"de" = "those"? Jeg synes at "de" betyder "the/they"?
Remember that "den/det/de" can be used as "that/those" for emphasis. Områderne = the areas, but de områder is like THE areas, THOSE areas.
I take it you can't use af rather than om here? I would assume (probably influenced by English) that om would mean she told them all about the problems, whereas af would mean she told them there are problems.