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Delta Variant Fuels Surge in Cases and Global Concerns; Poorer Nations Face Vaccine Shortages as Wealthy Countries Sit on Surplus; Taliban Poised to Seize Provincial Capital in Helmand; UNHCR: More than 3.5 Million Displaced Amid Conflict; Fires Force Sea Evacuations on Turkey's Southwest Coast; Thousands Displaced as Floods Hit Rohingya Camps; Katie Ledecky Makes History; Tunisian Gold Medal Swimmer Receives Hero's Welcome. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 2, 2021 - 01:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: The delta variant fueling a surge in coronavirus cases all around the world, as the most effective way to combat it remains being inaccessible to many. How vaccine nationalism is making COVID-19 even more dangerous for everyone.

The war, the withdrawal, and the scorched earth left behind. As the Taliban advance, tens of thousands of Afghans flee their homes.

Doubly displaced. Thousands of Rohingya refugee shelters destroyed by deadly flooding in Bangladesh. And the monsoon season is far from over.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. Appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes, and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


HOLMES: Global concerns and growing COVID cases as the highly contagious delta variant drives a rapid surge worldwide. The U.S. is among countries seeing a jump in infections over the past week. To date, there have been nearly 200 million cases worldwide, more than 4 million deaths.

New outbreaks in the ease of transmission have some officials reimposing restrictions. And while vaccinations have been lagging, we are seeing an uptick in shots in parts of the U.S. Some good news, but more trouble could be on the horizon, even for the fully vaccinated.

New data from Israel suggesting that overtime, the Pfizer vaccine may become less effective at preventing infections. Still, Israeli officials stressed continues to offer strong protection against severe cases.


DR. SHARON ALROY-PREIS, ISRAEL'S DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES: You're seeing about 50 percent of the people who are infected right now are vaccinated, fully vaccinated individuals, so that is obviously our concern. Previously, we thought that vaccinated -- fully vaccinated individuals are protected. We now see that the vaccine effectiveness against disease is roughly 40 percent. It still remains high for severe disease, but we are seeing diminished protection, especially for people who have been vaccinated earlier.


HOLMES: Now, the concern over waning vaccine immunity is prompting Israeli officials to offer booster shots to people over 60 who have already been fully vaccinated at least 5 months ago. The campaign kicked off with President Isaac Herzog becoming the first person to get a third shot on Friday.

And the U.K. may soon follow suit. Health officials are preparing to offer a third shot beginning in September to the most vulnerable. They plan to give the booster vaccines in a 2 stage program alongside the annual flu vaccination program.

England is also well coming back international tourist. Beginning Monday, fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and E.U. will not be asked to quarantine when they arrive in England, Scotland or Wales. But they must be vaccinated with a shot approved by the E.U. or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. China's Sinopharm and Russia's Sputnik vaccines won't count.

Travelers will still be required to take a PCR test before departure and the second test within 48 hours of arrival. And more pandemic weary Americans are getting the point that vaccines do work. They keep you alive. The number of new shots given is rising quickly. The CDC reports more than 700,000 Americans got a dose of vaccine for the past five straight days.

Still, just likely less than half the country is now fully vaccinated. The tens of millions still unvaccinated, well, obviously they are vulnerable to the more contagious delta variant, and indeed new cases are climbing.

Look at that map there, all of the states in dark red have new cases jumping at least 50 percent compared to the week before. Hospitalizations also surging, so health officials are stressing this number and have a listen to this, more than 99.99 percent of people who are fully vaccinated will survive a breakthrough infection.


Dr. Anthony Fauci says the country has made progress but there is still a long way to go.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I don't think we're going to see lockdowns, I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country, not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter. But things are going to get worse.


HOLMES: COVID lockdown restrictions in Australia's Queensland are being extended another week. Initial stay-at-home orders were meant to run through Monday, but the states deputy premier says the initial lockdown was insufficient.

Now this comes as the delta variant is spreading significantly along Australia's eastern coast.

And joining me now from Sydney is CNN's Angus Watson.

We are in the 6th week of Sydney's lockdown, cases are still rising. What appears to not be working?

ANGUS WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, to give you a sense of the spread of the delta variant here in Sydney and one authorities and the general public are having to deal with, six weeks ago, this outbreak began with one person, an unvaccinated limousine driver whose job was to transport airline crews from the airport to their hotel. Six weeks later, now we have over three and a half thousand cases in and all that outbreak stemming from one.

So, of course, the lockdown isn't working in the sense that cases are still there. We have over 200 cases again announced today, but without this lockdown, of course, cases could be much higher. Now, one real problem that the government has is that the spread of COVID-19 is happening in areas that they just can't lock down.

They can't lockdown pharmacies, grocery stores or freight companies, and that's where the virus is moving through the community. It's moving through the communities in the southwest, and western Sydney, places with lower income areas than in the eastern suburbs of the north of Sydney, which has had outbreaks before, Michael.

So, a lot of challenges here to try and stop the spread.

HOLMES: Phyllis in on the news of the mainstream Australian news network, Sky Australia, Murdoch-owned, banned from YouTube for spreading medical misinformation.

WATSON: So this is a media outlet that operates on cable news and free ware (ph) television and online here in Australia, Michael. Sky News Australia known for running right-wing editorials.

Now, some of those editorials have been scathing about the government's efforts to contain the quarantine -- to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, and against medical experts who are advising them. One commentator on Sky News called the senior chief health officer, Dr. Kerry Chant, an idiot.

Now that is the kind of language YouTube's hadn't problem with. It order issued a strike order against this organization, meaning they can't upload to their YouTube channel for 7 days, Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Yeah, thanks very much, Angus. Good to see you. Angus Watson there, appreciate it.

Now, in Asia, some parts of India and China are struggling to contain a surge in COVID cases. The Indian state of Kerala imposing a lockdown over the weekend after experiencing alarming rise in infections. On Sunday alone, Kerala reporting more than 20,000 new COVID cases, at least 56 deaths.

And in China, officials are trying to contain a COVID outbreak that started in Nanjing Airport, it has now spread to at least 10 provinces.

CNN's Steven Jiang joins me now live from Beijing.

Bring us up to date in the situation there, Steven.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Michael, the latest figure we got from the government was from Sunday. They recorded 99 new locally transmitted cases. Now, obviously, this number pales in comparison to what we are seeing in many parts of the world, including in the U.S.

But in this country, they haven't seen this level of infection for months. That's why the government -- the central leadership of the government sent the vice premier to Nanjing to supervise local officials to deal with this outbreak, and she was the same senior official they sent to Wuhan in the beginning of the global pandemic. That's how seriously concerned this leadership is about the spread of this new cluster, which China really shows no sign of abating, with new cases being reported by local officials, and now not impacting not just imports stuff, but also airline crews, school children, tourists, as well as doctors and nurses across China.

That's why we are increasing seeing local authorities reimpose draconian measures we hadn't seen for a long time. And that means millions of Chinese residents again are now being confined to their homes, as a government has now designated more than 90 so-called high or medium risk areas.

And this, of course, is also happening in the middle of the peak summer travel season, that doesn't help things.


That's why we're also seeing a growing a number of tourist attractions in airports being shut down with local officials, including here in Beijing asking residents not to leave town.

And in the Chinese capital, they have also greatly tightened entry requirements, effectively banning anyone from those high or medium risk areas from entering the city by suspending all transportation links to these regions. And as of now, Michael, the leadership here is not showing any indication that they were going to change their current approach of zero tolerance towards locally transmitted cases. So, we are expecting to see more lockdowns and a sharp decline in domestic travel -- Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Stephen Jiang there with the latest from Beijing -- thanks, Steve.

Now, less than 15 percent of the world is believed to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That is not a good thing. And many of the world's poorest countries, fewer than 1 in 10 people are vaccinated. That's even less than that in some. And it could take years for them to catch up.

Now, the world's wealthiest nations have promised to deliver millions of surplus vaccine doses through the World Health Organization's COVAX program. While some doses are being delivered, WHO officials say those resources are just not coming fast enough. The WHO chief says if we want to beat the virus, richer countries need to start sharing the wealth.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, W.H.O. DIRECTOR GENERAL: The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. It is in our hands.


HOLMES: Thomas Bollyky is the director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations. He's also the author of plagues and a paradox of progress, you see it there on your screen. He joins me now.

Good to see you again.

I mean, let's start with this. Given the need to vaccinate the world, what do you make of Israel starting booster shots, third doses? Other countries like the U.K. planning or considering it, rather than having those doses go to underserved nations. What's your thought?

THOMAS BOLLYKY, GLOBAL HEALTH PROGRAM DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: We're in an exceedingly dangerous and urgent moment in the pandemic. The spread of the delta variant which is itself a much more devastating version of this virus than the original virus is leading to the actions that we have seen in countries like Israel and others where we are looking to potentially is booster shots. At the same time, it is exasperating the consequences of vaccine inequity in poor countries.

