ABU aids broadcasters in Tsunami-stricken regions

Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) is helping member broadcasters restore broadcasting facilities and coordinate the contribution of portable radios for survivors
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Reporters from all over the globe are covering the tsunami tragedy in hopes of inspiring the world to assist the nations most devastated.

The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) is putting out a call to member broadcasters in the region to assist broadcasters caught in the aftermath of the tsunami tragedy.

Broadcasting organizations were not spared in the disaster. More than 30 employees of ABU members are missing and feared dead, while many broadcasting facilities have been damaged and transmissions disrupted.

The ABU is assisting in coordinating a project initiated by Commercial Radio Australia to restore broadcast operations in some of the stricken countries. The project will help establish temporary transmission facilities and, through the donation of portable radios with fresh batteries, will enable people made homeless in Aceh and other devastated regions to receive news of the relief efforts that are being mounted.

Leading this initiative is ABU member Commercial Radio Australia, headed by CEO Joan Warner. Warner has the support of radio engineers in Australia. Des DeCean, director of engineering and IT for the Austereo radio network is also helping with the cause. Warner said they are speaking to the Australian government in making arrangements for assistance through AUSAID and added that the CRA would also make available 12 volunteer engineers to set up transmission facilities in disaster areas.

Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) has set up a temporary studio and AM and FM transmission facilities in Banda Aceh - which are now operational. In addition to Emergency broadcast equipment, it needs 5000 portable AM and FM radio receivers for the stricken population.

While Sri Lanka Broadcasting’s (SLBC) transmission facilities were not significantly affected by the tsunami, the Sri Lankan broadcaster urgently requires FM radio receivers for survivors.

Radio Television Maldives has reportedly lost much of its equipment and seeks low-power TV transmitters and portable camera-recording equipment to enable it to provide coverage of the disaster. Also needed are MW battery-powered radio sets for eight temporary shelters each housing some 500 to 3000 people.

Commercial Radio Australia is in the process of arranging for 50,000 AM/FM radios and six transmitters to be sent to affected areas in the course of the next 4-5 weeks including 5000 radio units which will be ready for shipping to Indonesia by next week.

In helping to coordinate relief efforts, the ABU is making a call for radio sets and broadcast equipment donations by member broadcasters, suppliers, and other organizations for affected areas in Sri Lanka, Aceh and Maldives.

ABU member in Singapore, MediaCorpTV, has immediately taken up the call and is looking into the Maldives requirement; Jan Grondrup-Vivanco, regional director, Asia & Scandinavia, Eutelsat, an ABU affiliate member, has offered assistance in the form of free usage of FSS capacity on their satellites.

For more information and updates, to make a contribution, or to volunteer, visit www.abu.org.my.

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