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IRMA, MARIA AND LIFE-SAVING RADIO

31 October 2017

Recently hurricanes Irma and Maria unleashed their fury on the Caribbean and the region was left without communication. Radio is a lifeline when there is no other form of communication. Craig Fugate, former head of FEMA in the United States, has gone on record recently talking about the absolute necessity of radio in an emergency, and questioning the wisdom of manufacturing smartphones without FM receivers.

“Public safety officials advise Americans to have a battery-operated radio handy in order to tune into local radio during an emergency. Radio-enabled mobile devices can provide this function and allow users to listen to potentially lifesaving information.”

This information is not restricted to local radio, and in fact many local stations were off-air due to storm damage. The hurricanes did not reach as far south as the Dutch Antilles and so the powerful voice of our station in Bonaire was heard across the region.

Seven hundred miles south of the powerful storms, on the Caribbean island of Bonaire, the station’s director Bernard Oosterhoff and his team began to determine how Radio Trans Mundial Bonaire could help.

They decided to do some special live broadcasts in Spanish and English to reach out to people with a combination of practical information, prayer, music and Biblical encouragement. The live broadcasts featured speakers from multiple locations – Chicago, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Miami, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Trinidad. As the weather battered the Caribbean, speaker Emerson Boyce spoke of Jesus calming the Sea of Galilee and reminded listeners that the Lord reigns over all – even the weather.

The special broadcasts brought with them additional electricity and personnel costs, exceeding $19,000 (£14,000) for seven nights of transmission, and hurricane season is not yet over. Please pray that TWR would be able to replenish resources to cover vital emergency broadcasts, and praise God for the team work and Gospel commitment that has allowed Bonaire to serve the Caribbean during a difficult storm season.

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