Earth Science News  





. Extended Cyclone Relief Efforts Aided From Space

File image.
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (ESA) Jul 07, 2008
Earth observation satellites have provided vital information to relief workers in Myanmar throughout a particularly long crisis response window following the devastating Cyclone Nargis that hit the country on 2 and 3 May 2008.

Immediately after the disaster, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) asked the International Charter on 'Space and Major Disasters', referred to as 'the Charter', for support by providing immediate crisis mapping of the affected areas.

Following the request, rapid mapping products were created with Earth observation (EO) satellite acquisitions taken in the wake of the event to derive an estimation of the flood surge impact and other damage information to help plan emergency response operations.

Damage maps were able to be created quickly because the RESPOND project, which delivers satellite mapping for disaster reduction and humanitarian aid, had delivered EO-derived topographic maps of Myanmar a month before the disaster.

This activity was part of a project to help local communities reduce exposure to disaster risks. This enabled the RESPOND team to compare up-to-date basic maps before the disaster with satellite images acquired during or after the cyclone impact.

Thanks to the Charter more than 10 different sensors - radar and optical - from several EO missions provided more than 60 satellite images, which were used to derive 29 damage maps.

These maps were provided to the UN community in Myanmar and Bangkok for the emergency response phase, which lasted more than 40 days because of the scale of devastation caused by Nargis and the difficulties encountered by the international humanitarian community to access the country.

To provide aid workers with timely and synoptic damage information, space agencies and service providers worked around the clock. RESPOND's partner UNOSAT - UN provider of EO mapping services to the humanitarian aid community - called on RESPOND providers SERTIT of France and the German Centre for satellite-based crisis information (ZKI) of DLR to join their mapping efforts under the coordination of Infoterra UK.

"It is important to differentiate map products according to the needs and, in a case like this, to firstly get an overview and then move into more detailed assessments as the relief operation progresses," explained Dr Einar Bjorgo, head of UNOSAT, who was designated as the Project Manager for this activation, a rotating role assigned by Charter members.

After the acute phase of the disaster had passed, the range of mapping products was extended to provide further details on the condition of roads, bridges and buildings. For instance, UNOSAT teamed with GISCorps, a US-based non-profit association, to digitise every building pre-disaster from the available data. These maps were highly accurate, showing features of less than one metre in size.

In addition to Charter members, other EO missions' data were made available by space agencies, such as the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the German Space Agency (DLR), and imagery providers, such as the Canadian MDA and the American Digital Globe.

To date, the map products have been used by over 40 organisations, including non-governmental aid organisations based in Myanmar, such as the Red Cross, and governmental organisations, such as the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) and the Myanmar Department of Forestry.

The Red Cross printed several sets of maps and sent them with their team to Myanmar, hoping to have better access to the field.

"We download your maps and use [them] in rescue works," Myanmar national rescue worker Prof. Charlie Than said.

Thant Lwin Htoo from Myanmar emergency response actions said he downloaded maps of Hpontawbye village for emergency relief activities.

Products have been used to plan field assessments, provide synoptic views for resource mobilisation and decision-making, and are currently being exploited to gather hazard damage-related information that can be used for reconstruction purposes.

"It was important to continually produce damage assessment maps for aid workers because very severe rain events occurred in the days following Nargis," said SERTIT Director Paul de Fraipont. "Based on feedback from specialists in the field, this made the products even more useful."

Particular attention was paid to the coordinated dissemination of products to ensure aid workers were able to quickly gain access to these maps; all maps using Charter data were made freely available on the RESPOND and UNOSAT websites as soon as they were produced.

In addition, the maps were accessible via UN OCHA's Reliefweb and Reuters Alertnet with direct RSS feeds constantly accessible to over 400 non-governmental organisations.

The International Charter on 'Space and Major Disasters', an initiative of ESA and the French Space Agency (CNES), currently has 10 members, including the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Argentine Space Agency (CONAE), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the British National Space Centre/Disaster Monitoring Constellation (BNSC/DMC), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Envisat
RESPOND
UNOSAT
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Australia, Japan, US plan disaster relief exercises
Kyoto, Japan (AFP) June 27, 2008
The foreign ministers of Australia, Japan and the United States pledged Friday to launch joint exercises to better coordinate relief operations after disasters in Asia.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Extended Cyclone Relief Efforts Aided From Space
  • Australia, Japan, US plan disaster relief exercises
  • AIDS epidemic is disaster like drought, floods for Africa: Red Cross
  • US helicopters lift aid to typhoon-ravaged Philippines

  • Analysis: G8 climate agreement unlikely
  • State Of The Environment: A Nation In The Dark
  • Poor countries should set climate targets: Brazil leader
  • Oil shock helps put global warming on G8's back burner

  • ESA Satellite Assesses Damage Of Norway's Largest Fire
  • Bird Watchers And Space Technology Come Together In New Study
  • Ocean Satellite Launch Critical To Australian science
  • GAO Report Reveals Continuing Problems With NPOESS

  • Biofuel waste becomes valuable chemicals
  • EU ministers 'discover' biofuels not an obligation after all
  • Difficult to replace Iranian oil output, says OPEC: report
  • Analysis: Nigeria seeks international help

  • Researchers Identify Potential Drug Candidates To Combat Bird Flu
  • Anti-retroviral drug cocktails slash AIDS deaths: study
  • China seals off quake town over epidemic fears: report
  • Epidemics emerge as major threat in China's quake zone: report

  • Human Influences Challenge Penguin Populations
  • Looming Tropical Disaster Needs Urgent Action
  • Extinction risks vastly underestimated: study
  • Passports For Penguins

  • Italy's Berlusconi vows to clean up Naples by mid-July
  • Mayfly-Mimicking Sensor Could be High Tech Canary In The Coal Mine
  • Global waste meeting fails to break impasse: delegate
  • Database Shows Effects Of Acid Rain On Microorganisms In Adirondack Lakes

  • A Microsatellite-Guided Insight Into The Genetic Status Of The Adi Tribe
  • New Map IDs The Core Of The Human Brain
  • Growth hormone might increase life span
  • Scientists Identify New Role For Power Plants In Human Cells

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement