Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) - A UN initiative that saves lives and money.  When crisis or disaster hits a country, communications are often one of the first casualties. Reliable sources dry up, government agencies collapse, media images do not give the full picture. Without constantly updated and accurate information on washed-out roads, bombed airfields, landmines, disease-infested water, epidemics, or civil unrest and outbreaks of violence, it is impossible to respond effectively. People die and money and supplies are wasted. Today, from Angola to Sierra Leone the need for an accurate picture of events on the ground is being met by the Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. IRIN is a non-commercial venture, but totally dependent on financing from donor governments and/or institutions. The website at http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN , which recorded more than 100,000 hits in August alone, won a UNESCO award barely five months after it was launched in May for being one of the Top Ten public information sites in Africa. The site has taken IRIN into new areas by enabling its reports to be illustrated with maps, graphic and photographs. Plans are underway for the radical use of video and audio, not only to assist in the promotion of forgotten crises but also to bring decision-makers into contact with the victims that they seek to help. Contact person: Ms. Pat Banks, IRIN Coordinator, Nairobi; banks@ocha.unon.org Tel: + 254-2-622123

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1998.  Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
The Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace
Last update:  13 Jan 2001