Exclusive - Andrew Harper Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  09/03/13
  •  | Views: 73,661

In this exclusive, unedited interview, Andrew Harper, head of the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan, breaks down the humanitarian disaster along the Syrian border. (6:10)

HEY, WELCOME BACK, WELCOME TO

THE SHOW.

MY GUESTS TONIGHT, WILL SE THE

HEAD OF THE U.N. AGENCY IN

JORDAN, BASED AT THE REFUGEE

CAMP ON THE SYRIAN BORDER,

ANDREW HARPER!

>> HOW ARE YOU, SIR?

>> THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> Stewart: THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR COMING IN TO JOIN US.

YOU DO GRIM YET INCREDIBLY

IMPORTANT WORK.

TELL ME, YOU KNOW, WE CAN ARGUE

ALL DAY ABOUT THE POLITICS OF

ASSAD AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS AND

SHOULD WE INTERVENE, SHOULD WE

NOT? THERE IS NO ARGUMENT ABOUT

THE HUMANITARIAN DISASTER THAT

HAS UNFOLDED IN THIS REGION AND

CAN YOU GIVE US A BRIEF UPDATE

ON THAT?

>> WELL, THANKS, JON, ALSO THANK

YOU VERY MUCH FOR GIVING ME THE

OPPORTUNITY TO TALK BECAUSE

THERE HAS BEEN SO MUCH

DISCUSSION ABOUT THE POLITICS,

THERE HAS BEEN SO MUCH

DISCUSSION ABOUT SECURITY, BUT

WHAT IS CONTINUALLY FORGOTTEN IN

ALL OF THESE CONFLICTS IS WHAT

IS HAPPENING TO THE SYRIANS, AND

TODAY WE MARK 2 MILLION REFUGEES

HAVING FLED ACROSS THE BORDER

INTO JORDAN, INTO TURKEY, INTO

IRAQ, INTO LEBANON, AND THIS IS

THE TRAGEDY, ON TOP OF THAT YOU

HAVE GOT 5 MILLION, AND THESE

ARE NUMBERS WHICH NO ONE CAN

REALLY COMPREHEND BECAUSE EACH

ONE OF THESE REFUGEES, EACH ONE

OF THESE PERSONS HAVE BASICALLY

FLED THEIR HOMES.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> AND NO ONE WANTS TO FLEE

THEIR HOMES BUT THEY FLED

BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN BOMBED,

THEY DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO

SERVICES, AND THEY HAVE LEFT

WITH ALMOST NOTHING BUT OFTEN

THE CLOTHES THAT ARE ON THEIR

BACK, CHILDREN HAVE OFTEN HAD TO

FLEE THEIR HOMES WHICH ARE BEING

BOMBED AND THE AMOUNT OF

CHILDREN.

>> Stewart: AND THE AMOUNT OF

WOMEN IS ASTONISHING.

>> LAST WEEK OR TWO WEEKS AGO WE

HIT 1 MILLION CHILDREN HAVING

FLED ACROSS THE BORDER, AND

THESE NUMBERS ARE JUST NUMBERS

WHEN THEY ARE REPORTED IN THE

PRESS, BUT WHEN YOU ARE ACTUALLY

WORKING WITH REFUGEES OR WORKING

WITH THE DISPLACED THEN EACH ONE

OF THESE INDIVIDUALS NEEDS HELP,

EACH ONE OF THESE INDIVIDUALS

NEEDS PROTECTION AND THE FIRST

THING WE WITH HAVE TO DO IS SAY

THANK YOU AS YOU DID IN YOUR

INTRODUCTION SAY THANK YOU TO

THE COUNTRIES OF THE MIDDLE EAST

WHO HAVE OFTEN ARE STRUGGLING

PROVIDE SUPPORT TO THEIR OWN

COMMUNITY AND POPULATION AND

THEY HAVE THIS WONDERFUL

TRADITION AND CULTURE OF

PROVIDING SUPPORT TO THOSE IN

CONFLICTS.

>> JORDAN, FOR INSTANCE,

POPULATION OF 6 MILLION,

2 MILLION PALESTINIANS, HUNDREDS

OF THOUSAND OF IRAQ IRS AND NOW

THE SYRIANS AND THESE ARE

COUNTRIES THAT BASICALLY OPENED

THEIR DOORS, JORDAN HAS NO OIL.

>> Stewart: RIGHT OR WATER.

>> OR WATER.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> AND BASICALLY HAVE TO ABSORB

WHAT IS BASICALLY AN

INTERNATIONAL DISASTER.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> IT IS NOT JUST A HUMANITARIAN

DISASTER, OR REGIONAL, THIS IS

AN INTERNATIONAL DISASTER.

>> Stewart: AND IT IS THE

POINT OF THE U.N. PEOPLE DON'T

QUITE -- THE PART OF THE U.N.

