Radio Offers a Lifeline to Pakistan as Crisis Worsens

August 4, 2010
In response to the devastating floods in northern Pakistan, a new infoasaid service will start broadcasting lifeline radio programmes in the most severely affected areas through the BBC Urdu service.

Developed by BBC World Service Trust and Internews, the infoasaid service will transmit lifesaving information to the hundreds of thousands of people currently cut off from emergency aid efforts and most at risk.

BBC Urdu will transmit six daily bulletins in Urdu and Pashto providing vital information including how to stay safe, avoid disease and access aid.*

With much of the region’s transport and communication links destroyed, the service will plug a critical gap in delivering information in the immediate aftermath of the disaster using one of the only media channels still available – radio.

As part of an increasingly nationwide response, the programmes will be broadcast on up to 34 BBC partner stations, reaching over 60 million people.

Director of the BBC World Service Trust, Caroline Nursey says: 

“This humanitarian crisis is growing every day and is now on a huge scale.  Very often it is the simplest information such as where to get food or how to avoid diseases that can save thousands of lives.  This is what lifeline programming will deliver.” 

Infoasaid is funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development.  Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan says:

As flooding continues to cause destruction and suffering in Pakistan, many will find themselves cut off from family, friends and home. While of course not everyone will be able to access a radio, this is a proven way of reaching as many people as possible when no other means of communication are available.

The lifeline radio programme is another great example of potentially lifesaving innovation from the BBC World Service Trust, providing essential emergency advice and information on staying healthy and accessing food and shelter, to help those affected cope with the immediate effects of this disaster."

Infoasaid is coordinating its response through UNOCHA and humanitarian agencies in the region.  The project’s goal is to improve how aid agencies communicate with disaster affected communities. The emphasis is on the need to deliver information, as aid itself, through the most appropriate channels.

Notes to Editors

For further information or requests for interview, please contact Damian Wilson at the BBC World Service Trust on +44(0)7970-981-940

For further information about Internews Europe, please contact Manana Aslamazyan on +33(0)1 5336-0606  

* infoasaid will be broadcast at local times in Urdu at 12.30, 15.30 and 18.30 and in Pashto at 12.45, 15.45 and 18.45

  • infoasaid is a collaborative project between the BBC World Service Trust and Internews.  Follow the conversation on twitter at #infoasaid and Facebook at infoasaid
  • The BBC World Service Trust is the BBC’s international development agency. It uses media and communications to reduce poverty, promote human rights and improve people’s lives.
  • Internews Europe is an international media development organisation whose mission is to empower local media worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect, and the means to make their voices heard.
  • The Department for International Development (DFID) is the UK’s Government department responsible for promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty. The central focus of DFID is a commitment to the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015.