Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Broadcasting to Haiti

We used to have programming for Haiti on our TWR - Bonaire station, but in recent years, we have been working with local Haitian stations 4VEH and Radio Lumiere, who have good coverage there. The recent earthquake knocked Radio Lumiere off the air. Some of their personnel were killed in the quake as well.

So we have been picking up Creole programming from 4VEH in the north of Haiti, and transmitting from Bonaire to Port-au-Prince. These Creole broadcasts follow our Spanish programming to Cuba and begin at 10:15pm Haiti time. I've had some late night sessions in the studio making sure this programming goes out ok.

Last night we aired a special greeting/message to both the relief workers and the people of Haiti, from Wess Stafford, the President of Compassion International. Wess did aid work in Haiti back in the day and still speaks a little Creole, and Compassion already had volunteers in Haiti when the earthquake struck. You can read more about this and hear some audio on TWR's web site.

Our TWR partner in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, is mobilizing and providing special training to university psychology majors, so they can head to Haiti to begin to help the people there who have been traumatized by this disaster. The new Executive Director of RTM-DR, the Rev. C├ęsar Vargas Corporan, is a psychology professor and some of the board members are also health care professionals, so they are well connected to organize both immediate and long term help. TWR has extensive materials that proved very effective in the months and years following the Tsunami in Indonesia. These will be adapted to the situation and disseminated when the time is right.

Our TWR partner in the DR is also trying to find a way to get fuel to 4VEH and to Radio Lumiere so they can keep their generators running to stay on the air. 4VEH sent two trucks to the DR to buy fuel and they were never heard from again! Getting relief supplies to those who need them is very difficult indeed.

YWAM, another agency that was already active in Haiti before the quake, received a report from a field team that visited Port-au-Prince. The assessment: "The situation is worse than it has appeared on TV!" So the people of Haiti need our prayers and all the immediate and long term assistance we can muster.

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