So, this variant is ripping through Latin America. It's made Indonesia the hot spot of new cases and deaths from this pandemic. It's spreading a third way through Africa at a time where just 2 percent of the continent's population is vaccinated. At the same time, it's leading to a surge in the countries that have had vaccines, making it less likely they are going to share worldwide, so it's very precarious.

HOLMES: Yeah, the WHO estimates that in middle and low income countries, more than 85 percent of people, some three and a half billion have not had a single job. Given the, how do you -- how do you describe the pace of vaccine distribution to underserved nations?

BOLLYKY: It's very slow. The WHO has had a goal of seeing at least 10 percent of populations vaccinated by September. You know, 70 percent of Africa for instance is not to reach that target. Many other countries are not going to reach that target, and that 10 percent represents the most high risk individuals in society. Health care workers are going to go without vaccines.

At the same time, we're looking at people having received 3 doses in wealthy countries, and doses going to adolescents and children in wealthy countries.

HOLMES: Yeah, as has been discussed many times, I think and you have discussed the variants developing in an environment where there is rampant spread. So, ironically, it is in the interest of wealthy nations to vaccinate poor ones isn't it, because those wealthy nations will suffer if a vaccine defeating variant emerges?

BOLLYKY: That's right. And you mentioned right at the outset, which is great question about the issue of boosters but it's not just boosters that are going to be an issue in high income countries. The fact that you're going to see cases surging there is going to make it difficult for political leaders to be perceived as engaging the global problem while they still have a raging problem at home.

And that's really what we saw earlier in this pandemic, where countries like the U.K. or the United States may have had sufficient vaccines to chart start sharing them, or were reluctant to do so until they had made enough progress at home where was politically viable to see that sharing happening. That's going to happen again now with the resurgence of variants in wealthy countries, that they're going to be reluctant to be perceived as having their gauge shift abroad when there's such problems at home.


HOLMES: It's a bit myopic, isn't it, when you look at the broader issue of how variants develop. How then do you convince those richer nations to put a pause on the notion of boosters or third doses, and share those doses with those in desperate need?

BOLLYKY: Political leaders need to educate their population. It's really what has to happen. The delta variant arose abroad, from the U.S. perspective, but also from the European perspective.

It rose abroad and perceived to have arisen initially in India. It could have arisen elsewhere. Variants arose and other variants have arisen in the U.S. and other regions of the world. It comes from, as you rightly noted, from unchecked spread. The more infections you have, the more likely you're going to have mutations lead to variants that can be more transmissible.

Leaders need to educate their population why it's so important to walk and chew gum at the same time, to address the domestic problems while we are trying to reduce their spread of this virus globally but they've been slow to do that.

HOLMES: Yeah. And as we keep saying, it could come back to bite those wealthier nations in the end. It is shortsighted. Thomas Bollyky, we've got to leave it there, really appreciate your

time as always.

BOLLYKY: My pleasure, thanks for having me.

HOLMES: We'll take a quick break.

When we come back, Olympic athletes are supposed to protest on the podium. This American silver medalist did it anyway. We'll you all about it.

Also, she was supposed to run for her country at the Olympics, and instead, she might be running to escape. What we're learning about the asylum request from a Belarusian athlete. That's after the break.


HOLMES: It is day 10 of the Tokyo Olympics, where we are just over the halfway mark now. Some of the day's big events, weightlifting, and track cycling. China, leading the gold medal count with 24, the U.S. has the most medals overall. Australia in 4th position.

There are still tons more up for grabs. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases still rising across Japan, and the number of infections related to the Olympics has risen to 281.

Now, the American shot putter Raven Saunders is the first athlete to protest on the podium, at the Tokyo Games, raising her arms into an X after she was awarded her silver medal, saying the symbol was about the intersection of oppressed people. She says, it was for the black and LGBTQ communities, and for people dealing with mental health issues. The IOC prohibits athletes from protesting on the podium.

And a Belarusian sprinter is asking for asylum. Kristina Timanovskaya says she has been forced to withdraw from the Olympics, and that officials in Belarus, are trying to send her back to Minsk, where she is afraid she will be jailed.


Joining me, World Sport Patrick Snell, right here in Atlanta, and Blake Essig is in Tokyo.

First to you, Blake, with the latest on Timanovskaya, what's going on?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Michael, look, she was supposed to be competing in the women's 200 meter tonight, inside the new national stadium. Instead on Sunday, the 24-year-old posted this video to social media, pleading for help.


