Return to Transcripts main page
At Least 55 Dead, Hundreds Missing in Europe Flooding; W.H.O.: COVID-19 Pandemic is "Nowhere Near" Finished; Indonesia Children Suffer As Delta Wave Worsens; Video Shows Suspected Attackers after Assassination; Duque: Some Suspects Knew of Plot to Kill Haitian President; South Africa Unrest; Tokyo Olympics; Olympic Organizers Determined to Host Games in One Week; Tourism's Uneasy Summer. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired July 16, 2021 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Vause.
And coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM:
The heaviest rain in a century is fast becoming the new normal of a warming planet, so too the death and destruction caused by extreme flooding across the Western Europe.
The days of violence, destruction, and looting in South Africa have left more than 100 dead, and many facing shortages of food, and fuel.
And one week from now, Tokyo hosts the largest public event of the pandemic era. Will the Olympics be a triumph of human perseverance, or a tragic symbol of avarice and arrogance?
VAUSE: It is just 7:00 a.m. in Germany, where one district report some 1,300 people are missing from extreme flooding. Torrential downpours and the resulting floods have claimed at least 49 lives in Germany, the hardest hit country, the German Army is being deployed for the cleanup. At least six people died in Belgium. Meteorologists described it is the heaviest rainfall in a century.
More than 9,000 people have been asked to leave their homes as floodwaters rise in one city in the Netherlands. Experts say intense downpours, like, these are becoming more common as the climate gets warmer.
We begin our coverage with CNN's Nina Dos Santos.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Torrential rains and severe flooding are causing havoc across Europe, leaving dozens dead and extensive damage in their wake. Rivers overflow their banks. Houses collapsed. Roads washed away and a
muddy mess left behind. Parts of Germany received over 200 millimeters of rain in just nine hours. Two firefighters are among the dead there.
Others left with nothing.
EDGAR GILLESSEN, FLOOD VICTIM (through translator): Are these people living here I know them well. I feel so sorry for them. They've lost everything. All they have as what they had on them. It's all gone.
A friend had a workshop over there, nothing standing. The bakery, the butcher, it's all gone. It's scary, unimaginable.
DOS SANTOS: This dramatic scene in western Germany has some people left stranded on their rooftops were rescued by helicopters. Across the border in Belgium this man braved the water to check on his neighbors. Water nearly reaching his windows.
The village of Pepinster devastated. Homes have collapsed and cars were swallowed up by the rising water. One man says he is worried about his family.
CYRIL HENIN, FLOOD VICTIM (through translator): My mother was stuck in a house over there with my brothers and my sisters. The walls of the house are starting to crack. And the house is at risk of collapse.
DOS SANTOS: In the Netherlands a care home was evacuated during the storm. Dutch authorities hope to get overly residents to safety fearing the facility could lose electricity and other supplies.
Visiting Washington on Thursday the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is thinking of those in her homeland.
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): These are terrible days for the people in the flooded areas. My thoughts are with you, and you can trust that all forces of our government federal, regional, and community, collectively will do everything under most difficult conditions to save lives, alleviate dangers to relieve distress.
DOS SANTOS: This as she ordered to Germany's military to help in some of the hardest hit areas. A German meteorologist says that in some areas they haven't seen this much rainfall in 100 years. And the country is in for more bad news. Weather forecasters say additional rainfall is expected in southwestern Germany in the days to come.
Nina dos Santos, CNN.
VAUSE: Let's bring in CNN meteorologist, Derek Van Dam for more.
So, you know, this whole thing about the 100-year rain, it's almost like this is what happened the other day.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's the thing, John. These high energy, sudden torrents of summer rainfall, is exactly what we anticipated to see in a rapidly warming climate. As we are experiencing, right now, across the planet.
Warmer air can hold more water vapor, which can, in turn, unfortunately, lead to more rainfall. And with that intersects with a high population density, you get scenes like this. Just absolutely catastrophic to see what's on the ground across Belgium, portions of western Germany, and into the Luxembourg Region.
The Copernicus atmospheric monitoring system, this is a European monitoring satellite system, coming out of Europe, they went into emergency mode.
They were able to map out the flooding that took place. This the satellite image from Liege, in Belgium, and you can see the Meuse River running, intersecting through this town. The shading of blue there, actually, the over flooded river banks, from the river. You can see the extent of the flooding that took place.
So, if we go back in time, 48 hours, this is a radar loop of the region. We can highlight the Belgium, and western Germany area, because you can see just how the rain, when it begins again, went over the same place, for a persistent period of time. We're talking nine to 12 hours. That started to show some impressive rainfall totals.
Basically, this area of low pressure that formed across this region, is cut off from the general flow of the atmosphere, so it had nowhere to go. It allowed for rainfall totals over 200 millimeters, in a 9- hour period.
Just in Cologne, Germany, alone, they almost doubled their annual, or excuse me, July average rainfall, just incredible, especially when you see these cars, being tossed around by toys. That is only 15 centimeters of moving water to knock someone off their feet. About 60 centimeters of water to completely lift a vehicle. So, a lot of force behind these flash flood events that take place.
How much rain is coming? Well, more rain from the southern sections of Germany, another 50 to 100 millimeters, on top of what's already fallen, John. So, what a story.
VAUSE: Yeah, it's not over yet by a long shot.
Thanks, Derek. Derek Van Dam, with the very latest.
Well, the German government is now working on a package of financial aid to help the region recover. But even after the water recedes, the threat from extreme weather events will only increase.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR & FINANCE MINISTER (through translator): This is a natural disaster. But, the fact that this natural disaster is taking place in this way, certainly, is connected to the fact that climate change is progressing, at a speed in which we have observed for a while. That must be another incentive, and also, an obligation for all of those who have become victims here. For us to do everything we can, to stop manmade climate change, and prevent such disasters on this scale.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Throughout the years, floods like this is the precisely why climate experts have been warning of, with global warming.
I spoke earlier to the atmospheric science expert, Michael Mann.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MANN, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE, PENN STATE UNIV.: The reality is that climate change is proceeding, more or less, as we predicted it would, if we failed to act. So, that is bad enough. Just the fact that what we are seeing, matching what we predicted is bad enough.
And it has reached this level now, the impacts of climate change, and the impact on extreme weather events around the world, heat waves, wildfires, flood, super storms, droughts, has snow reached the point where we can feel it, we can see it. We can see it play out in real time on our television screens.
Climate change is putting more moisture in the atmosphere, the warming of the oceans puts more moisture in the atmosphere, so you get bigger flooding events. But, that heat can also dry, and bake soils, and you get worse droughts, and heat domes like what we see out West.
Then it combines with one extra factor that the models have not yet predicted well. It's the way the climate change is slowing down the jet stream, and leading to these very persistent extreme weather events, like we've seen. In some sense, it is worse than what the models predicted. And it's another reminder that there are unpleasant surprises and store when it comes to the impacts of climate change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, for wealthy vaccinated nations, it seems a pandemic is almost in the rearview mirror, a sort of normalcy is fast returning. But the WHO is warning that the world is still in the grips of a public health emergency, and it is far from over, especially with the highly contagious delta variant driving global infections.
Numbers are on the rise in the United States, Northern Africa, Europe, Australia, Middle East and Asia. Many countries too are trying to have access to vaccines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The committee has expressed concern that the pandemic has been mischaracterized as coming to an end when it's nowhere near finished. It has also warned about the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that maybe even more challenging to control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: With the latest on the pandemic, from around the world, CNN's Phil Black in the U.K., where cases are once again soaring. But, first, Larry Madowo in Nairobi tracking a devastating rise in COVID deaths across Africa, and the lockdowns whicih followed.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rwanda's 10-day lockdown which begins Saturday will be one of the strictest in all of Africa. People are required to stay at home and not leave, there will be no public gatherings, no public transport, and businesses are closed except for essential services.
The minister of health of Rwanda saying that 60 percent of new cases are of the highly transmissible, delta variant. Rwanda is dealing with a third wave of coronavirus cases, and missing a positivity rate of 17-1/2 percent. But Rwanda is not alone. (INAUDIBLE) continent. Uganda is on the back end of its own restrictions, and Tunisia's health care system has essentially collapsed and is now introducing a lockdown of its own. The World Health Organization says week on week, that was a 43 percent increase in coronavirus deaths, and Africa has had eight consecutive weeks of increases in coronavirus cases.
And this is, now, at a point where Africa has seen 6 million coronavirus cases, and that last million was hit in just the last month. That is the fastest figure to get that million. The previous million took about 3 months. The big problem for Africa is there's not enough people vaccinated, only 1.5 percent of the African population is so far vaccinated, and that means that there might be restrictions, again, and again, as the delta variant spread. It is so far being found in 21 countries.
While parts of the West see protests over mandatory coronavirus evacuations, many in Africa don't have the luxury. If they don't have these vaccines, they can get the lives back to normal, and begin to rebuild after this pandemic. But that's just not an option that's available to so many in this part of the world.
Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United Kingdom is now reporting daily case numbers of the lights which haven't been seen since the grim days of the winter peak, at the start of the year. More than 42, 000, on Wednesday, another 48, 000, on Thursday. But, this isn't a surprise. This wave has been expected here, ever since the delta variant arrived, it began to spread exponentially. The government forecasts the steely case figures will continue to go,
much higher, very quickly, as high as 100,000 a day in just a few weeks. The key issue is, what does this mean in the context of the U.K. government plans to lift almost all remaining legal restrictions in England from Monday. And the truth is no one knows for sure. Even the government scientific advisers say they can't be certain how this is going to play out because there are too many variables. Notably, how are the people going to behave? If they are more cautious, the spread will be lower. Less cautious, behaving more like a pre- pandemic, then the spread and the ultimate peak and the admissions in hospitals and so forth, all of that, is going to be much higher.
The government's hope is that it can manage, that it can deal with high case numbers, even vast case numbers, as long as it doesn't translate to high numbers of serious illnesses and deaths, which it hopes it won't, because of the advanced nature of the U.K.'s vaccine program. Critics to say, and there are many of them, that this is reckless, and unethical, because the vaccine program, although advanced, is still far from complete. And, the delta variant is so much more transmissible.
Meanwhile, an estimated 17,000 people, and different locations across France, have been showing their anger at the French government, protesting its recent decision to link certain personal freedoms to people's ability to prove their own immunity, or status. For example, no access to restaurants or cafes if you can't prove that you are fully vaccinated, or, that you have naturally acquired immunity, or that you have recently tested negative.
A policy like this would always be controversial in a country with deep, historic, and cultural ties to the very concept of personal liberty. But, it turns out, threatening to deprive the French people of easy access to good food, could also be a powerful motivator. The government says 3 million people have registered the vaccines, in a few days since the policy was announced.
Phil Black, CNN, Essex, England.
VAUSE: Dr. Scott Miscovich, a physician, and national consultant for COVID-19 testing. He is with us this hour from Hawaii.
It's been a long time since we've seen. So, thank you. Welcome back.
DR. SCOTT MISCOVICH, FAMILY PHYSICIAN: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: You know, there's a few important points to restate, I guess, about the delta variant. Just to lay out the facts, and what is concerning, and not concerning. So, new hospital missions for COVID are way down in many countries, that country, mostly, where the vaccine rollout have been underway for sometime.
We know, from a recent U.K. study, the vaccines are effective against the delta variant. But we also know that 99.2 percent of COVID deaths in the United States last month were unvaccinated people. We get to the long term risks of all of this, but right now, the biggest threat is to those who are simply not vaccinated, either by choice, or by circumstance, or eligibility requirement. So, that's essentially where we stand at the moment, right?
MISCOVICH: Correct, correct. And, you know, I listened to the WHO warning, and I think that there is something I want to highlight, that is so important. When we look at the delta variant, right now, we are talking about something that is around 250 percent more contagious, and spreads more, that are not factored in the original coronavirus that was present.
Think about that. So, what we have had is a virus that has found a way to mutate from that alpha, and now we're up to delta. And the delta is so much more contagious. That's why we're seeing the problems that you're highlighting across the world.
And let me put that in perspective a bit more. Everybody knows smallpox, right? Well, smallpox had this factor, this R-naught, this contagious factor, that went anywhere from about 4, for on up to 6. Well, right now, we're calculating that the delta variant is a contagious factor of 5 to 8, meaning that every person who gets it can spread to 5 to 8. That's serious.
We know what that smallpox meant to the history of our planet. Every variant gets more, and more, contagious.
VAUSE: The thing is, high school biology teaches us, that a virus can only involved if it's replicating and transmitting. This virus can only transmit and people who do not have been vaccinated. So, when you have large populations in Africa, who have not seen a single dose of vaccine the virus survives. And it means that it can actually continue to evolve, and change, and mutate into something which is worse and more deadlier and possibly even then evade the vaccines.
MISCOVICH: Exactly. And see, the other thing that we need to look at is, where does the mutation occur in a prime way? Anyone who is immuno-suppressed, their immune system, will often create a perfect environment for a new variant, that will be a little more virulent to occur. The second issue is we don't talk about enough in our country, and across the world, is the single shots. Many people get one shot, but are kind of hesitant to go get the second.
So, you have this partial immune system that is now partially fighting the virus, which creates a perfect, perfect medium for the virus to mutate. So, we cannot stop at single shots. We have to have people get completely vaccinated. And, as you saw in the peace before, 1 percent, 2 percent of the entire continent of Africa, just being devastated. We have a long way to go.
VAUSE: And this is why, when -- if you can't get vaccinated, if you have access to a vaccine, if you do not get it, it's a really dumb idea. And it's also a wealthy nations should, actually, sharing their stockpiles of vaccines with nations where there basically is those supplied because if you don't get it, it eventually always comes back. MISCOVICH: Yeah. I think that's the wealthy nations of the world
can't sit back, and be complacent, and say, well, we're getting our life back to normal. I shudder when I hear that term, getting life back to normal. Life is not going to get back to normal, as the WHO basically stated very appropriately today, until we find a way to get the world vaccinated.
