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Life-saving radio begins broadcasting in typhoon-hit Tacloban

An emergency radio station broadcasting critical life-saving information has gone live in Philippine’s badly-affected Tacloban city.

“[The station] aims to be the voice from the government and the relief community to the affected [people] and also to provide two-way communication [with] the community,” Mike Adams, the international coordinator for First Response Radio (FRR), an international non-profit network of radio technicians who have had a team on standby in the Philippines since 2007 and are a partner of the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) network.

Launched at 9am on 14 November, FRR broadcasts eight-hours per day and their programmes can be heard up to 10km from Tacloban, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The hard-hit city (population 221,000) lost most its telecommunications infrastructure when Haiyan struck last week, wrecking at least one radio station and leaving four radio broadcasters dead, local media report.

FRR, licensed by the Philippines government’s Nation Telecommunications Commission (NTC), was set up by a five-person team deployed to Tacloban on 13 November within 72 hours of the storm striking.

FRR will distribute in the next few days the first 200 solar and wind-up radios to evacuation centres and local government offices, where broadcasts will be amplified by loudspeaker to reach a larger audience.

FRR says it will distribute 1,000 radios to affected neighbourhoods and evacuation centres in the next week.