News

  • Participants at the UN-SPIDER Beijing conference.
    UN-SPIDER Beijing conference explores role of space technologies in disaster risk reduction strategies, marks ten-year anniversary Fri Sep 13 2019
    Reduction recognizes the importance of a multi-hazard approach to disaster risk reduction and makes explicit reference to promoting real-time access to reliable data making use of space and in situ information under Priority for Action 1, “Understanding disaster risk”. Such access is key to developing an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions including exposure of persons and assets...
  • Participant during the training.
    UN-SPIDER co-organizes International Charter training in Beijing Thu Sep 12 2019
    On 10 September 2019, 60 participants of the ninth annual UN-SPIDER Beijing conference and officials from Chinese government organizations attended the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” project manager training. The training was co-organized by the UN-SPIDER Beijing office and the National Disaster Reduction Centre of China (NDRCC) and hosted at the facilities of NDRCC in Beijing...
  • International training at the Regional Centre for Space Science Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (RCSSTEAP) based at Beihang University, Beijing.
    Beijing international training programme focuses on use of space-based technologies for disaster risk assessments Thu Sep 12 2019
    In the run up to this year's UN-SPIDER Beijing conference on 11 and 12 September, 30 participants from around Asia attended the international training programme on space-based technologies for disaster risk assessment from 5 to 9 September, which was hosted at the Regional Centre for Space Science Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (RCSSTEAP) based at Beihang University, Beijing. The...
  • UN-SPIDER mission team at the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI).
    UN-SPIDER strengthens use of space data for drought early warning in Ethiopia Wed Aug 28 2019
    Timely and reliable information about precipitation, soil moisture and vegetation health provide essential insights for early detection of drought. Space-based information, which helps monitor these parameters, is a central data source for effective drought early warning systems. Upon the request of the Government of Ethiopia, UN-SPIDER is carrying out a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Addis...
  • Cover of the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019.
    Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019 highlights role of big data in meeting new climate reality Mon Aug 26 2019
    A new report warns that the Asia-Pacific region is not sufficiently prepared for a new climate reality marked by an intensification and changing geography of disaster risks that are becoming harder to predict. The “Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019”, a biennial publication by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), finds that slow-onset disasters –...
  • Dengue fever forecasting system makes use of Earth observation data Tue Aug 20 2019
    Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. “Today the disease is endemic in 141 countries, affecting 390 million people and with a global annual cost estimated at almost US$9 billion. Since 2000, there has been an increase of over 100% in the number of cases of dengue fever in Vietnam, and there is currently no system for forecasting future dengue outbreaks.” according to a...
  • A photo of Mt. Etna erupting on 30 October 2002, taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Image: NASA Earth Observatory/Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center.
    German research team uses satellites and AI technology to monitor volcanoes Tue Aug 6 2019
    “More than half of the world’s active volcanoes are not monitored instrumentally,” according to GFZ Helmholtz Centre Potsdam. Yet eruptions occur quite frequently, with up to 85 of the 1500 active volcanoes erupting each year, and can cause significant damage. For example, the 2018 volcanic eruptions at Fuego (Guatemala) and Anak Krakatau (Indonesia) resulted in 430 dead and missing persons. This...
  • This map shows the ground motion during the six months following the earthquake that struck the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi on 28 September 2018, and was obtained by processing Copernicus Sentinel-1 images acquired between October 2018 and April 2019. Image: ESA/contains Copernicus Sentinel data (2018–19), processed by Planetek Rheticus Service.
    European Space Agency and Asian Development Bank help Indonesia with rebuilding efforts after 2018 earthquake Tue Aug 6 2019
    In September 2018, the Indonesian island of Sulawesi was hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. The impact, combined with the tsunami, landslides, and soil liquefaction that followed, “... claimed well over 2000 lives, destroyed homes, buildings, infrastructure and farmland in several districts,” according to the European Space Agency (ESA).  Ten months later, response efforts are now moving into the...
  • A Sentinel-2 false colour image showing active fires in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Image: DLR/ZKI.
    DLR supports efforts to fight forest fires in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Thu Jul 25 2019
    Satellite technology became an integral part of efforts to detect and contain forest fires in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, Germany at the end of June and early July. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) used satellite information, along with images captured by the Modular Aerial Camera System (MACS), to create maps, which provided emergency services with up-to-date information about areas affected...
  • Mission team with the director and staff of the Department of Civil Protection and other organizations. Image: DPC.
    Space-based data in emergency response at centre of UN-SPIDER Institutional Strengthening Mission to Cameroon Tue Jul 23 2019
    Upon the request of the Ministry of Territorial Administration (MINAT), Government of Cameroon, UN-SPIDER carried out a week-long Institutional Strengthening Mission (ISM) to Yaoundé from 15 to 19 July. The mission aimed to strengthen the capacities of the Department of Civil Protection (DPC) of Cameroon in using space-based information in all phases of the disaster management cycle. It was the...
  • The above map shows the distribution of women of reproductive age (ages 18-49) spread across Tanzania, drawn from a combination of census data and satellite imagery. Image: Facebook.
