Radio broadcasters in Mozambique are at the heart of the community, spreading information that can save lives during a natural disaster.
More than 1.9 million listeners are once again tuning in to their favourite radio stations in the cyclone-affected districts of Dondo, Nhamatanda, Gorongosa, Búzi and Beira in Sofala - the province hardest-hit by Cyclone Idai on 14 March.
The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), led by the World Food Programme (WFP), carried out swift assessments in Idai’s wake, set up communications services for humanitarians and looked for ways to enable the affected population to access information. Amid the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai, the cruciality of radio in daily Mozambican life was evident and the ETC identified six community stations needing urgent rehabilitation; now with new communications towers, antennas and electronic equipment initiated by the ETC, community radio transmissions are active again.
In Mozambique, community radio stations play an essential role as amplifiers of public service information and they are also instrumental for reaching the most vulnerable groups including women, children and people with disabilities.
Radio messages can be broadcast about how to prepare for future cyclones, alert the population of an impending storm, spread knowledge about how to avoid cholera and malaria in the aftermath of a cyclone and be used to locate loved ones.
“When disasters like cyclones strike, communication is vital,” says Enrica Porcari, Chair of the ETC and Chief Information Officer of WFP. “It is essential not only for humanitarians to respond efficiently and effectively but also for affected populations to have access to communications so they can find out lifesaving information about the response and assistance available to them, but also to reach out to their families and friends,” Enrica says.