Palu, Indonesia response

Living through disaster is always hard - responding to disaster situations can be just as hard.   A small team from First Response Radio Indonesia responded following the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia.   Flights and logistics were challenging - It took them the best part of 3 days to get there, transiting through several airports and finally getting a small plane into Palu.  When they arrived they had to wait another day for their equipment to catch up with them (they were not informed it was not on the same plane ).

The team had a Suitcase Radio and radios receivers to distribute, not knowing how many stations were on the air.  20 private stations were reported to be off the air since the tsunami 9 days previously.  FRI agreed to support a local commercial radio stations, Radio Nebula.   Radio Nebula was still off the air and was unsure if their antenna or transmitter were damaged.  When power came back on they found all the equipment was functioning so FRI began broadcasting at 6am on Sunday, October 7th.  They are broadcasting with the strap-line: Radio Nebula FM - Raising Up Palu - with First Response Indonesia.  The possible coverage plot shows the station can reach over 400,000 affected people in this area. 

Calls started pouring in non-stop as soon as they went on air.   The community members main request was for the team to pass on information about their needs to the government.  RR Indonesia have been working with and training Radio Nebula, collecting content from affected community members and distributing radios.  200 radios have been distributed so far, with several thousand more on the way.

Red Cross Interview on Radio Nebula (Credit Mr. Husni @ IFRC)

First Response Indonesia (FRI) interviewed a representative from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) to give listeners information about how the Red Cross can help relocating lost family member - a vital concern for people after a disaster like this. The team also interviewed doctors working in the affected areas, and are assessing what listeners information needs are, as well as passing on info about immediate physical needs to the government.

The situation in Palu remains critical, with 2000 confirmed dead, up to 5000 missing, and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed.  The radio station has already proven a key channel for informing government about immediate physical needs of listeners. FRI is asking what the listeners' information and communication needs are. This is essential to make sure that station is effective in fulfilling its Community Engagement role.


Radio saves live