Report of AMARC/PPF Field Mission for Assessing the Communications Needs of Flood Affected Communities in Pakistan
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Islamabad (October 9, 2010): The international assessment mission organized by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) called on the Government of Pakistan to allow the establishment of at least 30 non-commercial flood relief radio stations through community based organistions in the severely affected districts.
These were the key recommendations of an international assessment mission carried out between 30 September and 10 October 2010. The mission visited flood hit communities in Thatta District (Sindh), Muzaffargarh District (Punjab), and Charsadda/Nowshera (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). The mission was supported by BHN Foundation, Radio FMYY and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. The international mission team included experts from UK, Japan and Indonesia.
The principle observations and findings of the mission were that while existing FM local radios are playing an important role in flood response, there are gaps in provision of relevant local information in some of the severely and moderately affected communities which are unlikely to be met on a commercial basis. In the light of the findings the international assessment mission recommended the establishment of flood relief radio stations in locations not served by existing local FM radio services.
In addition the mission recommended that support be provided to existing local FM radios to continue their vital work of providing information and voice for flood affected communities. That could be at a community level to capture the voices and experiences of flood hit communities and to develop community correspondents among the affected communities. The mission also recommended work at provincial level with media, NGO and governmental stakeholders to raise awareness of the role of community media in disaster response and to engage in policy dialogue.
The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) is working with Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) to develop plan of action to support the humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction effort with a focus on voice and access to information at community level for people in the affected communities, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised.
The international assessment mission was framed by growing international experience of community radio in humanitarian communications, disaster response and reconstruction. Community radio stations under the ownership, control and management of local communities and operated on a non-commercial basis have proven to be of particular importance in strengthening the voices and access to information of disaster affected communities. Community radios have played a key role in disaster response in Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand Haiti and many other countries.
Devastating floods in Pakistan have left over two thousand people dead and more than a million homes destroyed since the flooding began in July 2010. The United Nations estimates that more than 20 million people have been affected by the flooding, and have described it as one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent human history.
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)Steve Buckley AMARC President / Leader of Pakistan Floods Mission Tel (local): 0302 2326709 (until 9 October 2010) Tel (international): +44 7801 945037 / +44 114 2201426 Email: email@example.com Suman Basnet AMARC Regional Coordinator / Pakistan Floods Mission International Focal Point Tel (AMARC Regional Office, Kathmandu) +977 985 1109818 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)Owais Aslam Ali Secretary General Press Centre Shahrah Kamal Ataturk Karachi Pakistan
For the updates on the AMARC mission to Pakistan visit also the Twitter account of Steve Buckley, AMARC’s president at:
For immediate release:
October 1, 2010, Kathmandu. The field mission to Pakistan by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) to assess information and communication needs of areas affected by floods has commenced with mission members arriving in Karachi on the 30th of September 2010.
In addition to assessing immediate communication gaps in the affected
areas including the assessment of information & communication needs of the internally displaced people and Aid Providers, the mission will explore
possibilities of integrating functioning independent radios into the
humanitarian information network along with guidance on humanitarian
relief reporting. Technical experts from the mission will carry out basic
repairs of the stations. The mission will also assess the possibility of
setting up emergency radios in the worst affected areas and the immediate,
short term and longer term needs of the radios and their personnel.
The beginning of the mission will be marked by a round table discussion
to be held in Karachi on the 2nd of October 2010 with government
authorities, policy makers, representatives of the Pakistan Electronic
Media Regulatory Authority, and other stakeholders such as independent
broadcasters, humanitarian organizations and donors to present case for
community radio and its role in helping in relief and rehabilitation
efforts for the flood affected.
The mission is led by Steve Buckley, President of AMARC International.
Other mission members include Imam Prakoso, member of AMARC Asia Pacific Regional Board from Indonesia, Junichi Hibino, Director of community radio FMYY of Japan, and engineers Toru Sato and Sadao Ito from BHN, Japan. Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary General of PPF is co-heading the mission along with a team of experts from PPF.
Please visit http://asiapacific.amarc.org/pakistan_floods/ for the latest
AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the
community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the
right to communicate at the international, national, local and
neighborhood levels. AMARC has an International Secretariat in Montreal.
It has regional sections in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific and
offices in Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Brussels, and Kathmandu. For more
information, please contact Suman Basnet, Regional Coordinator for
Asia-Pacific, email@example.com or visit www.asiapacific.amarc.org.
The torrential rains and subsequent floods in Pakistan during current monsoon starting late July 2010, which caused deaths of over 1700 people, destruction of residential buildings, schools, health facilities in thousands and devastation of agriculture sector, also displaced scores of media professionals across the country. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has
reported damage to the properties a displacement of over 230 media professionals all the four provinces of Pakistan but Pakistan Press Foundation’s™ survey suggest that the number of such media professionals is higher than it.
