don't talk about feelings? >> no, we don't try to go get help or talk, i mean... >> reporter: why? >> i don't know. i guess, we don't... we ignore it. we don't even maybe want to, you know, admit that it exists, you know, that we are stressed out. that's what worries mental health professionals like dr. howard osofsky. >> people were still recovering, people were feeling more hopeful but this was still very fresh even in people who had rebuilt their lives and now they are hit with an additional type of whammy, which is something that at least for limited numbers of people could be much more long lasting. we know that with buildup of >> reporter: he's the head of psychiatry at louisiana state university's health science center in new orleans. for weeks now, he's been running focus groups to see what kind of services people need. >> i would be very interested in
how you're seeing things in the last five years since katrina and now since the oil spill in what the parish is going through. >> reporter: we sat in recently as osofsky talked with four women from st. bernard parish. gina stechmann's husband is a shrimper. >> you know with katrina we hit a big road, a big bump in the road but we got over it and we picked up the pieces, and was able to put it together. with this, we don't know what tomorrow is going to bring. we don't know what a year or ten years down the road how this is going to affect our kids, our lives. >> reporter: susan serpas husband is also a shrimper. >> he is actually devastated. he really is. it is his passion. it is his other woman. and his boat is i'd say more important to him than his house.
and he's just... he's on the boat but he... all he does is he goes down the bayou and comes back. he can't go catch the shrimp. it just kills him, and i know he is depressed. >> they don't talk about it. >> not the same person he was. >> reporter: studies show mental health problems roughly doubled in the months after katrina. there were also increased reports of stress, alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic violence. julie kenny works with the local battered women and children program and says it's happening again. >> we get a lot of phone calls where there's first time abuse. they been with their spouse or significant other for 25 years and they have a one time issue now. he's working on you know with bp and how long will that last and
the rumors get started and then he goes home and he has, we he goes home and he has, we always take things out on the closest people to us. >> reporter: there was a shortage of mental health services in gulf communities even before katrina and like many states with a budget deficit, louisiana has cutback on funding for mental health facilities, but officials say they're shifting money to community-based services. now, dr. osofsky says the challenge is taking services to people where there is a tradition of not seeking help. >> we find this in some cultures we certainly see this in the fishing communities. but we also find if we're out there they are they get to know us and trust us over time people do talk with us. the men talk with us. >> reporter: and osofsky says without help, there are going to be long term psychiatric problems. >> there is some post traumatic stress disorder that will be
developing but more of it anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder, symptoms of depression. symptoms of conflict at home and problems with alcohol and as they are trying to cope and the children trying to be more grown up and be available to the parents, but the children worry. >> reporter: and that's one of the lingering effects of hurricane katrina. according to a study released this week by the children's health fund, one in three children who lost their homes in the flooding are still having emotional or behavioral problems today. b.p. recently announced its it's giving $52 million to the four states here in the gulf most affected by the oil spill to provide mental health services. the state of louisiana is getting $15 million of that amount, or a little less than half what state officials had asked for. larry carbo is a crisis counselor for catholic charities which will get $6.6 million of the funds.
>> i don't think it's enough. i think we have to have monies that make us go into the future. it's going to be here for while because katrina. we did our counseling services for five years you know and we're still getting people. firefighters, there are calls on a regular basis and tell us that they're still having trouble. >> reporter: everyday, carbo goes looking for crabbers, fishermen and shrimpers at pointe la hache 50 miles south of new orleans, where he says people are under a lot of stress. >> when you see grown men cry, when you see their wives tell me that they'd been ragging on their husbands all day long, you know for five days a week and they don't know what else to do because they don't know when the next money is going to be due for a boat note. you know, they don't know when the house notes going to come from, so they're very you know sad about that and they'll cry.
where we come in that is were we're there to listen to them just by listening means so much to people. >> reporter: but the issue for many mental health professionals is how to get to people like marty nunez. >> we eat live and we breath this, you know, that's how we grew up doing this. you know, that's what we know how to do. i've said the thing that scares me the most is you know what's going to happen if what i think our seafood may be impacted you know in a recent years to come, what's going to happen then you know i mean, you know, i don't think everybody wants to keep working for the oil cleanup, you know, that's not no future. >> reporter: mental health professionals in the gulf say that's the biggest challenge of all. how do you treat uncertainty? >> brown: and to a second katrina story: on the state of levees and flood protection today.
