16 August 2013, Khartoum, Sudan - After initial flooding that killed more than 50 people in the first week of August, Sudan’s weather authorities have announced that heavy rain falling in Ethiopia is likely to cause additional flooding in Sudan. So far the floods affected 200,000 Sudanese, according to the Minister of Interior, and have prompted aid from Qatar, Egypt and Ethiopia.
UNOSAT has been working in rapid mapping mode since the first flood episodes on 1 August. The result as in all these types of situations, are individual maps and analytical reports. One of these reports was published on 12 August and provides an overview of the flooding event affecting the city of Khartoum.
In the month of August alone, UNOSAT had to respond to rapid mapping requests over Myanmar and Sudan, both prompted by floods and flash flooding. In both cases UNOSAT experts triggered the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, which provides satellite data for free to UNOSAT so that accurate mapping can be done as quickly as possible for use in the field and at headquarters in support of relief operations and decision making. UNOSAT experts have used several types of satellite data to extract the needed information, including imagery from a new satellite constellation named Pleiades, put into space by France.
The UNOSAT rapid mapping service was rolled out in 2003 with the intention of serving the international humanitarian community at no cost for the user agency or NGO needing mapping support. Donor funding provided in advance to UNITAR guarantees that UNOSAT can respond in real time to all requests concerning a humanitarian crisis without any delay. This service was awarded in 2006 the UN Secretary-General’s UN21 Award for outstanding contributions to the Organization.