But, in the meantime, we are going to be pushing the end of the Greek alphabet, because of the number of variants that can occur, with these perfect environments that are occurring across the world. And, God forbid, we're going to get northern hemisphere, in our cold and flu season, to have increased spreads. We still the long way to go, John.
VAUSE: Yeah. Scott, thank you for being with us. And we're out of time, but it does seem like almost a false dawn at the moment, and we just have to get behind that. It's good to see you. Thanks for taking the time.
MISCOVICH: Thank you.
VAUSE: Still ahead, children in the U.S., heading back to class in a few weeks. Most will be unvaccinated, and for many health officials, that's a cause for alarm.
Later, tourism is slowly picking up in Europe, with more travelers than last year. But, for beach towns in Spain, there is a long road ahead to recover for the economic fallout on the pandemic.
VAUSE: In the coming weeks, children in the U.S. will head back to the classroom, en masse, for the first time since the pandemic sent them home for about a year of remote learning. About 25 percent of children age between 12 and 15 have been vaccinated, which is lower than any other age group eligible for the vaccine.
Across the U.S., the number of daily new infections is growing, and doctors say patients are younger and sicker, than they were earlier in the pandemic. And that's a major cause of concern for the CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I, absolutely, I am worried about those numbers. I'm worried about every demographic that has low vaccination rates. So, you know, it is the case that, in many states, there are different policies for how these teams will get vaccinated. Some haven't prioritized it, some don't have the information. Some parents want to have the information about the vaccine for younger kids.
I will tell you, all 3 of my children are vaccinated, some in that demographic. And, you know, these vaccines are safe for that demographic. But, importantly, as we vaccinate more and more people, it protects
everyone. It protects them, and it protects everyone around them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: No vaccine has been authorized for children aged 12 -- under the age of 12, rather, in the United States. But clinical trials are underway by Pfizer and Moderna.
Indonesia has similar guidelines as the U.S., with children under the age of 12 not eligible for vaccination. But there, hundreds of children are dying from the virus.
Atika Shubert has more now on the families who have lost their kids, and the doctors trying to save them.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): After days of runny nose and fever Baby Safran (Ph) struggle to breathe. His mother Karunia Sekar Kinanti tells me she rushed him to the hospital.
I was shocked what the doctor told me, she says. COVID had already spread to his lungs. His right lung was completely infected. And the doctor told me to prepare for the worst, to prepare burial arrangements.
"What mother is ready to hear that?" she asks.
The number of children dying from COVID in Indonesia has quadrupled in recent weeks, according to the country's pediatric society. More than 550 have died since the start of a pandemic, and 150 of those are in the last two weeks, most of them had been under the age of five. Doctors don't know exactly why, but attribute the quick spread to the more contagious delta variants.
Many hospitals here are already overwhelmed and running dangerously low on supplies, unable to provide specialist care that children need. Many parents here falsely believed children suffer only mild COVID symptoms, ignoring protocols, and refusing to get their children tested, said Indonesia's top pediatrician. He warns parents need to test more frequently.
AMAN B. PULUNGAN, PRESIDENT, INDONESIAN SOCIETY OD PEDIATRICIANS: When they realized this is COVID, the condition already bad. And when they take the children to the hospital, sometimes, we do not have enough time to save these children. This is happening a lot.
SHUBERT: On the island of Java, COVID deaths are outpacing coffin makers. Excavators frantically dig more burial plots. Here, many live a crowded hand to mouth existence, isolating and working from home is just not possible.
Delivery driver Aris Suharyanto lost both his wife and new born baby to COVID, unable even to attend their funeral. Though he never had symptoms, his voice cracks with emotion as he wonders if he brought COVID into the home.
Even now, when I think of my wife, I still get sad, he says. The children are already carrying on as normal, but me, I still cry on my own, and I do regret things, but I just never imagine that this could happen, he says.
Vaccines are the only way out of the crisis for now, and over the weekend, a fresh batch of Moderna vaccines arrived, donated by the U.S., 3 million doses.
But that is a drop in the bucket for what the country needs, and young children are not yet eligible for the vaccine regardless.
Karunya has already lost her own mother to COVID. Now, she is determined that she and baby Zafran will defeat the virus.
You are very strong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
SHUBERT: What's important is that I keep healthy, she says because if I get sick, everything falls apart. There won't be anyone able to take care of the kids.
Recovering and building immunity to a disease that's endangering Indonesia's children.
Atika Shubert, for CNN.
VAUSE: Coming, up the latest on the assassination of the Haiti's president. We have new video showing intense aftermath as police cordon the suspects and a deadly shootout that followed. Also ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As family, as community, we stand together to protect our young ones, our children, our wives at home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And today's violence in South Africa, many say they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands. Details also ahead.
