VOA Beaming Special Drought Programs to Horn of Africa

Voice of America is broadcasting special drought-related radio programs delivering life-saving information to the hundreds of thousands of victims of the humanitarian crisis who are now at risk of starvation in Somalia and the Horn of Africa.

The first of the half-hour radio programs, broadcast on medium-wave Thursday night in the Somali and Amharic languages, features an exclusive interview with USAID Director Rajiv Shah, who recently visited the region and calls the famine “an extraordinary tragedy.”

The VOA Somali and Amharic drought programs include on-scene reports from journalists at the sprawling Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and throughout the drought region.

VOA Director David Ensor says the goal of the programs is to “provide vital information, reunite families and let the victims of the crisis know about international concern and assistance.”

Ensor says, “Information is vital in a humanitarian crisis and VOA and its international broadcasting partners will do whatever is possible to use our unique worldwide broadcasting capabilities to get information to the people who are suffering the most.”

The new programs are broadcast Monday through Friday on MW frequency 1431. They are also broadcast on shortwave, streamed on VOA Somali and Horn of Africa websites and broadcast throughout Africa on the Arabsat satellite.

The Somali language show airs at 6:30 pm local time and the Amharic program airs at 7:00 pm. Ensor says the shows will “give drought and famine victims practical information on how to survive with limited resources, as well as how to get medical treatment.”

For more information about the VOA Somali program, Lifeline Somalia, visit www.voanews.com/somali/news. For information about the Amharic program, Lifeline in the Horn, visit www.voanews.com/amharic/news.

For press inquiries, contact Kyle King in Washington at kking@voanews.com.