Date Posted: May 28th, 2012
This news story from the Comoros Islands shows that there are some events which cannot be planned for, and to which farmers remain particularly vulnerable. In this extreme case, farmers feel they can do little but appeal to authorities to help them get back on their feet.
But natural disasters are not always unexpected. Often, extreme weather events can be predicted by meteorologists. Farmers in regions known to be prone to flooding, or natural events such as high winds, can include coping mechanisms in their farm. Planting a variety of crops, saving seed or keeping livestock as an investment are examples. Here are some recent reports and updates on this story:
-“Comoros: Aid workers arrive as emergency declared” http://www.unocha.org/top-stories/all-stories/comoros-aid-workers-arrive-emergency-declared
-“Comoros floods April 2012” http://reliefweb.int/disaster/fl-2012-000066-com?sl=environment-term_listing%252Ctaxonomy_index_tid_source-3344
You may also wish to review scripts on disaster preparation, mitigation and management from Farm Radio International Package 64. These scripts can be found online at: http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/numerical.asp (scroll down to scripts from Package 64).
Here is a Farm Radio Weekly story on flooding from the same region:
-Mozambique: Farmers and fishers can stay safe during floods (FRW 109, May 2010)
If you broadcast to a region which is prone to natural disasters, you may want to consider what role your station can play. 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, or during seasons when disasters often strike. 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.
-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.