20 January 2010 One week after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, the United Nations radio station in Port-au-Prince, MINUSTAH FM, is back on air with material and technical assistance from Radio France and Télédiffusion de France.
A six-person emergency team from France arrived in Haiti shortly after the 7.0-magnitude quake. They brought with them 1,400 pounds of technical equipment comprising of a transmitter, a radio relay system, an antenna, computers for sound editing and a satellite station.
“What Radio France did is extraordinary. When they arrived I nearly cried for joy. I was very moved because in such a deep crisis it is very important to be able to communicate as quickly as possible with the population,” said David Wimhurst, chief of information for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), in a press release issued today.
Radio is the most common medium used by Haitians, and broadcasts have resumed in Creole and French to ensure that assistance is brought to the people in need.
“With the onslaught of this tragedy, the resumption of programmes is absolutely vital. It will contribute not only to the search for the missing and the reunion of families but also to the dispatching of food and medical supplies,” said Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information in New York.
MINUSTAH FM is currently broadcasting from the airport in Port-au-Prince. The Christopher Hotel, where the UN mission was headquartered, was levelled in the earthquake – as was more than half of the capital city leaving some 3 million people in need of shelter, medical aid, food and water.
“The scope of this catastrophe, the links that unite Haiti to France and the importance of radio in the daily life of Haitians fully justify” Radio France’s mobilization, stressed Jean-Luc Hees, chief executive officer of Radio France, which will also help several other Haitian radio stations.
MINUSTAH broadcasts can be heard in Port-au-Prince on 94.9 FM, in Jacmel on 98.1 FM, at Les Cayes on 98.5 FM and in Hinche at 90.1 FM.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue