Washington, D.C., January 26, 2010 – The Voice of America's (VOA) Creole-speaking staff is providing vital information to Haiti, aimed at helping people find "immediate shelter, medical assistance and aid," Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., said in a statement.
"Many Americans may not be aware of the role of U.S. international broadcasting … in assisting the people of Haiti," Kaufman said in a statement published in the Congressional Record on Jan. 25, 2010.
Kaufman, a former member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency that oversees VOA, noted that shortly after the Jan. 12 earthquake, VOA began Creole broadcasts on multiple frequencies in Haiti from Commando Solo, a C-130 aircraft operated by the 193rd Special Operations Wing.
"Since then, VOA Creole Service has broadcast news and information on the relief efforts, utilizing reporters on the scene in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas," he said.
"The VOA Creole Service broadcasts include public service announcements with information and statements from U.S. Government agencies, including USAID and the Department of Defense, (DOD), aimed at helping Haitians find immediate shelter, medical assistance, and aid," he said.
"There are hourly public safety and relief supply updates, as well as a call-in line to broadcast messages from families and friends of the injured and missing. Ronald Cesar is running this program, with a small but very dedicated staff, and I thank all of them for their commitment to the disaster relief." Cesar is chief of the VOA Creole Service.
"Online, VOA has updated Twitter and Facebook feeds around the clock with the latest news and information about Haiti." Kaufman said. "All this coverage is making a difference. If you searched 'Haiti' on Google News the weekend after the earthquake, the first hit was of a VOA news story, thanks to the presence of numerous VOA stringers reporting around the clock from Haiti."
Kaufman noted the critical role U.S. international broadcasting has played in similar situations throughout history. In 2008, when Kenya erupted into violence, VOA provided one of the sole sources of credible news and information worldwide, he said. And when the 2004 tsunami devastated Indonesia, Thailand, and countries across the Indian Ocean, VOA helped millions stay up to date with the international relief effort.
VOA's Creole Service broadcasts 10.5 hours on weekdays, and 9.5 hours on weekends. It is available from the DOD airborne transmitter flying over Haiti, local Haitian affiliates and from U.S.-based transmitters. The service is available at www.VOANews.com/creole.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.