ESCAP and Japan Space Agency Provide Flood, Drought Management Training

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee co-organized a regional workshop here this week on managing water related disaster risks in Asia. The Workshop was supported by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The workshop on “Space Application to Reduce Water related Disaster Risk in Asia” held in Bangkok from 7 to 9 December provided an opportunity for flood forecasters and river managers from 11 ESCAP member states in Asia to exchange information on the application of space based technology to measures such as flood risk assessment, flood monitoring, flood forecast and early warning and evacuation.

Participants also discussed the Quantitative Precipitation Estimation and Forecast, the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP), and the Sentinel Asia.

The second half of the workshop was devoted to training on the Integrated Flood Analysis System (IFAS) which is a flood-runoff analysis system for more effective and efficient flood forecasting targeting developing countries.

IFAS implements interfaces to input not only ground based but satellite based rainfall data, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) functions to create river channel network and to estimate parameters of a default runoff analysis engine and interfaces to display output results.

JAXA and ESCAP are cooperating in promoting the activities of Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) and Sentinel Asia, a voluntary-basis initiative using space based technology such as earth observation satellites data for emergency observation and disaster risk management activities.

At the occasion of the workshop the two organizations extended their December 2008 Memorandum of Understanding on cooperative activities with space technology applications to address socio-economic development in Asia and the Pacific region.

JAXA and ESCAP expanded the frameworks to provide satellite images in damage assessment after disasters, and in assisting member countries to set up ground stations to obtain satellite images through the Wideband InterNetworking engineering test and Demonstration Satellite "KIZUNA" (WINDS), the first Quasi-Zenith Satellite launched this year.