May 13th, 2008
06:08 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Grim tallies

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent

When I logged on this morning and saw the headlines – 18,000 trapped, 12,000 dead in China – the numbers took my breath away. It doesn’t seem like they can be real. In one school alone, hundreds of students were trapped. Amid the pain and shock, fireworks have been heard with alarming regularity. Used to ward off evil spirits, they’re a sign another child’s body had been found.

The information coming out of China is especially disturbing given that this tragedy comes on the heels of the cyclone in Myanmar/Burma. CNN’s correspondent there – who is not being identified because of safety concerns - talks of seeing international aid distributed in big cities, and seeing small villages completely forgotten. "They have no drinking water whatsoever," the correspondent said. "When you don't have drinking water and you are forced to drink out of puddles and drinking reservoirs contaminated by dead bodies... It is a very dire situation."

US Admiral Timothy Keating met with Myanmar’s senior leaders, and in his words “pressed hard” for them to accept aid. Admiral Keating told CNN he isn’t confident the aid will go to the people who need it the most. Perhaps the most disturbing information from the Admiral was one leader’s assertion that things were “getting back to normal”…and the lack of urgency this leader showed.

The UN estimates the death toll could be as high as 100,000, far below the Myanmar government’s estimated 22,000. Tens of thousands more are missing. We may never have an accurate count of the lives lost there, but I think we can safely say those left behind will never be the same.

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. EJ

    Hi Megan D., Megan O., Genevieve,& Michelle in CA - I liked some of your assessments tonight.

    Many governments across the world are brutal and really don't care. China seems to be helping which is good. The issues with china seem to be overall human right violations (which is why we see all of protests for the olympics). I would hope China will always accept aid in a situation like this and try to distribute to their people. They seem to be doing so.

    As everyone knows – Burma is a different story and those residents are going to be feeling a lot more pain because the aid is not going to reach them.

    I sort of wish the junta would go away. Would it be illegal for the world or UN to pay the junta/generals to go away so large shipments of aid can find their way to those in dire need?

    May 14, 2008 at 2:05 am |
  2. EJ


    I think that you do a wonderful job with the news & also when you get to host 360 when Anderson is gone.

    I'm not just saying that because I (or we) like your personality & your beautiful brown locks. You have great control over what you are discussing and you also add a bit of humor (which is often times needed on news shows!) 🙂 Obviously you're a great fit.

    I hope you're little baby boy is doing well. I want a little boy too. I've helped raise some of my younger siblings and that has been fun – but one day I want my own. I want CHANGE! – Yes I do – Yes I can. The first change I need is a job w/benefits.

    May 14, 2008 at 1:55 am |
  3. Thuzar

    Hi Erica, thank you for this topic. As a Burmese, what is happening is heart breaking for me. Junta's action is beyond words to condemn. Human life means nothing to them. I hope UN, US and NGO are smart enough to make sure the aid gets to the people, not to the military.
    Now we are hearing news about junta and its thugs seizing the best of it. Makes me angry and anguish over not being able to help.
    I thank all the reporters keeping the word out (despite all the restrictions inside Burma) so the world can see how Burmese people are helpless. I believe the GOOD will always win the EVIL, just pray that we don't have to wait long.

    May 14, 2008 at 1:27 am |
  4. Michelle in CA

    Thank you, Erica, for blogging about these tragedies. The suffering is beyond comprehension.

    The world will need to unite to be able to face what scientist predict is going to become an increasing series of devastating events associated with climate and geological changes.

    This country could be a global leader for positive change and compassionate action. But we need to get our own house in order first to ready ourselves for what the human race will face in the future.

    Be the change you want to see in the world – Gandhi

    May 14, 2008 at 12:18 am |
  5. EJ

    Megan O.

    "I have to tell you today I had been feeling down all day and it hit me that I have been hit with such sad news it is finally getting to me. Will I stop watchingthe news…no but I stopped and thought to myself how do journalist do it? How do they see all this tragedy and not loose it sometimes."

    I wonder the same thing. I think they torture themselves sometimes.

    I admire that Anderson travels all over the world and sees what is really going on, but sometimes I worry that all that death & devastation is too much sometimes. How much devastation can a reporter deal with?

    I think many of them show their feelings off camera... which is good so that they don't hold it all in.

    May 14, 2008 at 12:11 am |
  6. Rose Marie Roberts

    How many delegates does John Edwards have?
    Being that he dropped out, aren't these delegates open to either Clinton or Obama at the convention? How will this effect the delegate count?

    This is and should go all the way to the convention because a lot can change in 3 months,

    Delegates at the convention can also change who they vote for if the first role call of states does not name the nominee

    May 13, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  7. Genevieve M, TX

    It is so frustrating that the Myanmar militia is putting so many restrictions on the aid being offered/delivered to their country! As the video mentioned, the US has the resources to distribute aid to all regions of the country. I, too, hope that the aid being delivered now will help that goverment to "soften up" and allow the US and other countries to continue relief efforts.