KRISTINA TIMANOVSKAYA, BELARUSIAN OLYMPIC ATHLETE: I asked the International Olympic Committee for help, and I was put under pressure, and they are trying to forcibly take me out of the country without my consent. I asked the International Olympic Committee to intervene.


ESSIG: Timanovskaya says that she was given one hour to pack her things, and was ordered to fly back to Minsk. Immediately, she was removed from competition, according to a statement, released by the Belarus Olympic Committee, due to her emotional and psychological state. But the sprinter says that's a lie.

This all happened just a few days after she posted a video criticizing her coaches and the Belarus national sporting authority late this week. She posted video on social media, where she alleged that she was included on a list to run the 4x400 meter relay behind her back, and without her consent, an event which she has been trained for.

Timanovskaya said that she was forcibly taken to Haneda Airport here in Tokyo by members of the Belarus national team. Once there, she approached a Japanese police officer and said she would like to apply for political asylum.

Overnight, the sprinter was secured by police in a special shelter near the airport, according to the International Olympic Committee, she now feel safe and secure.

In an interview with Belarusian sports news site on Sunday, Timanovskaya said that she fears arrest if she returns to her country. Her current location in Tokyo is unknown at the time. So far, the Czech Republic, Poland and Japan have all offered the sprinter visas. We expect she will likely make a decision on where she would like to apply for asylum, at some point today -- Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Thanks for the latest there. Blake Essig in Tokyo, appreciate that.

We're also, across all the sporting action, Patrick Snell joins me now for that. I did slip in Australia's fourth on the medal tally, but, but, Patrick, I digress. Great day for Italy.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: You must -- you must have read my mind. I was actually going to pick you up on that.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, why not?

HOLMES: Oi, oi, oi.

SNELL: Listen, yeah, Michael, summer Italian sport just got a whole lot better. Remember, last month, the Azzurri, the national football team of Italy, winning the European championship. They can say they have officially as well, the fastest man in the world. Lamont Marcell Jacobs shocking the field by winning the 100 meters, an incredible achievement.

This is what's amazing about this story, Michael. This man a man who is competing in long jump, until he switched three years ago it was. Now, the first European to win the prestigious event since the great Linford Christie back in 1992, they celebrated in the arms of his compatriot. Gianmarco Tamberi, who just won gold, in the high jump, all of which leads me rather nicely to that men's high jump competition.

We also discovered, this is one of the, in my opinion, the most truly heartwarming moments. It is caught the imagination of so many of these games. There is actually 2 winners here. Tamberi and the Qatari jumper, Mutaz Essa Barshim.

They went up against each other for 2 hours. Both had made their best jumps of the competition, at 2 meters 37. They were offered a jump off, but no, in a wonderful moment of sportsmanship, they asked for two gold medals, splitting the price, making history, the first joint winners in Olympic athletics since 1912.


MUTAZ ESSA BARSHIM, SHARED OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST (QATAR): You know, once we finished with that jump, he looked at me, I looked at him, we just understood. There is no need to go. That's it. There really won't a question.

GIANMARCO TAMBERIE SHARED OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST (ITALY): We would never ever share a medal with anybody else than Mutaz because we passed -- we were the only to athletes there that could pass through the worst jumper can pass through. And I know what he did to be back, he knows what I did to be back.

You can't leave that emotion, that dream, of a gold medal to somebody who sacrificed his entire life for this. And it was just amazing, sharing with a friend's even more beautiful.

BARSHIM: Thank you.

TAMBERI: We go celebrate.


SNELL: That's a wonderful moment, a wonderful story.

A short while ago this Monday, we can tell you, Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn is celebrating a truly golden moment after winning and the women's 100 meter hurdles in a time of 12.37 seconds. Camacho- Quinn claiming Puerto Rico's first medal of these Olympics, and second ever Olympic track and field medal as well.


The United States Kendra Harrison earning silver, and Jamaica's Megan Tapper ceiling bronze medal.

And a wonderful moment as well for Greek sport. History in the making as well, as Miltiadis Tentoglou winning the men's long jump gold, with a jump of 8.41 meters. Cuba's Juan Miguel Echevarria also jumping that distance, but it's Tentoglou who wins by a tie breaker, this due to a longer 2nd best jump. I mentioned a special moment for Greek sporting, the country's first

ever medal, now, in the men's long jump. So, something to cherish there as I send it back to you.

HOLMES: Yes, good stuff. I still love that line, we go celebrate. We'll have to do that one day.

SNELL: Absolutely, we will.

HOLMES: We go celebrate.

Patrick Snell, always a pleasure.

