Photo: CTK

In this week's edition: response to the tsunami disaster in South Asia, the number of political parties in the Czech Republic, Radio Prague's languages. Listeners quoted: Jitka Vomackova, Czech Republic; Gordon Blom, USA; Mark, USA; Mostava Kamal, Bangladesh; Jaisakthivel, India.

Maledivy, photo: CTK
For two weeks now the tsunami catastrophe in South Asia has been making headlines all over the world and Radio Prague has been no exception. And naturally, our listeners and visitors to our website have been writing in to Radio Prague in response to the disaster.

As soon as Sunday December 26, only hours after the disaster hit South Asia, Jitka Vomackova forwarded to us an SMS message sent to her by her friend from the Maldives, a string of low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean. He wrote that his group had been evacuated to another island. In as much as can fit into one SMS he describes the situation right after the wave struck. He writes that everything was swept out of the hotel rooms by the flood wave, so people had to sleep outside in open huts.

That's what we got when news was still scarce from the area and the scope of the disaster was just beginning to unfold.

Photo: CTK
We have had emails coming in expressing horror as well as solidarity with the millions of people affected by the tidal wave.

Earlier this week, Mr Gordon Blom who listens to us on shortwave in the United States wrote:

"Hopefully, many of the people that are missing in the horrific tsunami will be found. This certainly is a disaster of unprecedented proportions."

Also, in response to our stories about the Czech contribution to the global relief effort, Mark from the United States wrote:

"I am an American who visited Prague this summer and fell in love with your city and country. At times, being an American, I feel my country is one of the few to assist when there is a disaster anywhere in the world. It was great to read about your flight to Indonesia. Thanks for sharing the news with us throughout the world."

Now onto other mail we have received over the past week.

Our regular listener Mostafa Kamal from Bangladesh writes he would like to know how many political parties there are in the Czech Republic.

According to the Interior Ministry's website, there are around 100 active political parties and movements in the Czech Republic with the list continuously changing. In the lower house of the Czech Parliament there are five political parties and in the upper house, the Senate, there are eight political parties and movements represented and there are also a number of unaffiliated Senators.

We also got an email from Mr Jaisakthivel who's the President of a DX club in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu who writes:

"Here in India Tamil is an important language. The BBC, China Radio International and lot of other international radio stations broadcast in Tamil. Why don't you start?"

Radio Prague currently broadcasts in six languages: Czech, English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. Although in the past many more languages, including Italian, Portuguese, Arabic and even Esperanto were spoken on Radio Prague's airwaves, currently our budget does not allow us to add other languages to those six.

And that's about all we have time for in today's Mailbox programme but I mustn't forget to repeat Radio Prague's competition question for January. So here it is:

"One of the mayors of the US city of Chicago was of Czech origin. Born in Kladno near Prague he left for the United States as a child. He started working at a young age as a coal miner and gradually worked his way up to become Chicago's mayor. In his third year of office in 1933 he was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Roosevelt and died weeks later of his injuries. He is buried at the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago. We'd like you to tell us his name."

Please send your answers to the usual address, Radio Prague, English Section, 12099 Prague 2, Czech Republic, or email us at Your letters and emails should reach us by the end of January.