ESCAP network provides satellite imagery and damage maps to flood-hit Solomon Islands

ESCAP, working with its strategic partner UNITAR/UNOSAT, provided satellite-derived imagery and damage maps for Honiara, Solomon Islands which has been affected by floods caused by days of heavy rainfall in early April.

Upon the request of Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SOPAC), ESCAP immediately requested the member countries of its Regional Space Applications Programmes for Sustainable Development (RESAP), to provide satellite-derived imagery for Solomon Islands. Meanwhile, on behalf of ESCAP, UNITAR/UNOSAT activated the International Charter - Space and Major Disasters to provide damage maps to the disaster affected areas. The maps have been distributed to related users in Honiara for disaster response and damage assessment.

Through its long standing regional cooperation mechanism RESAP, ESCAP has made concerted efforts to promote the applications of space technology for supporting disaster risk reduction and inclusive and sustainable development. For example, in addressing the urgent needs from Member States on information generated from space-derived technology for disaster management, ESCAP mobilized regional resources to support the disaster affected countries for early warning, preparedness, response, relief and damage assessment, in avoiding the loss of life and minimising economic loss. In particular, when tropical cyclones, earthquakes, serious floods and supertyphoon Haiyan hit Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, the Philippines and other countries in the region respectively, ESCAP immediately mobilized near real-time satellite imagery, through the network of space agencies within RESAP, at the onset of each disaster, upon receiving requests for support from the affected countries. These efforts have resulted in timely provision of more than 150 scenes of near real-time and archived satellite imagery as well as damage maps since 2013, which were provided by RESAP members and ESCAP’s strategic partner UNITAR/UNOSAT.