Nelly Bassily | January 26, 2009
Thousands of villagers from Liberia’s Bong County – the area hit worst by the armyworm invasion – have been forced to leave their homes. An immediate concern was the need for clean water, as the caterpillars have contaminated water sources. In the weeks and months to come, it is feared that there will be a food shortage resulting from the crop destruction. What’s more, parts of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Côte d’Ivoire are also at risk.
The role of radio in such a crisis cannot be underestimated. Here are some suggestions on how your radio organization might approach programming:
1) If you broadcast in an area that is, or may be, directly affected by the armyworm invasion (Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Côte d’Ivoire):
-Keep in touch with relevant authorities and NGOs for accurate and up-to-date information on the situation, and take note of any support services available to those who are affected.
-If possible, send reporters to speak with people in affected areas, or people who have fled affected areas. Find out how they are affected and what they are doing to cope.
2) If you broadcast in an area that is unlikely to be directly affected by this crisis:
-Consider informing your listeners about the armyworm invasion.
-Broadcast information on how to control armyworms or other pests that pose a threat to farmers in your area.
-For more information on cultural practices that can help manage or prevent lower-scale caterpillar infestations, visit: http://www.infonet-biovision.org/default/ct/95/pests#cp.
-For links to all of Farm Radio International’s scripts on pest management, go to: http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/pest.asp.
If you are broadcasting in an area affected by this armyworm invasion, or if you have any advice to share on programming during such a crisis, please post a comment to this section, or e-mail FRW Editor Heather Miller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.