tv PBS News Hour PBS August 26, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
amna: good evening. i'm amna nawaz. judy woodruff is away. on the “newshour” tonight -- >> we will not forgive. we will not forget. we will hunt you down, and make you pay. amna: one of the deadliest days for americans in afghanistan in a decade. u.s. military personnel are among at least 70 killed in explosions outside the kabul airport, critically hampering a chaotic it. then, covid and police -- many law enforcement officers remain reluctant to receive vaccinations, prompting calls to mandate shots. and the virus in africa -- record numbers of covid cases are being reported across the continent amid a limited supply
of vaccines. >> as long as we have this problem of inequity and access to vaccines, it means that the virus will be out there circulating. amna: all that and more on tonight's pbs “newshour.” >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by. >> before we talk about your investments. >> what's new? >> audrey is expecting. >> twins. >> we would be closer to the twins. >> change in plans. >> at fidelity, a change in plans is always part of the plan. >> johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. consumer cellular. financial services firm raymond
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station from viewers like you. thank you. amna: an awful and bloody day in kabul today, as multiple suicide bombings at the airport killed 12 american service members, 11 u.s. marines, and a navy corpsman, and at least 90 afghan civilians. many more were injured, many critically so. it was one of the deadliest days for american forces in the country since 2011. an affiliate of the islamic state group claimed that attack. all this, as the u.s. has now evacuated over 100,000 people from afghanistan, a mission that a top american general said will continue. at the white house, president biden promised reprisals against isis, and said the uted states would quote, make them pay. again with the support of the pulitzer center, our jane ferguson reports tonight from doha, qatar. and a warning, this report contains graphic images that will upset some viewers.
jane: bodies lay in a sewage canal, running now with blood, just outside the kabul airport following the bombings. plumes of smoke could be seen as planes took off, the evacuation continuing throughout the carnage. and sirens could be heard as night fell. chaos in the streets quickly ensued as people tried to help those injured from the blasts. bloodied victims were rushed to hospitals. witnesses described what they saw. >> people were standing at the airport gateor evacuation when the blast happened. they ambulances are carrying the injured and dead. my cousin was also wounded on his leg so we brought him to the hospital. >> it was time for the evening prayer when an explosion happened near the airport. i saw about 70 vehicles carry around 150 injured to the hospital. jane: an affiliate of the islamic state, the so-called isis-k, claimed responsibility. u.s. officials believe that more attacks are possible.
k stands forkhorasan, an historic name for a region including afghantan and parts of iran. esident biden canceled his virtual meetings with governors who volunteered to temporarily house afghanefugees. the biden administrationaid they've been sounding the alarm about the risks involved for days at the pentagon, the commanding general for u.s. operations in the region spoke by remote from his headquarters in tampa. marine general kenneth mckenzie was asked whether he trusted the taliban to help secure the airport, an insurgency that the u.s. was bombing less than two weeks prior. >> you've heard me say before it's not what they say, it's what they do. they have a practical reason for wanting us to get out of here by the 31st of august. and that's they want to reclaim the airfield. we want to get out by that date too if it's gonna be possible to do so. so we share a common purpose. as long as we've kept that common purpose aligned, they've been useful to work with. jane: the taliban condemned the attack and said the u.s. was responsible for the security where it occurred.
>> it is because of foreign forces, the presence of foreign forces that such attacks take place. jane: the first explosion occurred near the abbey gate, where a mix of british and american soldiers were stationed. we filmed around the area just a couple of days ago. before images show swells of crowds around the compound just days before the blasts, despite previous warnings from the u.s. and allies about possible complex attacks. the second blast happened near the baron hotel, also close to the airport. >> an explosion just happened, everybody is running. jane: najibullah quraishi, a reporter working with pbs "frontline," was near the airport when the first explosion happened. >> even the taliban was warning people to not go near by the airport. but the people were still trying to flee the country. so this is what happened, and this is i can say, the first explosion after the taliban took over kabul. >> wherever isis sees an opportunity to inflict harm and unleash carnage against anybody
who does not subscribe to their obscurantist ideology and theocratic doctrine, they will do so. jane: michael weiss is senior editor at newlines magazine. he says his greatest national security concern is how the remaining americans will now escape. >> now, as we can see, isis-k with the ability to penetrate deep into the heart of the capital of the country. what happens if one or more of these actors, particularly isis-k, goes around taking american hostages? you know, are we going to see videos of americans on their knees in front of a black flag like we did in 2014 and 2015? and are we going to see it on the anniversary of 9/11, no less? thes unfortunately, are contingencies that we have to now entertain. jane: allies involved in the evacuation reacted to the attack. while in ireland, french president emmanuel macron said the situation is quote, profoundly deteriorating. >> i think de facto all of us are put in a situation where we cannot protect all the afghan people we wanted to protect.
