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Category Archives: Remote Sensing Law

Disasters Charter: Flood and Landslide in Brazil

The Disasters Charter was activated for Flood and landslide in Brazil:

Flood and landslide in Brazil

Type of Event: Flood and landslide
Location of Event: Brazil
Date of Charter Activation: 14 June 2014
Charter Requestor: Brazilian Disaster and Risk Management National Centre (CENAD)
Project Management: INPE

Description of the Event:
Torrential rainfall, between 07 and 10 June 2014, has caused flooding in southern Brazil where it is estimated that approximately half a million people have been affected.

The weather followed a cold front that passed over the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná, which brought strong winds with the rain. Paraná state has been the worst affected, where ten people have been killed and six were reported missing. Over 130 cities have been affected by the disaster and it was estimated that 40,000 people were evacuated.

Of particular concern was the Paraná River, which burst its banks in places. The rising water level on the river also caused flooding in neighbouring Argentina, and the floodgates at the Yacyreta Dam were opened on 11 June to help control the floodwaters. The dam is located on the border of Argentina, and it was reported that record levels of water passed through the dam.

Floodwaters and landslides have blocked some roads and destroyed bridges, cutting off easy access to some of the affected towns.

The rain was forecast to finish on 15 June, leaving emergency workers with the task of recovering from the flooding.


Disasters Charter: Flood in Argentina

The Disasters Charter has been activated for a Flood in Argentina:

Flood in Argentina

Type of Event: Flood
Location of Event: Argentina
Date of Charter Activation: 12 June 2014
Charter Requestor: SIFEM-DNPC
Project Management: CONAE

Description of the Event
Days of torrential rain falling over South America has caused flooding in northern Argentina, and thousands of people have been forced to evacuate.

Water levels have risen to record levels at the Yacyreta Dam, which controls the flow of water from the Paraná River, and its tributary, the Iguazu. There are concerns that the rain will cause the rivers to rise further, and to combat this the floodgates at the dam were opened on 11 June 2014. It was estimated that 50,000 cubic metres of water per second were flowing from the dam, far higher than the normal amount for this time of year; which is typically 13,500 cubic metres per second. The river levels are currently estimated as being approximately 5 metres in height and are expected to peak in the next few days. In the meantime, overflowing waters along parts of the rivers are causing flooding.

The cities of Paso de le Patria, Corrientes, Barranqueras, Puerto Vilelas and Colonia Benitez are expected to be affected by the flooding by 15 June, and other locations in the area are currently on alert for the risk posed by the floods. There are concerns that the situation could be worse than widespread flooding that occurred last year.

Disasters Charter: Flood in Serbia

The Disaster Charter was activated for Flood in Serbia:

Flood in Serbia

Type of Event: Flood
Location of Event: Obrenovac, Serbia
Date of Charter Activation: 21 May 2014
Charter Requestor: ROSCOSMOS / EMERCOM
Project Management: ROSCOSMOS

Description of the Event
Torrential rain in the Balkans has caused the worst flooding that the area has experienced in over a century. In Serbia, it is estimated that 17 people have been killed and 25,000 people were forced to evacuate.
In just three days, during the period of 14 to 16 May 2014, three months worth of rain fell on the Balkans. The rain caused water levels in rivers to rise, and burst their banks, inundating nearby inhabited areas. There were concerns that the River Sava would flood the Nikola Tesla power plant, in Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, and emergency workers quickly acted to protect the plant and try to keep the waters out. Despite their efforts, the continuing rainfall has caused flooding to parts of the plant. The plant is key to providing power for half of Serbia.

The entire population of Obrenovac was ordered to evacuate on 19 May, but it was estimated that as many as 2000 people were left stranded in the city by the flooding, some of whom chose to remain in their homes despite the warnings. Rescue operations have been conducted to retrieve those who were trapped. Eleven other villages along the River Sava were also ordered to evacuate.

The Serbian government has requested international aid in the recovery and though the waters are receding in some parts of the country, many residents are returning to destroyed or inundated homes.

Disasters Charter: Floods in Afghanistan

The Disasters Charter has been activated for Floods in Afghanistan:

Floods in Afghanistan

Type of Event: Flood
Location of Event: Afghanistan
Date of Charter Activation: 29 April 2014
Charter Requestor: UNITAR/UNOSAT on behalf of UNOCHA
Project Management: UNITAR/UNOSAT

Description of the Event
Storms caused days of heavy rain in northern Afghanistan, which resulted in flash flooding on 25 April 2014. It is estimated that over 159 people have been killed by the floods and tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate.

The provinces of Jowzjan, Faryab and Sar-e Pol are among the worst affected, where at least a thousand homes have been destroyed by the flood waters. Roads and crops in the area have also suffered from the inundation. In the province of Jowzjan, alone, it was reported that over thirty villages were flooded.

This area has been particularly prone to flooding in recent years, and many of the homes in the villages are constructed of mud, making them ill-equipped to cope with such severe flooding.

The Afghan National Army has been conducting rescue operations since the flooding began, evacuating many in the affected areas. But it is difficult for them to obtain firm estimates on the number of people missing in the remote area.

As of 07 May 2014, it is estimated that 71,000 people have been affected by the flooding. The rain and flooding also caused a mudslide in Argo District on 02 May, which is believed to have killed a further 1000 people. The search for survivors ended on 03 May, and the focus is now on relief and recovery for the victims of the disaster.

