Sign warning of volcanic activity in Ecuador. Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

The use of multi-risk information systems is crucial in confronting the increasing risks posed by natural hazards. In some cases, risk is increasing due to inadequate land-use norms or regulations that allow for the construction of infrastructure in areas exposed to such natural hazards. In other cases, vulnerability increases due to lack of awareness or extreme poverty.  The need to address risks from the point of view of multiple hazards is necessary to contribute to sustainable development and has been incorporated as an essential element of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.  For this purpose, the RIESGOS 2.0 project was launched in March 2021. Under the coordination of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the project builds on the accomplishments of its predecessor - RIESGOS - as a multi-risk information system that models and simulates natural hazards to support disaster... read more

Publishing Date: 17/03/2021
Flood in San Antonio as a result of a tsunami in 2010. Image: Atilio Leandro.

As part of the Tsunami Inundation Maps project (CITSU), the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA) made available information related to the occurrence of tsunamis on the Chilean coast. SHOA, which is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the national tsunami warning system, established the CITSU project in 1977 to define probable flood levels for the main urban areas and ports along the coast in the case of approaching tsunamis. As a result of the CITSU project, more than thirty maps have been produced since its launch. 

One of the main objectives of these maps is to display the impact of tsunamis to support local authorities who are in charge of urban planning and to develop evacuation plans for the protection of the population. The availability of such information allows different agencies and public bodies to improve their decision-making process and thus to prevent the loss of human lives and high costs of material... read more

Publishing Date: 20/06/2018
Forest fires in Chile. Image courtesy of NASA.

A state of emergency has been declared on 26 January 2017 in south-central Chile due to the worst forest fires that the region has experienced in its modern history. The fires began in mid-January and spread quickly because of this year’s especially hot and dry summer in South America. The blazes are furthermore amplified by strong winds, high temperatures and a lasting drought that Chile has been experiencing in the last 6 years. As it was commented at the General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics in 2015, there have been 30-70% annual precipitation deficits in Chile, which have led to an unprecedented drought. (

According to the BBC, interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo said that at least 2,000 homes had been destroyed, leaving some 8,000 people with no place to live. One town, Santa Olga, has been completely... read more

Publishing Date: 01/02/2017
 8.3 magnitude earthquake in Chile (Image: VICE)

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters has been triggered to provide satellite-based emergency maps in response to a powerful 8.3 magnitude earthquake in Chile and also caused a tsunami, which affected some parts of the coast. The mechanism was activated on 17 September 2015, at 09:37:02 (UTC+03:00) by ONEMI.

The International Charter reported: “The epicenter of the earthquake was just off the coast of the Coquimbo Province and lasted for approximately three minutes. Dozens of aftershocks followed, as well as a tsunami which brought waves recorded as high as 4.7m to the coastal areas closest to the epicenter. It is reportedly the most powerful earthquake worldwide this year”.

Chile is a well-prepared country for such incidents, in terms of infrastructure and also emergency response. Even though, this event was... read more

Publishing Date: 21/09/2015
Southern Chile has been several times affected by volcano eruptions. 2009 Chaitén Volcano (Image: NASA)

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters has been activated today, 23 April, after Calbuco Volcano, in the Los Lagos Region of Chile, erupted twice in less than 24 hours. The mechanism was activated by the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security of Chile (ONEMI).

The Calbuco Volcano, which had been dormant for more than 50 years, has erupted twice in less than 24 hours, triggering the declaration of Red Alert for the affected region. Around 4000 people have already been evacuated within a 20km radius, as informed ONEMI.

According... read more

Publishing Date: 23/04/2015
Satellite picture of fire in Valparaiso (Image: NASA)

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated on 14 March 2015 for a forest fire in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, Chile. The mechanism was activated by the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security of Chile (ONEMI) to receive satellite-based emergency information and maps.

The fire broke out on 13 March 2015, and forced 4,500 people to evacuate their homes. It was reported that the fire was caused at an illegal landfill where molten metal had started the fire and spread from there. One person died, and nineteen firefighters were injured in their efforts against the blaze. It is estimated that 500 hectares were burnt by the fire. By 16 March the fire was contained and people began returning to their homes where it was safe to do so.