All right. We're going to take a quick break on the program. When we come back, the U.N. warning a humanitarian crisis is looming, coming up as international troops withdraw millions of people, trying to escape the fighting in Afghanistan.

We'll be right back.


HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers wherever you may be all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You're walking CNN NEWSROOM.

Now, the fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces is intensifying, with the Taliban close to seizing a provincial capital. Local journalists now say that the Taliban controls several districts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The city has own strategic routes including the highway between Kandahar and Herat.

The Afghan military carried out airstrikes and brought in Special Forces in Herat province. Afghan officials saying the Taliban are quickly taking control of strategic buildings around Herat.

Now, the U.N. refugee agency warns a humanitarian crisis is on the horizon. Civilian casualties in the first half of the year reached record levels, and there has been a sharp increase in killings and injuries just since May when U.S. forces began stepping up their withdrawal.

The UNHCR says 294,000 people have been forced from their homes since January, in total more than three and a half million people displaced internally.

Babar Baloch is the global spokesperson for the U.N. Refugee Agency, joins me now from Geneva.

The numbers are staggering, three and a half million displaced, a quarter million since January, millions of others have fled the country altogether over the years.

You said the country is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. How dire is the situation?


you Michael.

We are actually making an appeal that we have to do everything to save Afghanistan from another heartbreaking episode. The country has a conflict-ridden history, and the number you are mentioning of 290,000 -- it has moved on actually.

The figures which was shared by my colleagues in Kabul yesterday it now stands at 360,000 people being displaced internally by this conflict during this year. And since May, we have seen these images from Kandahar to Helmand, to Herat, to Kunduz.

Afghan people really need a respite from war and my agency, the UN Refugee Agency is on the ground with the Afghan people. We are working from town to town with them.

But Afghans are really looking for peace to work for them. They don't want to see another decade of conflict.

HOLMES: They haven't had peace for decades. I mean it's been endless for the Afghan people. And the Taliban have taken vast areas of rural Afghanistan, until now no major population centers.

But the news we're hearing about Lashkargah and other cities like Kandahar, what might we see if major population centers fall?

BALOCH: We see the conflicts heading all around the country and what we have been warning is there is a looming humanitarian crisis unfolding in front of our eyes. And Afghans have been affected for more than four decades now.

More than 3.5 million Afghans are displaced internally but let's not forget, there's 2.6 million Afghans who live as refugees and 90 percent of them are in Iran and Pakistan.

So the worry is, if this conflict does not stop, we will see more human suffering. We will see more humans being displaced all around the country. And there is a potential, they may need to seek safety across the borders.

HOLMES: Well, that indeed is true, that Pakistan and Iran traditionally are the places where they're going. Afghans are believed to be the second largest community of refugees and migrants in Turkey after Syrians.

There are also signs that many are turning west to Europe. What do you see happening in terms of refugee migration? This is a problem for everyone.

BALOCH: For now what we are seeing, Afghans are being displaced internally. And the number as I mentioned 360,000 this year. Then there are 3.5 million Afghans inside the country.

Let's (INAUDIBLE) that Afghanistan has a population of 35 million, majority of them young and they want to stay home. But if the push comes and they need international protection, we may see people crossing international borders.

But so far, they have tried to make it work inside their own country. But it is important when someone is forced to leave his or her country, they need international protection, and that has to be provided.

HOLMES: Right. And you know, if these major populations fall, I can imagine that the exit will be that much greater.

In recent times though, Europe has been deporting thousands of Afghan migrants. Turkey, Pakistan, Iran they're turning them away now. What is going to happen to them?

BALOCH: Michael, the question is why to let it happen, and why to go in that direction? Our plea is please, everyone who can make a difference, I mean, help bring peace for Afghan so they don't need to run once again for their lives to cross international borders.

When it comes and where it's required, I mean refugees have to be protected and have to be protected by all. It's a shared responsibility.

We cannot say one country or two countries in the neighborhoods only have to do it, everyone has to step up to protect human lives.

HOLMES: We're almost out of time. But I think it's important to raise that those still in Afghanistan, you know, apart from conflict, conditions are not good anyway, 18.5 half million people -- that's half of the population -- in need of humanitarian help, according to the U.N.


HOLMES: There's drought, there is grinding (ph) poverty and so on; 65 percent of young and the children. I mean the situation is dreadful even without the conflict.

BALOCH: Exactly, and let's not forget that this year has been the most brutal in terms of civilian casualties.