VAUSE: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.
Well, officials released a few details running the assassination of Haiti's president, but there's new images now of the hours after Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his home, showing the alleged assassin looking nearby as they try to avoid capture by Haitian police.
CNN's Matt Rivers is in Port-au-Prince piecing it together.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Recently, we became aware of a clip of a livestream that was taken the day that President Jovenel Moise was assassinated. Several hours after he was assassinated, this clip has made the rounds in Haiti quite a bit, but it hasn't been given a lot of attention internationally especially by international media. And what it shows really is in the lightning in terms of exactly what happened in the hours after President Jovenel Moise was assassinated.
(voice over): Just hours after Haiti's president was killed, this video livestreamed by a local journalist shows some of the men accused of killing him. Here you can see two of the Colombian mercenaries that officials say were part of the hit squad.
The first man is holding a rifle, and signals for the journalist to stop. A second then stands up rifle glinting in the sun. They tell him to stop recording.
At this point, Haitian security forces had trapped the two dozen or so alleged assassins, along this stretch of road. At the bottom, a roadblock. Then the look-outs with the majority of the suspects holed up in this building.
Moving up the street, and past the vehicles, the suspects had abandoned on the road, the camera reaches that building.
As it pans, you can see two things. Several black clad mercenaries, and this man. One of the two Haitian Americans, accused of taking part in the crime. At this moment, he is actually giving a live interview to Haiti Radio Mega saying, they did not kill the president.
"Someone died, but we didn't do it," he says. people inside the president's house started to shoot at us and we fired back to defend ourselves."
Vincent then says most of the group believed they were going to arrest the president, not kill him. The journalist who filmed them Ahaiko Sanechal (ph), who didn't want to show his face, said the group didn't seem to have a plan.
He says they knew they were in a tough position, and knew the president was dead. They were confused, not sure whether to turn themselves in or fight.
Ultimately, some chose to fight. And the fierce shootout with police left at least three Colombians dead. The easiest way to tell who actually killed the president would be to see the footage from CCTV cameras inside the presidential residence that a source tells us captured most of what happened. But authorities have refused to release it or even describe its contents. (on camera): We know that there is CCTV footage from the presidential residence the night of the assassination. Why not release that footage to the public? Would that not answer so many outstanding questions about who did this?
LEON CHARLES, HAITI NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF: We cannot reveal to the public anything, any more information until the investigator allow us to do so.
RIVERS (on camera): Now, we also got the chance to ask the chief of the Haitian national police about the fact that we haven't heard from any of the alleged suspects in this case that are detained at this moment, including the Colombians that are currently detained in Haiti.
And I asked him, when we'll be able to hear from those detainees. What have they officially been charged with? Do they have legal representation? He didn't answer really any of those questions.
And because of that, our questions will remain about exactly what the motive behind all of this actually is.
Matt Rivers, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: 18 Colombians are now in custody, suspected of being part of that hit squad. And Columbia's president believes some of the suspects knew what they signed up for, others have been kept in the dark.
Stefano Pozzebon has details from Bogota.
STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN REPORTER (on camera): Columbia's President Ivan Duque announced Thursday that there is enough evidence to implicate all of the Colombian men who have been detained or killed in Haiti with the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise.
Duque was speaking in Medellin (ph) and said that --
IVAN DUQUE, COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Based on everything we know, there are people who knew of this murder that was going to take place. On the other hand, it seems that inside that group, there were other people with different instructions.
But we need to be clear. Regardless of what they knew or didn't know, what stands out is the involvement of this whole group in the assassination.
POZZEBON: And that is a significant development from the Colombian president, as earlier on Thursday, the Colombian National Police had said that some of these Colombian men believed that they were working on behalf of U.S. law enforcement to detain the president, not to kill him. And CNN spoke with several people who were contacted by recruiters for the job in Haiti and told CNN that they were being contracted to provide private security in the Caribbean nation, but there are still many unanswered questions in the assassination of Jovenel Moise, including a definitive answer on who contracted the more than two dozen Colombian men who have been implicated so far.
For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon -- Bogota.
VAUSE: Lebanon is spiraling deeper into political crisis after Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri resigned on Thursday. He says the president rejected his latest cabinet lineup. But the president's office suggested Hariri would have quit either way.
Word that Hariri had actually quit brought protesters to the streets. The country's economy has been in free fall for about a year. It's currency lost another 10 percent on word of Hariri's resignation. Some protesters say they have little hope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WISSAM AL SANEY, PROTESTER: The country is burning. The dollar has reached 23,000 lira. There is no milk, no medicine, no fuel, no food, no chicken, no meat. The poor can't even afford pasta and yogurt.