Valparaiso is frequently affected by fire and is still recovering from a fire in April last year.

Publishing Date: 18/03/2015
Satellite image of Volcan Villarrica (Image: NASA)

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated for an eruption at Villarrica Volcano in southern Chile. The mechanism was activated by the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security of Chile (ONEMI) to receive satellite-based emergency information and maps. A Red Alert has been declared in the respective area and thousands of residents have been evacuated for their safety.

Villarrica is one of Chile's most active volcanoes, and has been showing signs of activity since the start of February, leading to close observation of the volcano in the event that a eruption occurred. It finally erupted on 3 March 2015, sending ash and lava up into the sky in a display which was reportedly seen as far as 100 km away.

While no one has been harmed in the eruption, the situation will continue to be monitored for any further eruption. The ash from the volcano could also pose a hazard to health. Meteorologists currently expect the ash... read more

Publishing Date: 03/03/2015
Satellite image of the fires around port city in Chile

The International Charter: Space and Major Disaster was activated on 14 April due to forest fires, near the city Valparaiso, Chile. The fires have killed 12 people and over 10 thousands were evacuated. 

The fires started on Saturday, 12 April, and moved towards the city destroying more than 500 homes. Minor explosions were detected and smoke spread is causing breathing problems to the citizens. Firefighters are trying to stop the spread of the fire, but coastal winds and expected rise in the temperature are threatening to push the fires back into the city. 

Publishing Date: 16/04/2014
Satellite image of flooding in Chile

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated on 02 April 2014 to provide satellite image products in support of the response efforts for the tsunami event on the northern coast of Chile. The international mechanism was triggered by Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE), one of the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices, on behalf of Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI).

An earthquake occured off the northern coast of Chile at 20:46 local time on 01 April 2014. A tsunami warning was issued by Chilean authorities recommending people to evacuate from the country’s coastal areas.  A 2.1 m wave struck areas along the coast including the cities of Pisagua, Patache and Iquique.  According to reports five people have been killed.  

Edit (04 April 2014): The activation has been cancelled by the Charter, stating the reason of less severity than anticipated.  (... read more
Publishing Date: 02/04/2014
Regional Support Offices mentioned:

On 12 to 16 November 2012, UNOOSA organized the Workshop "Space Technology Applications for Socio-Economic Benefits" in Santiago de Chile, Chile. The Workshop was the third activity of the UN Progamme on Space Applications focusing exclusively on socio-economic benefits of space technology applications. In 2010 and 2011 two previous workshops were held in Turkey and Vietnam.

The overall objective of the workshop was to increase awareness among policy makers and planners on the socio-economic benefits of utilizing space technology. The workshop contributed to international cooperation by providing opportunities to exchange in-depth information on Space Technology Applications for Socio-Economic Benefits.

Specific objectives for this workshop were to: (a) share information on research and applications studies that have demonstrated the use of space technology for societal benefit; (b) address principles and mechanisms for enhancing national, regional, and international... read more

Publishing Date: 28/11/2012

In the central Andes mountains, satellites have detected ground deformation under way above a major subterranean magma body. The Altiplano–Puna volcanic province is part of an active volcanic arc in South America’s central Andes. Extending through Peru, southwestern Bolivia, Chile and northwestern Argentina, it is home to a number of large calderas formed following catastrophic eruptions. Beneath the surface of Altiplano–Puna, about 17–19 km deep, lies the largest known active magma body in Earth’s continental crust.

In a study published on 12 October 2012 in Science, scientists used radar data from the ERS and Envisat missions to study an unusual uplift near the Uturuncu volcano, which had been dormant for 270 000 years. The satellites show that the ground in this area has been rising by about 10 mm per year over the past 20 years. The surrounding area, however, is sinking at a slower rate of about 2 mm per... read more

Publishing Date: 16/10/2012

A conference of geological and scientific experts met in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas last week to discuss using the TerraSAR-X satellite system to assist Chile in predicting volcanic eruptions. The satellite, which has been in orbit for nearly a year, could provide Chile with significantly advanced warning of volcanic activity and tsunamis.

The TerraSAR-X satellite has primarily been used to observe the changing landscape and climate of Antarctica. The satellite can track changes in Antarctic ice masses, including thinning glaciers and changes to the ozone layer, almost in real time.

The satellite works in tandem with Chile’s General Bernardo O’Higgins Base, located in Antarctica, where the data is downloaded and analyzed.

In the wake of recent volcanic eruptions, Chile is working to improve natural disaster preparedness by extending its volcano monitoring network.

The primary advantage of the TerraSAR-X satellite is its capacity to see... read more

Publishing Date: 22/11/2011

Within the framework of the international Committee on Satellite Earth Observation (CEOS), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is collaborating with NASA on various projects helping to monitor, manage and respond to natural disasters. This partnership offers CSA and NASA the opportunity to share Earth Observation (EO) data acquired by Canadian and American satellites for the purpose of scientific research and operational applications. During the June 2011 eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon-Callue volcano (Chile), large amounts of ash and pumice were ejected into the atmosphere and subsequently deposited over large areas, threatening the health of many people. In Argentina, volcanic ash fall affected agriculture land as well as urban areas, such as Bariloche, Villa la Angostura, Neuquen and even the capital Buenos Aires. Argentina declared a health emergency and advised people in affected areas to stay indoors. The Ministry of Agriculture of Argentina requested assistance from the World... read more

Publishing Date: 14/09/2011

In what the interior minister described as a “white earthquake,” heavy snow blanketed parts of Chile in July 2011. Snow was 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) deep in the city of Lonquimay, CNN reported. Santiago Times reported that some areas received four months’ worth of snowfall in just four days.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured images of the region around Lonquimay on July 22, 2011 (shown image), and July 8, 2011.

Using visible and infrared light, these images better distinguish between snow and clouds than a natural-color image would. Snow and ice are bright red or red-orange. Clouds range in color from off-white to peach. Vegetation is green.

Both images show winter conditions but, compared to the image from July 8, the scene from July 22 shows snow blanketing a significantly larger area around Lonquimay. On July 22, fog fills multiple valleys in between the snow-capped peaks.

The Araucanía region in... read more

Publishing Date: 26/07/2011

The crater of the Chilean volcano Puyehue displays a striking, circular outline in this image from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TerraSAR-X satellite – so this was not the culprit when a volcano in the southern Andes erupted on 4 June 2011. Instead, as the images from the German radar satellite show for the first time, the new eruption centre lies 6.7 kilometres further to the northwest, in the Cordón Caulle region. A field of lava, appearing as a uniform, light blue surface, is currently forming there. Radar images acquired by TerraSAR-X have been providing valuable information to the staff of the Chilean Volcano Risk Programme since the eruption began, helping them to assess the situation and predict its future development.

DLR's Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (Zentrum für satellitengestützte Kriseninformation; ZKI) confirmed 40.525 degrees South, 72.142 degrees West as the coordinates of the eruption, which... read more

Publishing Date: 22/07/2011

Ordinarily, the flashes of white in South America’s Atacama Desert rise from salt pans.But on July 7, 2011, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired these images, the white came from a far rarer commodity: snow. Starting on July 3 and lasting several days, a cold front dumped up to 80 centimeters of snow (32 inches) on the driest desert in the world, reported BBC News.

The images above show the largest snowfall the region has witnessed in a half-century. The top image provides a photo-like, natural color view of the snow. A few clouds hang over the white desert, marring the view slightly. The lower image, which includes both visible and infrared light, helps distinguish between snow and clouds. Snow is dark red, while clouds are lighter shades of orange and white. How rare was the heavy snow? Parts of the Atacama Desert receive just 1 to 3 millimeters of precipitation per year (the local average is 50 mm, or 2 inches... read more

Publishing Date: 13/07/2011

NASA Provides a Two-Satellite View and Video of the Chilean Volcano Eruption 

NASA's Aqua satellite and the GOES-13 satellite both captured their own unique views of the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano in Chile this week. One satellite provided a high-resolution image of the ash plume while the other provided a video showing the plumes movement over several days.

