Notes to broadcasters on disaster mitigation:

    | May 3, 2010

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    Natural disasters are not always unexpected. Often, extreme weather events can be predicted by meteorologists. In Mozambique (and a number of other African countries), floods occur annually, and a combination of weather forecasting and monitoring can predict if flooding will be extreme. When local people are informed that a natural disaster is coming, they can take action to protect their families. Radio can be an invaluable tool, sharing information that helps people prepare for a disaster and notifying people if a disaster is imminent.

    Here are some ideas to increase your effectiveness in broadcasting information on disaster preparedness:

    -Tell your audience about the importance of food security and farmers, especially in times of natural disaster. Promote the crucial role of farmers in coping with disaster, and give them the respect they deserve.
    -Develop programs that shift people’s preferences away from imported food, especially during times of disaster. Use programs to promote and stimulate demand for locally-grown food.
    -Establish rural phone “hot lines” before and during disasters. Use the hot lines as part of live call-in/text-in programs.
    -Ask popular artists and singers to lend their names to radio campaigns about disaster preparedness and mitigation. Invite the artists to appear and be interviewed on your programs.
    -Organize popular music and song competitions. Make the connection between “culture” and “agriculture.”
    -Highlight the cost of disasters to farmers and agricultural production as well as to the country as a whole. Invite representatives from government (for example, the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) and from NGOs to participate in informing the public.

    Adapted from ”Communicating hurricane preparedness for agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the Caribbean,” by Maria Protz, for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:

    You may also be interested in these Farm Radio International scripts, which suggest ways that communities can prepare for natural disasters:

    Your community group can help in times of disaster (Package 64, Script 8, July 2002)
    Disaster prevention, mitigation and recovery: Story ideas for the radio (Package 64, Script 10, July 2002)