what we want to do with the americans, work hard and well until the very last minute to do the maximum operations and to be sure about security and safety of our own people. jane: some countries announced today that they've ceased evacuations, others pledged to continue operaons. >> clearly what this attack shows is the importance of continuing that work in as fast and as efficient a manner as possible in the hours that remains of us, and that's what we're going to do. jane: the united nations is planning a joint meeting on the afghanistan crisis on monday. amna: we will talk to jane in a moment, but first, this evening, president biden spoke from the east room of the white house, responding to today's terrorist attack in kabul and defending his plan for full u.s. withdrawl. >> for those who carried out this attack, well -- as well as anyone who wishes america harm,
no this. we will not forgive. we will not forget. we will hunt you down and make you pay. i'll defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command. over the past few weeks, i know many of you are probably tired of hearing me say it, but we've been made aware, our intelligence community, that the isis-k, an arch enemy of the taliban, people were freed when both those prisons were opened. they've been planning a complex set of attacks on united states personnel and others. this is why from the outset, i have repeatedly said this mission was extraordinarily dangerous, and why i have been so determined to limit the
duration of this mission. as general mckenzie said, this is why our mission was designed to operate. operate under severe stress and attack. we have known that from the beginning as i have been in constant contact with our senior military leaders, and i mean constant, around-the-clock, and our commanders on the ground throughout the day, they made it clear that we can and we must complete this mission, and we will. and that is what i have ordered them to do. we will not be deterred i terrorists. we will not let them stop our mission. we will continue the evacuation. i've also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike isis-k leadership and facilities. we will respond to force and precision at our time at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing.
here's what you need to know. these isis terrorists will not win. we will rescue the americans in there. we w ill get our afghan allies out. and our mission will go on. america will not be intimidated. i have the utmost confidence in our brave service members who continue to execute this mission with courage and honor to save lives and get americans, our partners, our afghan allies out of afghanistan. amna: and "newshour" special correspondent jane ferguson joins me now from doha. good to see you. thank you for the time. this area where the explosions took place today, you know it well. you are there just a day or so ago. tell us more about this area and describe it for us. jane: it was always an extraordinary scene. basically it was initially a road surrounding the entrance of the airport. on one side of the road had a compound that had been a hotel,
it was really a hotel run by a security firm. it was a specialist secure hotel. it had come to host the british forces when they had come in. so outside the abbey gate, which was the main gate to the hotel on the street, that is where we saw swarms of people, where we had been filming all week. massive amounts of civilians were showing up. just down the street, 30 to 50 yards, there was a deep canal that was basically surrounded by razor wire that american forces had been using to try and sort through people they were trying to airport. i had never seen anything like it before. you saw service members from many different militaries mingling with the public. the public who are obviously very stressed and panicked to get out of the country but not belligerent. very cooperative with the soldiers. i saw soldiers from canada, france, italy, germany, as well as the main ones from the united states and the u.k. forces.
on the outer perimeter, you also had taliban fighters who are mehow trying to control the crowds. but they were largely a little further down. there was no checkpoints as such for people coming in that would have necessarily stopped and searched them. there were no dogs or metal detectors. it was a much more chaotic scene. amna: we know now kabul -- know now isis-k has claimed responsibility. what do they gain from an attack like this at this time? jane: this is an attack that is a win-win from their perspective. they are the archenemy of the taliban. they fight over territory, fighters, and money. essentially their resources. they have been fighting them for a long time. this helps them make the taliban look like they are less in control of the capital. and it also means they get these incredibly height value --
high-value targets by hitting american soldiers. so this is an opportunity that would not have presented itself so easily before. this is a huge victory from that perspective for them. in terms of trying to make the taliban look like they have less control, it's important to remember that the taliban themselves of even hinted they did not expect to take kabul so quickly. since they have taken it have not yet formed a government. things in the city seem relatively calm. that being said, it is important to remember that any opposition they could have faced actually melted away. the taliban did not win the city, they did not fight for it. their control over the city is not necessarily secure and guaranteed. and this is a message from isis to the taliban as much as it is to america, that they cannot take anything for granted in terms of territory and capital city of kabul. amna: is there any way to know if this means more chaos in the final days before the u.s. withdrawal? jane: it is certainly not
looking good. president biden has committed to trying to continue bringing americans back home. it is going to become even more avail adjust occult challenge. we'll have to get the crowds away from the airport somehow. all the while in the background there is fear that growing conflict between isis and a taliban could escalate in the city. we have seen so far not the urban warfare scenes that were protected of whenever the taliban might enter kabul, but that is not a guarantee. there is a fear of open fighting between the groups which could lead to incredible insecurity across afghanistan. amna: jane ferguson, who just evacuated from kabul herself, reporting from doha. thank you. jane: thanks. amna: and our lisa desjardins joins me now to talk about the president's remarks. lisa, you have covered him from years. what did you make of this? lisa: i think this was real
insight into his thinking, something a lot of us have wanted to see for days. this was the senator joe biden who was the chairman of the foreign relations committee. this is an area he has a great amount of depth on. however, he was very blunt about where his thinking is coming from. a lot of people are wondering where this is coming from. he said his military commanders were unanimous. should they have stayed longer? no. should we trend more troops -- send more troops? no. he also stressed it is this strange dance with the taliban that is underway rht now that is part of this thinking, that he wants to leave by august 31 because he taliban, that coordination has allowed people to flow out of the airport in a certain way. it is also notably have that joe biden who was reaching out as the mourner in chief and it felt palpable to me what he was saying about the loss of a dozen
american servicemembers. at the same time he was also saying we will not forgive, we ll not forget. a lot of questions remain about what exactly that will mean, what his response will be. amna: clearly so far this is one of the biggest days of his presidency so far. but what does it mean politically moving forward? this is not necessarily what they expected to be dealing with at this stage. lisa: the stakes arso high, for people's lives and also politically for this country. republicans see this as an opportunity to say president biden is not competent. you cannot trust him. he is saying things that people on the ground may not be saying. democrats are holding their breath. many of them privately are saying they are worried, they are revising -- advising the president to extend the deadline. that is rarkable for deadlines to come out and say we think you are making a mistake on this. there is a lot of nervousness because margins in the house and senate are very close and if
president biden wants to get through his very ambitious agenda even in the next couple months, he needs public momentum behind him. and there are a lot of questions about how this affects that precisely. when congress comes back, we will have hearings, we will have a lot of discussion, a lot of questions for him and his administration. right now it is still a real-time disaster and a lot of lives still at stake. amna: there is a lot on this president's agenda but clearly a devastating day for a very personally invested president as well. lisa desjardins, thank you. now for more on how the evacuation mission might be affected by today's attacks, we get two views. retired colonel mike jason had a 24-year career in the army. in 2012, he was a battalion commander in northern afghanistan. he is now interim executive director of allied airlift 21, which seeks to support the u.s. government's efforts to evacuate afghans who worked with america
over the past 20 years. and lisa curtis was a senior director for south andentral asia on the national security council staff during the trump administration. she was a cia analyst in the 1990's, and served in u.s. embassies in pakistan and india. she's now a senior fellow at the center for a new american security. thanks and welcome to you both. colonel jason, i want to start with you and get reaction from remarks by the president and saying he does not regret doing what he has done and evacuating, staying these extra days, but he is sticking to the august 31 deadline. col. jason: thank you for the opportunity. working at this nonprofit group of veterans right now doing our best to connect and get our allies out and facilitate the evacuation, what i looked for tonight in the remarks from earlier, general mckenzie and the president, was a commitment to finish the mission, or at least keep going. after today's attack, that is what i was looking for.
