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AMARC calls on community broadcasters to rally in support of Haitian colleagues

(AMARC/IFEX) - AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, calls on community radio broadcasters worldwide to rally in support of the people of Haiti, following the massive earthquake that has killed thousands of people and destroyed essential infrastructure.

It is estimated that one third of the country's 9 million population have been affected, tens of thousands have died and many more are injured and without adequate medical support. The earthquake has caused extensive damage to communication systems and other vital services. Among the many people directly affected are community media workers and their families.

AMARC is conducting an urgent assessment of the status of community broadcasting in the areas affected and is working to mobilize resources and technical assistance. AMARC estimates that at least 12 community radio stations are located within the zones that have suffered the most severe earthquake destruction. The full extent of the impact is not yet known.

AMARC is calling on community broadcasters to support the international relief effort by organizing airtime appeals and other activities, and to provide direct assistance to community broadcasters affected by the earthquake, including equipment donations and financial support.

Even before this catastrophic disaster, Haiti faced enormous problems of transport and communications infrastructure, access to electricity and high rates of illiteracy. Community radio has developed, since 1992, as an essential part of Haiti's communications landscape, reaching the poorest communities and enabling their participation in development.

Community media have a vital role to play in times of emergency and disaster. The restoration of communications infrastructure will be an essential priority of the humanitarian emergency response effort. AMARC will be working, in partnership with local community radio organizations in Haiti, to support the reconstruction of community broadcasting services.

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