Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fifth Anniversary of the Tsunami

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15 Dec 2009 14:00 Africa/Lagos

Launch of Multimedia Documentary Marking the Fifth Anniversary of the Tsunami

- Inspiring documentary featuring interviews with extraordinary survivors - Reuters photography and film of the Tsunami's aftermath - Fully interactive, online multimedia presentation

LONDON, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today announced the launch of a new multimedia web documentary -- "Surviving the Tsunami: Stories of Hope" -- produced jointly to mark the fifth anniversary of the worst natural disaster in living memory, the Indian Ocean Tsunami.


(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090507/NY12658LOGO )


Combining powerful imagery by award-winning Reuters photojournalists with eyewitness testimony and interactive graphics, the documentary reveals the strength of the human spirit in the face of catastrophe. These are stories of compassion, hope and dignity.


"Surviving the Tsunami - Stories of Hope" can be viewed at: http://tsunami.trust.org/


The project marks a strengthened partnership between Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, the world's largest provider of news and information, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world's largest humanitarian organisation.


Commenting on the documentary Yasemin Aysan, Under Secretary General of the IFRC, said: "The tsunami caused catastrophic and unprecedented damage but also generated incredible levels of spontaneous generosity from ordinary people around the world. We have spent the past five years helping communities to recover and we wanted to produce a true testimony that allows ordinary people affected by the tsunami to tell their extraordinary stories."


Speaking at the launch, Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, said: "This is a hugely inspirational and moving multimedia documentary that reveals the amazing capacity for human beings to overcome tragedy. It draws on the unique experiences of Reuters journalists in one of the most harrowing natural disasters of our time and is a celebration of humanity's spirit and tenacity in the face of adversity."


The documentary follows the success of two award-winning multimedia productions by Reuters, "Bearing Witness" about the Iraq war and "Times of Crisis" about the global financial meltdown.


The launch of the documentary took place alongside the unveiling of Thomson Reuters Foundation's new Emergency Information Service (EIS). The pioneering service has been developed to respond to major natural disasters around the world, with key support from the Red Cross. The Foundation will deploy expert Action-Units of journalists to scenes of major catastrophe where they will seek out, collate and disseminate life-saving information to disaster-struck populations, filling a critical gap in the chain of crisis information.


EIS Action-Units will be staffed by specialist humanitarian-trained Reuters journalists. Upon alert of a major natural disaster, the EIS Action-Units will travel to the affected area and use the most appropriate means of communication -- particularly SMS text messages -- to reach local populations, aid agencies and local-language media. Communities affected by disasters often find themselves cut off from information and aid. A key aim of the EIS is to ensure those affected are not seen merely as victims but as "first responders" who can help shape and manage the disaster recovery process through their own local knowledge and expertise.


"In times of major natural catastrophes, information itself is aid, as crucial as shelter or blankets," Monique Villa said. "Working with key partners such as the Red Cross, the EIS will have teams in the field within hours of a natural disaster striking. The EIS Action-Units will provide reliable, actionable information to help empower survivors to be architects of their own recovery."


Contacts

Thomson Reuters International Federation of Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies
Victoria Brough Paul Conneally
Head of External Affairs, EMEA Head of Media and Public Communications
+ 44 (0) 207 542 8763 +41(0)22.730.4669 / +41(0)79.3089809
victoria.brough@thomsonreuters.com paul.conneally@ifrc.org

Tom Gilbert
Corporate Communications Manager
+44 (0) 207 542 4214
tom.h.gilbert@thomsonreuters.com

Pictures contact:
Jassim Ahmad
Head of Visual Projects
+44 20 7542 2822
Jassim.Ahmad@thomsonreuters.com



Notes to Editors:

1. About "Surviving the Tsunami - Stories of Hope":


The multi-media web documentary is a compilation of Reuters world-renowned photography, tsunami video footage, fresh interviews and interactive graphics.


The documentary is accessible in multiple languages: French, Spanish, Arabic, Bahasa (Indonesian), Hindi, Tamil, Sinhala, Thai, Japanese, Mandarin.


To view the documentary please go to: http://tsunami.trust.org/


High resolution photographs used in the documentary and of editorial reproduction quality available - preview here: http://link.reuters.com/gup46g


The stories:

Arko Datta, India

A veteran Reuters photojournalist whose quest to find a survivor he photographed five years ago leads to an extraordinary reunion


Dina Astita, Indonesia


A teacher who lost her three children but became an inspiration for others in a village where nine of 10 residents died


Sara Hedrenius Andreasson, Sweden


A tsunami trauma counsellor whose own experiences in another disaster 10 years earlier gave her unique insight into the psychology of survival


Kushil Gunasekera, Sri Lanka


A local philanthropist from one of the worst hit communities in Sri Lanka who narrowly escaped the waves and helped galvanise his village to build itself back


2. About Thomson Reuters Foundation


Established in 1982, Thomson Reuters Foundation is a registered charity in Britain and the United States. The charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, it leverages the skills and expertise across the corporation to increase trust and access to the rule of law, to save lives through the provision of trusted information and to improve standards of journalism.


Following the acquisition of Reuters by Thomson Corp in 2008, the Foundation's resources and programmes were expanded and a new leadership team was appointed. The Thomson Reuters Foundation website, trust.org, is a portal which integrates the Foundation's three key areas of focus and brings together the Foundation's community of partners.


3. About The IFRC


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world's largest humanitarian network, with tens of millions of volunteers and staff in 186 countries worldwide. It provides help and support to people in crisis without discrimination as to their nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.


Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090507/NY12658LOGO
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

CONTACT: Victoria Brough, Head of External Affairs, EMEA, +44(0)207 542
8763, victoria.brough@thomsonreuters.com, or Tom Gilbert, Corporate
Communications Manager, +44(0)207 542 4214, tom.h.gilbert@thomsonreuters.com,
both of Thomson Reuters; Pictures contact: Jassim Ahmad, Head of Visual
Projects, +44 20 7542 2822; Jassim.Ahmad@thomsonreuters.com; Paul Conneally,
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Head of
Media and Public Communications, +41(0)22.730.4669 / +41(0)79.3089809,
paul.conneally@ifrc.org


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