This article in Radio World covers Internews' humanitarian radio program in Haiti.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti:On Jan. 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake devastated Haiti. It was the worst quake in the country’s 200-year history.
Even today, the total death toll remains unclear. Authorities believe that more than 200,000 people died, more than 300,000 were injured and up to 30 percent of the country’s 10 million residents were affected, with half of this number losing their homes.
This report, published by infoasaid, captures practical case studies and best practice in communications with affected communities during the 2010 responses in Haiti. Internews and the BBC World Service Trust are partners in infoasaid, a DfID funded consortium focusing on improving how aid agencies communicate with disaster affected communities.
In a tiny general store in the northern suburb of Croix-des-Bouquets, Jacques Pierre jams the choke of his Honda generator and cranks it into life. Half a dozen Haitians wait in line to pay 40 gourdes (75 cents) to recharge their cell phones for a quarter of an hour.
Twelve days after the earthquake, Port-au-Prince has no power grid and no landlines. At night, the only illumination comes from the fires of burning trash and a smattering of lights on the hills of Laboule and Boutilier where the wealthy have generators.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- The caller from Boston was desperate.
She had just received a text message Tuesday from a friend trapped in the rubble of a Port-au-Prince school and needed to get the news to rescuers, the Haitian government, the world.
She called the right place: Signal FM, the only radio station in the city that has broadcast nonstop during the earthquake. Its building, transmitting equipment and antennas escaped damage, and the station has been a key source of information since the magnitude-7 temblor wrecked Haiti a week ago.
In the aftermath of the October 2005 earthquake centered in Northern Pakistan, which killed 73,000 and displaced 3.5 million, women reporters who were prepared to cover the lives of women devastated by the tragedy were hard to come by in the conservative region. Nighat volunteered to join the Internews-initiated Pakistan Emergency Information Program (PEIP). The daily, hour-long program Jazba-e-Tameer (“Desire to Rebuild”) highlighted issues necessary to rebuild lives in the earthquake region.
The use of crowd-sourcing, text messaging and interactive mapping proved invaluable, especially with the country's traditional communications infrastructure crippled, according to the report "Media, Information Systems and Communities: Lessons from Haiti," which was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The report was released Wednesday to coincide with the anniversary of the quake.
Last Jan 21st, only nine days after the devastating quake killed over 250,000 and displaced more than 1 million others, Internews launched a radio program to get critical life-saving info out to Haitians. News you can use is still going strong today.
Over 100,000 people had to be swiftly evacuated from the area; elderly patients died in transit out of the radiation risk zone.
Those who made it to temporary shelters did not have enough food, medicine, fuel, blankets or other basic necessities. The mayor of one city in the exclusion zone complained that his people were being left to die. Such tragic scenes in Japan — which has been praised in recent days for the high quality of its emergency drills, preparedness and response — should give the governments of far more disorganised disaster-prone areas pause to think. Unfortunately, Pakistan falls into that category.
When I was a young journalist working as the environment editor for a Thai newspaper back in the 1990s, one of the first things I learned was this: In order to cover the environment, you have to understand the energy sector—not just what it emits, but the politics, economics, and technical issues surrounding it. And vice versa: Those reporting on energy development have to understand its environmental impacts to provide good coverage.
Since the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, Internews has been working on the ground with local Haitian media and humanitarian aid agencies to get critical information directly to the people who need it most.