as powerful as hurricane katrina was when it landed east of new orleans five years ago, the city was not submerged immediately. in fact, heavy flooding began overnight as a storm surge and waves overwhelmed a 350-foot- mile-long network of levees, floodwalls, pumps, gates and canals that were supposed to protect new orleans and parts of the surrounding area. the levees gave way. 80% of the metropolitan area was submerged. in the aftermath, new and urgent questions arose: how much of the disaster was natural? and how much man-made, as it became clear that the levee system built by the u.s. army corps of engineers was flawed and inadequate. engineers pointed to a series of problems, including shoddy
construction of some levees. in 2006, civil engineer bob bea talked to betty ann bowser about a levee located near a shipping canal popularly known as "mr. go." >> it was badly flawed in concept, design, construction, then we followed that into operations and maintenance, and it caught up with us. we've actually met and talked with the engineers that were on the site at the time they built this levee, and at that time they knew they were using dredged spoil from the construction of mr. go. >> which is below their standards? >> is below their standards. >> brown: in a sweeping 6,000 page report that same year, the army corps of engineers admitted that the hurricane protection system for southeast louisiana had been a system in name only. in response, congress ordered the corps to devise a new protection plan-- a $15 billion project that is well underway and is expected to be finished
next year. among much else, the army corps' new levees are built with steadier walls. walls shaped like a "t" that are braced more strongly into the ground. the army corps says that when completed the new system will reduce the risk from hurricanes like katrina and once-in-a- hundred year storms. >> brown: we get two views on the city's new coastal protection system from. john barry, a member of the southeast louisiana flood protection authority and author of the book about the great mississippi flood of 1927, "rising tide." and ivor van heerden, co-author of the state of louisiana's report on the levee failures issued after katrina. he's a former deputy director of the l.s.u. hurricane center and now works for a private company that does work on oil spills. >> brown: john barry, you followed this. does it look like what's being built now is more of an actual system that can protect the city? >> well, it is a system, and i think that while our board has
some points points of contentioh the corps, it is well built and will do what it's designed to do. i think one thing that we need to make clear is you said a one in one hundred year storm. in fact, what it's protected against is a storm with a 1% chance of hitting in any given year, and that's actually a much different thing. over a hundred-year period is really a 63% chance that a storm greater than the protection system will hit. now that is not the fault of the corps of engineers, they're building what they were told to do. we have an inadequate standard throughout the united states and every community that's exposed to floods, it's the same hundred-year standard. >> brown: all right, thanks for clearing that up. ivor van heerden, you've raised a lot of questions. start with the levees themselves. is the new construction plan better? what do you see? >> well, i think the repairs are very robust and certainly the corps has taken some of the
advice from groups like ours . they're replacing the levees the-walls, they have built a structure in the so-called mr. go funnel that created 80% of the flooding during katrinament but i still have major concerns with the science. you know, they... i hear what john's saying on the one in a hundred year. i would argue that 1965 flood control act supersede that. but but the levies aren't going to offer any more protection than what we saw with katrina. if we had another storm like katrina, we'll still see significant flooding and the worst would be a storm like katrina that actually hits new orleans. a storm that comes west of the city and certainly if it was a little slower would overtop many of the levy systems . >> brown: john barry, what's an example of the structural changes that you see that would make things better in the next storm? >> well, the real focus there
would be not so much raising the levees more,lthough that would be part of it. but it would be rebuilding the coast, the louisiana's lost 2,300 square miles of land, most of in the the last 50 years, because of all sorts of man-made interventions. now, that's more than the state of delaware. if you put delaware between new orleans and the ocean, we wouldn't needny levees at all. so what we really need to do is rebuild the coast which has eroded for the benefit of the shipping industry, which means interstate and international commerce and the oil industry which is dredge canals through the marsh primarily. and even, you know, the land here was all built by the deposit of sediment in the mississippi river. and there are six dams in montana, north dakota, and south dakota that have now retained one-third of all the sediment that the mississippi river used to deliver to this area to sustain the coast.