Roscosmos Joins Disasters Charter

Source – ITAR-TASS:

Roscosmos acknowledged full member of International Charter on Space and Major Disasters
April 22, 20:50 UTC+4

MOSCOW, April 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The Board of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters has unanimously approved a decision on acknowledging Roscosmos (Russian Space Agency) a fully fledged member of this international organization, the Roscosmos press service told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

The executive secretariat of the Charter organization has discussed an account by its technical commission about the results of qualification tests of the Russian Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth to assess the readiness of the Russian center to represent Roscosmos interests in the organization of the Charter.

The commission in its conclusion has fully confirmed the efficiency of the Russian scientific center in cooperation with the Organization of the Charter on exchanging space information for liquidation of emergency situations and major disasters. . . .[Full Story]

Event: Earth Observation Advisory Committee town meeting 2014

Source – UK Space Agency:

Earth Observation Advisory Committee town meeting 2014
10 Apr 2014

The UK Space Agency and its Earth Observation Advisory Committee are hosting an Earth Observation Town Meeting at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell, Oxfordshire.

Date: Thursday, 8th May 2014
Time: 10:30 – 14:00

The meeting will be an opportunity to hear more about the work of the Agency and the Committee, and to provide your views into discussions on future activities. The morning’s discussions will conclude with a networking lunch.

Disasters Charter: Cyclone Ita in Australia

The Disasters Charter was activated for Cyclone Ita in Australia:

Cyclone Ita in Australia

Type of Event: Ocean Storm (Tropical Cyclone)
Location of Event: Queensland, Australia
Date of Charter Activation: 11 April 2014
Charter Requestor: Geoscience Australia on behalf of Queensland State Disaster Coordination Centre
Project Management: Geoscience Australia

Description of the Event:
Cyclone Ita made landfall on the north coast of Australia on the evening of 11 April 2014. The storm brought powerful winds and heavy rain.

Ita was classified as a Category 5 Severe Tropical Cyclone, which is on the higher end of the Saffir-Simpson scale, while it was approaching Australia. But the Australian Bureau of Meteorology downgraded the classification to Category 4 when it made landfall, and the storm further weakened as it moved inland. The storm made landfall at Cape Flattery, in the state of Queensland.

The Solomon Islands faced Cyclone Ita late last week, and the then-Category 1 storm caused flooding and killed an estimated 21 people. There were concerns that the storm would cause a great deal of damage in Australia, but no casualties were reported. Thousands of people took shelter or evacuated their homes to avoid the storm, however, and property damage from the cyclone’s strong winds occurred.

U.S. agencies back DigitalGlobe bid to sell sharper images

Source – Reuters:

U.S. agencies back DigitalGlobe bid to sell sharper images
TAMPA/WASHINGTON Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:46pm EDT

(Reuters) – The U.S. intelligence community has thrown its support behind a bid by commercial space imagery providerDigitalGlobe Inc to sell higher resolution images from its satellites, the leading U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday.
DigitalGlobe has pressed the government for years to allow it to sell such imagery but U.S. government agencies worried that giving public access to them could undermine the intelligence advantage they have from even higher resolution satellite images. . . .[Full Story]

European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2014 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Copernicus Programme and repealing Regulation (EU) No 911/2010 (COM(2013)0312 – C7-0195/2013 – 2013/0164(COD)) (Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Source – EU Parliament:

European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2014 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Copernicus Programme and repealing Regulation (EU) No 911/2010 (COM(2013)0312 – C7-0195/2013 – 2013/0164(COD)) (Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

– having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2013)0312),

– having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 189(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0195/2013),

– having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

– having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 16 October 2013(1) ,

– after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

– having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 20 December 2013 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

– having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

– having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0027/2014),

1. Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2. Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

(1) OJ C 67, 6.3.2014, p. 88.

. . .

Disasters Charter: Missing Malaysia Airlines jet

The Disasters charter has been activated for Missing Malaysia Airlines jet:

Missing Malaysia Airlines jet

Type of Event: Other – Missing aircraft
Location of Event: South China Sea
Date of Charter Activation: 11 March 2014
Charter Requestor: China Meteorological Administration
Project Management: China Meteorological Administration

Description of the Event
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared from radar on 07 March 2014. The jet was carrying 239 people (12 crew and 227 passengers) and has yet to be found despite a multi-national search.
The aircraft departed from Kuala Lumpur at 16:41 UTC and was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 22:30, but Vietnamese air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft at 17:30 (01:30 local time).
An international search began for the aircraft in the South China Sea, the last known location of the jet, but four days later no sign of the aircraft had been found. The search area has since been expanded to the Malacca Strait, on the western coast of Malaysia. And on 15 March the search shifted to as far as the Indian Ocean.
There has been much speculation regarding the fate of the aircraft. No debris has been found and though several oil slicks have been investigated it was determined that they were not from the aircraft. Two passengers aboard the jet were under suspicion, following an investigation that revealed that they were using stolen passports, but Interpol has since dismissed any terrorist connections for the two passengers.
No distress signals have been received from the plane and it remains unknown what happened. It has been noted by investigators that it is very unusual for an airliner to simply disappear in such a manner.
Both naval vessels and aircraft from at least ten different countries are participating in the search. Satellite imagery is now being employed to search for any evidence of the plane, both before and after it disappeared. China is utilising ten of its satellites to image the search area. The United States imaging corporation, DigitalGlobe, has started a crowdsourcing campaign in which over two million volunteers have studied DigitalGlobe images of the area.
More than 20 countries are participating in the search and the latest reports indicate that the plane turned back after take-off and passed over Malaysia and then headed north-west. Evidence suggests the plane flew for several hours after communication with air traffic controllers was lost.
As of 17 March 2014, the search remains ongoing.