The PPF survey, which covers print as well as electronic media personnel and their organizations, still continues, however, the initial data shows that a few media organizations sustained certain losses but the media professionals were the worst sufferers. None of the private TV channels sustained any loss in heavy rains and floods being situated in urban areas, especially in big cities, while only few FM radio stations had to suspend transmissions due to floods, that also in Punjab and Sindh provinces.
According to survey, the FM radio in Layyah town in Southern Punjab, had to suspend transmission for a few days while FM105 radio located in marooned city of Jacobabad, a district headquarter town in northwest of Sindh province bordering Balochistan province, stopped transmission after its equipment caught fire in heavy rains and later the entire staff fled to other areas to escape the floods. FM105, located in Dadu city, about 350km north of Karachi, also stopped transmission a month back after rainwater flooded its small building. The owners told that its transmission tower had also collapsed in winds and heavy rains. In eastern district Sanghar, bordering India, the FM105.2 radio also suspended transmission for three days due to heavy rains.
In Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province, the FM radio, located in Dera Ismail Khan, had to suspend its transmission for a week due to intense humidity caused by the heavy rains. Its transmissions were also disrupted by power outages. In Charsadda town, the FM93 itself did not suffer any loss but its staff became displaced and reportedly four radio journalists became homeless, as the torrential rains destroyed their houses. It is reported that a large number of media professionals in KP province had to leave their homes and take refuge at safer places. Their details are being collected.
In Balochistan province, the journalists stationed at Jaffarabad, Osta Muhammad and some other towns bordering Sindh province, were also displaced after the River Indus water inundated a considerable area after devastating northern Sindh districts. The number of journalists, representing print and electronic media in these towns, varies from 20 to 50 and according to survey all these had to shift along with their families to Quetta, the capital of Balochistan and other towns or to some towns of Sindh.
In Sindh province, Parts of district Ghotki, Kashmore-Kandhkot, entire Jacobabad district, Kamber-Shahdadkot and southern district Thatta were the most affected districts from where a large number of media professionals are displaced. Around 150 journalists of Jacobabad
district had to leave their homes and take refuge in other towns of province. The journalists of Kamber-Shahdadkot too had to vacate homes and shift to other towns like other citizens while around 100 media persons of Thatta left their homes for taking refuge in other areas after a breach in River Indus bank. Later they returned to homes after a week when the floodwater was diverted to other area. Some of them own agricultural lands, which were destroyed by floods.
It is estimated that over 400 media professionals are displaced in these few districts of Sindh alone. Since the floods are not yet over, most of them could not be contacted being still displaced.
The latest reports received on Thursday September 02, 2010 from Jati, a Taluka headquarter and last southern coastal town of Thatta district, suggest that the town had 20 journalists of whom 16 have left the homes along with 95 percent other population to safer places after the floodwater started entering its limits. Only four media professionals chose to
stay in town to perform duties. They too however have shifted their families to safer places.
Latest information says that administration has advised citizens to vacate the Khairpur Nathan Shah town of Dadu district as the floodwater is least 20 newsmen would be displaced due to this situation.
August 24, 2010, Kathmandu. The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) appeal to the Government of Pakistan and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to allow setting up of emergency community radio stations in areas that have suffered from the current floods in Pakistan.
We call upon all concerned agencies in Pakistan to be flexible and responsive to proposals for the establishment of community based broadcasting mechanisms so that any information gap that exists among the affected people is fulfilled and relief operations are made highly effective. AMARC offers its knowledge and expertise in setting up emergency broadcasting mechanisms, gathered from working around the world in similar situations of natural disasters.
The important role of community radio in times of natural disaster for aiding relief operations as well as for supporting rehabilitation and rebuilding has been proven many times over. The recent examples of the positive power of community radio was seen in the earthquakes of Haiti and Chile where AMARC played an important role in facilitating the setting up of emergency broadcasting stations. It was not so long ago that community radios were brought to the forefront of the efforts to provide relief and rehabilitate those affected by the tsunami and floods in Indonesia.
AMARC and PPF highly appreciate the valuable work being carried out by radio stations in the flood affected areas. There is a need to complement theses efforts by bridging the gaps of information at the very local levels and among displaced peoples. This can be effectively achieved by setting up emergency community radio stations.
AMARC, PPF and all other AMARC members in Pakistan offer sincere condolences to the families of those that have perished in the floods in Pakistan. We offer our solidarity and prayers to those that have suffered huge emotional and material losses and extend our support to those that are engaged in helping the affected.
About AMARC: AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighbourhood levels. AMARC has an International Secretariat in Montreal. It has regional sections in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific and offices in Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Brussels, and Kathmandu. For more information, please contact Suman Basnet, Regional Coordinator for Asia-Pacific, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.asiapacific.amarc.org.
About PPF: The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is an independent, non-profit organization that carries out media development activities such as the training of journalists, the promotion of standards of journalism, and the defence of the rights of media to free expression. The organization also promotes greater awareness of social and development issues through media. PPF is also involved in developing the capacities of FM radio stations to produce news and current affairs programmes so that citizens, both rural and urban are kept aware of developments that affect their lives. For more information please contact Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary General, Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org