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In July 2010, monsoon rains caused flash flooding in the northern provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The situation quickly deteriorated and devastating floods made their way through the Indus River system to the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. The floods washed away entire villages, causing a level of destruction unprecedented in Pakistan. Nearly 18 million people were affected. Thousands of people were stranded, waiting in treetops and hilltops to be rescued. Thousands of others fled their homes, leaving everything behind to be washed away and destroyed by flood water. They lived in make-shift camps wherever they could find dry land. In most areas, the water subsided after weeks and people have returned to find their homes and farmland damaged, destroyed or completely gone. In Sindh, KPK and Balochistan there are thousands of people still living in makeshift settlements.
HIP is covering two of the worst-hit provinces, Sindh and Punjab, working with local journalists to produce radio reports for the affected communities.
The reporting team is trained in covering humanitarian issues. They are constantly in touch with the community and work with humanitarian organizations to ensure important information about aid and assistance, as well as awareness of health, hygiene, nutrition, shelter, education and human rights are conveyed to the affected community.
In this way, HIP directly connects humanitarian organizations and the government with the people and families they are assisting. These local voices allow the humanitarian community to hear about and take action on serious concerns. The increased dialogue also helps the affected community take ownership of their recovery and rehabilitation.
The Humanitarian Information Project is working with Radio Highway in Sindh and Radio Awaz in Punjab. Sabaoon is broadcast on Radio Pakistan and is produced by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), an independent think-tank based in Islamabad. The Centre focuses on democracy, governance, security, terrorism and environmental issues. The organization publishes analysis on national and regional political and security issues, as well as organizing discussion forums. www.crss.pk.
HIP previously produced Sabaoon, a radio program broadcast on Radio Pakistan in KPK for people who were affected by the military operations in Swat and FATA. The program began in 2009 and ended in 2011. It was produced by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).
How HIP works
Information is essential to the survival and rehabilitation of people in a humanitarian crisis. Information produced locally is particularly responsive to people’s needs, their concerns and their culture. HIP empowers local media by educating and training journalists on humanitarian reporting. Support for local media can help reporters better understand the complexities of humanitarian responses and form more constructive relationships with humanitarian agencies and the government. This helps local reporters provide the information that communities need to make the best use of assistance and make everyone part of the dialogue.
Part of empowering local media is about creating a forum in which local voices can thrive. Where necessary, HIP builds or supports studios and offices, and provides equipment, software and training to ensure reporters have the necessary basics to tell real stories coming from the community. HIP also distributes radios to vulnerable members in the community.
HIP trains local journalists to recognize the immediate and long term needs of people affected in a humanitarian crisis. HIP draws on the humanitarian community in Pakistan and experienced journalists, to help local reporters know and understand the numerous players involved in the response to a crisis. This also provides an opportunity for the humanitarian organizations in Pakistan to hear local voices and understand challenges and ground realities.
For those communities where access to radios is limited or where the broadcast of the radio reports and programs are beyond reach, HIP holds listening groups. In these sessions, members of the community are invited to gather and listen to a recording of the programs. These shows are then discussed and people give their feedback on what they like, what issues need more focus and what problems they face that should be addressed. This way, HIP can bring more people into the dialogue.
*Photos by Teejay, Shabbir Imam, Fahim Farid and HIP Reporting Team.
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