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Tamil Nadu: Stories That Matter: How a South Indian island's community radio station saved lives during Cyclone Gaja by Aishwarya Jagani July 22,2021   |  Source: The Postscript

The residents of Rameswaram, a tiny fishing town on Pamban Island, are familiar with severe cyclonic storms and natural disasters. A remnant of the land bridge that once connected southern India and Sri Lanka, islands like Pamban have been plagued by tropical cyclones for decades. Scientists say climate change has only made this worse. As the Indian Ocean heats up, cyclonic storms, which are known to increase in intensity over warmer waters, are steadily growing worse, and becoming more frequent. Dhanushkodi, a now-abandoned town on Pamban Island, was devastated by one of the most powerful storms to ever strike India — and that was nearly 60 years ago, in 1964. But on December 4th, 2018, with Cyclone Gaja looming over the island, the fisher community leapt into action and used radio broadcasts to save hundreds of lives. Jockeys at Kadal Osai (meaning “sound or music of the sea”), a four-year-old local community radio station on Pamban Island, broadcast information about the storm throughout the night. “When I got information that if all boats on the northern side of the island were shifted away, they should be safe from the storm, I immediately got onto the radio and began broadcasting this message repeatedly,” P Lenin, one of the jockeys at Kadal Osai, told Sibi Arasu

 

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