Return to Transcripts main page


Mexico City Subway Overpass Collapses, Killing 15; India Expected to Top 20 Million Cases Soon; G7 Foreign Ministers Meet in London; Oil Exploration Fuels Environmental Concerns in Namibia. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired May 4, 2021 - 02:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm Robyn Curnow and we do begin with breaking news this hour, a deadly subway disaster in Mexico City has claimed at least 15 lives and has injured some 70 people. An elevator train line collapsed, as you can see here, with part of the metro falling onto a street below with moving cars.

There was a huge cloud of dust and debris, we understand. This accident happened on the city's newest train line, called the golden line. Emergency crews have been searching for survivors in the wreckage but one rescue effort has been put on hold, we understand, Mexico City mayor says a car is trapped under a dangling part of the train that is unstable.

I want to get straight to our Matt Rivers who is tracking all this from Mexico City.

Many of these images speak, Matt, to the devastation on the ground.

What more can you tell us?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're exactly right. Robyn, there is much going on here. Like any disaster situation, the details aren't fully known yet. Authorities are continuing to update us as we go. As you said off the top, the latest numbers, at least 50 people dead so far, we know several dozen people have been taken to area hospitals. We know that dozens of people, 70 and counting, are injured. But as with so many other emergencies, disasters like this, unfortunately we do expect those numbers to rise, just given the level of damage, the impact, as you can see in these videos, the pictures that we are getting from the scene.

This is an extremely serious incident right now; in terms of cause, in terms of how and why this happened. Still way too early for us to be able to speculate on that. But what we can see in the pictures that are coming out is one of Mexico City's subway trains, metro trains, two track cars of which are dangling off the side of what was an elevated platform.

We know that platform collapsed and around 10:30 pm local, it's about 11:30 pm East Coast time, in the United States. And the people that are injured are not only those who were in the cars that were traveling at this time in the subway car, that is, but somebody who could be on the street underneath.

So right now search and rescue efforts are underway with dozens of firefighters and rescue personnel on the scene. But it's a precarious rescue, as you see in those videos, the situation of those cars is far from stable. Not only are people trapped inside, facing threat to their lives but rescuers as well.

We are going to be monitoring this closely, Robyn, as we go through the early morning hours here in Mexico City.

CURNOW: What have eyewitnesses been saying. Some people were on the ground and saw what happened. And also bearing in mind that Mexico's subway system is pretty big, isn't it?

I think it's second only to the New York subway system in terms of its size, in the Americas.

RIVERS: Yes, and it sounds like it happened very suddenly. A kind of explosion where people have been saying on local media it was a very sudden crash, the collapse happened very quickly. People obviously were taken by surprise.

And you're right this is a subway system used by millions of people in the city every day. For those not familiar with Mexico City, it is a sprawling metropolis, where people rely on the subway system here to get around. Millions use it every single day.

And this was, as you mentioned off the top, a line called the golden line, subway line number 12, constructed within the last decade or so and it was widely seen or at least touted by city officials, as having some of the best and safest technology of any metro line here in the city.

And that is significant given the seismic activity that happens here in Mexico City frequently. This is a place where earthquakes happen often, including back in 2017, with an incredibly deadly earthquake. Here infrastructure and safety is always on the minds of people in the city and they will be asking questions once again.


RIVERS: Given this morning's or rather, last night's collapse here in Mexico City.

CURNOW: OK, Matt Rivers, I know you are there on the ground, I know you -- or you will be live in the next hour or so at the top of the hour from that location. I'm going to leave you and your team to get there soon as possible, where you can bring us all the latest details. But thanks for updating us on this devastating image that we are seeing. Thanks. RIVERS: Thank you.

CURNOW: So the latest numbers from India's battle with coronavirus are jarring. As you can see here more than 20 million people have been infected with COVID in India alone. The health ministry reported over 350,000 new cases on Tuesday, more than 220,000 people have now lost their lives.

And India with a jump of almost 3,500 in the past day, hospitals are overwhelmed, turning away patients. Oxygen is in short supply and volunteers are setting up tents outside Sikh temples to distribute whatever they can get their hands on.

