Case study: Community Radios in Coastal Bangladesh in addressing Cyclone ”Mahasen”
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication, Dhaka May 22, 2013: As part of addressing the risk of Cyclone Mahasen, Six Community Radio Stations in coastal region of Bangladesh have broadcasted 514 hours program for 5 days continuously from May 11 to May16.
The stations included: Community Radio Nalta 99.2 (Satkhira), Community Radio Sundarban 99.2(Koyra,Khulna), Community Radio Lokobetar 99.2 (Barguna Sadar) , Community Rural Radio Krishi Radio 98.8 (Amtali,Barguna), Community Radio Naf 99.2 (Coxesbazar,Tekhnaf) and Radio Sagargiri 99.2 (Sitakunda,Chittagong)
A total of 391 staffs and volunteers and more than 20,000 listeners’ club members were involved constantly in disseminating disaster preparedness message and information to the local community. They updated and informed the cyclone situation at a regular frequency.
They have provided information on cyclone shelter to the community according to the disaster situation continuously updated by Meteorological department and other GOB agencies. The Community Radio stations are continuously broadcasting the updates on “Mahsen” by increasing their previous air-time in line with Standing Orders on Disaster of Government of the People’s Republic of Bangadesh.
Broadcasting remained continued even at power failure/load shedding, by using alternative power supply through generator. Since the stormy weather caused power disruption all over, community radio became the only source of information to the local people. The local community people could be able to know all the details related to cyclone and how to take precautionary measures to address this. This has saved their lives and assets, and again thus proved the essential role of community radio at grassroots level in our coastal region.
The important/significant activities done by the Community Radio:
- . The community radio stations broadcasted latest weather bulletin and other govt.directives after every 15-30 minutes. The radio staffs and volunteers produced and broadcasted different types of programs in different formats (like news, magazine, talk-show, discussion etc.) regarding pre, during and post-disaster measures.
- . The directives from Deputy Commissioner (DC) and Upa Zila Nirbahi Officer(UNO), interview of experienced Red Cross officials have been broadcasted.
- . Interviews and directives regarding early preparedness measures regarding utilization of Cyclone shelter, crop harvesting and preservation provided by local elected representatives like UP Chairman,Mayor,Female vice chairman and members of upazila parishads, Deputy Director of Cyclone Preparedness Committee, Agriculture officer and health officer have been broadcasted.
- Interviews [on disaster preparedness] of local journalists, trained and experienced development activists were broadcasted. The people who took shelter in the center also talked on community radio so that the others feel inspired to come to the shelter.
- Public Service Announcement (PSA) was broadcasted by quoting bulletin of National Broadcasting Authority. Analysis and views have been broadcasted basing on the news published on national and international mass media.
- Members of Community Radio Listeners Clubs sent early warning by Mobile messages for non-covered radio region.