The International Charter Space and Major Disasters has been activated for flooding in Djibouti on 20 May and Sri Lanka on 21 May 2018.
In Djibouti, tropical cyclone Sagar caused flash floods across the country, impacting up to 30,000 people according to authorities. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research's (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) requested the activation on behalf of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). UNOSAT is acting as the project manager for the activation.
In Sri Lanka, monsoon rains have claimed the lives of eight people and have left a further 172 requiring emergency assistance. Rain and winds have closed roads, interrupted power lines and displaced many people. With the continuation of heavy rains, landslides also became an issue.
The activation was requested by the Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka, which is also acting as the project manager for this activation. The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office located in Colombo, worked together with relevant government departments and other stakeholders in the country to develop maps and draft a report on the situation.
To ensure local authorities have access to relevant space data during emergencies, UN-SPIDER supported the Disaster Management Center of Sri Lanka in becoming an Authoritized User of the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters”. As an Authorized User of the Charter, DMC can now activate this emergency mechanism directly and save critical time in the event of a disaster.