tv Beyond the Headlines KOFY June 13, 2016 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
>> abc7 presents "beyond the headlines," with cheryl jennings. >> welcome to "beyond the headlines." i'm cheryl jennings. we're always so inspired when we find california connections changing the world. we met a number of them over the past few months and want to bring you their stories. they're people who are working to make a difference, whether it's the arts, architecture, or agriculture. we had the rare opportunity to meet the new young minister of agriculture in afghanistan. he graduated from cal state, east bay in hayward. minister assadullah zamir visited uc davis as part of a nationwide tour to learn about the best practices to take home to his country. it is a huge honor to welcome minister assadullah zamir. he is the minister of agriculture, irrigation & livestock, or mail for short. and you're in charge of everything there. >> well, agriculture is life. it's the backbone of our economy. it's a huge responsibility for
me. >> it is a h-- and you're the youngest member of president ghani's cabinet. >> that's right. >> so no pressure at all. >> well, that added responsibility because 75% of our population are youth, age 30 or below. >> 75%? >> 75% of our population. >> wow. >> so that added responsibility that i have to do well. >> yes, lot of pressure. so, because you're working with agriculture -- and i know that afghanistan is 80% agricultural -- and just because of all the wars and war problems in your country, you have a long way to go. >> and agriculture is the solution. >> mm-hmm. >> without investing in agriculture, we'll not be able to have long-term stability. like you said, agriculture is the backbone of our economy. 80% is engaged in agriculture, so that's the only way to go ahead with. traditionally, in the past, for centuries, we have been involved with agriculture.
and used to be, in the 1970s, we were exporting 70% of the world's raisin. so we have that potential. we need to look at it, how we can get to that target we were producing back then. >> i want to come back to agriculture, but i know that we have some connections in common. you went to cal state, east bay, and you were there when a man named dr. "mo" qayou was the president of cal state, east bay. he went to san jose state, and now he is the [laughing] chief advisor to president ghani. so you are now working with the man who was the president of the college you attended. >> yeah, i didn't -- i never thought that would happen, but it's great. he's a great man. and now we work on a number of project together. >> what are some of those projects? >> mainly irrigation. >> irrigation -- california's going through a drought. i know afghanistan has had some terrible droughts. >> well, that's what brought me back here, learning from the experience of what california is going through. they have done a lot of research, universities out
here -- uc davis. we have been visiting the research stations of uc -- the kind of seeds or the saplings or the different technology that are used here, how we can adopt it to the situation in afghanistan, how we can transfer some of the technology back then. then we come to the fresno. here we were talking with the research stations. they are working mainly on pistachios. >> pistachios in fresno. >> yes. and likely, in afghanistan, we have wild pistachio. we have hoards of pistachio, so trying to see how we can become a main exporter. we have a project with uc davis, washington state, texas a&m together, that they are working with extension programs in afghanistan. their extension officers are working out with the ministry. so they will be the key partner of us to let them know how we can adopt some of those technology. at the same time, we'll be sending some of our students,
our government employee, to learn and work in these research stations. our researcher will come here to learn the new technology -- at the same time, to see how we can adopt it to the context of afghanistan, where we are suffering from the lack of electricity, other issues. >> i think so many people have an image of afghanistan as a violent place where the only thing that's grown are poppies and the drug trade. >> people are engaged -- they have a life out there. they go to school, our girls going to school. our kids are going to school. we have hospitals, we -- and majority of people are engaged with agriculture. they grow some of the best product in the world -- organic. i was engaged indirectly with the roots of peace, that they were working with a company, exporting some of our product, fresh and dried fruit mainly -- it's famous, afghanistan is famous -- to india. india is a major market for us. with 1.2 billion populations, whatever we send is gonna be
sold out there. when i was talking back to the farmer, i'd say, "no matter how much you produce, it's going to be sold." but we have to work on some of those standards, on the packaging, on the certification. for the past 12 years, a lot of good things has happened, and we need to talk more about the reality on the ground. and the reality on the ground is a lot of focus on the positive aspect, not so much on the insecurity or the poppy cultivation. a very small number of people are growing poppy, while majority is growing agriculture. so what we have to focus is agriculture. if we get that as our prime focus, we'll be able to change the views that are out there. >> all right. minister, thank you. >> thank you very much. >> pleasure to meet you. thank you, and best wishes for a successful trip. coming up next -- the devastating syrian refugee crisis and a look at how the international relief agency care is helping. also -- a look back at how care began during the biggest humanitarian crisis in history
