Haitian Community Radio Earthquake Emergency

The radio station in Fondwa, Haiti.
News from Jim Ellinger:
Very worrisome news. Radio Fondwa was destroyed.
I have been talking with the family of two US volunteers, Jamalyn Williamson and Megan Rohmeyer, two of the group that left from Milroy United Methodist Church, Milroy, Indiana. They survived, but inform me of two locals' deaths in the building collapse.

The two American women working at community radio station Radio Fondwa are confirmed to be alive by family members.
"They just made it out as the entire building collapsed," said Jamalyn Williamson's aunt Karen Potts of Cincinnati. Two Haitians reported killed in the building collapse.

Community Radio in Haiti
There are about forty community radio stations nationwide in Haiti and six in the Western District, which is the epicenter of the quake. The World Association of Community Radio (AMARC) has heard that these six have been "severely damaged." The AMARC Vice President, Sony Esteus, is unaccounted for.

Sony Esteus is a Linguist, journalist, Charter member and present Director of the Haitian NGO SAKS (Sosyete Animasyon ak KOminikasyon Sosyal). SAKS works in the field of the popular education for the communication that thus helps to basic organizations in Haiti (farmers, young people and women) to establish community radios.

From 2005, Sony Esteus is the national representative of AMARC-ALC in Haiti and member of the AMARC Regional Council for Latin America and the Caribbean. Elected in the AMARC International Board on November 2006 in AMMAN (AMARC 9).

From AMARC ALC (Latin America and Caribbean):
We have tried to communicate by electronic mail and by telephone with Sony Esteus, representative of AMARC in Haiti, and we have not had luck. We continue insisting, although we know that the communications are first that fail in these cases.
We are waiting to receive some news of our companions and companions in Haiti.

From Stephen Dunnifer, Free Radio activist from Berkeley, CA:
I visited Haiti twice in the mid 90's to work with community radio folks and set up several station - met with Aristide for an about an hour to discuss the creation of a radio station at the orphanage. We sent them their first transmitter package shortly after that. One of the young men at the orphanage visited us several years later to learn more about the technical aspects. I called the concept of a distributed network of low power stations throughout the country "coup insurance". In the past, the army would roll in, seize the radio stations in Porte Au Prince and silence the opposition. A network of transportable stations would have made that a lot more difficult. Never could generate adequate support for this concept, however.
Maybe this would be a good time to get folks behind the deployment of several dozen 100-150 watt stations in Haiti at a cost of about $2000 each.

One may wonder where the Republicans got their experience in vilifying a popularly elected black leader of a country, look no further their orchestrated attacks on Aristide. The language used is almost identical. Both Obama and Aristide were community organizers. Not that I am a supporter of Obama, but the historical parallels are rather stunning.
Best regards, Stephen


And this just out from the FCC:
As more news emerged about the widespread devastation caused by an earthquake in Haiti, aide organizations flooded the Web with ways to donate online or via text message. Now, the FCC is getting on-board and will temporarily lift a ban on fundraising by non-commercial TV and radio stations so that they can accept funds to help the victims. ----Chloe Albanesius, PC Magazine

Jen Howard, 202-418-0506 Email: Jen.Howard@fcc.gov

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti during this terrible tragedy. A number of noncommercial broadcasters have asked for permission to raise funds for relief efforts, which we are happy to give. The Media Bureau has posted procedures for any noncommercial TV or radio station to obtain expedited approval for such fundraising. These temporary
waivers will help tap the American spirit of generosity in this time of great need to aid Haitian relief efforts.”
For more information, visit: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/haiti_relief_efforts.pdf

Internews to Deploy Media Assistance in Support of Haiti’s Information Needs During Humanitarian Disaster
*Washington DC and Paris : *With communications crippled in Haiti after Tuesday's devastating earthquake, Internews is responding to the urgent need for information during this humanitarian disaster.

