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DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Satellites to the rescue: Disaster monitoring network extends its services to all
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Sep 27, 2012


Sendai Oil Refinery Fire, Japan. Credit: UK-DMC2 Image (C) DMCii, 2011.

Building on a decade of success in making satellite data available to users for disaster response, the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' has opened its doors even wider and is now providing universal access to the Charter during natural emergencies - a move that was initiated when the UK was leading the Charter in 2011.

Any country, regardless of whether they are a Charter member, is now able to draw upon the data provided by this international network of satellites.

This new principal of free universal access means the Charter will play an even bigger role in helping countries respond effectively to emergencies and will ultimately help save more lives.

Satellite images can make a tremendous difference in the immediate aftermath of an emergency, providing invaluable and immediate satellite images during times of crisis. Without the Charter it could be many days before a satellite is able to provide the images needed by civil protection authorities during a disaster.

By using the Charter they have access to a vast range of satellite resources and can assess the extent of damage or decide where to target their resources. Radar images can see through fire or smoke, and other sensors can even monitor the spread of pollution.

The Charter is a great example of the enormous benefits space can bring to our everyday lives. Since it was set up in 1999, it has helped in more than 300 disasters for more than 100 countries. Events where the constellation has played an important role during the past decade include the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005), the Asian Tsunami (2004) and the UK floods of 2007, amongst others.

Uniquely, the UK is a member of the Charter on a public-private basis that makes best use of the available government and commercial expertise. The UK Space Agency holds a seat on the Charter's Board, providing policy direction and examining ways to improve Charter performance in future.

The UK's DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) operates the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), a currently five-strong commercial satellite constellation specifically designed to respond to disasters. DMCii provides the UK operational contribution to the Charter as a member of the Charter's Executive Secretariat.

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Related Links
UK Space Agency
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