Planeloads of oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies and Indian prime minister Modi spoke Monday with the European Commissioner president to thank her for the bloc's support. Sam Kiley visited a New Delhi hospital over the weekend where a dozen patients died a few hours after it ran out of oxygen. Here is his report.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm in a facility that's being run by a Sikh NGO, it's one of the very few places in the entire Delhi area where they can get oxygen and they get it by driving sometimes 500-600 miles or more. They're expecting a delivery from Mumbai, 1,200 miles away, for people like Rickash (ph), who are death's door. He would die if he did not get this oxygen and that is exactly what's been happening in some of the more sophisticated hospitals in Delhi.

KILEY (voice-over): Tears for a much loved colleague. Dr. R.K. Himthani, killed by COVID-19 in the same hospital where he'd spent a year treating other victims of the coronavirus.

Grief and the inevitable silent question, who's next?

He died here in this intensive care unit because the Batra Hospital, where he worked, ran out of the most basic necessity: oxygen.

He was not alone. The medical director of the hospital, SCL Gupta, gave the mid-afternoon casualty figures in this war against the virus.


KILEY: Eight?

GUPTA: Died just now and five, they are under resuscitation, may or may not survive, just because in the capital city of Delhi and because of want of oxygen, which is the lifeline.

KILEY: He knew the chances of reviving the five were slim.

When you heard this morning that you had just a few hours of oxygen and then eight patients died, what does that do to you to the soul of a doctor? GUPTA: I cannot explain to them my feelings. We are dying inside, we are the saviors, not the murderers. And we cannot express our feelings. I cannot express my feelings because how I'm feeling inside.

KILEY: Is it destroying you?


KILEY: Is it destroying you?


KILEY: How long have you been a doctor?

GUPTA: What, sir?

KILEY: How long you have been a doctor?

GUPTA: Forty-five years.

KILEY: Must be so destroying. I can't imagine what it must be like for you. I'm sorry.

GUPTA: I'm sorry, sir.

KILEY: Over the next hour, four of the five resuscitation patients died.

In a space of about two hours, when the oxygen ran out, 12 people died in this hospital, which in every other respect, is a first world facility. They're simply asphyxiated.

The hospital copes by having patients to source their own supplies of oxygen to cover its erratic supplies. Local and international efforts to get enough of the gas into India's capital are still failing.

India's central and national governments have been unable to explain the oxygen shortages and as the numbers of people infected with COVID- 19 soar in India along with the daily death toll, the Batra Hospital, like many others, will admit no more patients. There's no point.

SHINU VERGHESE, HEAD OF NURSING, BATRA HOSPITAL: We will not take more admissions because we don't want people to die in front of us. So they can go to the other hospital where the oxygen's available.

KILEY: Dr. Kishore Chawla runs a Hindu temple charity. He pulled through COVID-19 before the oxygen started to run out.


DR. KISHORE CHAWLA, CEO OF CHATTARPUR MANDIR: From housekeeping, even the nursing staff, the supervisors, all are working very hard.

KILEY (voice-over): Fair enough. But the Indian's government's failure to ensure basic supplies to hospitals in the face of a long- term pandemic is simply not going to wash. KILEY: The health minister has argued over the last week or so that Delhi is actually getting more oxygen than it is asking. For the evidence on the ground rather indicates the opposite.


CURNOW: Sam Kiley there reporting in India. We will continue to monitor that story. This COVID surge did not arrive without warning. A prominent group of scientists in India say they alerted the government to the coming wave early last month.

The chair of India's COVID modeling committee says it warned the government about a surge of cases back in early April, when India was seeing 100,000 cases a day and the committee chair says the group called for an immediate response.

That news comes as prime minister Modi has come under increasing fire for his handling of the pandemic, facing criticism for allowing religious festivals and political rallies to take place despite the health risks.

Ramachandra Guha is and author one of India's preeminent historians and he joins us from Bangalore.

Thank you, sir.

How has the pandemic exposed criticisms about the prime minister?

RAMACHANDRA GUHA, AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN: First of all, I would like to salute the health workers also featured in your study, the nurses and doctors, the nursing staff, the NGOs are doing great work, making up for the absence of the central government. Some state governments have picked up quite well.

But there is a sense of complacency and even hubris that set in with the prime minister and his government late last year, when the first wave peaked and the fatalities seemed to be much less than in Europe and in North American countries.

They started saluting the triumph and saying we've vanquished COVID. The prime minister then focused his attention on winning the important state of Bengal, where his party was founded. So it's a prestigious match for him. He and his deputy, instead of attending to official duties, focused too much on winning that election.

The prime minister himself boasted of the size of the crowds. So it's colossal negligence and hubris, which sadly has been characteristic of this prime minister ever since he resumed office in 2014.

