Twin Crises Call For Extraordinary Effort From Michiganders
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer talks with Rachel Maddow about how she and her constituents are handling the massive flooding in the middle of the state in the midst of trying to control the spread of the coronavirus. Aired on 5/21/2020.
Firefighters in India have so far failed to put out a huge oil well blaze which has been burning for two months.
Thousands of farming families in Assam state have been forced from their homes.
They are calling for compensation from the oil company involved for causing widespread environmental damage.
Al Jazeera's Raheela Mahomed has the story. The United Nations has joined the calls for the release of human rights activists in India who are in prison awaiting trial under anti-terrorism laws.
The conservative BJP government denies accusations by rights groups the charges against the left-wing activists are politically motivated.
Many rights groups are asking the government why it has not investigated the alleged role of Hindu nationalists in the violence that Rao and Bharadwaj are in jail for, even though a fact-finding mission found Hindu nationalist leaders were responsible.
Al Jazeera's Elizabeth Puranam reports from New Delhi, India. Thousands of people have joined student-led rallies in Thailand's capital calling for political reforms.
They are demanding a new election and an amended constitution.
And, as Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from Bangkok, some Thais are touching a sensitive subject by calling for reform of the monarchy. The family of an unarmed black man who was shot by police in the US state of Wisconsin say he's been paralysed from the waist down. It isn't known whether Jacob Blake's injuries are permanent. The shooting on Sunday evening has led to demonstrations and some violent clashes on the streets of the city of Kenosha. Mr Blake's family have called for calm. Our North America correspondent Aleem Maqbool reports.
>>> JOINING US NOW FOR THE >>> JOINING US NOW FOR THE INTERVIEW IS GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER OF THE GREAT STATE OF MICHIGAN, AND BOY DOES SHE HAVE A LOT TO CONTEND WITH RIGHT NOW. GOVERNOR, YOU ARE DEALING WITH AN EMERGENCY AT HOME, YOU’RE DEALING WITH THIS ONGOING EPIDEMIC. YOU ARE DEALING WITH A STRANGE VISIT FROM THE PRESIDENT TODAY. THANK YOU FOR MAKING TIME IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL OF THIS TO BE HERE WITH US TONIGHT. >> THANK YOU, RACHEL. >> LET ME ASK YOU FIRST ABOUT THIS HISTORIC FLOODING IN YOUR STATE. THIS IS A CRISIS THAT YOU COULD SEE COMING. YOU ORDERED PEOPLE EVACUATED OUT OF HARM’S WAY BEFORE THOSE DAMS FAILED, OR WERE OVERWHELMED. BUT IT SEEMS TO ME AS BEST AS I CAN TELL THAT THIS IS A CRISIS IS NOT OVER. NOT ONLY HAVE FLOOD WATERS NOT RECEDING BUT ARE YOU EXPECTING THAT THERE MAY NEED TO BE FURTHER EVACUATIONS, THERE THAT THERE MAY BE OTHER TOWNS THAT ARE IN DANGER? >> WE ARE CONCERNED AND WE’RE WATCHING IT VERY CLOSELY, AND WE KNOW, TOO, THAT THERE IS MORE PRECIPITATION IN THE FORECAST. AND SO WE’RE TAKING THIS VERY SERIOUSLY. I’LL JUST ACKNOWLEDGE, THE FACT THAT WE’RE IN THE MIDST OF A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, ON TOP OF THAT, DEALING WITH A 500-YEAR FLOOD EVENT, WHICH OF COURSE BECOMING MORE AND MORE FREQUENT. WE’VE GOT CLIMATE CHANGE AS A PART OF THAT. BUT ALSO, OLD INFRASTRUCTURE AS WELL. WE WERE ABLE TO EVACUATE 10,000 PEOPLE IN THE MIDST OF ALL OF THIS. AND AT THIS, AS OF OUR CONVERSATION NOW, WE’VE NOT FOUND ANY CASUALTIES. AND IT REALLY IS A TESTAMENT, I KNOW PEOPLE SEE THE FOOTAGE OF WHAT’S GOING ON AT THE CAPITOL AND PROTESTS BUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN IS PEOPLE ARE RISING TO THE CHALLENGE AND HELPING ONE ANOTHER. WE’VE FLATTENED OUR CURVE. WE’VE HELPED EACH OTHER OUT. PEOPLE ARE DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOME AND WHEN I WENT TO MIDLAND I WAS SO INSPIRED BY THE ATTITUDE OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ALL WEARING MASKS AND CHIPPING IN TO HELP EACH OTHER IN THE MIDST OF THESE TWO CRISES, AND IT WAS REALLY INSPIRING. WE GOT A LOT OF TOUGH STUFF TO DEAL WITH, AND TOUGH THINGS THAT WE’RE TRYING TO CONFRONT TOGETHER, BUT I THINK YOU CAN SEE BITS OF HUMANITY EVERY DAY IN THIS, AND THAT’S WHAT KEEPS US GOING. >> LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THE WAY THESE TWO EMERGENCIES SORT OF DOVE-TAILED IN YOUR STATE. OBVIOUSLY, EMERGENCY PLANNING WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEED TO EVACUATE LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE, AS YOU SAID, 10,000 PEOPLE, IN VERY SHORT ORDER, IN ADVANCE OF AN IMPENDING DAM FAILURE, THAT’S A SPECIFIC KIND OF EMERGENCY PLANNING. TO HAVE TO INTEGRATE THAT WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND INFECTION CONTROL PROTOCOLS, THAT ARE SO UNUSUAL, SO UNFAMILIAR, SOMETHING WE’VE NEVER DONE BEFORE THIS EPIDEMIC, I MEAN HOW DO YOU INTEGRATE THOSE TWO IMPERATIVES, HOW DO YOU EVACUATE PEOPLE AND KEEP THEM SAFE AND PUT THEM UP IN SHELTERS WHILE ALSO PREVENTING THEM FROM GIVING EACH OTHER CORONAVIRUS. >> WELL, IT’S REALLY INCREDIBLE. WHEN I WENT TO THE STATE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER, TO CALL FOR THE EVACUATION, AND TO DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY, ON TUESDAY NIGHT, I FOUND MYSELF SAYING, THIS IS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EVENT. AND I FOUND MYSELF SAYING THIS AGAIN, RIGHT, I’VE SAID IT MANY TIMES OVER THE LAST TEN WEEKS HERE IN MICHIGAN. AND YET, HERE WE ARE, AND WE’RE GOING TO GRIT OUR TEETH AND GET THROUGH THIS. AND HELP ONE ANOTHER OUT. THE LOCAL EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER WAS ON TOP OF THIS. AND THEY WORKED SEAMLESSLY WITH THE STATE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER. THEY HAVE DONE PHENOMENAL WORK. AND I THINK THAT THE PLANNING AND ALL OF THE DIFFERENT AGENCIES, THE MICHIGAN NATIONAL GUARD, THE MICHIGAN STATE POLICE COMBINED WITH WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THE LOCAL LEVEL, REALLY CONTRIBUTED TO AN ORGANIZATION THAT HELPED SAVE PEOPLE, BUT