The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), as part of the support it provides to Member States through its UN-SPIDER programme, has requested the activation of the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" for monitoring the impact of Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe, which hit the country's eastern provinces on 15 and 16 March. The Charter was activated on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Zimbabwe country office.
Geospatial experts from UNDP in Zimbabwe will prepare maps based on satellite images provided through the International Charter. The Copernicus Emergency Management Service - Mapping (EMS) is also working in coordination with the International Charter to provide additional satellite images and response maps.
Following its landfall in Mozambique on 14 March, Cyclone Idai continued across land with heavy rains and strong winds that led to riverine and flash flooding in Zimbabwe's Chimanimani and Chipinge districts, the worst-affected areas. Areas within the pathway of Cyclone Idai’s weather system include Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, and parts of Masvingo and Midlands provinces, according to the Metrological Services Department. Its effects are also projected to be felt in Harare Metropolitan and the Matabeleland provinces.
The President of Zimbabwe has declared the impact of Cyclone Idai a state of disaster.
UNOOSA is a Cooperating Body of the Charter and, since January 2003, has been able to request its activation on behalf of United Nations organizations engaged in disaster response activities. In March 2018, the Charter augmented UNOOSA's activation privileges for the Office to be able to request the activation of the Charter on behalf of national disaster risk management (DRM) organizations in the framework of the Universal Access Trial Initiative.