Haitians need information about the situation: how to find food, shelter and water, how to connect to loved ones who survived, and eventually, how to rebuild. A team from Internews that includes media specialists, radio technicians and humanitarian liaison experts are deploying to assess the extent of damage to Haiti's media infrastructure, which provides crucial information to vulnerable populations. In addition, the rapid response team is bringing broadcast equipment that can quickly be used to broadcast emergency information. Internews previously used this type of portable broadcasting equipment in Banda Aceh after the 2004 tsunami.

The team is conducting a rapid assessment of local and national media transmission capabilities, audience reach and infrastructure damage. It will make recommendations for assistance to facilitate the flow of vitally need information between the international relief operation and Haitians. Internews is able to deploy its team with generous support from the MacArthur Foundation and other donors.

Internews recently completed a project in Haiti working with 40 community radio stations throughout the country called RAMAK (Rasanbleman Medya pou Aksyon Kominoté). The project, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, focused on journalism trainings and technical skills for radio production personnel. The head of RAMAK, Jean Fedner Chéry, was in Washington, D.C. last year to accept the 2009 Internews Media Leadership Award for the radio network's track record of providing essential medical, educational and humanitarian relief information to its listeners.

For further information :
* Mark Harvey mharvey@internews.fr +
44 7703 180 524
* Caroline Giraud cgiraud@internews.fr
+ 33 666 9439 54

Note of Caution: Internews is closely allied with the US State Department, having been a primary agent for privatizing stations in the former Soviet Union, and currently engaged with major initiatives in Afghanistan in collaboration with the US Military. Much of Internews' funding comes directly from agencies associated with the NSA. The sorry condition of the Haitian economy and misery of the population even prior to the quake has been attributed to the questionable role of US trade (and military) policies in the country.
US Government funders of Internews:
USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI)
US Department of State (DOS)
US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)
US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
US Department of State, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)
US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
World Bank

Haiti earthquake: Community radio stations help worried kin get news of loved ones
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/01/14/2010-01-14_earthquake_k...
Phone lines are down. Internet connections are spotty. Cell phone towers sit in piles of rubble. Faced with no way to reach loved ones on the island, desperate Haitian immigrants in New York have turned to community radio broadcasts for the latest news.

Several so-called "pirate" stations broadcasting on a special frequency have been running nonstop since Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

The stations, which broadcast on a frequency called SCA, can be heard only with special $50 radios that pick up the small frequencies. "My mother, I don't hear nothing at all. She is 78 years old," Harlem resident Shirley Diop told Radio Panou 101.9 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, yesterday.

"I am hoping someone can help me hear from her," said Diop, 40. "It is very sad. My only hope to hear from her is the radio." Diop was one of thousands who called the stations broadcasting out of Brooklyn and Long Island, where large numbers of Haitian immigrants live.

"They are relying on the radio to give them news about their families," said producer Ronald Baptiste, 34, of Radio Optimum 96.3 in East Flatbush. "The biggest challenge is they can't get through to loved ones." NRadio Panou stayed in contact with its sister station in Haiti to provide some of the most detailed coverage from the ground.

"Today we're giving news all day long," said Acelus Etienne, 52, owner of Radio Eclair 88.9 in West Hempstead, L.I. "People are calling from all over the tristate area, even from Miami," he said. "They ask, 'Will you please ask if anyone has spoken with someone I know in Haiti? Can they call me and tell me if they're okay?'"

Etienne didn't know the fate of his mother and father until a listener called to say he had heard from someone who saw them alive. "Lucky for me, somebody told me they saw my parents and they're okay, and that gives me some relief," he said.

A frantic dad from Queens called Radio Panou yesterday looking for news about his two teenagers in Haiti - neither of whom has been in touch since the quake. "I can't get in contact with my daughters," said Jonathan Phillips. "I try to connect by phone, but I can't get through. I am depressed. Can you help find them?"

Deejay Lynch Garbard fought back tears as he fielded calls from the studio in Flatbush."There are a lot of phone calls, and everybody is crying," he said. "They can't find their families." He, too, was searching for loved ones. "I got a call and heard I lost everything in Haiti," he said. "I am missing most of my family. I don't know if they died. I'm not dying, but I feel like I am."