>> i was one of the very first care package recipients. and having just grown up and not having had any food, we were just emaciated -- i mean really thin. >> renate senter remembers the first care packages of powdered eggs, corned beef, and fruit preserves she received as a young german refugee, at the end of world war ii, as if they were manna from heaven. >> when i came home to my mother and showed her this, i said, "the americans did this!" it just left such an imprint, how americans can do this to the enemy. you know, i just said, "wow!" >> for a $10 donation to care back in december 1945, americans could buy and ship boxes of surplus army rations to postwar europe, that could feed 10 people during one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 20th century. >> [ sobbing ] >> flash forward to the greatest refugee crisis in europe and the
middle east since world war ii -- more than 4 million displaced people and counting, the majority of them without any source of income, living on their own, outside of traditional refugee camps, and it's winter. >> this could be described as the new care package. it's an electronic voucher. >> the food vouchers work like any other debit card, but have a monthly limit per family and can only be used to buy food, hygiene, and household essentials. it's faster, better, and cheaper for delivering essential food and clothing than shipping, storing, and delivering actual care packages. >> these two families are new arrival from syria. >> care's relief workers in turkey -- many of them syrian refugees themselves -- make sure the voucher cards get to the neediest. care is also giving families a one-time winterization voucher card to buy heaters and coats and blankets to get them through this winter. >> so, by giving the voucher rather than giving a set kit of in-kind donations, it enables the family to choose what's
right for them. >> these food vouchers started off with a value of $30 a month per person, until a shortfall of international funding forced the u.n. to twitter nearly a quarter million refugees that their vouchers were being cut off. today in turkey, this voucher is worth about $18 a month per person. that means 60¢ a day for food. >> like the original, these new care packages still depend on public donations. on the turkey/syria border, mike cerre reporting for abc news. >> abc7 has done a lot of work with care international, especially reporting on refugee situations around the world, and the heartbreaking images of syrian refugees has been going on for some time, and we want to talk more about this with the new president of care. so joining me right now in the studio is michelle nunn. michelle, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you for the opportunity. >> i have to get right to syria because that is a crisis you're dealing with right now, and the numbers are staggering. >> yeah. the numbers are staggering, and i'm not sure even that the
public recognizes -- first of all, you think about there are 12 million people in syria that are in need of humanitarian assistance and support. there are 4 million refugees outside of syria, living primarily in jordan and lebanon and turkey. and so there's an enormous need for international organizations like care and the larger global community to help supply support for shelter, for food, for education, the most basic necessities, to allow people to continue and to start to rebuild their lives. >> one of the things i remember when i was in kosovo with care in 1999 and 2001 were huge refugee camps with thousands of people in them. and they were clean, and they were well-organized, and it was a great structure for people who had no place to go. but that is completely different now with this group of refugees. the model is changing. >> the model is changing. there still are camps, and care is active in supporting those camps, but 80% of the refugees are actually living outside of the camps.
they're living in local communities. and you can imagine the responsibility that this brings to a country like jordan, where 1 out of every 10 people living in jordan now is a refugee. in lebanon, it's one out of every four. so it would be the equivalent, for instance, in jordan, if 32 million people from canada came into the united states. so we need to think about how are we providing the support to enable these people -- most of whom actually want to stay in that region -- to, again, have the capacity to rebuild their lives there. >> because of the paris attacks, a lot of people -- not everyone -- are saying, "we don't want any syrian refugees in this country." people are so afraid that one might be a terrorist, so what do you say to that? >> well, i first of all tell people what they may not know, which is that it takes up to two years to move through the system of all of the security checks that enable people to become officially refugees coming to the united states. and we've only engaged, you
know, maybe a little over a thousand syrian refugees in america to date. and so i think people keeping in mind that there are really strong, again, security measures that we are already taking to ensure we're safeguarding the american public, but we also have to understand that these are the most -- america is taking the most vulnerable of the refugees. so many of these refugees -- women and children. and they themselves are fleeing violence. so we encourage people to go to the website, to visit care.org, and that is a way for you to get a full sort of sense of the breadth and depth of care's work. >> thank you so much. thank you for the work you're doing. >> thank you for your support. >> in just a moment, we'll meet an israeli doctor on the front lines of the syrian refugee crisis. she and her team were literally pulling children out of the water as boats from syria tried to land on the shores of greece.
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>> my guests today are the consulate general of israel in san francisco, dr. andy david -- also dr. iris adler, a doctor and a leading member of an emergency medical team known as israaid. and i want to thank you both very much for being here. >> thank you, cheryl. >> and, dr. adler, i know that you have been working on the beaches in greece, helping syrian refugees.
and you don't like that term "refugees." >> i don't like this term actually because, for me, they are not refugees. they are people that had to leave their homes because of the war that is going on there. and for us, they are peoples with names and faces and families and life stories and jobs they left behind. so this is how i see them, and this is how i would like other people to see them. >> you deployed twice, so how long were you working there? and tell us some of your stories. >> so, i was volunteering in greece for two times. the first time, i came back to israel actually, and, unfortunately, tragedies happen there on weekly basis. and the most devastating one happened on the 28th of october, when two boats started to sink at the same time and more than 70 people drowned. many of them were kids and babies because they're the ones who are not able to swim. and that occasion made me decide to go back for the second time. so i have been there for almost two month, and our team of
israaid -- doctors and nurses and social workers -- are there for already six months now. >> wow. dr. david, you are on sort of a cross-country tour with your colleagues who are involved in israaid. what do you want people to know about what is israaid, and what is it doing? >> well, israaid, first and foremost, is a humanitarian assistance organization with israeli volunteers. they work all over the world, not just in greece, not just in europe, not just in the middle east, but also in japan and even in the united states with hurricane katrina in the past. they just represent the values that i feel very strongly for, and this is to help anyone in need and try to do the best they can. >> dr. adler, you have a number of doctors who rotate in and out of these programs. what was it like for you on the beaches? and can you describe it, that you would see these waves of people coming in literally on waves of water?
>> so, i was in there in october, november, when we had between 7,000 to 10,000 people arriving a day. >> a day. >> a day. it's a huge amount of people, overwhelming, and we had to react. we were two teams of doctors and nurses, both jewish and arabs, christians and muslims from israel, working together. and we were basically one of the only teams that could speak fluent arabic with the people who are coming from the boats, which was very important. you have to understand that the journey is supposed to take one hour and a half, but, many times, it took longer, even six, seven, eight hours, because of the weather, because they were coming in the middle of the night, because of the high waves. they used to come extremely wet. many people suffered from hypothermia, from anxiety attacks, and we had to deal with it. and unfortunately, sometimes we had even worse cases when people were drowning, and we had to try and do something about it. >> i just can't even imagine. and here you have a multifaith
group of doctors greeting syrians, and syrians are not taught good things about israelis. >> well, they think that we are their enemies, and we're not. we are their neighbors. and, hopefully, the work that iris was fortunate to do will help them understand that we are not their enemies and we can live together in the future. >> and certainly you're proving that. >> i have to say that we are an apolitical ngo, and it's important for us because, as andy mentioned, we are working in 19 countries around the world in israaid. and for us, working together, jews and arabs, was a very -- first of all, it's very normal for us because we are used to doing it in israel, but also being there on the beaches created such a great connection with these people. and i have to say that some of them were surprised at the beginning. we are working with the flag of israel on our shirt. they were surprised, but they were so happy and thankful, and
we received such warm reactions and hugs, and we are still in touch with many of them till today, with families that we helped. so, for me, it was such an inspiring...experience. and, you know, we think that, in the middle of this horrible tragedy, it's also an opportunity to build bridges between people that normally would never meet. >> all right, we have a lot more to talk about. we have to take a break, but don't go away. our guests are going to remain here for the next segment, so stay with us. we'll be right back.