we got at least five more days and we can put more people on airplanes. that was critica that gives us more oxygen. amna: lisa, did anything surprise you? particularly the very strong pledge to retaliate and go after whoever was behind the attack today. dir. curtis: the president was very resolute. as you said, he committed to hunting down the perpetrators of the attack and committed to finishing thevacuation. and that did surprise me. i thought that he might beat up the evacuation process or just shut it down, quite frankly. because i think the reason he has been so adamant about sticking to the august 31 deadline for withdrawing u.s. troops is because he feared such an attack as we saw today. but now that it has happened, i think he knows that we need to hunt down the perpetrators and
we need to continue the mission. we cannot be cowed down by the terrorists. he was clear about that. he was clear he is listening to his military advisors. we know he had not listened to his military advisors about the drawdown decision, but he was very clear today that he is listening to them and taking their advice. amna: colonel jason, what about this risk balance at this point? because we know the threat persists. general mckenzie said that even earlier today. president biden said the mission will be seen through. even these extra few days, doesn't that put more u.s. troops in harm's way? col. jason: of course it does. like the president said, this is an extremely risky mission. i am not going to question the commanders on the ground. i do not envy their position. but i have been on the other side. it is a very careful balance of force prection and achieving the mission. they have an incredibly tough
job. we heard in a previous segment the description of having to be there. general mckenzie talked about it. i have been at those checkpoints. you have to pat people down, you have to be right among the crowd. if we are going to achieve the objective, our moral objective of give getting our allies out, we have to do it with the people and process them and get them on aircraft. that is the balance. that is what our commanders are doing. it is extremely risky. they are not sleeping. 20 minutes a night. very challenging conditions. it is hot and it is dangerous. but again, i am heartened to hear that our national leadership is committed and we are going to keep going. those commanders will have to balance that risk or five more days. amna: what about the complicated matrix on the ground between the perpetrators of these attacks, isis-k, the taliban, who have been fighting the u.s. for the last 20 years and are now working with them to help evacuate american forces? i mean, explain that to us a
little bit, and how the u.s. is going to manage this? dir. curtis: well, we have been getting indications that some kind of attack was being planned, likely by isis-k. and we know that they have the capabilities to conduct this kind of attack. so nobody was surprised i think by the attack. and the fact that isis-k claimed it. i think the president was very clear that we are working with the taliban and that this attacker happened to get through, but the u.s. will continue to try and work with the taliban in getting as many americans and afghans out of the country to moving forward. so i think that the president was very clear on the difference between the taliban and isis-k. and that they are mortal enemies and they do fight each other. so it a complicated scenario that we are facing.
and unfortunately, these attackers got through and we have lost 12 of our extremely courageous marines, 15 others wounded, one naval medic also was killed. so, this is a very sad day for the united states. but i think the president did the right thing and showing our resolve in moving forward and staying committed to the mission and not allow the terrorists to deter us from finishing the mission we started. amna: lisa, there's an estimate that in leaving, that the u.s. could leave behind some 250,000 wartime allies. is there any more obligation beyond the 31st for the u.s. to try and continue to get them out? dir. curtis: i think we do have a moral obligation to get as many afghan allies as we can out. clearly we are not going to be able to get everybody out by the
time u.s. soldiers start returning ho. but there is still an ability. it will not be as easy, obviously, but the u.s. can still try and get afghans out, even after our forces are no longer controlled airport. there are other countries there that we can work with. countries like qatar and uzbekistan. we can ask for their assistance in helping us. and with the taliban. we do have leverage with the taliban. the president alluded to this. they want international recognition and access to financing. so we can continue this mission of getting our afghan allies out, even when u.s. forces return home. amna: in this final minute, you have been working to evacuate some 20,000 people and you have submitted a list. what does that look like in the days ahead? it was already so difficult for people to make it to the airport. how does the u.s. do it in these
final days? col. jason: i think i want to recognize the courage of the afghan allies and their families who gave their lives today. these were people who gave everything to us for 20 years and lined up at the gate for a chance of a better life with nothing left. in addition to those 13 casualty notifications are 60 dead afghans who are more likely our allies. that is courage. they will be back the minute the gates are open again tomorrow. there are many organizations like ours and team america, no one left behind, we are all working together. i have 250 volunteers working 24/7, talking, texting, trying to guide them through this danger. we have built this list and documented over 28,000 afghans, family members, individually we have recorded all the records were trying to get out. that is the record, that is the promise. that is what we have turned over and we continue to cooperate the u.s. government. we are prepared to cooperate
with minute. organizations. but we will keep that record and we have a moral obligation to continue to work down that list until we get everyone we can out of danger. amna: thank you both for your time. col. jason: thank you. stephanie: i am stephanie sy with newshour west. we will return to the rest of the program after these headlines. updating our top story, the death toll has risen in afghanistan. there are now 13 u.s. service members confirmed dead in the suicide bombing at the kabul airport, and 18 u.s. troops wounded. the administration announced this evening that u.s. flags at the white house, all federal buildings, and military installations are being lowered to half-staff until august 30. a top covid-19 model projected nearly 100,000 more dehs in
the u.s. by december 1. researchers working on the model at the university of texas also said the number could be cut in half if more people wear masks. also today, illinois became the latest to issue an indoor mask mandate. and democratic governor j.b. pritzker ordered health care workers and educators to get vaccinated or get tested weekly, as hospitals fill up. >> our current vaccination levels are not enough to blunt the ferocity of the delta variant hospitalization surges in some regions. hospital administrators are asking for more help to manage the sheer number of incoming patients. stephanie: in texas, republican governor greg abbott imposed a ban on state or local mandates requiring vaccinations. and overseas, the world health organization reported vaccinations in africa have tripled in the past week, but only 2% of the population is fully vaccinated. we'll focus on africa's plight,
later in the program. seven u.s. capitol police officers sued former president trump today, accusing him of inciting the january 6 assault on the capitol. the federal suit also names his ally roger stone, plus the trump campaign and members of the far-right proud boys and oath keepers. in california, rising temperatures and higher winds have brought the caldor fire to within 15 miles the resort area of lake tahoe. nely 3000 firefighters are trying to control the blaze. mandatory evacuations are now in effect in el dorado county as the fire has grown to mo than 213 square miles. it's 12% contained. there's more fallout from the sexual harassment scandal that drove new york governor andrew cuomo from office. tina chen resigned today as president of te's up, an advocacy group for sexual misconduct victims. chen had admitted to extensive consultations with cuomo as the scandal unfolded.
