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VOA: Information Lifeline for Haitians During Deadly Hurricanes

On-the-ground reports combine with overviews to relief efforts

Washington, D.C., September 8, 2008 - The Voice of America's (VOA) Creole service is providing vital news and information about relief efforts to people in Haiti, where deadly hurricanes have left hundreds dead and thousands without food, water and shelter.

"We have loyal and dedicated listeners in Haiti, and we're doing our best to make sure they are kept informed about the humanitarian situation with interviews, news bulletins and call-in programs," said VOA Director Danforth Austin.

VOA's stringers in the affected areas have filed on-the-ground reports on the devastating hurricanes that began when Gustav hit the Caribbean island August 26. Washington-based VOA staffers have kept abreast of developments with interviews of U.S. and Haitian officials, including key relief officials such as Haiti's Agriculture Minister Joanas Gue.

"Our stringer in Gonaives is in a shelter, and he has described the situation. There is no food and water and everything is very expensive," said Ronald Cesar, chief of VOA's Creole service. Gonaives, a hard-hit town in the North, is one of the areas cut off from overland access because of storm damage.

U.S. aid officials have pledged a total of $10 million in relief assistance, some of which will be delivered by helicopters based on the USS Kearsarge, now based off the coast of Haiti.

VOA's Creole service broadcasts three 30-minute programs daily to Haiti. The programs are aired by 12 affiliate stations, including several with nationwide reach. Additionally, VOA broadcasts on shortwave. Surveys show more than half of all Haitians listen to VOA programs weekly.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,250 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Public Relations Office at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail