Mangaluru: As part of operations by rescue forces and other helping hands in the calamity-hit Kodagu district, All India Radio (AIR), Madikeri, has risen to the occasion by reaching out to the distressed through the dissemination of useful information.
AIR, considered as the trustworthy medium among the masses, has been working behind the scenes in this traumatic situation.
The signals of AIR, Madikeri, with a good penetration in the urban and rural areas of Kodagu, reach the nooks and corners of the hilly district, along with parts of Dakshina Kannada and Mysuru district.
The radio station has devoted all its major slots, except the news broadcast, towards special transmission meant for flood victims. This has been a bridge of connectivity to those who are stranded in remote locations where only radio signals can perpetrate.
AIR Mysuru Programme Executive (Coordination) Abdul Rashid said he has been deputed from AIR Mysuru to Madikeri to supervise the task as per the instructions by the AIR Directorate.
A statewide broadcast is being aired between 8.35 am and 9.30 am on all days, to convey SOS messages. This apart, the station is opened up to the public through live broadcasts between 9.30 am to 5 pm. Experts like, doctors and psychologists, air useful tips to the people in distress. In the initial stage, people were guided to stay calm and composed during the traumatic situation. It is a major challenge to keep the people rightly informed when there were outbreak of rumours on landslides, severed roads and deaths of people. The officials in touch with the AIR station helped to air trustworthy information by ascertaining the ground situation. The deputy commissioner and other officials spoke through the medium of radio and shared authentic information with people.
On the other hand, environmentalists like Nagesh Hegde, analysed the reasons for the disaster. AIR Additional Director General Dr Rajkumar Upadhyaya and other senior officials were in constant touch, Rashid said.
A helpline has been set up by AIR, Madikeri and the people, who are concerned about their family members and relatives, are asked to share information on their status. The names of those who are desperately hoping to reunite with their relatives scattered at various relief camps are being broadcast. On many occasions, the persons on the receiving end have responded. The people, who were feared to be dead, declared that they are very much alive and safe.
The people who contribute relief materials and also the nodal officers, who are in charge of the relief camps, are sensitised on the urgent requirement and judicial distribution of the relief items.
An AIR official said that during landslides and flash floods, many people refused to leave their houses. Then, AIR, Madikeri, provided proper counselling to them through experts in the studio. It made the vulnerable people understand the gravity of the situation. Many others, in a bid to save their lives, left behind their cattle and pets. However, after reaching safer locations, they were pining for their mute companions and wanted AIR to deliver the message to the people in nearby locations to untie with their cattle, pets and also to release the birds in cages.