Washington, D.C., January 14, 2010 – The Voice of America’s (VOA) Creole Service, reaching out to Haitian earthquake victims in their language, is ramping up the strength and frequency of emergency broadcasts to Haiti.
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With Haiti’s communications infrastructure badly damaged, the VOA, the largest international broadcaster in Haiti, is providing listeners with news and information via a combination of shortwave, AM and satellite broadcasts.
“We’re doing everything we possibly can to reach people in Haiti who have a desperate need for information,” said Alberto Mascaro, chief of VOA’s Latin America Division.
He said Creole Service programming on shortwave and satellite radio has expanded from 1.5 hours daily to 5 hours. Programs now air at 7:30-8:30 am EST (1230-0130 UTC); 12:30-2:30 pm EST (1730-1930 UTC); 5:00-6:00 pm EST (2200-2300 UTC) and 8:00-9:00 pm EST (0100-0200 UTC). The evening programs can also be heard on 1180 AM from a transmitter and tower in Marathon, Florida, pre-empting Radio Marti at those times.
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VOA is playing a leading role to help Haitians reach out to one another. A special call-in number – 1-202-205-9942, mailbox 42 – has been established for people to leave messages that will be broadcast to Haiti. Facebook and Twitter accounts have also been created in Creole.
VOA reporters are on the ground in Haiti, covering the international response to the disaster. Basic survival information, statements by President Obama and messages from Haitians living in the United States have been broadcast back to those dealing with the disaster.
Like other native Haitians living in the United States, VOA Creole staffers are still trying to confirm the status of their relatives on the island, according to Ronald Cesar, chief of the Creole Service.
VOA’s Creole Service reaches more than 50 percent of adult Haitians on a weekly basis. Up-to-date information is also available around the clock on www.VOANews.com/creole.
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, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail email@example.com.