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Community radios in disaster prone Indian disctricts

Wednesday 1 June 2016, by SIGNIS

Dehradun, June, 1st, 2016 (Times of India). In order to reach out to local community within minimum time span during and after a disaster, a Bangalore based organization "People Power Collective", with the help of disaster management department, is going to set up five community radio stations in remote areas of disaster prone districts in Uttarakhand.

Post 2013 Kedarnath natural disaster, People Power Collective, a charitable public trust, had established a community radio station — Mandakini ki Awaaz — which began its operations in 2014.

Ravishankar, additional secretary, disaster management department, told TOI, "We received a proposal from "People Power Collective" of setting up community radio stations in remote areas in five disaster prone districts. Community radio can play pivotal role in disaster risk reduction and can be used to keep communities alert during and after a disaster."

He further added that disaster management department is soon going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with People Power Collective regarding the establishment of community radio stations. "Our department is just going to facilitate the setting up of radio stations but the finances will be raised by the organization itself," said Ravishankar.

Saritha Thomas, founder of People Power Collective, told TOI, "Community radio station Mandakini Ki Awaz played a very important role in sharing timely information during forest fires that raged the state of Uttarakhad earlier this month. We would be tying up with five community organizations in disaster affected districts for setting up radio stations. My organization will be involved in capacity building of local people for ensuring sustainable operation of radio stations."

Besides providing logistics support and helping in creating awareness about the community radio stations, the disaster management department will also help the organization in getting the community radio license from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

"Local persons would be running the radio stations. The programs on radio stations will also help in educating people about natural disasters and how to deal with them. The programmes will be aired in Hindi and local languages," said Saritha Thomas.

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