Where are we heading after that? The least we could do is close the country and sit. We are dead either way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, South Africa is seeing some of the worst violence in the post-apartheid era. 10,000 soldiers deployed Thursday to try and bring some control to widespread looting and vandalism which has been ongoing for days. Authorities say the situation in several cities is starting to calm down.
It all began last week when protests erupted after former president Jacob Zouma surrendered to authorities to serving a 15-month jail term. The protest quickly degenerated into anarchy in a number of cities.
CNN's David McKenzie spoke to a resident of Durban who is trying to defend his community.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You can see the evidence behind me. This is a sheken (ph) that local community members have set up here on the outskirts of Phoenix (ph) a neighborhood in Durban.
They are checking every car that comes through. They have cut down trees to create that sheken. And you wouldn't imagine this in South Africa, this kind of context (ph). You see this burnt out car. This was not a car that was burned by looters. It was looters that had their car burned because the residents said they were too frustrated and fearful about how they could be targeted.
I'm joined now with the leader of this community Mohammed Sayed. Mohammed, why did you take this step to stop cars like this, take what the police normally do into your own hands?
MOHAMMED SAYED, DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA RESIDENT: Mostly I think it is. I am speaking on behalf of the fathers in our community, on behalf of the sons, you know. And I think as far as people we are basically -- we are working class, you know.
With regards to the situation that the country is experiencing at the moment, looting takes the economy right down to the ground. Our country is experiencing some pretty bad situations right now, you know.
And we don't want to encourage this here by basically allowing people using our residents and areas as a road so that they can make it into an escape road where they are taking looting stuff and going out.
We're feeling it because most of the places that they are going through are in situations where there is no food around anymore. You know, malls have been basically vandalized and looted of all the goat cheese and stuff like that.
So it's become so, you know, severe where we are also as families, as community we're standing together to protect our young ones, our children, our wives at home. You know, these are important things that mean the world to us as fathers.
MCKENZIE: And Mohammed, you know, some of your colleagues are armed. You are stopping people by force in some cases. Do you feel that step needed to be taken? Do you understand the criticism of vigilantism?
SAYED: Yes I do understand with regards to what vigilantism is. The thing is with regards to the situation that we are currently experiencing is that we do carry firearm only for the sake of protecting ourselves, our families and communities.
Every firearm is a licensed firearm. It's only to make sure that only if there is combat or anything, you know, somebody has, most probably come to the area to our community and try to fire out shots, we have to commit to defend themselves.
MCKENZIE: And you have experience, you've told me of people driving by and shooting at this neighborhood. Did you think it would ever happen that this moment would happen in South Africa, this kind of chaos?
SAYED: Absolutely not. Never. I'm basically, you know, to the extent of understanding, when you look at the situation, it seems like you only see this on TV. You know, it's disappointing, because your kids are experiencing this here and we as a community, with all due respect, you know, we have people that are also so much afraid. You just have to keep that situation behind you and stand firm on the frontline to protect the weak behind us, which is our families.
MCKENZIE: There are talks of shortages of food and water and fuel. And will you continue doing this?
SAYED: To the extent with regards to, we have to find some sort of, you know, grounds of understanding if because here right now, it illuminates most of our working class who travel to work.
With regards to food source basically been shortage, it allows us to a point where what do we do. We have to protect what we already have.
You know, this is a small supermarket. Basically, from what we've noticed, most of the supermarkets have been vandalized and looted. All we are trying to do is only protect the little sources that we do have at the moment in our community. And that's all.
VAUSE: Well, after days of unrest and mayhem, the death toll has now climbed to at least 117. And police have made more than a thousand arrests.
Still to come, calls to cancel the Olympics are growing in Japan, among them a Tokyo man, who had to sacrifice his home not once but twice for the games to go on. His story in a moment.
Also with enthusiasm for these games at unprecedented lows and concerns it will be a super-spreader event, why is the IOC so determined to hold the summer games?
VAUSE: The biggest mass gathering in the pandemic era is now one week away -- 7 days, 5 hours, 18 minutes and 13 seconds. Despite being postponed for a year, the coronavirus looms large over the Tokyo Olympics. Cases in Japan are at six-month high, there will be no spectators for the games and now a handful of athletes have opted out altogether, sounding like a grand old time.
CNN's Will Ripley joins us live from Tokyo. You know, what's interesting, there was a study done a few years ago that between the games in 1998 in Seoul and the Beijing Games in 2008, Olympic construction forced two million people from their homes.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It did. And we spoke with one man who had this happen to him. Where he was living in his family home and had to be evicted to build Japan's Olympic stadium. He says he was supportive when it happened for the first time.
RIPLEY (voice over): Japan's Olympic stadium, a symbol of the troubled Tokyo games. And for Po Hei Gino (ph), a reminder of the home he lost.