she said today that her continued tenure had become too divisive. still to come on the “newshour”" the chief of miami police on mandating vaccines for law enforcement officers. covid cases spike across africa amid a limited supply of inoculations. we visit texas to examine the nationwide trend of criminalizing homelessness. plus, much more. >> this is the "pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. amna: following the full fda approval of a covid-19 vaccine, an increasing number of cities and states are now mandating employees roll up their sleeves to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. but as william brangham reports, there's been some intense pushba from law enforcement and first responders across the country.
william: that's right, amna. in chicago, responding to that city's october vaccine mandate, the head of the police union said his members won't comply. this has literally lit a bomb underneath the membership. he said, we're in america, g-damn it. we don't want to be forced to do anything. period. this ain't nazi f-ing germany. similarly, in los angeles, a city fire department captain went online and blasted the imminent vaccine mandate for all city employees. >> this is not a political issue. this is not left-right. this is not democrat-republican. this is not vax-unvax. this is a fight for freedom of choice. free will. this is a fight against tyranny. william: joining me now is a police chief who does support vaccine mandates for frontline workers. art acevedo is miami's chief of police. great to have you. you have heard these criticisms before.
explain why you think it is a good idea, why we should ve everybody vaccinated on the frontline. art: because we know that we are out and making public contact and our number one priority is the health and well-being of the workforce and the public itself. so we would hate to unwittingly spread a deadly virus to a member of the community and so i believe in the vaccine and the science and quite honestly when you look at the data, less than 1% of people who have dd from covid are people where vaccinated. you have to go with the odds and the odds are you are much safer when you're vaccinated and so is the public. william: in miami you have not yet instituted a mandate. but you are getting pushback already from your union. i would like to read a quote here. it is the stance of the miami fraternal order of police that vaccinations are a choice should be made personally without coercion or threats should the chief attempt to
mandate vaccines, we will be forced to challenge said mandate. how do you respond to that? art: we are public servants. vaccines have been required whether it is school, employment, the military. so i would just say fortunately here in miami what we are starting to see with the uptick due to the delta variant, and now with the approval, formal approval of the fda, we are seeing more employee uses saying i am going to get vaccinated. so we are still hopeful that common sense will win the day and we will not have to mandate them. but i think that time will tell, both as a city and as a nation. william: florida is suffering current high cases, near record daily deaths, hospitals are full, funeral homes cannot keep up. what is your sense as to why this resistance exists among the rank-and-file? art: i wish i knew the answer to that.
unfortunately it is just another indication of the division in this country where we politicize everything. i encourage people to when you find out the whether you go to a meteorologist. when you want to find out about what to do in terms of a vaccine or a virus or a public health issue, you go to doctors and scientists. luckily with the fda approval, i think people are starting to get more comfortable with it and i am hopeful that common sense will win the day moving forward. william: do you think this is all partisan politics, though? because i have heard from a lot of people that there are people out there who may not consult the cdc or public health officials. do you feel like you guys have done a good enough job trying to assess rank-and-file's questions about the vaccine and try and address those questions? art: we are. we are paying attention to the information and giving information to folks.