NASA's GOES Project released a satellite animation of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano that shows the movement of the ash plume over several days. The NASA GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. created the animation from images obtained by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-13. The GOES series of satellites are operated by NOAA.

The GOES-13 animation includes visible and infrared imagery from GOES-13 that runs from June 4 at 1745 UTC (1:45 p.m. EDT) to June 6 at 1445 UTC (10:45 a.m. EDT). On June 4, the plume was blowing to... read more

Publishing Date: 10/06/2011

From 15 – 21 March UN-SPIDER Programme Coordinator, David Stevens, was in Chile at the request of the Government of Chile to follow-up on the support the programme has been providing to the response activities of the mega 8.3 magnitude earthquake that impacted the southern-central portion of the country on February 27.


The UN-SPIDER SpaceAid framework within hours after the earthquake started contributing to coordination with local partners and with the providers of space-based information and value-adding organizations, in order to help provide adequate support to the disaster relief community. In Santiago UN-SPIDER met with the inter-institutional team of experts which is providing the support to the response efforts, taking advantage of the space-based information being made available with UN-SPIDER support. UN-SPIDER also had several additional meetings including with the Minister of National Goods. Ms. Catalina Parot, who also oversees the National System of... read more

Publishing Date: 14/04/2010

Authorities in Chile have issued a request for supplies, including mobile bridges, satellite telephones, electric generators, water purification systems and dialysis centers. The United Nations is sending several satellite phones to Chile for officials coordinating earthquake relief efforts and is prepared to send 30 tons of food and other aid if the government gives the green light, the top U.N. representative for Latin America said Monday.

The U.N. is also waiting to hear whether the government of Chile wants the world body to launch a financial appeal to help the country recover from the massive quake, as it did after the recent earthquake in Haiti, Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, told reporters at U.N. headquarters from her base in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

Chile's government is "well-organized to respond" to the crisis but has appealed to the U.N. and governments in the region and elsewhere... read more

Publishing Date: 02/03/2010

The images cover a total area of 13,125 km² and show the most damaged area around the city of
Concepción. They were taken on Saturday, February 27th, 2010 at around 11:00 a.m. local time, only a few
hours after the earthquake hit the area at 3:34 a.m. in the morning local time. In order to be able to run
change detection analyses, RapidEye also has images available of the very same area take a couple of days
before the event.

RapidEye is concentrating on delivering these and future images of the region at no cost to governmental
and non governmental help organizations and institutions in need of the most current Earth Observation
information available for this region. If your organization is involved in emergency efforts for this devastating
event, please contact sales [at] Additionally, RapidEye makes the imagery available for purchase
on the Geodata Kiosk at ... read more

Publishing Date: 01/03/2010

Advisory Support

Chile is exposed to a variety of hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, forest fires, floods, and droughts. Chile has been impacted by some of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in recent history. For a large earthquake in February 2010 the International Charter: Space and Major Disaster was activated, and UN-SPIDER was requested to provide support. To follow up on this support, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested a UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission in March 2010.

Mission dates: 15/03/2010 to 21/03/2010

Chile está expuesto a una variedad de amenazas tales como terremotos,tsunamis o maremotos,erupciones volcánicas,movimientos de masa,incendios forestales,inundaciones y sequías. Por estar situado en el Anillo de Fuero,Chile ha sufrido el impacto de algunos de los más fuertes terremotos registrados en la historia reciente. La Carta Internacional: Espacio y Grandes Desastres fue activada debido a un gran terremoto ocurrido en Febrero del 2010 y se solicitó el apoyo de ONU-SPIDER. Aprovechando a esta solicitud de apoyo,el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores solicitó a ONU-SPIDER una Misión de Asesoría Técnica en Marzo del 2010.

Mission dates: 15/03/2010 to 21/03/2010
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