International Charter activated for Floods in Philippines

NASA's Aqua satellite sees Typhoon Saola over the Philippines on July 30, 2012
Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

On 8 August 2012, the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated to provide satellite-based data for the recent floods in Philippines. The mechanism was activated by UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office, the Asia Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), on behalf of Masami Sugiura. On Tuesday, 7 August 2012, torrential rains had flooded the Philippines capital, Manila. Nine people were found dead buried under a landslide in Quezon City. The rains came after typhoon Saola struck last week, where more than 50 people had died. Since the typhoon, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council had reported widespread flooding within surrounding provinces of the capital.

Tens of thousands of people have been moved into evacuation centres whilst several have fled their homes. Previously the government were not so well prepared when typhoons struck, however this time they have acted very quickly. Rainfall continued for more than 24 hours on Monday, almost 350mm of rain had poured down. In 2009, flash floods caused major dams to overflow and burst river-banks, claiming hundreds of lives. However, this disaster is considered to be worse particularly for affecting mountainous and low-lying areas.

The City remains on high alert as officials have forced schools, offices and the Philippine Stock Exchange to close. Authorities, rescue crews and government officials are working together to bring people to safety. The weather bureau confirms that further rainfall is expected over the next few days, but will reduce by the weekend. It is believed the rains were intensified by a tropical storm, ‘Haikul’ off the east coast of China.