but to say that it is not a political issue, i listened to the sound bite you played earlier. you would think it is the beginning of the revolution just because you want someone to get vaccinated. when the data and the science -- look, vaccinations are not a new science. i am starting to print and tweet out letters i do for all officers who have died. i can tell you i have signed hundreds of letters for active duty members of law enforcement. william: law enforcement who have died of covid? art: yes. and it has been hundreds. i have just started tweeting them recently. i did 10 a couple days ago. i did two more today. they are adding up. i can tell you i do not think we are going to have to mandate because i got off the pho a little whilego they member of our department who was very hesitant for whatever reasons. he has been in the hospital.
he say chief, the second i get back to work i am telling my friends this has been the worst thing i've ever experienced in my life. i came close to dying. and i am going to get vaccinated in exactly 90 days as soon as i can. because i bit the bullet, i dodged a bullet, and i do not want my friends to go through this. william: a lot of the union chiefs and other representatives have been saying if you mandate this kind of a thing, you are going to see people not showing up to work. do you worry that might a downstream consequence when you need police the most, you might not have them. art: whether they are out from covid or being buried from covid, it is an issue either way. i know the collective heart of the american police officers. they are dedicated, brave, professionals, and i am confident whatever decision is made across the country, folks will make the right decisions for the right reasons.
again, because of the fact that we have had pfizer not approved formally, moderna should be approved very shortly. the comfort level is going up. and hopefully the next matter of weeks and months you are going to see many more people. we are experiencing that already and that gives me a lot of hope. william: thank you so much for being here. art: thank you. amna: the delta variant is ravaging the continent of africa. icu beds and oxygen are in desperately short supply. vaccines are increasingly scarce with less than 10% of people expected to be vaccinated by the end of the year. special correspondent isabel nakirya begins in kampala, uganda. isabel: asumpta bahenda has been trying to wash away her near-death experience for two
months now. she suffered from a severe case of covid-19 in june. >> i started feeling liki was going to die. isabel: an ambulance evacuated her more than 170 miles from western uganda to the capital kampala, but finding a bed in a hospital was almost impossible. with damaged lungs, asumpta needed immediate admission to an icu. when she finally found a bed in a private hospital, oxygen was in short supply. >> there's a moment when they were rationing oxygen, they would come and remove the oxygen from you and take it to somebody else who's struggling. isabel: uganda is going through a severe second wave. when cases shot up, the lucky few got beds when a patient died. it seems almost everyone lost someone close to them. >> they told me your friend has gone, but you have to fight for ur life. isabel: public hospitals across
uganda ran out of personal protective equipment during the height of the pandemic in june. irene nakasita managed to get a hospital bed some 25 miles out of the capital. but there were no doctors on-hand to monitor her deteriorating condition. >> i said i can't take chances with my life anymore, i need to get out of the facility whether discharged or not. because i had actually not seen any professional doctor walk to me to support me. throughout, there were only nurses. isabel: the limited supply of vaccines is another issue. asumpta and irene had received only one dose of covid-19 vacce and were waiting to get their second doses, when they were infected. uganda has vaccinated just about 1% of its population of 40 million. so far, it's received less than two million doses of covid-19 vaccines. not nearly enough to vaccinate half the population, which the
government says it wants to do before fully reopening the ecomy. cases are soaring in neighboring tanzania, but it's open for business. the country's former president john magufuli, who died in office in march, was skeptical of the virus. he downplayed the risks of covid-19 and even shunned mask wearing in favor of healing prayers and traditional herbal remedies. but under a new president, tanzania has made a dramatic turnaround, and reversed policies on covid -19. it started to release data on coronavirus infections. and tanzania is now ramping up vaccinations with its first shipment of vaccines from the united nations global covax program. >> my fellow tanzanians, i thank all you who are here today to
support me and show nzanians that the vaccine is not a disaster. isabel: but not all tanzanians are signing on. silvia senya spent 22 days in emergency care with covid-19 and almost lost her unborn baby. she's not convinced the vaccines are safe. >> i will wait, i won't get the jab right now. isabel: in the democratic republic of congo, despite increasing cases of the coronavirus, there's growing skepticism and deep mistrust of vaccines. the country has returned more than a million vaccine doses donated by the african union, because so many congolese have refused to get the shots. many people have taken false messaging and conspiracy theories to heart. >> the covid-19 vaccine has been rejected by most congolese and some foreigners for a good