so there's the multiplicity of factors involved in this. >> brown: well, mr. van heerden, that's an area i think you agree with, this problem of the erosion of the wetlands. explain what you see there. >> well, you know, the healthy moss will reduce the surge by at least a foot per mile. a healthy swamp will reduce the surge by about six feet per mile. and, you know, we've lost, as john was saying, this protection, this apron of protection that used to ensuring that we could survive on the coast. since katrina just for instance, we've lost over 100,000 acres of our wetlands. the real issue is the corps of engineers was tossed by congress in parallel to doing the concrete, the levees, to develop a plan to restore coast. and that plan is still not out, that is still not achieved, and
once again it looks like the corps' main interest is pouring concrete rather than getting into what we really have to do, and that's allowed the mississippi river to mimic the natural processes that built our coast, allow the river to run free and let's rebuild the coast before it's too late. >> brown: and i should say that we did ask a representative a the army corps to join us tonight but they weren't able to. john barry, i want to put you in your historian's hat now. when you look back five years later, is there a consensus, is there even an agreement on exactly what happened? i was talking in our setup piece about this mix of the natural versus man-made disaster. where do things stand on the kind of thinking about that? >> i don't know. i think ivor and i agree on 95%. i think there is a consensus but by everybody who really looked at it that understands it was a man-made disaster, both in the
narrow sense because the flood walls were poorly designed, they were not... most of the city was flooded from the rear, from lake pontchartrain and the watter there did not come higher than two feet below the top. in fact, i think ivor and i were probably certainly among the first people to point out those walls just collapsed and didn't do what they were designed. and then in the larger sense, it was man made because of some of the things that we talked about, the destruction of the coast is not an accident. it's a direct result of the engineering of the river and the shipping industry and oil and gas and so forth and levees as well. >> brown: but your sense is... just staying with you, your sense is that lessons have been learned rohr in the process of being learned? >> i think engineers are pretty much in agreement on the failures, yeah. in some cases the precise actual mechanism of failure may be in dispute, some highly technical
points, but the basics that it was an engineering failure, i think there's wide agreement on that. >> brown: mr. van heerden, what about the larger question, i guess, of whether new orleans can ever be completely safe. we're talking about things that are happening now. you've both talked about some things that can be done, particularly with the coastal wetlands. what about that larger question ? >> well, i think if we el engineered the levy system and stopped our mismanagement of the mississippi river and utilize it had river to build wetlands, if we went and started to do real barrier island restoration we could have a system that where the barrier islands would protect the wetland, the wetlands would protect the levees and the levees would protect us. and i agree. you know, i've worked with some dutch engineers who feel we can give new orleans one in 1, 500 year protection quite cost effectively.
