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CNN10 2023-05-03

CNN 10

Spain's Historic Drought; Large Amount Of Smelly Seaweed; Efforts To Save Kiwis. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired May 03, 2023 - 04:00 ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello lovely people, good day and good vibes to you from magnificent Miami. We're here ahead of the huge Formula One race this weekend. And that guy right there, well, that's the legend seven-time world champ Lewis Hamilton. He'll be one of the fastest drivers on the planet. Zoom in at top speeds of about 200 miles per hour. We hope you're often zooming today as well.

It's Wednesday, May 3, also #yourwordwednesday. Follow me @coywire on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok and put your unique vocabulary word in the comment section of my most recent posts. And we're going to choose one, good one to work in tomorrow's show.

Let's go. I'm Coy Wire. This is CNN 10. And we start in Spain today where they are seeing a major drought. The Spanish National Weather Service says the country has been in a long-term drought since the end of last year.

In March, the country only received 36% of its average monthly rainfall, which made it the second driest March this century. But it didn't stop there, that trend continued into last month and we may see it now end up being the driest on record. These conditions have been caused by soaring temperatures that make it feel like it's mid-summer instead of springtime.

The lack of water, well, it's having a catastrophic impact on farms across the region. According to the coordinator of farmers and ranchers organizations, the drought has affected about 60% of Spain's countryside, and it's destroyed crops across more than 8 million acres. That's an area bigger than the entire State of Maryland.

Also, Spaniards have been asked to conserve water by taking quick showers, being mindful when washing dishes and not filling their swimming pools. Our Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen has more on the very dry conditions in Spain.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From afar, even a natural disaster can look majestic. But up close, the full impact of the global climate emergency is clear to see.

This is the Sau Reservoir near Barcelona, normally one of the largest bodies of freshwater in this part of Spain, but months of drought and the water levels are so low and the entire medieval village usually underwater has come to light.

(On camera): The folks here say normally you'd barely be able to see even the tip of the medieval church because it would be almost fully submerged.

But now as you can see the church is very much on land and the authorities here fear things will get much worse once the summer's heat really sets in.

(Voice-over): The Sau Reservoir is already at less than 10% capacity. And that's causing hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland to dry up. All of this wheat is probably lost. Farmers, Santi Caudevilla shows me why.

The grain should be milky, he said. We're in a critical moment. If it doesn't rain, this will end up empty. We should be seeing the grain come up to here but it's only like this. If it doesn't rain in the coming week the crop will be zero.

But there is no rain in sight and temperatures in Spain have skyrocketed. Scientists at the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Technology are trying to find ways to make very little water go a longer way.

Chief scientist Joan Girona says efficiency to be maximized.

JOAN GIRONA GOMIS, RESEARCHER, IRTA: It's our goal, taking the most of our drop of water.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Just like the crops, the people in this area are also in survival mode. Dozens of towns are without water and need to get it trucked in. The village Castellcir hasn't had any for about a year and residents say they can't even remember the last time it rained.

I don't recall, Juan, tells me. It's been a long time a year or more without proper rain, nothing. Back at the Sau Reservoir, authorities are actually draining most of the remaining water to prevent this precious and ever scarcer resource from getting contaminated by the sludge at the bottom of this once mighty lake.


WIRE: All right, summer is just around the corner. And if you and your family are thinking about heading to any of the South Florida or Caribbean beaches, you might need to know that you could encounter some seaweed, and by some I mean a whole lot of it. That's because a record-breaking amount of seaweed known as Sargassum, which can smell like rotten eggs or sulfur when it washes up on shore is starting to pile up on popular beaches threatening tourism in certain areas.

Check out this NASA image which shows just how enormous this massive blob of floating seaweed is, 13 million tons of it just drifting ominously throughout the Caribbean stretching all the way to the West Coast of Africa. CNN's Leyla Santiago reports from a beach in Key West, Florida and tells us how this seaweed phenomenon is just the tip of the iceberg with the peak expected to come later this summer.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Sargassum mixed in with a few other things and this is what is inundating Florida's Coast specifically they're expecting the East Coast. And remember last month we talked about this but now we're actually starting to see it come in and those record numbers that scientists predicted. So much so that take a look over here, the beach rakers here on this beach and Key West have already a wide and have already done one run through on what's hitting the Florida coast right now.

Let's go for a walk so I can kind of show you how all of this stuff just piles up and again gets pretty smelly, because it decays out here. And as we mentioned, this is what one scientist told me it's just the tip of the iceberg, more expected. Because when this is out there, it is not only right now a 5000-mile-long body of seaweed, it is still growing while it's out there, so it is increasing in the amount that will be headed this way.


WIRE: Ten second trivia.

What country has the southernmost capital in the world? Argentina, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa?

When it comes to capital cities, Wellington New Zealand is as low as you can go sitting at 41 degrees south.

Now when you think of New Zealand, you might think of Kiwis which is the country's iconic national bird but the population of these flightless birds has plummeted. Conservationists say that most people have never seen a kiwi in the wild and estimate that there are only about 70,000 of them left in the country. But as our Michael Holmes tells us there are now efforts to keep this species alive and thriving in New Zealand.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The fight to save the Kiwi, the iconic flightless bird is taking off in New Zealand.

PAUL WARD, CAPITAL KIWI PROJECT TEAM LEADER: Ever since people came here we've had a special connection with the animal known as the kiwi, Central Tamari Mirth (ph) sports teams, our rugby league team, our defense force, you know, even when we go overseas, we're known as kiwis. So it's our duty really to look after the animal that's gifted us its name.

HOLMES: There are about 90 initiatives to save the Kiwis in New Zealand, many of them focusing on removing threats, which have reduced the population by educating dog owners and killing predator species like stoats.

WARD: Kiwi are surprisingly tough and resilient. They got these big fighting claws so now Kiwi can fight off a whole heap of pests from possums and stoats that really the only issue for adult kiwi is roaming dogs. Where they get hammered as stoats eating the checks before they get up to that fighting weight.

HOLMES: A group of Kiwis raised in a breeding program was released near Wellington last November. Experts say that could be the first-time wild Kiwis lived in the area in about a century. And so far, they seem to be thriving.

WARD: We did the first health check a couple of months later. And we were expecting them to kind of, you know, hold weight or lose a bit of weight.

But the really pleasing result was that half of those birds had put on weight including one bit put on a whopping 400 grams. So it's like this here plenty of food on the ladder out on these hills.

HOLMES: That's hopefully room to grow for New Zealand's national treasure and the national effort to save it. Michael Holmes, CNN.


WIRE: All right, a final story takes us to America's Heartland where fur baby is getting today's 10 out of 10 for winning this year's B.A.R.K.

Ranger Superintendent of the Gateway Arch Park in St. Louis, meet the adorable Betty Faith, the 12-year-old Basset Hound taken the crown adopted back in 2020 after being rescued from a tough breeding and hoarding situation. Betty has a new leash on life as the top dog at Gateway Arch Park. B.A.R.K. Ranger is a program run by the National Park Service and B.A.R.K. stands for, Bag your pet's waste, Always leash your pet, Respect wildlife, and Know where you can go. That's pretty doggone sweet. Congrats Betty Faith.

We're giving a special shout out to Delaware Valley High School in Milford, Pennsylvania today. We see you warriors. And one other special shout out to Alex at Renfroe and Harper at Talley who watched CNN 10 every day from Decatur, Georgia. Well, their dad Glenn Levy is our guest producer today.

Rise up See you tomorrow everyone. You are more powerful than you know. I'm Coy Wire, and we are CNN 10.