Asia

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The Mongolian National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring (NAMEM) has developed a extreme winter (dzud) risk map for the country using MODIS satellite data, among other resources. The map shows that over 50 per cent of the country are at risk of a severe winter. Following the analysis, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released funds to limit the impact on vulnerable herders. The early action move is carried out under the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) forecast-based financing (FbF) approach, an early action protocol under which funds are released ahead of a disaster to limit its impact. 

NAMEM developed the dzud risk map using 11 different parameters based on remote sensing data collected from MODIS satellite, such as snow cover and drought…

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Publishing date 19/02/2020

The Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), which is affiliated to the United Nations, has announced its 2020/2021 postgraduate courses in Remote Sensing and GIS, Satellite Meteorology and Global Climate, and Space and Atmospheric Science.

The Remote Sensing and GIS course will be held from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 at the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), which is a unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in Dehadrun, India. The deadline for applications for the programme is 28 February 2020.

The course is directed towards professionals and specialists working in universities and other educational institutes, who are involved in research in natural resources and environmental management.…

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Publishing date 16/01/2020
Image: UNOOSA. , Image: UNOOSA. , Image: UNOOSA.

In order for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Member States to be able to incorporate the routine use of space technology-based solutions, there is a need to increase awareness, build national capacity and develop solutions that are customized to their needs. The regional workshop and capacity-building programme on the "Role of Earth Observation in Multi-Hazard Disaster Risk Assessment and Monitoring Targets of the Sendai Framework" is the second regional event in South Asia under the umbrella of the SAARC Disaster Management Center and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its UN-SPIDER programme. The event took place in collaboration with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka, the Space Applications Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia Pacific (CSSTEAP). It was built on the outcome of the first regional workshop and…

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Publishing date 12/12/2019
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On 22 December 2018 a large chunk of the Anak Krakatau volcanic island collapsed into the ocean, causing a tsunami that swept across Indonesia’s Sunda Strait. Because tsunami early warning systems are exclusively equipped to detect tsunamis that are generated by earthquakes, this volcanic collapse-caused tsunami took place without a warning. In the coastal regions of Java and Sumatra, where people were struck off guard, the tsunami killed 400 people and injured many more.

A recent research study published in Nature Communications and led by the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) has detected deformations in Anak Krakatau leading up to the tsunami that could serve as an early warning system for future volcanic collapses. Satellite data plays a key role in developing such early warning systems by providing monitoring capabilities. As early as late June 2018, the Moderate Resolution Imaging…

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Publishing date 13/11/2019

In July 2019, Bangladesh, India and Nepal experienced floods and landslides during the South Asian monsoon season. On the night of the 17 July, the Jamuna river in Bangladesh broke through the embankment, inundating over 40 villages and displacing more than 200,000 people. Experts of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office, prepared flood inundation maps after the floods struck Bangladesh. By making use of free satellite data from the Sentinel-1 satellite of the Copernicus programme, ICIMOD experts were able to create maps that give a synoptic overview of the extent of inundation caused by the floods.

Flood inundation maps aid disaster management agencies in prioritizing relief and rescue missions in flood affected areas. These endeavors illustrate the usefulness of satellite data in emergency response: Maps play a crucial role in planning effective and efficient emergency response…

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Publishing date 25/09/2019

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 – included for the first time in its risk estimates – account for nearly two thirds of disaster losses in the region. Big data applications based on satellite imagery and other data sets are expected to help mitigate the challenges of this new climate reality, which also need to be addressed through risk-informed policies and investments in resilience.

When disasters strike, they do not only hit the poorest - more likely to live in high risk areas - but almost 40 per cent of impacts affect the social…

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Publishing date 26/08/2019

A study conducted by Swiss and Chinese scientists assesses the flood danger posed by glacial lakes across the Tibetan Plateau using an automated satellite survey. 

Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) are a major concern throughout the Third Pole Environment, where thousands of glacial lakes have formed and continue to expand in response to climate warming and glacial retreat. This is particular true in the Himalaya, where several disasters occurring over the past century have caused significant loss of life and damage to infrastructure. The fear is that these lakes can overtop their barriers and send floods downstream that overrun settlements.

The study looked at 1,300 of these water bodies that have built up in front of ice streams and which are dammed by rocky debris, and identified 210 lakes (16 per cent) with a potential to threaten communities. This information facilitates targeted local monitoring and other risk reduction…

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Publishing date 23/04/2019

After completing in-orbit tests, China officially put two new Earth observation satellites into operation on 21 March. As new part of China’s High-definition Earth Observation Satellite (CHEOS), Gaofen-5 and -6 will aid in environmental protection, agricultural and forestry surveys and disaster relief.

Gaofen-5 and -6 will improve China’s capability to receive ground images and data, thereby facilitating social, economic and environmental development, stated Zhang Kejian, director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA). After launching Gaofen-7 later this year, China will complete the construction of CHEOS with multiple high-definition satellites, Keijan said.

During the testing period of several months, the two satellites provided data on natural resources, environmental monitoring, and natural disasters. According to…

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Publishing date 08/04/2019

On 12 March, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) signed an agreement with French satellite operator Thales Alenia Space to build Nepal’s first communications satellite. The Nepalese government intends to use the satellite to provide nationwide internet access to its citizens, improve disaster management efforts and strengthen economic growth in the country.

The development of Nepal’s own satellite system proves to be significant in terms of improving the country’s disaster management efforts. Nepal is regularly faces natural disasters such as droughts, floods, landslides, fires, and storms as well as…

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Publishing date 29/03/2019

As part of the technical advisory support it provides to countries worldwide on accessing space-based information for disaster management and emergency response, UN-SPIDER carried out an Institutional Strengthening Mission to Lao People’s Democratic Republic from 18 to 22 March 2019 upon the request of the Ministry of Science and Technology. This activity was jointly organized by the United Nations platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). Experts from two UN-SPIDER Regional Support Officer – the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) – contributed to the mission.

The mission was a follow-up activity to the UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) conducted in July 2015 that assessed use of space-derived information in all aspects of disaster…

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Publishing date 20/03/2019
Participants are being trained in analyzing maps produced as part of International Charter activations. , Over 50 participants participated in the two training courses provided as part of the ISM. , Training participants from the Department of Disaster Management. , Training participants from key ministries of Myanmar. Image: UN-Habitat.

As part of the technical advisory support it provides to countries worldwide, UN-SPIDER carried out an Institutional Strengthening Mission to Myanmar from 11 to 15 March 2019 upon the request of the government. This activity was jointly organized by UN-SPIDER and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), under auspices of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettle­ment (MSWRR) of Myanmar. It was hosted by the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC). Experts from the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Maxar contributed to the mission.

The mission was a follow-up activity to the UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission (TAM)…

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Publishing date 19/03/2019

The United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) carried out a joint high-level advocacy workshop in Myanmar under auspices of the country’s Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettle­ment (MSWRR). Experts from the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Maxar contributed to the meeting on 11 March 2019 in Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar.

The high-level advocacy workshop was led by Prof. Dr. Win Myat Aye, Union Minister of MSWRR. He elaborated outcomes of the long-term engagement of UN-SPIDER with Myanmar. Among others, the meeting was attended by Mr. Soe Aung, Deputy Minister of MSWRR and over 50 senior officials of all key ministries that contribute to disaster management activities in the country. The workshop proposed strengthening…

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Publishing date 18/03/2019

Vietnamese and American researchers joined efforts to develop a satellite-based system approach to monitor and manage transboundary flooding.

The teams from the Viet Nam National Center for Water Resources Planning and Investigation (NAWAPI) and the University of Washington co-developed and implemented an advanced water forecasting system. Recently, Viet Nam launched the satellite-based system aiming to improve timely access to upstream reservoir information in transboundary river basins of the Red and Mekong rivers. The satellite-based system provides various ways to achieve this objective.

Estimate reservoir storage and outflow

With the mass balance approach users can calculate reservoir storage and outflow with satellite data. The key inputs of the dam system are precipitation and inflow. Therefore, satellite precipitation data and hydrologic models…

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Publishing date 06/03/2019

The Central Asia Hydrometeorology Modernization Project (CAHMP), funded by the World Bank and co-financed by United Nations agencies and other development partners, receives new funding after reinforcing weather forecasting and early warning efforts in Central Asia. The five countries of the region, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, are exposed to an increasing number of hydrological and meteorological hazards.

To help address the present and prospective challenge, the World Bank invested US$ 28 million into CAHMP. Since the project needs further structural developing, it was recently…

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Publishing date 28/01/2019

The Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), which is affiliated to the United Nations, will run its 24th postgraduate programme in Remote Sensing & Geographic System (RS & GIS) starting this July. The two-year programme open for 20 participants will be held at the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), which is a unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in Dehadrun. The deadline for applications for the programme is 28 February 2019.

The course is directed towards professionals and specialists working in universities and other educational institutes, who are involved in natural resources and environmental management. After developing and…

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Publishing date 28/01/2019

The Japanese government is preparing to test a disaster early warning system that uses one of its Quasi-Zenith’s satellites this year. The system aims to better predict disasters in the Asia-Pacific region.

Through the new early warning system, the Government of Japan seeks to prevent “potential impacts of natural disaster on Japanese manufacturers and supply chains”, the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) said. Japan also intends to contribute to the disaster prevention management of other Asian countries, and prepares…

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Publishing date 25/01/2019

As part of the technical advisory support it provides to countries worldwide, UN-SPIDER carried out an Institutional Strengthening Mission to Nepal from 17 to 21 December 2018 upon the request of the government. The mission was a follow-up activity to the Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Nepal in July 2017 that assessed use of space-derived information in all aspects of disaster management and offered recommendations and action plan to strengthen the disaster risk management and emergency response in the country.

The TAM and ISM were conducted with support from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA). The Nepal GIS Society also offered support in organizing the programme.

During the five-day mission, UN-SPIDER distributed the TAM report to the wider community, held coordination meetings with government and United Nations agencies, carried out a training…

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Publishing date 25/01/2019
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The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) participated in two regional meetings organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. The meetings discussed the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The ISDR-Asia Partnership (IAP) Forum was convened on 11-12 December 2018 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok with the key objectives of sharing and reviewing progress in disaster risk reduction and, in particular, implementation of the Asia Regional Plan. This meeting was followed by the Regional Consultative Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies: Attaining the Sendai Framework Target ‘E’ on National and Local DRR Strategies, which took place 13-14 December 2018. The consultative workshop aimed to develop better understanding of how DRR strategies can be developed and leveraged as policy tools to manage disaster risk.…

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Publishing date 18/12/2018

The National University of Laos (NUOL) and Deqing Academy of Satellite Applications (DASA) conducted a joint Asia-Oceania GEOSS (AOGEOSS) training workshop on Earth observation data for urban, agriculture and disaster monitoring in the Mekong Basin from 15 to 19 October 2018 at the Faculty of Engineering (FE) of the National University of Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The workshop was carried out in cooperation with the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and Beijing PIESAT Information Technology Co., Ltd. 

The Chinese delegation was led by Professor Qingyan Meng and Professor Xiang Zhou. The representative from the Faculty of Engineering was Professor Dr. Boualinh Soysouvanh, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Lao PDR. Twenty participants participated in activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of Lao young researchers, teachers, students and officials from different institutions/…

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Publishing date 24/11/2018

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through the United Nations Platform for Spaced-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), is conducting the eighth edition of the United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction from 24 to 26 October in Beijing, China. The event is organized together with the Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China. This year, the focus of the conference lies on “Enhancing Disaster Preparedness for Effective Emergency Response”.

UN-SPIDER, through its Beijing office, prepared the event in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the People's Republic of China, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO).

About one hundred participants from 34…

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Publishing date 24/10/2018

A drought/dzud monitoring system known as “DroughtWatch-Mongolia” has been officially handed over to Mongolia on 17 September by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

DroughtWatch-Mongolia is a system based on satellite data which aims to provide real-time drought monitoring for disaster prevention and mitigation departments in Mongolia.

Following a request by Mongolia to UNESCAP to pilot its Regional Drought Mechanism, a project entitled, “Strengthening Mongolia's capacity to monitor and warn drought/dzud” was…

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Publishing date 02/10/2018

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Authority (JAXA) has released a collection of good practices in disaster emergency observation using data captured by the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) from 2014 to 2017. The publication showcases the contributions of space technology to disaster risk reduction and demonstrates Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observation principles, presenting them in actual observations using SAR for different types of disasters.

The Collection of Good Practice in Disaster Emergency Observation can be found here.

In order to highlight the good practices in disaster emergency Earth observation, the publication exhibits actual observations taken by the ALOS-2 satellite during four disasters that hit Japan: the volcanic eruptions Mount Hakone in 2015, the Kumamoto…

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Publishing date 08/08/2018

The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” was activated on 7 July for a major flooding disaster which has hit Japan, the worst the country has experienced in 36 years.

Heavy rains, which first started at the end of June 2018, caused flash flooding and deadly landslides across western and central Japan from 5 July. Over 200 fatalities have been recorded in the country so far as a result of the disaster. The rains which caused the flooding appear to have been caused by warm, humid air flowing from the Pacific Ocean and by remnants of Typhoon Prapiroon, both of which intensified the seasonal rain front. Some 8.63 million people across 23 prefectures in Japan have been…

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Publishing date 16/07/2018

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), is conducting a side event at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on using Earth observation to implement the Sendai Framework. The session aims to demonstrate the benefits of space-based technologies for the implementation of the Sendai Framework, provide a forum to share experiences Asian countries have had in using space technologies for disaster management, and identify opportunities for collaboration between disaster management authorities in Asia and UN-SPIDER.

Under the theme “Preventing Disaster Risk: Protecting Sustainable Development”, AMCDRR 2018 underlines that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without due consideration to disaster risks societies are…

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Publishing date 04/07/2018
China has established an emergency mechanism using its meteorological satellites to help countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative to combat extreme weather and disasters, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) announced on 2 May.
 
Countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, which are suffering from meteorological disasters such as typhoons, rainstorms, wildfires and sandstorms, may apply to China to activate the mechanism. These countries will then receive get high-frequency satellite data from China’ Fengyun satellites via the CMA. Such timely and accurate information may prove essential to national authorities when providing disaster relief. The availability of such satellite data to assist in dealing with disasters could particularly benefit countries which do not currently have access to such information.
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Publishing date 22/05/2018