    May 13, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    Mother Nature has not been kind to us so far this month – the cyclone in Myanmar, the earthquake in China, the dozens of tornadoes in the midwest states of the US – all powerful forces of nature that remind us that humans still remain at the mercy of Mother Nature. Unfortunately for the victims in Myanmar some people are also afflicted with the stupidity and greed of their government – one more burden to struggle with as they try to recover from these disasters. I don't see how the government officials in Myanmar sleep at night knowing how many people need the aid that other countries are willing to give and yet are not allowed to.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 13, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  9. Anne Taiz

    I just want to express my appreciation of Erica's interviews with Clinton supporting women yesterday. CNN's coverage of Clinton and her support from women has been so under reported. I see it takes a woman to notice it!

    Maybe if 360 were called Erica Hill 360 then we could have better coverage of the first female presidential candidate. As it is now she is either dissed or taken for granted.

    Maybe when Anderson gets that job I think he should get working in the Obama administration Erica can take over and IT WON'T BE A MOMENT TOO SOON!

    May 13, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  10. Megan Dresslar

    Hi Erica,
    I found that Sunday night I checked on CNN website breaking news in China strikes earthquake 7.8 or 7.9 ritcher measure. that is so bad.
    My hearts and prayer go to China people, children and government, who lost their love ones during earthquake Monday afternoon strike...... I am praying for China poeple this week........ my hometown had few earthquakes, not much while...... I have felt earthquake 2 times before..... 1996 and 2001, that's so scary....... I hope people will be ok for now.
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    May 13, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  11. kay

    My heart goes out to the people of Burma and China. I have a lot of friends of different nationalities. I love them all. We are all alike basically. Most people want the same things. We want a happy family and to provide love and care for our families and friends. I do not understand how the military and governments of some countries can be so cruel. They would not let us in to help the people. It is almost like they don't care if they die, like the storm did them a favor – a kind of natural genocide. Maybe they are all out to grab the best for themselves. If so that is the height of selfishness. Someday they will pay.

    May 13, 2008 at 8:27 pm |
  12. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    What a tragic loss of lives. We never know what Mother Nature will throw at us. Add to the mix a very bad response and tragedy turns to horror. We are all human beings here on earth and we have to aid our neighbors, no matter where they live.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 13, 2008 at 8:16 pm |
  13. Jane, Detroit, MI

    As grim as it is in terms of loss of life from these diasters, another point is how expensive they are getting. The Myanmar Cyclone and the Chengdu earthquake are going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars in relief aid and reconstruction. Worldwide, a serious strain on the global economy will be evident. I am so sorry this has happened to the people in both of these nations. I am happy to see that aid is coming in quickly to China. Myanmar needs to let the aid in now, before too many more lives are lost.

    May 13, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  14. Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada

    Hey Erica

    You blogged 🙂

    I have to tell you today I had been feeling down all day and it hit me that I have been hit with such sad news it is finally getting to me. Will I stop watchingthe news...no but I stopped and thought to myself how do journalist do it? How do they see all this tragedy and not loose it sometimes.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the people of China and Myanmar (Burma) along with those in the US who have been lost loved ones in the terrible tornados.

    May 13, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  15. Ruby Coria, LA., CA.

    Hi Erica, it's hard to imagen what them people are going through, both here at home and across the world.
    On Burma, I still don't know why we (the world) doesn't just go in there and help them how ever we can..
    China's Gov. here is their chance to prove them selfs..they have the $$ and people to make it through this. see u tonight.

    May 13, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  16. Lilibeth


    On China...those of us who live in earthquake country are reminded of the possible devastation an earthquake of this magnitude can create. I’m sure this is one of the reasons why disaster-preparedness experts encourage us to map out a disaster-recovery plan with family or friends who are out of state. It makes a lot of sense.

    On Burma...I will never understand why the militia won’t distribute aid to the small villages. Have they no heart? Aren’t the people of the small villages people too?

    One catastrophe after another...I prayed for everyone who perished and for all the survivors...may God bless them all and give them peace...


    Edmonds, Washington

    May 13, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  17. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    I don't understand why the U.S. is putting more pressure on Chevron, who has profitted from the natural gas pipeline that runs between Burma and Thailand. Chevron must have ways to get aid to the people in the Irrawaddy delta region and they certainly have an established relationship with Myanmar's military regime government. It's time for Chevron to step up to help during these dire times.

    May 13, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  18. Charlotte D

    Grim news indeed. Those poor parents waiting for news of their children. Is Anderson headed for China?

    Charlotte D
    Stockton Ca

    May 13, 2008 at 6:29 pm |