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ABU partnership helps broadcasters save lives

ABU Technology has partnered with Australia’s ABC and AusAID on a regional workshop in Cambodia about having the right information at the right time so broadcasters can save lives in times of disasters.

The two-day ‘Broadcasters Can Save Lives’ workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from 28-29 November 2013 looked at the role of national radio broadcasters in disaster response, covering ways to promote knowledge-sharing and collaboration among priority ASEAN radio broadcasters and disaster information providers.

The main theme of the workshop was information flow and effective broadcasting prior to and during times of disaster caused by natural hazards. ABU’s Director of Technology Dr Amal Punchihewa said that, along with shelter, food, water and medical assistance, information is one of the basic requirements people need to protect themselves before, during and after a disaster.

“While there are many sources of information, the media plays arguably the most critical role in providing the most number of citizens with an accessible, single source of accurate and trusted information – and quickly.

“Emergency broadcasters connect governments, disaster organisations, community groups, and citizens so they can work together to protect their families and livelihoods in times of emergency. Quality information reaching the right people at the right time can saves lives and reduce the economic impact of a natural disaster.”

More than 50 participants from 10 countries attended. As well as senior editorial staff from national broadcasters in Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia and Laos, there were representative from the key national disaster management authorities and disaster relief NGOs.

Each country drafted an action plan for broadcasters to improve information flow before, during and after a disaster event and there were exercises to help national disaster authorities develop more streamlined external communication systems to ensure timely dissemination of critical information.