>> we're continuing our conversation about the refugee crisis in syria that has spilled over many borders. we're talking with the consulate general of israel in san francisco, dr. andy david, and also dr. iris adler. she's a doctor and a leading member of an emergency medical team know as israaid. and, dr. david, the topic of syrian refugees has now become part of the debate both in this country and around the world because the refugees are spilling over to all sorts of borders. how is that changing the conversation? >> well, i think it's also important to know that many refugees are still in syria, internally displaced.
and that problem is not solved yet, creating a safe zone over there. that should be the next step. those who are getting on the boats, maybe they're better off already, but there is a huge problem of child prostitution, for example, in the middle east among those refugees. many families lost their husbands, their fathers. the women and their daughters are helpless, are vulnerable. so there's so many troubles, so many problems over there that need to be dealt with. and the like-minded countries, i think, should contribute whatever they can to that problem. >> it seems as though israel is doing its part because you have stepped up with your israaid, and i know that there are other international teams -- including from america -- who are helping. you are there. you're on the front lines, on the beaches. you're delivering babies, i understand, too? >> we were helping with the
delivery of a few babies over there, yes. >> wow. >> it's actually very exciting, and it's good to have some points of light in between of all these hard stories. >> i don't think people realize that the people who made it on the boats had to pay money to smugglers to get on those boats. >> they have to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 each, and this is an industry. people just think about 1 million refugees coming. each one is paying minimum of $1,000. >> and that's all they have. >> and, usually, that's all they have. they come with nothing. their bags were thrown to the water. they come only with their wet clothes on them, and they had to pay the money they had to get on this boat to try and get to a better life. >> so, now these refugees -- you were talking, dr. david, about how they're internally displaced and there are refugees in several states around syria. how does the world get
compassion for these people? you know, what do we do? >> well, a lot of people do get compassionate about them. i'll talk about israel, for example. jordan has a huge problem with refugees -- over a million refugees in jordan. so israel is transferring more water to jordan -- in a very dry area, of course. so water is an asset, and israel is helping jordan just by delivering this water. israel has established a field hospital in the golan heights where injured syrians can come and get treated -- no questions asked. and after they're treated, they can go back. so many international organizations are working -- the red cross, other governments. so everybody's trying to do what they can. it is a big problem. >> it's overwhelming. >> it's overwhelming. >> you're talking about working with germany now because there are so many -- germany seems to be getting all the refugees, or certainly a high number of them. so the programs in germany, can you talk about that? >> so, as we said before, we are an humanitarian organization. we don't deal with the political
questions. we are just seeing that there is a crisis, and we would like to help these people. and we now understand that the main problem is to help integrate 1 million refugees in germany. and we are starting a project that is going to last for a few years, probably, with the jewish community in germany and with the german government, to work in the refugee shelters across the country. and i think it's very important, first of all, to help treat them for their trauma and their ptsd -- they're suffering from major traumas, many of them -- and both on the educational parts to give these people hope and a way to integrate. >> and, dr. david, are you seeing any sort of partnership forming to help refugees internationally? >> well, i think it's too early to judge that, but certainly there are coalitions -- coalitions of like-minded, coalitions of organizations, of aid workers. and i think that also there is more collaboration now between the countries. between the e.u. and turkey, for example, there was an agreement
that was signed very recently, and we'll still have to see how that works. but at the end of the day, these are people, they're families, it's about the individual, and individuals can help other individuals. so, when you think about a million people, people say, "okay, what can i do about that?" and it is overwhelming, but when we're knowing that there is a child and there is a woman and there is somebody's daughter over there, then every person can do something. >> all right. we are out of time. i wish that we could spend another half-hour talking about this. thank you for the work you're doing. >> thank you for having us. >> thank you so much for joining us. for more information about today's special program and resources where you live, just go to our website, abc7news.com/community. we're also on facebook at abc7communityaffairs. and follow me on twitter @cherylabc7. i'm cheryl jennings. we'll see you next time. ♪