Asia Pacific


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.

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... read more

Publishing Date: 06/08/2019
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 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 project, population distribution in remote areas will be better determinable by humanitarian agencies. In that way, health workers will be able to better reach households and relief workers to better distribute aid. 

For its population density maps, Facebook used a combination of machine learning techniques, high resolution... read more

Publishing Date: 16/07/2019
Tropical Cyclone Fani reaches the eastern coast of India on 2 May 2019.

Building upon a history of successful Earth observation satellite launches, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) sent its RISAT-2B radar imaging satellite into orbit on 22 May 2019. Launched... read more

Publishing Date: 22/05/2019
 Information Management in Disaster Risk Management Decision Making workshop in Solomon Islands

From 27 February to 2 March 2017, World Vision, Oxfam, the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the National Disaster Management Office of the Solomon Islands organized the “Information Management in Disaster Risk Management Decision Making” workshop in Honiara, Solomon Islands. It was hosted by National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of the Solomon Islands.  The event was conducted by experts from World Vision Australia, Oxfam New Zealand, UN-SPIDER, UNOCHA, Civil Registration & Vital Statistics (CRVS), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), and NDMO.  Sixty five participants attended the activity, including government officials, NGOs, UN agencies, and stakeholders from communities and the private sector. It addressed ways to effectively extract information from available sources and... read more

Publishing Date: 21/03/2017
Super Typhoon Meranti image captured by Himawari-8. Image: NASA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) together with the private sector launched the Himawari-9 on 2 November 2016 from the JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center in Japan’s southwestern Kagoshima prefecture. It will join Himawari-8 that was launched on October 2014, to complete the next-generation of Geostationary Meteorological Satellites (GMS) that aim to improve meteorological services in the Asia Pacific region, especially giving complete and opportune images of storms, clouds and other weather systems.  Himawari-9’s position will be... read more

Publishing Date: 05/11/2016
Nepartak Typhoon. Image courtesy of NASA by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Pola Lem.

A super-typhoon called Nepartak made landfall in Taiwan (POC) in the morning of the 7th of July 2016. According to the Taiwan’s Central News Agency, at least 69 people were injured.  The cyclone is expected to lead to heavy rainfall across the island before heading to China. 

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Aqua... read more

Publishing Date: 08/07/2016
Similar eruption of the Mount Sinabung in Indonesia. Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, caption by Robert Simon.

Mount Sinabung, located in the North Sumatra province in Indonesia, erupted on 21st of May 2016, killing seven people in the village of Gembar, which is located on its foothills. The... read more

Publishing Date: 31/05/2016
Cyclone Roanu in Bangladesh - Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory, map by Joshua Stevens

Cyclone Roanu reached Bangladesh on 21 May 2016, leaving 26 people and affecting hundreds of thousands others. The storm caused heavy rains which led to floods and landslides across the coast of the country, affecting fifteen districts.

In order to respond to this disaster, the International Charter of Space and Major Disasters was activated on the 25th of May at the request of the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) on behalf of the Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO). The Asian Institute of Technology has been designated as the project manager... read more

Publishing Date: 31/05/2016
Image courtesy of NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

On 18 May 2016, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its associated agencies captured Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) images of tropical cyclone Roanu in the Bay of Bengal. The... read more

Publishing Date: 25/05/2016
Cyclone Roanu batters India and Bangladesh. Image courtesy of Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) captured on Friday 20 May 2016 an image of the tropical cyclone Roanu using the Suomi NPP satellite. The cyclone was moving parallel to the northeastern coast of India, triggering heavy rains, gusty winds and storm surges. 

The Indian Ocean is exposed every year to various types disasters, including tropical cyclones. Images of the Tropical Cyclone Roanu were taken from... read more

Publishing Date: 23/05/2016
ASEAN Workshop

UN-SPIDER, UNESCAP and the Indonesian Space Agency (LAPAN) jointly organized the 4th ASEAN workshop entitled “Simulation exercise on the procedural guidelines for sharing space-based information during emergency response... read more

Publishing Date: 09/05/2016
On November 8, China launched satellite Yaogan 28 from the Taiyuan space center in Shanxi Province (Image: Google).

On November 8, China launched the... read more

Publishing Date: 10/11/2015
The highlighted section shows additional fire hot spots under the Indonesian haze, using satellite imagery of TET-1 (Image: DLR).

So far, more than two million hectares of Indonesian forest area have been lost due to the forest fires that broke out on 21 June 2015. The National Space and Aviation Agency of Indonesia (LAPAN) expects losses to grow, as large forest areas and peat lands, especially in Kalimantan and Sumatra, are still affected by fires.   

Parwati Sofan, a senior official in LAPAN, stated at a press conference which was held at the Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency headquarters in Central Jakarta on 30 October 2015 that “Even though the satellite has helped us [collect the... read more

Publishing Date: 09/11/2015
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region of the world (Image: UN).

This year’s Asia Pacific Disaster Report 2015 – 'Disasters without borders: regional resilience for sustainable development', released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), provides an overview of... read more

Publishing Date: 02/11/2015
The second meeting for IAEG-SDGs was held in Thailand. Space technology capabilities are used to support the development of the indicators framework to monitor the goals.

The second meeting of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) was held at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand from 26 to 28 October. The aim of the convention was to review the possible global indicators of the framework needed for the monitoring of the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda at the global level, and support its implementation. The event was broadcasted life to the public during the three days.

Measuring development indicators at national levels is traditionally being performed by national statistical offices. Space technology capabilities and space-based information can be used to support the Sustainable Development Goals Indicators and Monitoring Framework, as an objective measuring tool which enables a spatially consistent monitoring of the Earth.

