Thursday, July 19, 2012

Radio in a Suitcase - Media Before, During and After Disaster

There's a conference in London tomorrow about media and natural disasters. Mike Adams, who has done a lot of work in this field forwarded me this video of work his organisation has been doing in Indonesia with radio in a suitcase projects. Deserves a wider audience.

Mike got back to me to explain about a new project he is working on at First Response Radio.

After the 2004 Tsunami and 2005 Pakistan quake I was part of a group that has developed a team to provide emergency radio in disasters. We call our network of partners FIRST Response Radio. Teams are trained and have the KIT already in Indonesia, India, Philippines and Singapore. We are expanding more each year. I am also encouraged to see UN backing and many NGO's getting on board with the idea. The most active group is called CDAC which stands for Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities

Just today I posted a press release about the Indian team which is responding to the Assam Floods in the NE. They flew in with their "studio in a suitcase" and made programs in Assam, then broadcast them back in via shortwave radio. In other countries (Indonesia & Philippines) we will bring in an FM transmitter in a suitcase as well. Our experience shows us that a trained team can have the FM station on the air in well under 1 hour from arriving at an emergency location.  I was sorry to read that the RNW radio-in-a-box program will be coming to and end with the cuts. That's one fewer orgs involved in using radio in disaster. My overall assessment would be that there is a core group that has been steadily working to get radio into the place in needs to be - at the center of disaster response work.

I agree. Traditional media when combined with social media is the strongest case. Just look at these recent lessons learned from a resident of Florida, USA.
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