While the US and Puerto Rico struggled with massive flooding and loss of life in Houston and other southern states following Hurricane Harvey, India is struggling to cope with severe flooding, with more than 1,200 people killed and 40 million impacted. Communities have been devastated and crops destroyed. Food shortages and the risk of disease are of greatest concern.
In response to this natural disaster, FEBC India has deployed its First Response Radio team, establishing a temporary radio station within 72 hours. Radios were distributed and broadcasting began, providing listeners with up to date critical information and health advice, along with counseling and support to assist with recovery and restoration of livelihoods. Following the strong response from listeners, First Response Radio decided to hire more air time to broadcast 15 minutes daily across Bihar state. A contract was signed and these extra broadcasts began on Friday, Aug 25th. They are using 3 local AM/MW stations that are right in the middle of the flood affected areas in Bihar, giving them great coverage to those who are most in need of information.
Here’s one man’s story struggling through the disaster:
“I’ve listened to your program. We don’t have any way to communicate to anybody except through radio. We appreciate the love and concern you have shown us through your radio program during this situation. Your people have taken an initiative to help us. People in our area are suffering from malaria and high fevers, due to lots of mosquitoes. Please tell us what to do as a precaution. At present, our house is totally destroyed and there is no clean water to drink.”
Since the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, FEBC has been preparing for future disasters. Out of this concern to reach people struggling through calamities, First Response Radio was created, which is a network of radio broadcasters, NGOs and government partners. FEBC is a founding member of this network.