CURNOW: Are Indians blaming him for this high death toll?

GUHA: It's too early to say. History will judge to what extent he is culpable, his home minister is really an active accomplice. And to what extent the supreme court has been supine (ph), civil servants haven't stood up. So all these questions will be asked later. There's undoubtedly a historical aspect of this, the neglect of public

health by successive governments even before Modi, except in some states. So historians will talk about this.

But a year ago I wrote an essay where I said this is arguably our greatest crisis since partition. And I urged the prime minister to be more consultative, even perhaps form a national government as our first prime minister had done in 1947 at the time of comparable grave national crisis and tragedy.

But he has not given a press conference in seven years, Robyn. The news just came in that a palatial house had been built for the prime minister in the capital as part of a grand design for a major city had been approved.

So I think there is an extraordinary insensitivity, even today among our top leadership. And there is also a story in the BBC today about the prime minister's own parliamentary constituency, the holy city.

But I think that redemption is part of our religious traditions. And I hope he wakes up and starts listening to the scientists and stop being obsessed with his image, with state elections and concentrate on the job of governance.

CURNOW: You have written about a cult of personality. You are speaking now of hubris and a centralized government, consolidated during this time period. You have also written about a growing Hindu nationalism, playing into this cocktail that created this devastating COVID surge in India.


CURNOW: What you mean by that?

GUHA: It's very similar to Trump. There are three characteristics of Modi, self love and the cult of personality, suspicion of scientific experts, which you saw in your president when the pandemic broke, and white supremacy in the case of Trump and Hindu supremacy in the case of Modi.

But Modi has things that Trump did not have, a massive organization called the RSS that has been committed for 100 years to building a Hindu geographic majority in his state, where Christians and Muslims would be second class citizens and writers like me would have no voice at all.

So it's a long term agenda that is now unraveling. Basically we don't have a Biden figure waiting. We dot have a robust opposition party waiting. We have some good regional leaders. Yesterday in Bengal, despite all the money of these sources, by the prime minister and his own minister, a female chief minister won the election, in part because the prime minister made extraordinary, disparaging, misogynistic remarks about her.

So even if they lose, it is important to rebuild our institutions, our civil service and our judiciary, restore our property, officiate what scientists and experts can give you. Nehru and his deputy and that cabinet rebuild that country from the roots.


CURNOW: And, of course, the hospitals, as well. Because this is what we are seeing is a massive collapse of the health system.


CURNOW: I'm going to have to leave it there. But it certainly is a huge death rate and no doubt people will be asking questions about how it got to such a state. Ramachandra Guha, thank you very much for joining us here on CNN.

So as this crisis continues, there are many ways you can help people in India cope with this devastating COVID outbreak. Please do go to to find out how.

Europe is looking at a drop in new infections in most countries and that's paving the way for a push to revive the battered tourism industry. The European Commission is recommending an easing of restrictions to allow foreign travelers to enter the bloc with proof that they are fully vaccinated.

The commission plans to use the 3 E.U.'s digital green certificate to facilitate travel, a contingency plan is in place if the COVID situation worsens in a non E.U. country. Take a listen to this.


ADALBERT JAHNZ, EUROPEAN COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON: We propose a new emergency brake mechanism, to be coordinated at E.U. level, at which would limit the risk of such variants entering the E.U.

This will allow member states to act quickly and temporarily limit, to a strict minimum, all travel from affected countries for the time needed to put in place appropriate sanction measures.


CURNOW: Here in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for children and teens, aged 12 to 15, by early next week. That is according to the federal government, a federal government official.

Now drugmakers say it was found to be safe and effective for the age group during a clinical trial. The vaccine, currently, authorized in the U.S. for emergency use in people 16 and older.

Foreign ministers from the group of 7 nations, now gearing up to meet face to face in London. The latest from the G7 meeting.

Plus, calling it quits with billions at stake; Bill and Melinda Gates filing for divorce. We have the latest on their plan to go their separate ways. You're watching CNN.




CURNOW: Welcome back, I'm Robyn Curnow.

Relationships with Russia on the agenda in London, where G7 foreign ministers are set to meet in person in just a matter of hours. The topic was discussed on Monday, when U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, sat down with the British foreign secretary. There remains concern of Russia's actions on the border with Ukraine.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are focused, very much, on Russia's actions and what course it chooses to take. President Biden has been very clear, for a long, time, including before he was president, that if Russia chooses to act recklessly or aggressively, we will respond.

