Internews to Deploy Media Assistance in Support of Haiti's Information Needs During Humanitarian Disaster

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With communications crippled in Haiti after Tuesday's devastating earthquake, Internews is responding to the urgent need for information during this humanitarian disaster.

Haitians need information about the situation: how to find food, shelter and water, how to connect to loved ones who survived, and eventually, how to rebuild.

A team from Internews that includes media specialists and radio technicians are deploying to assess the extent of damage to Haiti's media infrastructure, which provides crucial information to vulnerable populations. In addition, the rapid response team is bringing broadcast equipment that can quickly be used to broadcast emergency information. Internews previously used this type of portable broadcasting equipment in Banda Aceh after the 2004 tsunami.

The team will conduct a rapid assessment of local and national media transmission capabilities, audience reach and infrastructure damage, and will make recommendations for assistance.

Internews is able to deploy its team with generous support from the MacArthur Foundation and other donors.

Internews recently completed a project in Haiti working with 40 community radio stations throughout the country called RAMAK (Rasanbleman Medya pou Aksyon Kominoté). The project, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, focused on journalism trainings and technical skills for radio production personnel. The head of RAMAK, Jean Fedner Chéry, was in Washington, D.C. last year to accept the 2009 Internews Media Leadership Award for the radio network's track record of providing essential medical, educational and humanitarian relief information to its listeners.