BBC Announces Emergency Radio Service For Gaza Amid Internet And Phone Blackouts

Safety advice and tips about where you can shelter will be available for listeners from this Friday.
A screen grab captured from a video shared online shows people conducting search and rescue operation under the debris of a destroyed building in Gaza.
A screen grab captured from a video shared online shows people conducting search and rescue operation under the debris of a destroyed building in Gaza.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The BBC World Service will launch an Emergency Radio Service for Gaza this Friday.

Run by BBC News Arabic, Gaza Daily will broadcast “vital news daily to the people of Gaza during this time of urgent need,” according to the broadcaster’s website.

The service will initially run one programme a day at 3pm (GMT) from Friday, November 3, and a second daily update will be broadcast at 5am (GMT) from Friday, November 10.

The announcement comes as the Palestinian territory faces communications blackouts, triggered by Israeli air strikes.

It’s set to be produced in Cairo and London, and broadcast on medium wave – MW 639kHz.

Liliane Landor, the director of BBC World Service, said: “BBC News Arabic are extremely well-placed to offer this vital service for the people of Gaza at a time of greatest need.

“Their expertise and specialist knowledge of the region alongside the BBC’s reputation as the most trusted news provider, means we can reach civilians in Gaza with the information they need.”

The service will providers listeners with the latest information and developments on the war, as well as tips about where to access shelter, food and water supplies.

Since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, internet and phone lines have gone down completely on two separate occasions.

A Palestinian mobile network, Paltel, said this week that there had been “a complete disruption” for the second time in five days on Wednesday.

This also poses a huge threat to humanitarian aid agencies who are trying to reach the struggling population.

Half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population has been displaced following evacuation orders from Israel, and supplies are running low due to Tel Aviv’s siege of the territory.

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza was opened on Wednesday for the first time since the conflict started, allowing 500 foreigners or dual nationals and around 81 extremely injured Palestinians to leave the war zone.

There are hopes that the crossing’s opening could mean more humanitarian aid gets in, too. At the moment, an average of 14 aid trucks are entering Gaza each day, according to officials. Before the war began, more than 500 trucks were going into the territory every day.

Since the Palestinian militants Hamas launched an unexpected attack, and – according to Israeli officials – killed 1,400 and abducted more than 230 people, Israel’s air strikes and ground invasion have killed 8,500 Palestinians, according to Gaza officials.

The BBC World Service has responded to other overseas crises in the past, and launched a similar service for Gaza back in 2014 after a summer of conflict.

The BBC News Ukraine service also started to extend TV bulletins after Russia invaded the country back in February 2022.

And in May 2023, BBC News Arabic started an emergency radio service amid conflict in Sudan.


What's Hot