As the Kenyan Meteorological office warns coastal areas in Kenya of the high risk of flooding due to El Niño, newly founded HCR partner station Tana FM , is playing its part to get communities prepared. Having gone on the air with the first test broadcasts only in May this year, Alex Stout and Jon Hargreaves from HCR UK were joined by new Kenyan team-member Sheila Maina, to train the Tana FM team on how to link with other emergency service providers and the community, to promote awareness and give critical information to help people survive in the event of flooding. The people of Tana River have experienced floods in the past, but the mention of El Niño reflects back to 1997 when floods devastated the region and displaced tens of thousands of people. Officials are warning that as many as 70,000 people could be displaced by the rising waters in the next few weeks.
In its short existence, Tana FM, the first community station in Tana River County, has already become a trusted voice in the community. The station's CEO, Shedrack Hiribae, says Tana FM has already begun to have a big impact. Mr Hiribae described how the team's peace-building initiatives have promoted dialogue between conflicted communities and also how mango farmers have got a better deal for the sale of their produce as a result of the station's advocacy work.