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International satellites supporting disaster management - 2018

The International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" is an international effort to put space technology at the service of rescue and emergency responders in the event of a major disaster.

When the Charter is activated, its members make satellite images of devastated regions available to support relief efforts. RADARSAT-2 imagery, and soon that of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), regularly provides support to rescue teams on the ground. Armed quickly with reliable and accurate information, response teams are better equipped to save lives and limit damage to property, infrastructure and the environment.

Learn why satellites and satellite-based systems are indispensable tools to keep us safe.

Flood in Iraq –

Heavy rains caused widespread flooding in Iraq, with Nineveh and Saladin being the most affected provinces. At least 21 people are dead, 180 have been injured, and tens of thousands displaced. In Mosul, two floating bridges were submerged, while in the al-Shirqat district in Saladin, about 250 km from Baghdad, thousands of homes were completely underwater.

More information on the flood in Iraq .

Credit: CSA

Flood in Russia –

Heavy rains caused flash flooding in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia. A state of emergency has been declared in Tuapse and Apsheronsk districts, as well as the city of Sochi. Six people are dead, 13 have been hospitalized, and 460 people have been evacuated as over 2000 homes have been flooded. Heavy rains and mud flows flooded railway lines and destroyed a bridge, blocking access to the city of Sochi.

More information on the flood in Russia .

Credit: CSA

Landslide in Uganda –

Heavy rains caused the River Suume to burst its banks, triggering a landslide in the Bududa district of Eastern Uganda. At least 43 people have been killed and over 850 displaced. Local officials warn the death toll could rise as rescue teams continue to search for missing people. Relief efforts are hindered by continuous rain, muddy ground, a washed-away bridge and large boulders and trees brought down by the landslide and blocking the roads.

More information on the landslide in Uganda.

Credit: CSA

Hurricane Michael in the United States –

On , Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm, one of the strongest to hit the United States, made landfall at Mexico Beach, Florida. More than 370,000 people were ordered to evacuate. Winds of up to 250 km/h have left two people dead and 850,000 homes and businesses without power as power lines were damaged by falling trees. States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina as the storm moved northward.

More information on the Hurricane Michael in the United States.

Credit: CSA

Earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia –

On , a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake occurred off the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, triggering a tsunami with three-metre-high waves. At least 844 people are dead, 600 have been hospitalized and over 48,000 have been forced from their homes. Local officials fear that the final death toll could be in the thousands as rescuers struggle to reach the worst affected areas of Donggala and the Balaroa region. Rescue efforts are hindered by electricity loss and fuel shortage.

More information on the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia.

Credit: CSA

Typhoon and landslides in Philippines –

Over 80 people are dead and at least 70 are missing following landslides caused by Typhoon Mangkhut in Northern Philippines. The province of Benguet was hit the hardest as a massive landslide struck an old mining site in the town of Itogon. According to local officials, the typhoon left over 236,000 residents displaced and caused damage to agriculture fields worth an estimated $US270 million.

More information on the Typhoon Mangkhut in Philippines.

Credit: CSA

Hurricane Florence in the United States –

On the morning of September 14, Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina. This Category 1 storm had winds of 145 km/h and caused flooding to parts of North Carolina and South Carolina. Some 1.7 million people were ordered to evacuate in the Carolinas and Virginia in anticipation of landfall. At least 490,000 homes and businesses were left without power, and close to 1,500 flights have been cancelled. The storm is expected to last several days.

More information on the Hurricane Florence in the United States.

Hurricane, East Coast, United States

Credit: CSA

Landslides in India –

India's monsoon season, which takes place between June and September, is particularly devastating this year. While the heavy rains are vital for agriculture, they have also caused severe flooding and landslides across the districts of Karnataka.

Almost 14,000 people have been displaced with several hundreds remaining stranded. Agriculture crops, bridges, roads, telecommunications infrastructure and thousands of houses have been damaged or destroyed.

More information on the landslides in India.

Credit: CSA

Flood in Vietnam –

Vietnam has been hit with flooding as the result of Tropical Storm Bebinca, which made landfall on . Wind speeds of up to 90 km/h and torrential rains of up to 300 mm were predicted. More than 500,000 people, including military personnel, police officers and civilian volunteers, were mobilized to help residents affected by the storm.

A mass evacuation of fishing boats, fish cages and watchtowers has been ordered. Preparations are also underway for residents to evacuate if necessary.

More information on the flood in Vietnam.

Credit: CSA

Flood in India –

The southern Indian state of Kerala has been hit by the worst flooding in almost a century. Torrential rains, landslides and overflowing rivers have left over 300 people dead and more than 200,000 homeless.

The Cochin International Airport and local schools have been closed. Rescue operations are underway.

More information on the flood in India.

Credit: CSA

Flood in Venezuela –

Continuous heavy rain triggered severe flooding in the Venezuelan states of Amazonas, Apure, Bolivar and Anzoategui. The Orinoco River rose to levels not seen in 40 years. Over 10,000 people have been affected. Main roads and many schools have been closed. Rescue efforts are underway. The states remain on red alert as the rain is expected to continue in the coming days.

More information on the flood in Venezuela.

Credit: CSA

Flood in Laos –

On , an under-construction dam in southeast Laos collapsed following heavy rains, releasing five billion cubic metres of water into six villages in Attapeu province. The resulting flash floods left at least 20 people dead, more than 100 missing and over 6,600 homeless. Rescue efforts are underway.

More information on the flood in Laos.

