The recent floods in Southern France killed at least six people and forced more than 15,000 to leave their homes. While the water levels of the Rhône river flood are already dropping in most regions in the river valley, the region around the medieval town Arles is still severely affected after several dykes north of the town broke.
European Space Imaging collected high-resolution IKONOS satellite images on Saturday, 6th December at 11.45 am which show the extents of the flooding in the region 50 km North of Marseilles. The IKONOS imagery allows for objects as large as 80 centimeters to be clearly distinguished and gives a very detailed overview of the degree of damage in the inundated areas.
Last Thursday (4 December 2003), the French Civil Protection authorities called the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters”. The International Charter is a joint initiative of international space agencies which have agreed to support disaster relief actions with satellite imagery on a best effort basis. Upon request by the French Government, the German Ministry of the Interior sent 850 German technical relief workers from the Technisches Hilfwerks (THW) to Arles which started flood relief actions on Saturday morning. The THW is the Governmental disaster relief organization of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) as partner of the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” supports in cooperation with European Space Imaging the THW mission and the French Civil Defense units in Southern France through providing high-resolution satellite maps.