Thursday, February 09, 2006

Radio's Important Role Post-Disaster

It is simply amazing how quickly we forget. Hours after the Asian Tsunami on December 26th 2004, the global media were full of amateur videos of the devastation caused to millions of lives across the Indian Ocean. Digital photos of those missing were plastered on noticeboards and ebsites. Sadly, too many became notice boards commemorating those who passed away. And many of the websites that covered the event are now frozen. For many, the Tsunami is tragic but over – and unlikely to happen again.

Actually, natural disasters are definitely going to happen again. A new cycle of more destructive hurricanes began in the Caribbean last year. North , Central and South America will certainly need to be better prepared. It is not if, it is simply a matter of when. Earthquakes too, are not going to go away. I have spent the last year editing a special wiki (with help from Andy Sennitt) which examined how broadcasters reacted to the Tsunami. It reveals a lot of brave efforts, but also a lot of missed opportunies for co-operation between those working for media and development.

We are also definitely not prepared for helping radio stations in the next disaster area - and that could be anywhere in the world.

So what to do? A practical suggestion is sitting on my corporate website. Thanks to help from Internews and Commercial Radio Australia, I have put together a 5 minute video explaining the steps and why they need to be taken. I'll be showing that to an invited audience next week.
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