The U.N. in Kabul, our sister United Nations agency that released the figures, more than 1,600, close to 1,700 have died so far and in this brutal conflict. And all indications are this could be the most brutal here since we are trying to keep records.

So we have to save Afghan people from this agony. Something has to be done for them now.

HOLMES: It is stunning. Always in the middle the civilians.

Babar Baloch, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

BALOCH: Thanks.

HOLMES: All right, firefighters are working around the clock to contain wildfires along Turkey's southern border. And while thousands have been evacuated, others are staying behind to protect their belongings.

We'll have that.

Also a growing humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh. Thousands of refugees displaced after floods and landslides destroyed their camps.


HOLMES: Devastating forest fires have now killed at least eight people along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. More than 1,100 people had to be evacuated for a second day in a row on Sunday from Bodrum, a tourist destination for many.

Most of the evacuations were done by boat to keep the roads open for emergency vehicles.

Let's bring in meteorologist Tyler Mauldin with the latest on the fires. What are you seeing, Tyler.

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Michael, over the last several days, we've had 112 wildfires crop up in Turkey. The good news is that 107 of them are now contained. So we only have five remaining fires at this time.

That is great news. The weather conditions have allowed fire crews to contain the vast majority of the fires that we have seen the last several days in Turkey.

And the reason why we have seen those fires is number one, the extreme heat we are dealing with here across the Mediterranean going on into the Balkan Peninsula.

Temperatures more than 10 degrees above average. We'll be in the -- we've been in the low to mid 40s. And we're going to continue to be in the low to mid 40s. In fact, and some of us will be in the upper 40s and we could be rivaling all-time record highs here in Europe, all right. For all of Europe.

It's because of this heat dome. Heat dome has settled right on top of the Balkan Peninsula. It traps the heat, the air sinks in the middle of the high pressure and when it sinks, it compresses and it heats up even more.

And that's how you get the extreme dangerous heat like we are seeing right there.


MAULDIN: And as I said, that's going to continue right on into the weekend. It's not until next week that we finally see that heat dome break down. Then we see some cooler air come in.

So Athens, you're going to continue to see temperatures in the low 40s. 43 degrees come Tuesday, your average is 32.

Plus Michael, we have the drought, and that drought is ongoing. We'll continue to see dry conditions for not only today but all the way into the end of the week.

There's not a single weather maker in sight that can bring rain to Turkey and the surrounding regions, Michael.

HOLMES: That is not good. Tyler, thanks for the info. Appreciate it. Tyler Mauldin there.

MAULDIN: You got it.

HOLMES: Now Turkish officials say more than a hundred fires have started across the country since just Wednesday. Farmers watching helplessly as their land and livestock are destroyed. Others seeing the homes they built by hand burned to the ground.

In one village though, residents aren't giving up without a fight as CNN's Arwa Damon reports.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Dilay Katzak (ph) can barely breathe, barely shout the words.

"My father's land is burning."

"Let it burn. We're going to burn too," her relative responds.

She is frantic. Where to go, what to do, what can they say? For days, the flames have been leaping closer and closer to this tiny village on Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast.

It's as if they are fighting a monster that keeps coming to life each time they dare to hope it's dead.

"Everything is going to burn," (INAUDIBLE) Mumkata (ph), tells us mournfully. "Our land, our animals, our house. What else do we have any way?"

Despite this being close to popular seaside tourist destinations, these villagers don't have much. And what they have, they cherish. They take pride in it.

A small band of men from here and other areas charges through the easily flammable fields. They take control of the firefighters' hose. It's so hot out it feels like the water evaporates almost as quickly as it is sprayed.

Trees are felled to stop the flames from growing and sparks flying into other areas. They are fighting a beast they may not be able to beat.

The last of the children are sent away.

"How should I feel? We haven't slept for three days," this woman starts to tell us.

(on camera): They're so understandably (INAUDIBLE). They're so angry that they're actually finding our questions of how they're feeling what they're thinking to be absolutely ridiculous. And I get it.

(voice over): For what can one even think, even say when they're watching everything they own in life about to go up in flames.

Arwa Damon, CNN -- (INAUDIBLE) Turkey.


HOLMES: And now to a humanitarian crisis unfolding in Bangladesh. Monsoon rainstorms have caused flooding and landslides in Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar over the last week.

Aid agencies say at least six people were killed, more than 13,000 refugees forced from their shelters. Food distribution centers, health facilities also damaged. Humanitarian groups rushing in to help but they're being hindered by hazardous conditions and the threat of more landslides.

We're going to talk about this in just a moment, but first let's go back to meteorologist Tyler Mauldin. What is the outlook?

