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. Satellites Help Save Lives

When the Charter is activated, Earth observation satellites operated by 14 international organisations are made freely available.
by Staff Writers
London UK (SPX) Oct 17, 2007
The UK is taking charge of an international group providing satellite data to support disaster relief across the globe. The British National Space Centre and DMC International Imaging will lead the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" from October 2007 until April 2008. The organisation's Executive Secretariat and Board will meet in London on 17 and 18 October 2007.

Minister for Science and Innovation Ian Pearson said: "The UK is proud to lead this important group. We often think of space as being somewhere to explore, but it can also bring enormous benefits to us here on Earth.

"By working together, the Charter's international partners are helping to save lives across the globe."

The Charter was set up in 2000 to provide satellite data and imagery to help governments and aid agencies plan emergency relief following major disasters. It has provided valuable information to relief agencies after earthquakes, floods, landslides and volcanic eruptions.

When the Charter is activated, Earth observation satellites operated by 14 international organisations are made freely available. The satellites provide data which is then used to produce maps and other information for emergency response efforts.

The UK-built Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) is a key member of the Charter. The five satellites were built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and are owned individually by Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey and the UK.

DMCii will chair the Charter Secretariat. DMCii Managing Director David Hodgson said: "Imagery from the DMC has been provided for more than 50 disasters and is particularly valuable in monitoring fires and floods.

"DMCii is also proud to provide regular emergency on-call services to the Charter and to task the world's Earth observing satellites in response to disasters."

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Vietnam villagers face hunger amid floods
Thuong Village, Vietnam (AFP) Oct 9, 2007
It is hard to tell where the river ends and the rice fields start. This Vietnamese village is under muddy water that reeks with the stench of dead animals.

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