16th May 2008 – Following the devastating sweep of Cyclone Nargis across Myanmar, the Respond consortium – co-ordinated by Infoterra Ltd, is delivering up-to-date geographic information vital for the relief process.
On 4th May, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) asked the International Charter on ‘Space and Major Disasters’ for support. The International Charter is a joint initiative by global space agency members to provide emergency satellite data in response to major disasters. The Charter was immediately activated to provide satellite imagery to support the relief efforts in Myanmar.
Infoterra’s management team for Respond (a GMES project to provide the humanitarian relief community with geographic information services) is working alongside the Charter project manager, UNOSAT, to coordinate the production and delivery of maps for the affected regions.
Through Respond, mapping of the ‘Irrawaddy Division’ was delivered on 10th May – using radar satellite data in order to see through cloud and to complete the capture of the extent of the devastating flooding.
Following recent reports from the UN OCHA regional field office that further bad weather is forecast for the areas affected by the disaster, production of additional radar mapping of the flooded regions is underway. The maps will be used to monitor the flooded areas in order to determine whether the floods are receding, or whether the expectant heavy rain is likely to exacerbate the current situation.
Over the last few months, up-to-date mapping of the Ayeyarwady district of Myanmar has been produced for a key aid agency. This was initiated due to the severe rainfall the region has been experiencing and to capture information where little or no mapping is available. These new maps and geo-information data layers, which include mapping of the main infrastructure, are now being used by relief organisations and are available for free download at www.respond-int.org