MAULDIN: Yes. So Michael, you and I know that Bangladesh is no stranger to these huge flood situations and landslides. And it's because I mean only nine meters above sea level, 24,000 kilometers of waterways, nearly a thousand rivers and tributaries just in this little area alone.

So you pick up as much rain as we just recently picked up, and radar estimated rainfall here over the past seven days, you can see how (INAUDIBLE) some of these areas north of 300 millimeters of rain.

That is enough, certainly when you are in Bangladesh to get the flooding and that can cause again those landslides and mudslides.

No surprise here though. I mean it's monsoon season. We see monsoon season peak in July, but August we are still in it, and really we are still in it once we get into September.

And as you can see here from the forecast, this is what the radar could look like over the next 48 hours or so. We continue to see those monsoon showers continue to hang out around Bangladesh on in to Myanmar. And that means we're just going to add to the rainfall that we've already picked up.


MAULDIN: Notice this with the rainfall forecast graphic, the areas where you see the reds going into pinks -- that's the extremely heavy rainfall. So we are just going to add to it, as I said, Michael. And that will just add insult to injury.

HOLMES: Couldn't be worse could it? Tyler Mauldin appreciate that.

I want to talk more about all of this, let's bring in Manuel Marques Pereira in Cox's Bazar. He is there on the ground. Deputy chief of mission with the International Organization for Migration. Thanks for being with us.

I mean how dire is the situation for these people after these floodings? Thousands of shelters destroyed. It was already dire conditions. What's the outlook?

MANUEL MARQUES PEREIRA, DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION: Hi. Good morning, Michael. The outlook is very complicated because despite it being the monsoon season and we are used to rains and (INAUDIBLE). the living conditions in the camp are very challenging.

The condensed rain in such a small period of time has not allowed the natural drainage system to clear the water to the sea. And so the damages -- the damages have accumulated over the last few days.

HOLMES: Right.

PEREIRA: We have more than 65,000 families affected. 25,000 individuals had to move to collective centers, and we keep tallying and trying to support the communities.

HOLMES: You know, even without the floods, the conditions for the Rohingya are dreadful. I mean they are forgotten people in many ways. They had fires recently which razed through the camp.

Give us a sense of the day-to-day life for them, and are they going to have to be in this condition forever?

PEREIRA: Well, that is a complicated question but essentially the refugees have moved into Bangladesh which is a very dense country and there was very little space to accommodate them. The camps are located in what was the forest before and so it is not a flat area.

It has a very complex geology and morphology and it was occupied, and so we had a over the last four years to add roads, pathways, stairs, drainage. So it's a very unsafe surrounding.

We are mitigating that overtime, but it continues to be very challenging.

HOLMES: And the thing is, it just seems to have no end. We are nearly out of time but I wanted to ask you about one issue I know you are concerned about. And that is the mental health of those in the camp.

It's hard to imagine the psychological impact of what they are going through, not just now but for years what they have already gone through.

PEREIRA: Yes. That is one of the critical priorities that I remember (ph) our health program also has other humanitarian partners engaging the refugees so that they see a purpose on their daily life, and retain the hope to go home when the solution and the political problem that exists for their return is addressed in Myanmar, at the origin of the situation, and the solution has to come from them. But on a day-to-day basis, the living conditions are very harsh. And also there are challenges and restrictions in Bangladesh that we negotiate with the government in order to try and improve the life of these individuals. But the experiences are very traumatic indeed even after these years.

HOLMES: I can only imagine. Manuel Marques Pereira with the International Organization for Migration. Thank you so much.

PEREIRA: Thank you, Michael. My pleasure.

HOLMES: You're doing great work there.

Were going to take a quick break. When we come back, CNN talks to record-breaking swimmer Katie Ledecky about her journey to becoming an Olympic legend.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: Olympian Tom Daley going viral, this time, not for his impressing diving skills but for his knitting skills. The champion spotted there knitting in the crowd, passing the time between dives during the women's springboard final.

Everybody seemed amused by his photo circulating on social media, commenting, "Caught red-handed. LOL."

Last week his knitting skills were also front and center when he made a special pouch to stop is gold medal from getting scratched. Good for him.

American swimmer Katie Ledecky added two gold and two silver medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to become the only U.S. Olympian in history with six individual goals.

CNN Sport's Coy Wire sat with her to talk about her path to the games and what she's looking forward to when she gets back home.


KATIE LEDECKY, OLYMPIC SWIMMER: It's an amazing feeling to be bringing home two golds and two silvers here and to compete in my third Olympics. It's something I never would've imagined or (INAUDIBLE).

