Washington, D.C., January 13, 2010 – Haitians, cut off from the world by a devastating earthquake, tuned in to special shortwave and satellite radio broadcasts from the Voice of America's (VOA) Creole Service to learn the latest news and information.
Hours after Tuesday's earthquake struck near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, VOA broadcast a 90-minute special program to the people of Haiti. The program included statements of support from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; updates from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Red Cross, the United Nations and Haitian geologists; and interviews from Haiti. Up-to-date information is also available around the clock on www.VOANews.com/creole.
VOA also set up a special call-in number – 1-202-205-9942, mailbox 42 – for people to leave messages that will be broadcast to Haiti. Facebook and Twitter accounts are also being created.
Today, the service broadcast 30 minutes of news, including an interview with Haitian Ambassador Raymond Joseph. Another show is scheduled for 12:30pm EST/17300 UTC.
"In times of crises, VOA is a lifeline of information," said VOA Director Danforth Austin. "Because of our technologies, we are able to reach people in their own languages when disasters strike. Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, and we'll continue to give them the latest, accurate news."
Ronald Cesar, chief of VOA's Creole Service, said it was difficult for people to get telephone lines out of Haiti. In addition, damage was severe to one of the VOA's FM affiliates, Radio Guinen. “I talked with the manager and he said his tower was down,” Cesar said.
VOA is the leading international broadcaster in Haiti, with a weekly audience reach of 50%.
Note for Editors: If you would like to cover VOA's Creole broadcasting to Haiti or interview the VOA staff, please contact VOA Public Relations at 202-203-4959 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.
For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail email@example.com.