reason. the spirits of our ancestors are using it to punish whites. it is something that we don't fully understand but the goal of those foreigners is to destroy africa. >> some passengers i've met have warned me against taking the covid-19 vaccine. they keep telling me that i will die after getting the jab. many people have told me the same thing, so i've decided not to take it. isabel: public hospitals in the drc's capital kinshasa are ill equipped. the country battled the ebola epidemic for years, depleting its healthcare system. hospitals are running out of protective gear, but some health workers are determined to keep taking the risks to save lives. dr. emily lebughe came to work even after contracting covid-19. >> i had a fever and decided to treat it with acetaminophen. but i had to keep on working because the community and the covid-19 unit needed me. isabel: in west africa, in
nigeria, t highly transmissible delta variant is setting off a spike in daily coronavirus infections. and the number of actual cases may be much higher than reported, signalling the start of a third wave, says doctor emmanuel okpetu. >> when you look at the population of 200 million plus, we still have not tested enough. so it is possible we have a lot of missed cases. isabel: south africa has reported the highest number of caseand the highest number of deaths from covid-19 in africa. it also has one of the highest vaccination rates on the continent. at 6%. but it's still far from the target. university of capetown researcher benjamin kagina says access to vaccines is vital. >> as long as we have this problem of inequity and access to vaccines, it means that the
virus will be somewhere out there circulating. isabel: africa has vaccinated just 2.5 % of its 1.3 billion population despite a surge in cases, with most of the countries depending on donations from wealthy nations. the u.s. recently donated millions of doses to nigeria and south africa. india played a major role in bringing in millions of doses, but the country put a stop to vaccine exports for its own domestic use in april. african union envoy on vaccine acquisition strive masiyiwa is pushing diplomats to release vaccines. >> those are being politically restricted. it's not the manufacturers, but it's political. isabel: despite promises from more wealthy nations to send vaccines to africa, more than 80% of the doses have gone to
people in high-income and upper-middle-income countries. the w.h.o. says most people in the poorest countries will need to wait another two years before vaccines are available to them. for now, for asumpta, and millions of other africans, the deck seems stacked. they will keep waiting for their vaccines, while new waves of covid-19 sweep across the continent, putting their lives at risk. for the pbs newshour, i'm isabel nakirya, in kampala. amna: cities across the country are struggling with homelessness -- austin, texas among them. two years ago, it decriminalized activities related to homelessness. then this year, citizens voted to reverse that. the texas legislature also
banned public camping statewide. stephanie sy reports. stephae: until very recently, this spot under a north austin bridge was home for freddie williams. is this where you were living? >> yeah, this is it. stephanie: for two years the 47-year-old camped here, until getting in a fight with another camper that escalated. he says he left to avoid arrest. so this is just nd of what was left and then people kind of rummaging through -- >> pretty much. stephanie: -- to see what they could find of value. >> yeah. stephanie: a former oil worker, williams says he once had a job, a home, and a family. but his divorce led to drinking, which led to losing his job. he committed forgery, which landed him in prison. since getting out, he says he's struggled to find work and housing, and continues to struggle with drug abuse. >> i felt like i had everything, i had it all figured out, had everything together, man, and then you know, you get that monkey wrench thrown in there and you figure out that you really don't know what's going on.
you try to plan stuff and your plans never work out. stephanie: what would it look like right now for you to have a second chance? would that be housing? would that be a job? what do you need? >> both. a house and a job. stephanie: one of the country's fastest growing big cities, austin is also one of its least affordable, with a median home price that recently hit almost $575,000. as the city has grown into a tech and culture hub, the problem of how to help the more than 2000 unsheltered people has divided the austin. >> the most important thing in getting people shelter or housed is having shelter or housing available. stephanie: dianna grey oversees the city's efforts to address homelessness. she asked to speak remotely, amidst a surge in covid cases. >> the thing that is most correlated with an increase in homelessness is an increase in housing prices. and so, while lack of affordability isn't the sole cause of homelessness, it is what we see drive increases over
time. stephanie: two years ago, austin's liberal-leaning city council effectively made it legato camp and sleep in some public places and panhandle. it was part of an effort to stop the revolving door from the jails to the streets, and to better help unsheltered residents connect with services. that move, along with covid-19, which reduced capacity at shelters, made the city's homeless population visible to all. many austinites recoiled. >> the city of austin will reinstate its homelessness ban. stephanie: in may, voters by a wide margin approved a measure, which prohibits unsheltered people from sleeping in public, something doing what advocates say they can't help but do. now, austin police can iss citations with fines as high as $500 for sleeping on the streets, or even lying on a park bench. if violators fail to move or
show up in court comply, they could be arrested. >> what we've seen has caused trauma and has caused all sorts of unwarranted and unwanted chaos on our streets and in our city. stephanie: amanda rios supported prop b. she and her husband have lived in their home in northeast austin for around 14 years. because of their proximity to the highway, there have always been some homeless people nearby. but after the city stopped enforcing ordinances against public camping, she says things got much worse. >> i go to the library and i see trash. i can't go to the park because there's homeless tents, there's drug needles, there's drug deals going down in the middle of the day. in front of our home for about a month, we heard and saw a woman being sex trafficked and we saw the men going in and out of her tent and we saw her and we heard her cries. and my husband, my children's window is close to the street, and they heard her. stephanie: there are laws against drug and sex
trafficking, and the enforcement has no direct connection to prop b. but rios says criminals exploit the homeless, and hide among them. >> i know people who were in drug trafficking. they were arrested, and it started an avenue for them to get help. and so they went to jail, and because of jail, they were able to change their life around. stephanie: at amanda's home we met cleo petricek, who last year co-founded save austin now, a bipartisan political action committee that got prop b on the ballot, and is now suing the city to enforce it. she'a democrat and former probation officer, and says low-income communities like this one face far greater impacts from allowing homeless people to set up camp. we spo to her in a park where an encampment had cropped up. she says the homeless themselves shouldn't have to live like this. >> i felt like no one was being
served by the inhumanity of the conditions that they're in. this is not california. this is texas. we have high heat and we have frozen winters. we have had homeless individuals freeze to death. and we've also had homeless die from the ht. stephanie: she believes prop b is about getting homeless people the help they need, even if it means possible arrest. >> i'm a former probation officer. i do not believe we should be building more prisons or we should imprison people who have mental health and drug issues. they should be in mandatory help or drug treatment, absolutely. the problem is, if you don't have that component, the compulsory element of forcing them into that, who will receive that service? >> a lot of people continue to have misconceptions about what prob was or what it's going to do. there's no money or help associated with it. it's purely to criminalize
people for unavoidable acts associated with extreme poverty. stephanie: chris harris works on the criminal justice project at texas appleseed, an austin-based non-profit that focuses on issues of social, economic, and racial equity. in 2019, he pushed for decriminalization, citing a city auditor's report that said 18,000 citations were issued from 2014 to 2016 for activities related to homelessness. 90% of violators failed to show up in court, and of those, 72% were issued warrants for arrest. >> while you have a warrant, you can't get an i.d. guess what you can't get when you don't have an i.d.? anything. you can't get a job, you can't get housing, even some services are cut off from you. so it actually made the problem worse for a lot of folks. stephanie: he also says allowing camping on the streets led to an outpouring of resources to address the problem. >> we understand now the full extent of the homelessness crisis that we face. and it's driven volunteers, donations, city investments, private
investments into housing, into services in an unprecedented fashion. stephanie: earlier this year, the city unveiled a plan to use $106 million in federal funds to dramatically increase rental assistance, build more long-term housing, and open new temporary housing shelters. but there is still more need than housing supply. adam cartwright and marcia collard were each homeless for five years, most recently in downtown austin. >> we had so many people throw glass bottles from their cars at our tents and said, y'all white trash. y'all need to get a job. y'all need to get housing. y'all don't need to be out on the street. >> or someone would yell out, go home, it's like, this is technically our home. stephanie: then, earlierhis month, their camp was cleared and they were offered a room in this converted hel, as well as
case managers to help them find permanent housing and deal with any other issues, like mental health or addiction. dianna grey, the city homeless strategist, says around 90% of those who've been offered using under the city's new efforts have accepted it. but there simply isn't enough for everyone who needs it. >> this is the entrance. yeah. stephanie: without an offer of housing, freddie williams is now planning to camp in these poison-oak-infested woods to avoid a run-in with police. >> the people that have voted to put this proposition b into place, they were just tired of seeing us, that's all that mattered to them. they didn't care about us being homeless or whatever. they just didn't want to see us. stephanie: are there are a lot of people like you that are going to be trying to hide in the woods, basically? >> the majority of people that was under the bridge over where i was at, they're scattering right now. stephanie: hiding out of sight, and advocates for the homeless, worry, out of mind. for the pbs newshour, i'm stephanie sy in austin, texas. amna: one more news update breaking late this evening.
the supreme court in a 6-3 ruling has blocked the biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban on evictions, allowing them to resume during the pandemic. and that's the “newshour” for tonight. thank you for watching and take care. >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by. >> architect. beekeeper. mentor. a raymondjames financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well-planned. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no-contract wireless plans designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit consumercellular.tv. >> johnson & johnson.
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