COY WIRE, CNN WORLD SPORT: What to goats eat?

LEDECKY: Healthy.

WIRE: But after years of sacrifice and discipline, a celebratory meal. And how are you just going to relax, now that this is over?

LEDECKY: I did have a hamburger after it was done, that tasted good. But yes, I'm just going enjoy time spending with my family and friends, and telling them all the stories. I can't wait to get back to the U.S. and give them a big hug.

WIRE: You've been through a lot. We've all been through a lot. We spent a lot of time with ourselves in reflection. What have you learned about yourself over this past year?

LEDECKY: I think I've learned resilience and I've just appreciated health. I haven't been able to be with my family quite as much so they become even more important to me. I mean just trying to stay connected in every which way I could over the past year has been challenging.

But I just also felt their loved throughout this whole trip in Tokyo even though they haven't been here. So as I said, I'm just really excited to get home and give them a big hug.

WIRE: What's that going to be like when you reunited with them? You haven't seen them in like a year, right

LEDECKY: Well, I saw them a couple of months ago. They came to Olympic trials. It was a while and it's hard to -- I haven't been home in a real long while.

WIRE: You haven't been home --

LEDECKY: I haven't been home in about a year and a half. So I've just been very dedicated to my training, and going home would've meant attend a quarantine coming back to California to get back into training so I didn't -- I didn't want to sacrifice my health or the health of those around me, and tried to stay true to the restrictions that we were under for good reason.

And kept myself healthy, kept those around me healthy and was able to pursue these goals in Tokyo because of that.

WIRE: Simone Biles has made an incredible impact on these games. I think we are seeing how powerful mind is. There are not many people in the world that can say they have navigated where you have in your career.

When you felt those sorts of moments, how -- what got you through them? How did you navigate those situations?

LEDECKY: I try to just stay focused on my own goals and try not to let external expectations get to me too much.

Swimming is not the only thing that I enjoy doing. I'm passionate about other things as well. And so, I'm really happy that I just finished my degree at Stanford. And just had a great time there as well. So there's so much more to life than swimming and the Olympics and the people around me remind me of that.


HOLMES: Good for her. Well, one of the biggest stunners of the game so far. Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui winning the gold in the men's 400 meter freestyle event. He's just the fourth athlete representing Tunisia to win Olympic gold in any sport. And for a country rocked by political turmoil and the COVID pandemic, his victory was certainly welcome news back home.



HOLMES (voice over): A hero's welcome for a Tunisian swimmer who brought home Olympic gold in a shocking win that surprised his competitors, the sporting world and even himself.

18 year old Ahmed Hafnaoui was the longest of long shots, the slowest qualifier for the men's 400-meter freestyle, but he out swam the favorites to get the gold, and even more stunning is he did it from the outside lane.

AHMED HAFNAOUI, TUNISIAN OLYMPIAN (through translator): "I felt shivers when I heard the national anthem," Hafnaoui says, adding, "I very honored."

HOLMES: Tunisia's newest medium stars is a welcome distraction for the country, suffering from a stagnant economy made worse by a surge of coronavirus that's overwhelming hospitals.

And an escalating political crisis. The nation's president recently dismissed the prime minister and suspended Parliament for 30 days.

But despite the chaos and uncertainty in government, many Tunisians celebrating Hafnaoui's win as a bright spot during a difficult period.

Even one of swimming's greats, Michael Phelps, called the performance an unbelievable swim.

Neighbors poured out in the street to greet their newly minted champion. As one man says, seeing him touch that wall first was a win for everyone.

"When I was watching, I cannot tell you how we felt at this final moment," he says. This is the feeling of every Tunisian, an underdog going from Lane Eight to the top of the podium. Giving much needed hope to the country he returns to.


HOLMES: What a great story.

Now finally this hour, it might be the most expensive cake you will never eat. That is, if you want a little slice of royalty.

A piece of cake from Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding 40 years ago is going up for auction, and it's expected to sell for nearly $300. Not a fortune, you could rush out and get it. It features a coat of arms colored in gold red, blue and silver. The slice is from one of the 23 cakes made for the royal wedding. But that's not all. Also up for bidding, a printed ceremonial order of service programs for the wedding at a memorial royal wedding breakfast program. That auction's going to be held on August 11th -- $300. Why not.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I have appreciated your company. I'm Michael Holmes. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HolmesCNN.

Do stick around though, my colleague Robyn Curnow is up next with more news in just a moment.