Gino got an eviction notice in 2013 when Japan won the 2020 bid -- a year of national triumph and personal loss. Around 200 families, mostly senior citizens, evicted. Their housing complex demolished five years ago, replaced by Tokyo's multibillion dollar 68,000-seat showpiece, a bitter pill made worse because it happened before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About there --
RIPLEY (on camera): That stop sign there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
RIPLEY (voice over): He points to a stop sign, where his childhood home used to be. It was also torn down to build Tokyo's 1964 Olympic stadium, rising from the ashes of World War II.
"The first Olympics was during the reconstruction period. "We were happy to cooperate," he says. "But this time, we were treated without compassion."
Gino thought it was too soon for Japan to host another Olympics, and that was before the pandemic.
(on camera): The stadium that cost him his home will sit virtually empty during the games -- the first spectator ban in Olympic history. Tokyo is under a fourth COVID-19 state of emergency.
(voice over): Cases surging, vaccination rates low. A recent poll shows nearly 8 in 10 Japanese don't want the games to go ahead.
Kazunori Takeshima (ph) calls it mass hysteria, a self-described super fan. He has been to every Olympics since Torino (ph) in 2006.
He says the decision to ban spectators is based on emotion, not science. Takeshima has 197 reasons to be angry. That's how many tickets he bought for Tokyo 2020, spending nearly $40,000.
RIPLEY: The spectator ban, crushing his dream of a world record for attendance.
"To be honest, all I have now is sadness," he says.
RIPLEY (on camera): It looks like a storm coming.
As Takeshima talks about his heartbreak, the skies open up.
"It's raining right now," he says. "The god of the Olympics is angry. I think it's a sign. It's not too late to allow spectators."
An Olympic dream about as distant as a sunny day.
(END VIDEOTAPE) RIPLEY: Today actually is a sunny day here in Tokyo, but the mood about the Olympics is very gloomy. You have protests planned in Hiroshima and here in Tokyo. In Hiroshima because the IOC president Thomas Bach is traveling to visit the memorial where the atomic bomb was dropped. Survivors of that attack in 1945 say it is an insult that he is going there at this time. An even larger protest planned through the streets of Tokyo.
And more athletes are dropping out of this surreal Olympics, a bubble Olympics, where athletes are expected to live a spartan existence, not cheer each other on, not give each other high fives, wear masks at all times in public places when they're in the athletes' village which is still going to pack in some 18,000 athletes and officials during this Olympics.
An Australian women's basketball player says she's been having panic and anxiety attacks for weeks thinking about going out there without her family and friends to cheer her on. So she, along with a growing list of tennis players and others have said they are out, John.
VAUSE: Yes, I guess you can't blame them. Will thank you.
Will Ripley with all the symbolism there in Tokyo.
David Wallechinsky is an Olympic historian. He joins us now from France. So David every four years I get to catch up with you and we talk for a bit. So it's good to see you.
DAVID WALLECHINSKY, OLYMPIC HISTORIAN: Good to see you.
Ok. There was a recent survey. You know all about this. A worldwide majority in favor of canceling the Olympics. The IOC is taking a page out of "Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" insisting the show must go on.
And I reckon I can give you about 4.3 billion reasons why. Is it all just about the revenue and the sale of the TV rights?
WALLECHINSKY: Yes, that's pretty much it. I mean I will give a certain credit to Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, who is the first president of the IOC who's actually an Olympic champion. And so he knows that the athletes want to compete.
In fact, since the modern Olympics began, 73 percent of the athletes only compete in one Olympics. So you missed that one and most of the athletes are going to go out.
At the same time, this really is about television rights, because why are the Olympics being held? Forget about the pandemic. Why are they being held in July, August, when it's super hot in Tokyo.
When the Olympics were held in Tokyo in 1964, they were held in October because that was the best month for the athletes. Television wasn't so important back then.
VAUSE: My how times have changed. You know, this all adds to a long list of black marks, if you like, against the IOC, studies have found the Olympics almost always end up being a financial disaster for the host city. Tokyo budgeted $7 billion. There are reports it could end up costing close to $28 billion.
So we get to the point now where we start asking this sort of question. Why have the Olympics in the first place? What advantages, what is the benefit of these boondoggles?
WALLECHINSKY: Well, first of all, whenever media from host cities ask me what's going to be the legacy of our games, I always tell them debt. That's going to be the main legacy.
But we hold the games because, first of all, it's the world championship in more than 300 different events. If you are a sporting fan, this is it.
And of course, the athletes themselves, we're going to have more than 11,000 athletes at the Tokyo Games. And even though it's easy for, you know, a tennis player to back out because they make a lot of money, most of these athletes are never going to make money. They're in sports which are not profitable. And they just want that ability to perform. So that's why the games continue.