Credit: CSA

Flood in Japan –

On , record rainfall struck central and southwestern Japan, continuing for several days and causing floods and landslides. This flooding disaster is the worst in 35 years, with a death toll of more than 110 people and 61 people missing (as of ). Rescue operations are underway as several million people across more than 19 prefectures have been advised to evacuate.

More information on the flood in Japan.

Credit: CSA

Eruption of Fuego volcano in Guatemala –

On , Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupted, killing at least 69 people and leading to the evacuation of 3,000 people. A state of emergency was declared as falling ash and rock covered villages and coffee farms located on the slopes of the volcano. Guatemala's main international airport was closed. Soldiers and firefighters are still searching for many missing people.

More information on the eruption of Fuego volcano in Guatemala.

Credit: CSA

Volcanic Activity and Earthquake in Hawaii, United States –

Vigorous eruption of the Kīlauea Volcano, located on Hawaii's Big Island, began on May 3rd and continues (as of the end of May). An earthquake of 6.9 magnitude occurred the same day, and numerous earthquakes of various intensity have happened since then. While no casualties have been reported, 2000 people have been evacuated from the area and at least 112 buildings have been destroyed on the island. The amount of sulphur dioxide, a gas emitted during volcanic eruptions, remains very high and poses a health hazard.

More information on the eruption of the Kīlauea Volcano.

Credit: CSA

Flooding in Sri Lanka –

Floods and landslides in Sri Lanka, brought on by monsoon rains, have killed 21 people, with two others missing and 172 more people requiring rescue by the armed forces. Over 150,000 people have been affected as up to 150 mm of rain fell across the country. Authorities have reported that about 100 houses were completely destroyed and 4,800 houses were partially damaged.

More information on the flooding in Sri Lanka.

Flooding in Djibouti –

Djibouti, particularly Djibouti City and the suburb of Balbala, was hit by flash floods, caused by Tropical Cyclone Sagar. According to authorities, the storm impacted up to 30,000 people. Traffic was cut off because of flooding on several major roads. The high waters also hampered the evacuation and temporary lodging of displaced people. The government is working with United Nations agencies to provide rescue assistance, tents and clothes.

More information on the flooding in Djibouti.

Flooding in Somalia –

Widespread flooding has struck Somalia as a result of the heaviest rainfall the country has seen since 1981, causing the Shabelle and Juba rivers to overflow their banks. According to the United Nations, 21 people have died, close to 800,000 people have been affected, and more than 230,000 others have been displaced. People's livelihoods, livestock and shelter, as well as critical infrastructure, have been affected.

More information on the flooding in Somalia.

Flooding in New Brunswick –

Large areas of New Brunswick have been hit with severe flooding. Many towns and cities are affected by the spring floods, which have caused a number of water bodies to rise, particularly the Saint John River.

At the request of Public Safety Canada, the Canadian Space Agency is currently providing RADARSAT-2 satellite imagery, which is being processed by NRCan’s Emergency Geomatics Service, to support relief efforts and help mitigate the effects of this natural disaster.

Flooding in Russia –

Severe flooding has occurred in 11 Russian regions, particularly the Volgograd Region, following vast amounts of snow melting. More than 800 homes as well as 3,000 residential yards have been flooded. Ten low-water bridges and five roads were also inundated. Over 400 people have been evacuated, including 119 children.

More information on the flooding in Russia.

Credit: CSA

Airplane Crash in Iran –

Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 left the Iranian capital of Tehran on the morning of February 18, 2018, and crashed approximately one hour later about 600 km south of Tehran, killing all 65 passengers and crew. The plane crashed into Mount Dena in the Zagros Mountains. The International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" was activated that same day to help locate the plane. Fog, high winds and heavy snow prevented helicopters from accessing the area in the aftermath, but Iran's Red Crescent relief workers deployed on land. Search and rescue teams reached the site of the crash the next day.

More information on the airplane Crash in Iran.


Credit: CSA

Flooding in Bolivia –

Record rainfall in southern Bolivia has caused severe flooding with local authorities declaring a state of emergency and forcing 50,000 people from their homes. The rain caused the Tupiza River to overflow, with flood waters reaching as high as 7 metres in some places, and affecting an estimated 1000 people and making some roads impassable for relief efforts.

More information on the floods in Bolivia.

Credit: CSA

Flooding in Argentina –

Heavy rains across Argentina and Bolivia have caused widespread damage as floodwaters washed away homes and cars, leaving at least 50,000 homeless, and damaged 33,000 fields. Over 10,000 residents were evacuated from villages along the Pilcomayo River, northwest Argentina. On , the river was close to 8 m high and its flooding is described as the worst in a decade. While the country's north is under massive rains, its eastern regions are battling wildfires that have already scorched 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) of land.

More information on the floods in Argentina.

Credit: CSA

Eruption of Kadovar Volcano in Papua New Guinea –

The 2-km-wide volcanic island of Kadovar has erupted, forcing the evacuation of all residents of the tiny island and the neighbouring island of Blup Blup. Fifty percent of Kadovar Island is said to be covered in lava, and a plume of ash is billowing out of the summit.

More information on the eruption of Mount Kadovar in Papua New Guinea.

Credit: CSA

Eruption of Mount Mayon in the Philippines –

The eruption of Mount Mayon in the Philippines has forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate. Large quantities of lava and ash are making relief operations particularly difficult.

More information on the eruption of Mount Mayon in the Philippines.

Credit: CSA

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