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Bangladesh floods: satellite imagery shows extent of damage

Bangladesh, September 11, 2014: Bangladesh is one of the most flood-prone countries in the world. However, a combination of heavy monsoon rainfall and the arrival of meltwater from the Himalayas has led to exceptionally heavy floods in Bangladesh in the summer of 2014. NASA's Terra satellite has captured a scene in late August showing flooded areas along the Brahmaputra River and the Tanquar hoar wetlands.

On August 29, 2014, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured images which show flooding along the Brahmaputra River and Tanquar haor, a large wetland region.

The above image compares the same area as on September 8, 2012 and August 29, 2014. When comparing the image with the same area one year earlier the extent of the unusually strong floods becomes evident.

Both are false-color images made from a combination of infrared and visible light (MODIS bands 7-2-1). Water varies in color from blue to black; vegetation is bright green; and bare ground is brown. This band combination makes it easier to spot changes in river dimensions.

According to some estimates, more than 275,000 people had been displaced and more than 31,000 homes had been destroyed and 188,000 damaged. As of September 4, 2014, most rivers in Bangladesh had crested, but flooding remained severe in many areas.

The flooding was particularly strong in Bangladesh’s Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Gaibandha, Bogra, Sirajganj, Jamalpur, and Sherpur districts. In order to support local responders with satellite images, the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters had also been triggered in late.

Source: NASA