Local radio proves a lifeline in Haiti

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Communications are still disrupted in Haiti, hampering relief efforts. Cell phone service, is, however, slowly being restored, as are Internet connections. But in the aftermath of the earthquake, many Haitians have turned to local radio as a way to get, and share, information. We hear from Mario Viau, director of SignalFM in Port-au-Prince, which has somehow managed to keep broadcasting, on the airwaves and online, since the earthquake struck.

MARCO WERMAN: Communication remains central to the relief efforts in Haiti. Cell phone service was nearly knocked out by the quake, but it's slowly being restored. The same goes for Internet connections. But for many Haitians it's local radio that's been a lifeline.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: [In foreign language]

WERMAN: This is Signal FM, a Port au Prince radio station. Mario Viau the station director.

MARIO VIAU: [Voiceover] We've got the Internet here at Signal, and it's been a miracle that we've been able to stay on air. Don't ask me how we've managed to do that. But we've been posting messages from people abroad, and from here as well. People looking for relatives. And because the phone lines have been down, the station has been playing the role of the telephone. So, when people would come to the station, they would send messages to loved ones, and those who heard those messages, would also come down to the station as well. And some have come to tell us that they know some people are still alive under certain buildings. So they'd come here to ask for help. And representatives from the government have come, too, to give messages. And people from the international community have also come to pass on details about where aid is being distributed. So really, we've been the only point for information, and since the earthquake we've been on air 24 hours a day.

WERMAN: That's Mario, Director of Signal FM in Port au Prince Haiti.