    Facebook expands its population density maps to the Asia-Pacific region Tue Jul 16 2019
    Facebook has published new population density maps covering most of the African continent and countries of the Asia-Pacific region in June 2019. Using artificial intelligence (AI), these maps help organizations to respond to natural disasters, and scientists to assess the impact of climate change and urbanization on people’s lives. As soon as almost the entire world population is covered by the...
  • Damage from Hurricane Maria, which struck the island country of Dominica in 2017. Image: Tanya Holden/UK Department for International Development (DFID).
    IMF releases report on building disaster resilience in small and low-income countries Fri Jul 12 2019
    Small and low-income countries can be disproportionately affected by natural disasters. For example, the top ten natural disasters between 1980 and 2017, in terms of greatest damage as a percentage of GDP, occurred in small and low-income countries, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its June 2019 policy paper, “Building Resilience in Developing Countries Vulnerable to Large...
  • A satellite view of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy prior to its collapse in August 2018. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Google.
    Study discusses use of space technology for detecting infrastructure instability Mon Jul 8 2019
    Evaluating the safety and integrity of infrastructure such as bridges, which is often done through hands-on inspections, may soon be possible with the help of information captured several kilometers above the Earth’s surface. According to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) news article, scientists from NASA, the University of Bath, and the Italian Space Agency used historical...
  • Hurricane Florence (2018). Image: NASA Earth Observatory.
    Tropical Cyclones stalling along the North Atlantic coast lead to more rain in the confined location Thu Jul 4 2019
    According to a new study by scientists from NASA and NOAA, tropical cyclones stall more frequently and stay longer near the coastline. This potentially leads to more precipitation over confined locations and thus an aggravation of tropical cyclone hazards for coastal populations. In the new study, scientists Hall and Kossin examined all tropical cyclones from 1944-2017 in the National Hurricane...
  • Modeled catchment mean annual loss. For clarity, only catchments with a mean annual loss of >$1.5 million have been plotted. Image: Quinn, N., Bates, P. D., Neal, J., Smith, A., Wing, O., Sampson, C., et al. ( 2019).
    Recent study presents new assessment method for rare floods risks Thu Jul 4 2019
    A recent study, published in the Water Resource Research journal, presents a new method for a spatially realistic national flood risk assessment. Researchers expanded an existing statistical model, based on U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) river flow data, to simulate a thousand years of potential flood events. By calculating the damage for each event in dollars, they were able to estimate the...
  • Damage from a 7.4 earthquake and a tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28 September 2018. Image: European Union/Pierre Prakash/Flickr.
    Flooding affected more people in 2018 than any other disaster type report shows Mon Jul 1 2019
    In the past year, “there were 315 natural disaster events recorded with 11,804 deaths, over 68 million people affected, and US$131.7 billion in economic losses around the world.” This is according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) in its recently released 2018 Natural Disasters Report.  While these 2018 natural disaster values represent a decrease when compared...
  • FV3: Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core
    NOAA's upgrade of its Global Forecast System expected to enhance weather forecasts in the USA Thu Jun 27 2019
    In June 2019, NOAA upgraded its flagship weather model, the Global Forecast System (GFS), with a new dynamic core, called Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core (FV3). This upgrade of the GFS will enhance global numerical weather forecasting and better forecast precipitation, heavy rainfall and weather types at both regional and global level. Besides, the FV3-based GFS revealed improvements in...
  • Cover of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) 2018 Annual Report. Image: UNOOSA.
    UNOOSA launches 2018 Annual Report Fri Jun 21 2019
    In its recently released 2018 Annual Report, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) provides an overview of the many projects and initiatives it engaged in during the past year to advance international cooperation in outer space. As one of the highlights, UNOOSA organized and hosted the UNISPACE+50 symposium in Vienna in June 2018 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the...
  • An artistic representation of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission. Image: Canadian Space Agency.
    Canadian RADARSAT Constellation Mission to support disaster relief efforts Fri Jun 21 2019
    On 12 June 2019, a trio of identical Canadian Earth observation satellites, which will help monitor climate change and save lives during natural disasters, among other applications, were successfully launched into space from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.   The satellites, collectively referred to as the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RAM), follow the legacy of over two decades of Canadian RADARSAT...
  • A sandstorm over the Sahara desert seen by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station in 2014. Image: ESA/NASA.
    Applications open for UN-SPIDER Bonn International Conference “Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management in Africa: Challenges, Applications, Partnerships” Tue Jun 18 2019
    The importance of using space technologies in the disaster management process has received growing global recognition in recent years. For example, the African Union outlined in its 2017 African Space Policy that among other things, space represents a unique opportunity for cooperation in using and sharing infrastructure and data to proactively respond to and manage natural hazards and disasters...
  • Representatives of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices and observer organizations..
    9th annual meeting of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices opens in Vienna Tue Jun 18 2019
    Representatives from the network of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices (RSO) convene in Vienna for the 9th Annual RSO Coordination Meeting from 18 to 19 June. Held at the United Nations Offices in Vienna, the meeting provides the 23 RSOs the opportunity to propose concrete ways in which they, respectively, could further collaborate with UN-SPIDER and also with other RSOs. The event is a forum for...

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