ears to our world

At ETOW, we believe access to information is access to education. We provide innovative, simple and appropriate technologies to schools and communities in remote, rural and impoverished regions of our world.

Filtering by Tag: Haiti Earthquake

Why Radio in Disasters?

by Rob de Santos

What would you do if your car died on a dark road, out of sight of any building? Your mobile phone doesn’t get a signal. The car battery has died. It’s cold, dark, and perhaps even raining. You are truly “out of touch,” not sure when help is going to arrive. Would you be worried? Scared, even?

Now, put yourself in a disaster zone. Your house may be damaged or destroyed. Public utilities aren’t functioning. Power is out and mobile phones aren’t working. You are truly “out of touch.” Now, how might you feel?

The scenarios are remarkably similar in the feelings and concerns they elicit. In both cases, the lack of any communication makes the situation far worse. In both situations, if you could just turn on a radio and get news of what is going on in your area and when help might arrive, your sense of security increases as your fears diminish.

Such is the power of radio. When other communications fail, a simple radio with a crank or solar panel for power and knob to tune it offers a reassuring voice. A source of knowledge instead of just rumors. Before schools can get outside resources, or children can travel over repaired roads, radio provides a funnel of information that allows education to continue.

It’s easy (and necessary) in a disaster to think about necessities such as food, shelter, and clean water. How do people in the disaster learn where to go and how to get help with these basic needs? If you live in the industrialized world you might just assume it will show up where you are, sooner or later. As many found even in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the United States, that can be a risky assumption. What you need is information on how to help yourself, and the best way to get the information is through a radio.

Radios to Haiti: Information Is Relief to Haiti's Earthquake Victims

haitiearthquakeepicenterAt ETOW, we know that in times of crisis, the dissemination of basic information is of extreme importance; it can save lives. Therefore, although sending radios to Haiti following that country's recent devastating earthquake broadens the scope of our usual program, in light of the dire emergency the country now faces, ETOW has decided to extend our reach beyond schools and teachers, to distribute a substantial number of Eton Corporation-donated ETOW radios to individuals in remote and impoverished areas affected by the recent earthquake.

ETOW's wind-up radios, which also have a built-in flashlight, may provide life-saving medical and food/water supply information to families and communities.

On a side note, we are very grateful to hear reports from our partner organization, the American Haitian Foundation, that the community of Petite-Rivière-de-Nippes in Haiti has reported no loss of life, and the ETOW radios they previously received are providing a useful link with other islands.

We will provide further updates on our special Radios to Haiti program as they become available.

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