Of course, there is always that idea of why not just pout them in one place at, you know, forever. And it's an interesting proposal.
VAUSE: It is an interesting proposal. Why not just take it away from the IOC. You know, there is always a stink of scandal around the IOC. When it comes to the bidding process especially, the IOC, the C could stand for corruption.
I don't know if you remember but back in 2014 when Norway decided to withdraw from the bidding process for the winter games, "Time" reported this. "IOC requires free liquor at the stadium and a cocktail party with the king. You know, even this year, the IOC contractually demands a significant number of hospital beds in Tokyo to be reserved for their use only.
VAUSE: And yes, countries agree to these conditions, but you know, countries are increasingly autocratic states where the leaders are never held accountable for the decisions they make, like Russia and China.
So at the end of the day, couldn't we have the Olympics but not have the International Olympic Committee?
WALLECHINSKY: Well, who would organize the games? Of course, that would be the problem. What the IOC has done, they feel they have put themselves in a bad situation.
I was at the meeting where they gave Beijing the next Winter Olympics. The only other competitor was Kazakhstan, which is also a dictatorship -- a rough one. So that's why the IOC has gone ahead and they assigned the next two summer Olympics to Paris and Los Angeles -- safe. And they want the next one to go to Brisbane, in Australia. And so they are trying to get away from that.
The big problem is really the Winter Olympics. And by the way, even though we are talking about the pandemic for Tokyo, I think these next Winter Olympics in Beijing are controversial, to say the least, for the human rights problems because there's many countries, athletes from many countries who are not comfortable with the Chinese government's human rights record.
VAUSE: Well, it was a similar situation back in 2008. I guess, in that respect --
WALLECHINSKY: Oh yes.
VAUSE: -- things have changed obviously and the pandemic mixes into this like, you know, like you could not believe. And China actually has a policy where you can't enter the country unless you've been vaccinated with the Chinese vaccine.
So all of these issues I guess have to be worked out in a year. But David, it is good to see you. We will talk again in the coming weeks I hope.
VAUSE: Thank you.
WALLECHINSKY: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well Spain's Costa del Sol is beginning to look a bit more like it once did before the coronavirus put tourism to a grinding halt.
CNN's Richard Quest shows us what it's like now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS, EDITOR AT LARGE: It's good to see the beaches along the Med getting busier as more countries are opening up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Some of Europe's most famous tourist destinations are trying to save what's left of the summer travel season. This week, the Greek government announced restaurants and bars could offer inside service but only to customers who can prove they have been vaccinated.
Almost half of all adults there have been fully vaccinated and the government is aiming to hit 70 percent by September or October.
In Paris, life is starting to return to normal. From today tourists will be able to head up the Eiffel Tower for the first time in nearly nine months.
But the travel rebound so many European beach destinations were hoping for has not materialized, at least not yet.
CNN's Richard Quest went to Spain's southern coast to see it firsthand.
QUEST (on camera): By jingo. It's good to see the beaches along here getting busier as more countries are opening up. And, if we think about the beach economy, we will get a really good idea of the damage that's been done, and how things are now getting better.
It costs only 5 euros, about 6 dollars, to rent a beach chair here in Torremolinos (ph), but as you can see, most of the lounges are empty. The locals and the Spanish tourists, they tend to bring their own chairs and umbrellas, and the higher spending tourists from northern Europe, they're not here yet.
QUEST: Put it all together, it's really simple. In the economy of the beach, these empty chairs mean hardship.
A holiday isn't a holiday without an ice cream, and the beauty is choosing which one. I like those, but I haven't had those, but the man has to sell me an ice cream and make money for my mascarpone con something or other.
It may only cost 3 or 4 euros maximum, but that's part of the profit center of a place like this so they stay in business.
Thank you very much.
The cost of a beach chair or an ice cream, relatively small amounts, that soon add up. Torremolinos.
I hate it when it does that. When the best all fall on the floor.
Grilled sardines on the beach, a local specialty. The restaurants here, in fact, along the coast, have been badly hit. Many won't stay in business as a result of COVID. Thankfully, this one is still going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, here you have your sardines.
For eating, you take it at the head and the tail --
QUEST: Grab it on the tail and the head and dig in. Keep it simple, he said. That's the way to think about tourism.
Forget this idea of global tourism being 10 percent of the world's employment. Instead, remember it's beach chairs, ice creams, and yes, sardines grilled.
Keep it simple, and remember that men and women make all this possible. He was right. Use your fingers.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Please stay with us.
I will be back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM, right after the break.
VAUSE: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world.
I'm John Vause and coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.
Catastrophic flooding across Europe as parts of Germany sees a month worth of rain.