The United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) is conducting an institutional Strengthening Mission (ISM) to Ghana from 15 to 19 October. The mission is carried out in cooperation with the Ghana National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and upon the invitation of the Government of Ghana.
Disasters cause tremendous loss of lives and assets around the world. Over the last twenty years, more than 1.35 million people have died, while over 4 billion have been displaced, left homeless, injured or in need of emergency assistance as a result of disasters according to a new report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).
A drought/dzud monitoring system known as “DroughtWatch-Mongolia” has been officially handed over to Mongolia on 17 September by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
DroughtWatch-Mongolia is a system based on satellite data which aims to provide real-time drought monitoring for disaster prevention and mitigation departments in Mongolia.
The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” and the Copernicus Emergency Management Service Mapping have been activated on 29 September after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the central Indonesian Island of Sulawesi.
At least 844 people have been killed and 64,000 displaced according to reports.
The cities of Palu and Donggala are the worst affected areas by the earthquake and a tsunami with waves as high as six metres.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched two Earth observation satellites on 16 September from Sriharikota where the Satish Dhawan Space Center is located. NovaSAR S1-4, which were developed in and will be operated from the United Kingdom, will provide Earth observation data, including for disaster and risk management.
Radiant Earth Foundation announced that it will release a new, open Earth imagery platform to assist the global development community to tackle a range of challenges including disasters.
China launched a new satellite on 7 September which aims to assist in the forecasting and monitoring of marine disasters.
The HY-1C satellite was put into orbit via a Long March-2C rocket which lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern China.
The satellite’s overall aim is to improve understanding of marine waters by monitoring ocean colour and water temperatures, providing crucial data on the global oceanic environment.
The European Space Agency (ESA) launched the much-awaited Aeolus satellite into orbit on 21 August. Aeolus - the “Keeper of Winds” in Greek mythology - aims to track and profile global wind better. Data from Aeolus is expected to improve weather forecasting and contribute to better disaster management.
In May 2018, Planet joined the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” as an approved data contributor, providing the Charter with 3.7 million Planetscope data from the largest fleet of miniature Earth imagery satellites operated by Planet. Planet's constellation of microsatellites will add to the Charter's ability to respond effectively to calls after major disasters worldwide.
Applications for UN International Conference on Space-Based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction close 31 August
The summer of 2018 has seen several severe wildfires across Europe and the world. A number of space-based applications and data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Union’s Copernicus programme, the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) are supporting authorities in fighting the fires.
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) have jointly activated the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” for the recent floods in Lao People’s Democratic Republic on 24 July 2018. UNOOSA activated the Charter on behalf of the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology and Department of Disaster Management and Climate, while UNITAR-UNOSAT activated the emergency mechanism on behalf of the World Food Program (WFP).
An Earth sensing imaging spectrometer which can monitor natural disasters such as wildfires, floods, and droughts through the scan of multiple bands of light was launched into space on 29 June.
India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed a Collaboration Agreement with Google that will help crisis management agencies deal with extreme hydrological events, such as floods, more effectively.
The agreement allows CWC to make use of Google’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and geospatial mapping expertise for effective water management and flood forecasting. The agreement will also help CWC to better disseminate flood related information through different platforms developed by Google.