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Thomson Reuters Foundation launches humanitarian news lifeline

The Thomson Reuters Foundation launched its Emergency Information Service (EIS), a humanitarian news lifeline designed to help the survivors of major natural disasters. The free service will supply fast and practical information from all available sources, such as help in finding shelters, drinking water and missing relatives.

“The aim is to provide accurate and actionable information to the affected population,” Monique Villa, chief executive of the Foundation, told a launch event at Thomson Reuters’ London office at Canary Wharf. 

An EIS team of journalists based in the disaster zone will collect information and disseminate it in local languages using all available communications, from SMS text messages and radio to “zero tech” methods such as posters, leaflets and megaphones.

Tim Large, editor of Alertnet, the Foundation’s humanitarian news service, said the teams would comprise Alertnet and Reuters-trained reporters working with local media and NGOs. They would also cooperate with the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a major supporter of AlertNet since it was founded in 1997, as well as other NGOs.

The inspiration for the EIS came from the 1994 Tsunami disaster, which killed 226,000 people and demonstrated on a massive scale the victims’ need for vital information.  To mark the fifth anniversary, AlertNet and the Red Cross have teamed up to pay tribute to the survivors in a film called Surviving the Tsunami: Stories of Hope, which was shown at the launch event. Watch the trailer, right, or click on the link below to see the whole film.


Emergency Information Service

Reporter's Notebook by Dean Yates

VIDEO Surviving the Tsunami ■

Thomson Reuters Foundation