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The International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" presented with prestigious award

The International Charter "Space and Major Disasters", of which the Canadian Space Agency is a founding member, is being recognized with the 2017 William T. Pecora Group Award for achievements in Earth remote sensing for providing free satellite imagery, data and information to the global community during times of crises. The Charter has changed the way civil protection agencies respond to disasters.

International Charter Space & Major Disastors

Satellite imagery allows decision makers, rescue teams and responders to quickly determine available routes to victims, move them to safety and select the best locations for rescue efforts.

Since the Charter was founded in 2000, response efforts include the massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal in 2015; the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013; the major earthquake in Haiti in 2010; the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010; the tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand in 2004; and over 500 other disasters spanning the globe. The Canadian Space Agency contributed some 1500 RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 data acquisitions in response to these disasters.

The Charter has 16 member agencies that provide satellite, data processing and data distribution assets. The wide range of satellites operated by members helps ensure rapid coverage of the Earth and provides an invaluable source of near-real-time information. This humanitarian mission is valuable to communities who are exposed to an imminent risk or are already victims of natural or technological disasters.

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or teams using satellite or aerial remote sensing that make outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth (land, oceans and air), educating the next generation of scientists, informing decision makers or supporting natural or human-induced disaster response. The award is sponsored jointly by the Department of the Interior and NASA.

Congratulations to our staff and many domestic and international partners involved in the Charter!

Prepared with material from the US Geological Survey.

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