Role of Community Radio in Disaster Risk Reduction in Bangladesh

Author's name: 
AHM Bazlur Rahman S21Br
Dhaka

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC).is promoting the advocacy with the government in relation to community radio with other organizations since its emergence. Community Radio is playing very significant role in the countries of South Asia responding to other regions of the world. Recently Information Ministry of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh formulated Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy 2008 and we would thank the Government for this policy.

Community radio can play significant role in disaster management through promoting preparedness, warning and rehabilitation programs before, during and after any disaster in the coastal areas. In the pre-disaster phase, community radio can promote social forestry, which is the way of developing greenbelt promotion. Community radio can disseminate the messages of warning signals, indigenous coping mechanism i.e. behavior of animal, local weather situations, on first aid, emergency food, evacuation, gathering in cyclone shelter in particular space and on sanitation practice and facilities during emergency and before or afterwards. Moreover, community radio can reflect on plan for emergency responses.

During the disaster phase community radio can standby and function in warning dissemination in local language/accents. Local young people can form a volunteer group as community radio listeners club and can work using radio messages for effective publicity for readiness.

They can shelter vulnerable groups of people including first aid service and conduct rescue activities respecting the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE). Community radio can forecast availability of first aid sources and vulnerable area for immediate evacuation. As all communication ways are disrupted during the disaster phase, community radio can continue linkage with government control room and liaison with NGOs and donor agencies.

In post-disaster phase, community radio can broadcast programs and messages on management of deaths and disposal of wastage, restoration of safe water supply and basic sanitation, promotion of alternative livelihood options, appropriate technology for restoration of communications, start immediate need assessment through pre selected volunteers, organize and coordinate relief operations by mobilizing local resources, and prioritize primary health care services.

For the effective role of community radio in disaster management, the CR staff should be properly motivated and radio programs should be designed with much emphasis on the disaster preparedness.

That is why, BNNRC set up Community Radio Academy on 01 May 2008 as one of its social enterprises to enhance capacity of the community radio staff and to conduct research and development activities on community radio program production.

Specific Intervention:
1. Organize TOT for Community Radio Station Manager and Initiators
2. Publish handbook on Community Radio and DRR
3. Strengthen Community Radio Academy (TA and Curriculum & Content)
4. Publish handbook on Community Media and DRR
5. Organize two days national forum on Community radio and DRR in collaboration with DRR stakeholders ( each year)
6. Content preparation for Community Radio
7. Establish link with Upazilla Committee on DRR

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