But we are not looking to escalate. We would prefer to have a more stable, more predictable relationship.


CURNOW: The top diplomats from the U.S. and the U.K., also discussing a range of security issues, including what comes next in Afghanistan.


DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We certainly see the priority as protecting our troops in the period between now and September, making sure that we preserve the ability to deal with counterterrorism, that the gains that were hard-won in Afghanistan are not lost and also, ultimately, promoting a dialogue and a peace process, that benefits all Afghans and leaves Afghanistan as stable as possible, as exclusive as possible.


CURNOW: Joining us from London, Bobby Ghosh, a columnist and editorial board member of Bloomberg,

Bobby, hi, good to see you. Certainly -- lovely and it's been a while. I do want to get your take on this. There has been a lot of tricky geopolitical issues on the table but I think a big question is how like-minded nations, from the G7, can defend international rules against rising authoritarianism.

BOBBY GHOSH, JOURNALIST AND BLOOMBERG EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Yes, that has one of the campaign slogans of the Biden administration and of Joe Biden when he was running for presidency. It has also been one of the mantras of the presidency, since he took office, this idea of restoring a rules-based international order, to firm up the league of democracies in the world against the rising tide of authoritarianism.

That is the big part of Secretary Blinken's trip to the U.K. and then, tomorrow, to Ukraine, is to reemphasize that message.

It is a little less clear, however, whether there is, actually, a consensus in the G7, especially within Europe, over what, really, should be done about authoritarian states.

Like Russia, on the one hand, you have the U.S., U.K., some other countries, that want to face down Vladimir Putin when he misbehaves and on the other hand, you have large countries, like Germany, which are quite beholden to Russia for natural gas supplies, other economic ties and want to take a more, shall we say, conciliatory tone towards Moscow.

Then there's the elephant in the room, which is of, course China.

GHOSH: Indeed. That is another place where there is strong disagreement. The U.S., believing, China, through companies like Huawei, wants to do damage to the international order, in Huawei's case, the U.S. believes that its equipment is being used to spy for Beijing against the countries where that the equipment is installed.

The U.K. takes a similar view. But Germany, again, isn't on the same page as Biden. Angela Merkel wants to keep Huawei in the German 5G system and, again, she is quite keen on trade relations with China and doesn't want to upset the balance she has achieved there.

So part of Blinken's trip, it's not quite to knock heads together; it will be to try to get some consensus before their principals, before the heads of the G7 state, meet, in the U.K., about a month from now.

CURNOW: Isn't just good enough now, is the honeymoon over, is it good enough just to be in a post Trump state?


CURNOW: Antony Blinken, trying to reclaim lost diplomatic and multilateral ground after the Trump years.

But have the G7 countries, in many ways, Europe, in particular, moved on?

What does Europe and the U.S., particularly, need from Europe right now?

Is that cohesion possible, even?

GHOSH: I think that's a good way of framing the discussions. Until now, there has been a sense in Europe that, thank God, Trump is gone, there has been an encouragement to brighten and a trust of support. Praising Biden, just because he is not Trump.

Well, it's been 100 days, we've gone past the stage where Biden gets special brownie points for behaving like a grownup. But equally, from the U.S. point of view, it is not enough for the Europeans, simply, to praise Biden. They want to see the Americans, they want to actually see, some action. They want to see European consensus around how to confront Russia, how to confront China.

And there's also a American interest in European defense spending and want Europeans to spend more on defense. So I think we have gotten past the honeymoon stage of the relationship between Biden and the Europeans. And now on both, sides they want to see actual action to go with the rhetoric.

CURNOW: Let's see what happens in these meetings throughout the coming day and, of course, Mr. Blinken, going on to Ukraine, as we said a little earlier, which will also be a key trip. Bobby Ghosh, always good to speak to, you thank you.

GHOSH: Thank you for having me.

CURNOW: U.S. President, Joe Biden, certainly making good on one of his campaign promises. The White House says, it will raise the ceiling on the number of refugees for the 2021 fiscal year.

Now this reverses what the administration said back in mid-April, that it would keep Trump's original cap in place. Mr. Biden changed course, following a pretty swift backlash from members of his own party and refugee groups.

