International satellites supporting disaster management

The International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" is an international effort to put space technology at the service of rescue and emergency responders in the event of a major disaster.

When the Charter is activated, its members make satellite images of devastated regions available to support relief efforts. RADARSAT-2 imagery regularly provides support to rescue teams on the ground. Armed quickly with reliable and accurate information, response teams are better equipped to save lives and limit damage to property, infrastructure and the environment.

Flood in Laos –

On , an under-construction dam in southeast Laos collapsed following heavy rains, releasing five billion cubic metres of water into six villages in Attapeu province. The resulting flash floods left at least 20 people dead, more than 100 missing and over 6,600 homeless. Rescue efforts are underway.

More information on the flood in Laos.

Credit: CSA

Flood in Japan –

On , record rainfall struck central and southwestern Japan, continuing for several days and causing floods and landslides. This flooding disaster is the worst in 35 years, with a death toll of more than 110 people and 61 people missing (as of ). Rescue operations are underway as several million people across more than 19 prefectures have been advised to evacuate.

More information on the flood in Japan.

Credit: CSA

Eruption of Fuego volcano in Guatemala –

On , Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupted, killing at least 69 people and leading to the evacuation of 3,000 people. A state of emergency was declared as falling ash and rock covered villages and coffee farms located on the slopes of the volcano. Guatemala's main international airport was closed. Soldiers and firefighters are still searching for many missing people.

More information on the eruption of Fuego volcano in Guatemala.

Credit: CSA

Volcanic Activity and Earthquake in Hawaii, United States –

Vigorous eruption of the Kīlauea Volcano, located on Hawaii's Big Island, began on May 3rd and continues (as of the end of May). An earthquake of 6.9 magnitude occurred the same day, and numerous earthquakes of various intensity have happened since then. While no casualties have been reported, 2000 people have been evacuated from the area and at least 112 buildings have been destroyed on the island. The amount of sulphur dioxide, a gas emitted during volcanic eruptions, remains very high and poses a health hazard.

More information on the eruption of the Kīlauea Volcano.

Credit: CSA

Flooding in Sri Lanka –

Floods and landslides in Sri Lanka, brought on by monsoon rains, have killed 21 people, with two others missing and 172 more people requiring rescue by the armed forces. Over 150,000 people have been affected as up to 150 mm of rain fell across the country. Authorities have reported that about 100 houses were completely destroyed and 4,800 houses were partially damaged.

More information on the flooding in Sri Lanka.

Flooding in Djibouti –

Djibouti, particularly Djibouti City and the suburb of Balbala, was hit by flash floods, caused by Tropical Cyclone Sagar. According to authorities, the storm impacted up to 30,000 people. Traffic was cut off because of flooding on several major roads. The high waters also hampered the evacuation and temporary lodging of displaced people. The government is working with United Nations agencies to provide rescue assistance, tents and clothes.

More information on the flooding in Djibouti.

Flooding in Somalia –

Widespread flooding has struck Somalia as a result of the heaviest rainfall the country has seen since 1981, causing the Shabelle and Juba rivers to overflow their banks. According to the United Nations, 21 people have died, close to 800,000 people have been affected, and more than 230,000 others have been displaced. People's livelihoods, livestock and shelter, as well as critical infrastructure, have been affected.

More information on the flooding in Somalia.

Flooding in New Brunswick –

Large areas of New Brunswick have been hit with severe flooding. Many towns and cities are affected by the spring floods, which have caused a number of water bodies to rise, particularly the Saint John River.

At the request of Public Safety Canada, the Canadian Space Agency is currently providing RADARSAT-2 satellite imagery, which is being processed by NRCan’s Emergency Geomatics Service, to support relief efforts and help mitigate the effects of this natural disaster.

Flooding in Russia –

Severe flooding has occurred in 11 Russian regions, particularly the Volgograd Region, following vast amounts of snow melting. More than 800 homes as well as 3,000 residential yards have been flooded. Ten low-water bridges and five roads were also inundated. Over 400 people have been evacuated, including 119 children.

More information on the flooding in Russia.

Credit: CSA

Airplane Crash in Iran –

Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 left the Iranian capital of Tehran on the morning of February 18, 2018, and crashed approximately one hour later about 600 km south of Tehran, killing all 65 passengers and crew. The plane crashed into Mount Dena in the Zagros Mountains. The International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" was activated that same day to help locate the plane. Fog, high winds and heavy snow prevented helicopters from accessing the area in the aftermath, but Iran's Red Crescent relief workers deployed on land. Search and rescue teams reached the site of the crash the next day.

More information on the airplane Crash in Iran.


Credit: CSA

Flooding in Bolivia –

Record rainfall in southern Bolivia has caused severe flooding with local authorities declaring a state of emergency and forcing 50,000 people from their homes. The rain caused the Tupiza River to overflow, with flood waters reaching as high as 7 metres in some places, and affecting an estimated 1000 people and making some roads impassable for relief efforts.

More information on the floods in Bolivia.

Credit: CSA

Flooding in Argentina –

Heavy rains across Argentina and Bolivia have caused widespread damage as floodwaters washed away homes and cars, leaving at least 50,000 homeless, and damaged 33,000 fields. Over 10,000 residents were evacuated from villages along the Pilcomayo River, northwest Argentina. On , the river was close to 8 m high and its flooding is described as the worst in a decade. While the country's north is under massive rains, its eastern regions are battling wildfires that have already scorched 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) of land.

More information on the floods in Argentina.

Credit: CSA

Eruption of Kadovar Volcano in Papua New Guinea –

The 2-km-wide volcanic island of Kadovar has erupted, forcing the evacuation of all residents of the tiny island and the neighbouring island of Blup Blup. Fifty percent of Kadovar Island is said to be covered in lava, and a plume of ash is billowing out of the summit.

More information on the eruption of Mount Kadovar in Papua New Guinea.

Credit: CSA

Eruption of Mount Mayon in the Philippines –

The eruption of Mount Mayon in the Philippines has forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate. Large quantities of lava and ash are making relief operations particularly difficult.

More information on the eruption of Mount Mayon in the Philippines.

Credit: CSA

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