Friday, May 23, 2008

Burma: BBC World Service launches emergency broadcasts

By Mark Sweney

BBC World Service: will broadcast information on disease prevention and health in Burma. Photograph: Getty Images

The BBC World Service is to launch a series of Burmese-language emergency broadcasts in the wake of the destruction of cyclone Nargis.

The broadcasts will be funded by a £50,000 donation from Vodafone.

The "lifeline" broadcasts, which will be made by the BBC Burmese Service from June 2, will provide information on disease prevention and health with advice on issues such as sanitation and food supplies.

The £50,000 donation, from the Vodafone Group Foundation charity, will enable a series of emergency broadcasts of six programmes of five minutes duration for six days each week.

The donation has been made to the BBC World Service Trust, the BBC's international development charity, which will develop the broadcasts in partnership with BBC Burmese Service.

"As the tragic news from Burma unfolds it has become apparent that traditional aid is not getting through," said Stephen King, director at BBC World Service Trust.

"The power of the media offers a vital way of getting people access to information to help them survive and start to recover."

The emergency programming will augment existing news and current affairs shows already broadcast in Burma and will reach an estimated seven million listeners.

"The provision of accurate, timely information is a disaster response in its own right and this can help," said Andrew Dunnett, director at Vodafone Group Foundation.

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--Source: Guardian

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