Here is how it is shaping up now. I want to show you this. As of March 31st, more than 2,000 refugees, being admitted to the U.S. this year under Trump's original 15,000 cap. Following the backlash, Mr. Biden raised it to more than 62,000 and he plans to set a goal of 125,000 for 2022, in line with the commitment he made during his first foreign policy address.

Bill and Melinda Gates are breaking up. The future of their multibillion dollar foundation is wrapped up in the divorce as well. We have the details of its fate when we return. That story plus many thousand square kilometers of a unique ecosystem, under threat from the oil industry.

Why farmers and conservationists say that Namibia is the latest front in a global climate fight.





CURNOW: I want to bring you an update on our breaking news story out of Mexico City. A new image, only 8 seconds, we will play it for you now. It shows the moment that this subway passover, this overpass, collapses. First of, all I want to roll the video, if we can bring it up now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CURNOW (voice-over): There we go.

Devastating, isn't it?

You can see there, a big cloud of dust and debris, as the train just fell and collapsed on that overpass. This is the end result.


CURNOW: Mexico's mayor said, at least 15 people are dead, 70 others are hurt. This elevated train line, collapsed with part of the metro, falling onto a street with moving cars. We know that emergency workers and crews were looking for survivors in the wreckage.

This happened in the last few hours. We will continue to monitor these images and reports on the scene. We will have a reporter on his way there, Matt Rivers is in Mexico City, we'll have a live report of the top of the hour on that. So stay with CNN.

Meanwhile, another story we're following, billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates have filed for divorce after 27 years of marriage. The couple announced the split on Twitter, saying they came to the decision after a great deal of thought.

They will continue to lead the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is more than $35 billion in charitable gifts since its launch. John Defterios with more on this.

John, hi, besides the personal sadness of the marriage breaking down, this is also global news, because the philanthropic world must have been taken by surprise.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes, such pictures that global venues and global summits, for sure, at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos and all parts in between as well. They were always side by side and I think the world was shocked.

It did have scale. The $36 billion given away, sitting on $43 billion in the foundation, as the end of 2019, their latest figures. So they did have phenomenal scale. I thought it was very interesting, the candor in which they both tweeted out the same statement. Let's bring it up.

They said they've done a lot of work on our relationship but we have made the decision to end our marriage.

In the court filing, taking place in Seattle, Washington, they said it was irretrievably broken and they did ask the court to live by their private settlement. To give people context, Bill Gates founded Microsoft back in 1975 after dropping out from Harvard.

He was known as a ruthless businessman and Melinda Gates was the one who softened him up. When they got into the charitable foundations and did the work, she was seen as a very positive influence. Worth $124 billion, Jeff Bezos, divorced from Mackenzie two years ago, worth over $200 billion. All of this wealth, there's a lot to change the world, to change the

business they're in but did not preserve either of those marriages, as we see today.

CURNOW: Certainly. We will see what happens and how that is divided up. Meanwhile, the charitable foundation continues. John Defterios, good to see you, thank you very much.


CURNOW: Coming up, striking oil in a unique part of Namibia, worth billions of dollars. Not everyone is happy about the industry moving in and the debate over climate change is involved as well. That's next.





CURNOW: Welcome back.

A Canadian company thinks Namibia is sitting on the next and perhaps even last giant offshore oil find. But it is the area where it's drilling that has one of the most fragile and vulnerable ecosystems in the world. The region span parts of Namibia and Botswana and moves by the oil industry are raising concerns among conservationists and residents. David McKenzie joining me now.

David, hi, tell me more about this, I know you just came back from Namibia.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn, yes. One of the biggest debates, moving forward on the climate change debate, the climate crisis, that we all are facing around the globe, with vast oil resources around the globe that are still untapped, what do you do with that oil?

Should it be left in the ground?

We traveled to a remote section of Namibia, which is hit hardest by the climate change crisis already. And there could be a huge oil find there.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): His family can't sleep at night, can't rest through the wailing sirens and the floodlights at night.

"They said they're looking for oil here," he says.

And worrying about the land, the land, he says, an oil firm took from them. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).


That's your place?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Andreas (ph) and his son, Samwel (ph), even scared to take us closer to the rig through their own corn fields.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE: How do you feel about that?

SAMWEL MAWANO, FARMER: I feel very angry about it. Very, very angry. It even hurts me. It's not right because this land belongs to me. And someone who came, somewhere far, just to grab it from me.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): A staggering swath of land, more than 13,000 square miles or some 30,000 square kilometers, is what the Canadian oil company, ReconAfrica, has secured in an exclusive exploration deal.