YOU SORT OF UNDERSTAND IS THE

MORE THEATRICAL, YOU KNOW, HUGO

CHAVEZ AT THE U.N. GIVING A

SPEECH ABOUT SULFUR OR WHATEVER

THAT IS OR, YOU KNOW, PUTTING

LIBYA ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS

COMMISSIONS OR THOSE TYPE OF

THINGS, THERE IS THIS WHOLE

OTHER AVENUE OF THE U.N., BOOTS

ON THE GROUND PEOPLE LIKE

YOURSELF DOING THIS INCREDIBLE

DAY TO DAY WORK EFFECTIVELY,

EFFICIENTLY, IN A MANNER THAN IS

ASTONISHING TO SEE.

I MEAN I WANT TO SHOW, HERE IS A

PICTURE OF THE CAMP A YEAR AGO.

OKAY? THIS IS DESERT IN

NORTHERN JORDAN, DESERT.

>> THIS IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT

GAVE TO START WITH, AND THIS IS

-- YOU CAN SEE IT ON THE

MONITORS, THESE ARE THE FOLKS

COMING OVER, THESE ARE SOME

REFUGEES, FROM IRAQ, ABOUT

45,000 CROSS GOOD IRAQ LAST

WEEK, THIS IS ONE WEEK.

>> Stewart:.

>> YES.

SO THIS IS THE CAMP MORE

RECENTLY, NOW.

THIS IS IN THE DESERT AREA, IT

IS MUCH LARGER THAN THAT, IT IS

120,000 PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN

THERE AND HERE JUST TO GIVE YOU

A SENSE, THOUGH OF SOME OPTIMISM

WITHIN THIS I WANT TO SHOW YOU

THIS PICTURE OF WHAT HE CALL THE

CHAMPS.

>> THERE ARE GUYS COOKING

CHICKEN ON THE LEFT.

THE HUMAN SPIRIT THAT HAS

CREATED SORT OF SOME SEMBLANCE

OF NORMALCY AND COMMERCE WITHIN

THIS REALLY DIFFICULT CONDITION.

>> WELL, WHAT WET HAVE SEEN IS

ALMOST LIKE WHEN YOU HAVE

2 MILLION PEOPLE MOVE ACT CROSS

THE BORDER, BASICALLY EQUATES TO

WHOLE POPULATIONS LEAVING.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> TOWNS, VILLAGES, WE PROBABLY

HAVE GOT HALF OF THE POPULATION

OF DARA THAT MOVED INTO JORDAN.

>> Stewart: JORDAN IN TERMS OF

DARA VALLEY IS BASICALLY THE

SAME SORT OF FAMILIES.

>> YES.

>> LIKE EAST OR WEST GERMANY.

>> YES.

>> SO THEY HAVE ABSORBED 350,000

JUST IN THE HOME, THIS CAMP IS

JUST FOR THE POOREST OF THE POOR

WHO DIDN'T HAVE THOSE

HOSPITALITY --

>> JORDAN TRIED TO AVOID HAVING

CAMPS AND TO ITS CREDIT, LIKE IT

NEVER WANTED TO PUT PEOPLE IN

CAMPS.

NO ONE WANTS TO BE IN A REFUGEE

CAMP.

NONE OF US WOULD WANT TO BE IN A

REFUGEE CAMP FOR THE FIRST ONE,

TWO, 300,000 PEOPLE, IT ALLOWED

PEOPLE TO COME IN AND ABSORBED

WITHIN THE COMMUNITY, BUT THE

COMMUNITIES COULD NO LONGER

ABSORB THEM BECAUSE YOU WOULD

HAVE CITIES SUCH AS NORTH OF

JORDAN, 200,000 MORE REFUGEES

ARRIVED THERE.

>> Stewart: AND THESE ARE

WORKERS AND THEY WANT -- PEOPLE

WILL HIRE THEM FOR LOWER AND

PUTS PRESSURE ON THE ECONOMY.

WILL YOU STICK AROUND AND TALK A

LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT IT ON THE

WEB?

>> I APPRECIATE THAT.

>> Stewart: IS THERE ANYTHING

PEOPLE CAN DO? CAN THEY DONATE?

>> FIRSTLY I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO

SAY AS I AM IN THE STATES I

WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE U.S.

PEOPLE AS WELL BECAUSE THEY HAVE

BEEN THE BIGGEST AND MOST

GENEROUS DONORS TO THE

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE AND THIS

IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD SEE UNDER

THE RADAR, IT IS FANTASTIC

CONTRIBUTION SO FAR BUT WHAT WE

HAVE SEEN IS WE HAVE ALMOST AN

OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF REFUGEES

CROSS THE BORDERS, WE HAVEN'T

BEEN OVERWHELMED WE WOULD NOT BE

OVERWHELMED BUT WE DO NEED THE

MONEY TO CONTINUE THE WORK.

>> Stewart: SO IF YOU ARE

INTERESTING YOU CAN DONATE TO

THE U.N. EFFORT IN JORDAN AND

OTHER PLACES AROUND THE WORLD,

UN REFUGEES.ORG, ANDREW HARPER,

WE WILL BE RIGHT

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