As an example, the Indicator “number of deaths, missing people, injured, relocated or evacuated due to disasters per... read more

Publishing Date: 30/10/2015
Recently, fire hot spots decreased in consequence of heavy rainfalls (Image: NASA).

Since weeks Indonesia experiences severe forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia's half of Borneo island. Social Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa officially confirmed the death of 19 people, as a cause of the effects of the fire haze. Due to heavy rainfall within the last days, the number of fire hot spots decreased from 1.578 to 291 on 28 October. 

Pollution levels advanced from "unhealthy" to "moderate" in Riau province on Sumatra island. Overall, more than half a million Indonesians suffer from the effects of the haze. This year’s fires had been worsened by El Niño, which further caused severe dryness in Indonesia. 

In the past, Indonesia had been impacted by several fires due to the common practice of "slash and burn agriculture", in which rainforest is burned to clear the ground for the growing of crops, like oil palm and acacia pulp, and the grazing of animals. Often fires smolder under the surface of Indonesia, continuing for a long time period. The... read more

Publishing Date: 29/10/2015
Launch of Jilin-1 four satellites at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gansu Province. Photo Credit: Xinhua/Zhao Peng

Four satellites were launched for harvest assessment, geological disaster prevention and resource surveys. Jilin-1 is called the mission led by China, which used a Long March-2D vehicle from the 603 Launch Pad at the Jiuquan... read more

Publishing Date: 14/10/2015

UN SPIDER’s Regional Support Office in Sri Lanka International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in association with Sentinel Asia System (SAS) and JAXA activated the charter on October 1 to generate satellite images covering the Southern Provinces in Sri Lanka.

The imagery was provided to use in emergency... read more

Publishing Date: 05/10/2015
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
Accumulated rainfall September 2014 and 2015; and Rainfall events from 21 – 30 Sept

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) released some imagery from the satellite rainfall estimates for the current flood disasters in Sri Lanka. The Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) revealed that the extraordinary flooding in Sri Lanka was caused by unusually strong monsoonal rainfall over the period between 10 September and 30 September 2014.

Massive flooding was reported mainly in the Southern, North central and Uva Province of Sri Lanka. The accumulated rainfall almost tripled in comparison to the rainfall in the same period last year.

Satellite imagery helps to map the affected areas, as well as to compare... read more

Publishing Date: 01/10/2015
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
NASA satellite imagery of Northern India on June 2013, showing rainclouds. This data could be combined by Geo-DRM system with other information to improve weather forecast.

Geo-referenced information Systems for Disaster Risk Management (Geo-DRM) is called the initiative launched by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to support the world’s most disaster prone countries build their capacities to recover from natural disasters.

Geographic Information System (GIS) applications for early warning and multi-... read more

Publishing Date: 10/09/2015
NASA satellite Image of Bangladesh's physical features

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters has been triggered to provide satellite-based emergency maps in response to floods and landslides caused by heavy rains in the north and central regions of Bangladesh. The mechanism was activated yesterday, 7 September 2015, at 09:13 (UTC+02:00) by the Asia... read more

Publishing Date: 08/09/2015
Weather satellite image of a tornado, captured by NASA (Tornadic Weather System)

The Bureau of Meteorology informed that the new satellite, called Himawari 8, will provide updated images every ten minutes. The aircraft, developed by the Japanese Meteorological Agency, is able to generate full color and better resolution imagery that will led to more accurate forecast to issue weather warning.

The head of the weather bureau, Dr. Andrew Tupper, explained that Himawari 8 will allow a closer monitoring and better understanding of weather events. "Just about everything we do in terms of... read more

Publishing Date: 07/09/2015
Shirish Ravan of UN-SPIDER speaking on "Role of earth observation in maitaining health of natural heritage sites"

The International Workshop on the Role of World Natural Heritage (WHS) Sites in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was organised by UNESCO Category 2 Centre (C2C) World Natural Heritage Management and Training for Asia and the Pacific Region based at Wildlife Institute of India. The event was performed in Dehradun city on 24 and 25 August. The main objectives of the workshop were:

·         To identify and assess Natural and man-made disaster risks at World Heritage properties in the Asia-Pacific Region,

·         To raise awareness about the need to integrate special concern for Natural and Mixed World Heritage properties into national disaster reduction policies... read more

Publishing Date: 02/09/2015
Follow up activities of UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission and training workshop on landslide hazard mapping, risk and vulnerability assessment, Thimpu, Bhutan, 17-21 August 2015

The UN-SPIDER, the UNDP and the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) (Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs) conducted follow up activities and training workshop as a next step after the UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Bhutan, offered in June 2014. The activities were executed from 17 to 21 August, 2015.

Soon after the TAM was conducted, the UN Resident Coordinator secured funding to implement the recommendations of the TAM through the UN joint project titled “... read more

Publishing Date: 02/09/2015
Records of the typhoon's eye and its structure on August 19 (Image: NASA)

Stunning images of the Atsani typhoon have been captured by CloudSat and Aqua satellites on August 19. The first space artifact passed near its eye and collected information about the inside of the typhoon through its cloud-penetrating radar. For its part, the MODIS web on the Aqua satellite passed above Atsani capturing an image of the storm's eyewall where the the red line is the north-to-south track that CloudSat took.

CloudSat's record displays what the storm would look like if it had been sliced near the middle and viewed from the side: the darkest blues indicate regions where clouds... read more

Publishing Date: 21/08/2015


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