MCKENZIE: This is the rig that they are exploring to find if there is oil in this region. But if they actually find oil, this will be just one of many, many rigs like this.

CRAIG STEINKE, RECONAFRICA: Every basin of this depth in the world produces commercial levels of hydrocarbons. It just makes sense.

MCKENZIE: So you're feeling pretty confident.

STEINKE: I am confident, yes.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Confident because ReconAfrica's founder, Craig Steinke, has scoured the globe for the next and maybe last giant onshore oil play. Striking oil here could be worth billions of dollars. But it is one of the world's climate change hotspots.

MCKENZIE: As the world gets warmer, this zone will get warmer than anywhere else in Africa.

Do you see the irony of exploring for oil in this very spot?

STEINKE: I think the oil, is where you find it.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Not far from the rig, a sensitive water system, flowing into the Okavango River and into one of the world's last wild spaces, the Okavango Delta. Environmentalists and scientists telling us, Namibia should focus on renewables and not risk a polluting industry, they say, is dying.

Steinke says, they have complied with all environmental laws.

STEINKE: You can see, this is about a half, inch high grade steel. Like this is pretty -- this is pretty serious stuff. There just is no way that the water can have any contact with production.

I mean, I say to these people, who are critics, who have likely never been to Namibia, nor let alone that Okavango region, come to the Okavango and let's just have a look at the environment and then you tell me that these people don't deserve a better lifestyle, especially if they are sitting on, standing on a major source of energy.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): We ask the Ghuva (ph) of Namibia, the first people, what they thought.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE: Yes, so they have been here for months, exploring. And not a single person from ReconAfrica has visited this sad community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE (voice-over): "I am worried if they come here, they will say that it is a good thing that they are doing here," says Paulus Macloso (ph).


MCKENZIE (voice-over): "But they won't say the bad things."

Here, he says, they survive on the meager pensions of their elders until the money runs out each month. They need work and they wonder if oil can provide it.

"Nature is important to me," he says, "but if you get up and go into nature, there is nothing left."

MAWANO: They just leave me behind because I'm no more important. Like I own this land.

MCKENZIE: Do you feel they are disrespecting you?

MAWANO: Very much. Very much. Very, very much.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): After months without answers, Andreas (ph) Mawano says a ReconAfrica executive finally visited him the week CNN arrived.

"That is the first time that they spoke to you?" I ask him.

"Yes," he says, "and she brought her card. She warned me not to speak to outsiders, like you."


MCKENZIE: One of your colleagues went to Andreas (ph) and said, you shouldn't speak to outsiders like us. That doesn't sound like a transparent attitude.

STEINKE: Yes, I have no knowledge of that. I have no knowledge of that.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): ReconAfrica says it has the right permits to drill here and claims the land had not allocated to the family by traditional authorities. But Steinke admits they can do better with community outreach.

And at the end of our interview, just days after we met, the company brings Andreas (ph) and Samwel over. Surrounded by recon executives and a company lawyer, they say, they are cooperating.


MCKENZIE: Well, that is an impoverished part of Namibia and, certainly, people said they want jobs and opportunity. But, Robyn, very few people actually had heard much about this drilling except for that family, where the drilling was directly on their farming land.

So really they are quite skeptical that this will bring them jobs. The Namibian government says they should have the right to tap into those oil resources that, they say, could help their economy drastically -- Robyn.

CURNOW: That would be my next question.

What does the Namibian government say about this?

If they do want to tap this, how can they ensure that any riches are distributed equally?

MCKENZIE: That's a very big question and, certainly, traditionally, oil resources on this continent haven't, really, necessarily, trickled down, as it were, to ordinary people.

But on the first point you raise, yes, they say it is unfair that Western nations are trying to push renewables without giving compensation to countries like Namibia, that may have vast oil resources that could, frankly, transform their economy.

Now they have found oil there; it is up for debate yet, still, whether it will be a huge find.

But as the Biden administration and Europe, really, are moving towards cutting emissions drastically in the next 20 to 30 years for all of our benefits, there is a fear that if oil is tapped in these remote regions and in parts of Africa, especially, that it is really a dinosaur industry that is dying.

And countries like Namibia, with vast renewables potential, should be going in that direction -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, thank you so much, David McKenzie, thank you so much.

And thank you for watching. I'm Robyn Curnow, live from Atlanta, "WORLD SPORT" starts after the break.