In August 2017 large parts of Bihar were flooded along with other parts of North India, Nepal and Bangladesh. First Response Radio (FRR) India responded with dedicated radio programmes providing vital relief information, psychosocial support and opportunities for affected communities to communicate with authorities and each other.
Bihar Case Study
When people were in chaos, FRR India programmes provided a local presence with reliable and timely information, which facilitated a return to stability. The programmes helped bridge between government organisations, NGOs and the affected communities. On-the-ground teams and helplines to trauma counselling provided listening ears so that communication was truly local and truly two-way.
First Response Radio (FRR) India began emergency broadcasts within 72 hours of the onset of flash floods and landslides in the Northern state of Uttarakhand in the Himalayas. According to Uttrakhand Chief Minister the floods were a “Himalayan Tsunami”.
The special broadcasts began going out on June 19th via SW radio for 30 minutes a day towards the affected region to provide critical information to those affected by the flooding including the many pilgrims who are not from that state.
Even before full assessments were available, FRR began preparing broadcasts from Delhi based on the news, government and NGO information. In the early days of the special broadcasts the floods were still increasing and programs warned listeners of the increased danger of floods.
On June 21st FRR India deployed a team of 4 people into Uttarakhand state. Most of the team members had already completed FRR training in 2011 where they learned how to use the suitcase studio to produce emergency radio programs.
Once in the affected area they began interviewing the affected community, Government and NGOs. Every day they produce a 30 min program of useful information using the suitcase and upload the programs over the (slow) internet for broadcast that night.
hen FRR INTL coordinator, Mike Adams called Firoz he asked “What was the most important information that the programs were providing for those affected by the flash floods?” Firoz replied: “On our emergency radio programs we are passing the information about rescue operations, health tips, weather information and information about relief camps and health camps.”
Broadcasts can be heard on Shortwave Radio (SW) on 9500 KHz on the 31 Meter Band from 8:00 to 8:30pm local time, nightly. (1430 UTC)