but it has to be this multiple approach these kind of lines of defense. and unfortunately right now we're just stuck on pouring concrete. and we've got to get into the coastal restoration. i stress gain since katrina we've lost 100,000 acres of our protection. >> brown: all right, we'll leave it there. ivor van heerden and john barry, thank you both very much. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> lehrer: finally tonight, "newshour" economics correspondent paul solman reports on the art of doing a difficult negotiation during tough economic times. it's part of his ongoing reporting on "making sense of financial news." >> can we lower the interest rate that i pay? can we make the mortgage extend for longer? >> reporter: at harvard law school, learning to negotiate. student erum sattar agreed to role play a typical debt-hobbled homeowner these days. >> i don't see how it's in your interest to foreclose this property. is there nothing that we can do
to work this deal out? something that helps you and it helps you know us stay in the house. >> reporter: michael aktipis played the banker who won't budge. >> i would love to help you out but how can i make an exception for you when i have hundreds of people every day contacting me asking me to do the same thing. >> if he doesn't have that authority, who does? ask him. >> reporter: coaching and critiquing, negotiation guru robert mnookin. >> the words you use, the tone you use, your language-- it all matters, because it can affect how the other person reacts. >> reporter: mnookin is the author of a new book with a timely thesis. >> "bargaining with the devil" is a book about the most - difficult kinds of negotiations- - where your adversary is someone you don't trust, who you think may be out to harm you, you may even think they're evil. >> erin and michael, you know all about the case. >> reporter: but whether it's your loan servicer or a cousin
demanding grandma's engagement ring, take the economic approach, says mnookin. try to make a trade. >> renegotiate! the metaphor i use is the carnivore is eager to trade his broccoli for a lamb chop owned by a vegetarian. it's that they have different preferences that allows you to make both sides better off through trades. >> reporter: in other words, a win-win solution. >> better for the bank and better for us. >> reporter: which of course sounds a lot easier than it is to achieve. >> emotions are often running very high and it's very hard for what i call the mr. spock in yourself, the cool dispassionate rational actor, to think things through. >> all i can tell you is you have to pay $2,000 a month. >> reporter: as if to prove mnookin's point, emotions ran high in our mortgage negotiation, which wasn't even real. >> we're literally going to have to leave this house if you don't help us. i mean, we are desperate. >> go for it! good luck on ever getting a
mortgage again. >> reporter: "aha," says mnookin. michael's warning is a typical case of batna bashing. >> batna is negotiation jargon for your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. in other words, if i can't make a deal with you, what is my best alternative away from the table that doesn't require any help from you at all? batna bashing is to say to someone: "your alternative is terrible!" it's to try to remind the other person how bad their alternative is. >> reporter: which is just how our mock session played out. >> your credit is going to be shot. you're dreaming if you think that you can realistically walk away and get another mortgage and take care of your kids. so either find some way to pay this mortgage or go ahead and walk away and see what happens. >> you know i'm going to have to because you have left us no choice. >> reporter: sattar actually broke down at this point, though the negotiation wasn't even
real. why? >> he painted this really bleak picture that my life was, i mean, all bad, no one would ever give me any money, i'd have to leave my house. it was horrendous. >> reporter: but look, says mnookin, you've got to not take it personally. when a second pair of students, david baumwoll and jared craft, stepped into the roles of homeowner and banker. >> how can i help you? >> reporter: rationality trumped emotion. >> the reason i'm coming to you today is to figure out if there is anything we can do together to come up with some agreement where you're getting paid, you don't have to go through all the problems associated with foreclosures, all these costs associated with it and i get to keep my house. >> you could respond by asking a question: "well, what do you have in mind?" >> okay, so why don't you give me a number, what can you pay every month? and i'll take a look at it and i'll see if we have the discretion to help you out. >> well, because i want to make the most of our time here i did some research beforehand and ran
the numbers. >> my approach is always to see if i can lead and persuade the other side to engage in problem- solving. many more things are negotiable than people assume are negotiable and a key principle is you've got to be able to dispassionately try to think through in a circumstance where your emotions are likely to want to take over: what are my alternatives? what are the costs and benefits of different courses of action? and that's very challenging. >> reporter: but can also be very rewarding, says mnookin. >> and i really look forward to working with you on a better deal. >> reporter: weighing costs versus benefits: the essence of economics. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: the u.n. made a new plea for
more aid to pakistan nearly a month after the flooding there began. meanwhile, u.n. and u.s. officials said there is evidence relief workers are being targeted by the pakistani taliban. afghan president karzai warned the u.s. timetable for withdrawing troops next july is empowering the insurgency. and, u.s. food and drug administration officials have found positive samples of salmonella in chicken feed, connecting two iowa farms to a massive egg recall. the "newshour" is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari? >> sreenivasan: robert mnookin will answer your questions about negotiating. that's on paul's "making sense" page. also there, author matt ridley responded to your emails about why he thinks we should be optimistic about the future. our coverage of the 5th anniversary of hurricane katrina includes a slideshow of images of new orleans 9th ward today and a blog post by betty ann
bowser about the levees. on "patchwork nation," we check the economic hardship index for communities around the country. and on "art beat," find out how minnesota artists are taking a business cue from small farmers and selling their work locally. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> lehrer: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are 12 more.
"newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. 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.