How a radio signal can save lives

by DanChurchAid | DanChurchAid - Denmark
Wednesday, 2 April 2014 10:00 GMT

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

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When severe weather hits, a radio, mobile phone or radar weather warning can make all the difference

A scratchy radio connection and villagers, who know where to run, when reports of bad weather is blaring out the speakers. That can change the fate for entire villages, when a typhoon, hurricane or massive floods set in. Radios, mobile signals and radar weather monitoring is everyday life in the West, but it can be the difference between life and death in many developing countries.

In its most recent report, the UN Climate Panel (ICPP) has gathered more than 12.000 scientific publications and statements from around 1.700 scientists from all over the world. Their conclusion cannot be mistaken. More floods, more droughts, increase in natural disasters, more refugees and less food.

However, simple things such as a transportable radio that can receive weather alerts from the bigger cities could save an entire local community. A warning provides time to gather belongings, food and water supplies and get yourself and your livestock into safety. Thereby the radio signal reduce the risk of people fleeing their homes.

The future of climate refugees depends on simple technology

For DanChurchAid the report on climate change does not come as a surprise. Many of the projects in DanChurchAid are focused on prevention work based on the challenges posed by climate change. Local communities are prepared for evacuations during floods and typhoons, they learn how to succeed in agriculture despite droughts and how to use their mobile phone as a tool in a crisis.

According to Humanitarian Director of DanChurchAid, Lisa Henry, it is of outmost importance that we invest in the technical solutions that can assist local communities in preventing work instead of making them dependent of aid.

“We have to use the direct contact to the entire world that we actually have today. Mobile phones, social media and monitoring systems helps us reach the villages before the weather does. That is crucial to their survival during as well as after a flood or a hurricane,” says Lisa Henry.

She stresses the fact that technical resources will only help so far in local areas, and that the need for action on a worldwide level is far bigger than simple technical equipment.

Our future at risk

It is crucial that the international community acts accordingly to the UN warnings now. It is a matter of our survival, says Senior Advocacy Advisor for DanChurchAid, Mattias Söderberg:

“Every single country should up their game in order to reduce the CO2 emissions. Politicians have to review their climate goals and find out, where they can be more ambitious. They have to ask themselves: Where and how can we reduce our emissions? In addition, how can we help support developing countries in increasing their goals and ambitions as well?