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Haiti Earthquake Disaster Relief Program

”Restoration of Community FM Radio Stations and Installation of Community Addressing (CA) Systems”

 

7.0 magnitute earthquake on January 12, 2010 brought huge damages and massive loss of life to Haiti.

 

In rural Haiti where newspapers and televisions are not widely disseminated, majority of the people rely on radio broadcasting, including community-based radios, for information, The earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010 damaged some of the community radio stations severely limiting the broadcasting hours per day.

 

On the receiving end, many people lost their radio receivers depriving people of their principle means of access to information.

 

When BHN visited some of the IDP camps in Leogane, people voiced their needs for news and weather information, and also social & educational programs. Many expressed their wish to listen to a popular religious program broadcasted every morning.

A young mother interviewed commented; “Life is very hard here. If only I could listen to some music, I would be able to mentally escape from this hardship even just for a short while.”

 

With the funds provided through the Japan Platform (JPF), BHN helped restore 6 community radio stations, provided technical training to their staff on equipment testing and maintenance, and installed 41 Community Addressing Systems (CA systems) in communities and IDP camps in Leogane, an area that was heavily damaged by the earthquake.

 

CA system is comprised of a radio receiver, a microphone, an amplifier, speaker horns, batteries, a solar panel, and a LED lamp mounted on a 9 meter pole.

This system not only enables people to listen to radio broadcasting on daily basis, but it also provides simple means for community leaders and aid organizations to address people in the communities and camps to make announcements and convey important information such as information on hurricane and cholera, helping people better manage natural disasters and improve health.

 

 

The LED lamp on the system is automatically turned on in the evening providing light in otherwise very dark communities and camps. People gather under the light in the evening to listen to the radio, to read, or to sell food, In some communities, students are seen studying under the light into the very late evening.

 

This JPF-funded BHN project has already been completed in 2011, but BHN, together with the City of Leogane and local cooperating partner SAKS, will continue to monitor and support maintenance of the systems for the next three years.

 

Minako AKIBA, Project Officer

 

 

 

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