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Excerpt from article by Giriraj Amarnath, IWMI

Experts at COP 27 have made apocalyptic forecasts of weather under climate change if urgent action is not taken. In South Asia, the anticipated ‘climate chaos’ is already a reality for many, with extreme droughts and floods increasingly affecting the region. According to the World Bank, losses will average USD 160 billion per year by the end of this decade if current trends continue. If South Asian nations and communities are to cope as climate change progresses, they need advance warning of extreme events, so they can put mitigation plans into action, and avoid climate hazards becoming major disasters.…

Publishing date 02/12/2022
Regional Support Offices mentioned:

The United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) and the Office of the State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (ANDMA) carried out a virtual thematic meeting on ‘Assessing Drought and Water Resources Conservation Using Earth Observation’, in collaboration with Delta State University and the  International Water Management Institute (IWMI). All key stakeholders involved in disaster risk reduction, especially dealing with drought, attended the meeting which was chaired by His Excellency Deputy Minister Mohammad Qasim Haidari. This meeting, held on 26 May 2021, is part of the UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Support to Afghanistan. It was attended by 48…

Publishing date 09/06/2021

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is leveraging space-based information to support government and humanitarian agencies in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region with timely information for flood early warning and inundation mapping. The efforts, which consist of developing a streamflow prediction system for flood early warning and of providing near real-time flood maps for disaster response, come as the monsoon floods in the region are worsening and compunding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based at ICIMOD, the streamflow prediction system to support flood early warning is being developed through the SERVIR-HKH initiative, which benefits from technical assistance from NASA and the Bringham Young University. The system provides 15-day streamflow…

Publishing date 19/08/2020

According to the International Disaster Database, floods and other hydrological hazards have claimed 15,000 lives and cost an estimated USD 396 million in Afghanistan between 1980 and 2015. Earlier this year, flash floods following heavy rains killed at least 60 people in the country's eastern province of Badakhshan.

Leveraging a new meteorological satellite data reception, visualization and processing station, the Afghanistan Meteorological Department (AMD) has now issued its first-ever flood early warning. Meteorological satellite images confirmed the accuracy of AMD's forecast, which is expected to contribute to reducing the loss of live and property as a result of floods and other extreme weather events in the country.

The station was installed in the context of a joint project between World Meteorological Organizaton (WMO) and the United States Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) that aims to build AMD's…

Publishing date 25/08/2017
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Space Agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran will organize a workshop focusing on the use of space technology for dust storm and drought monitoring in the Middle East region. 
This workshop, to be conducted in Tehran from 5 to 9 November 2016, will be hosted by the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) on behalf of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. It will explore how space technologies can help to prevent and respond to natural disasters related to dust storms and droughts in a changing climate. 
As other on-going and planned UNOOSA events, this workshop will also focus on the thematic priorities of the UNISPACE+50 process and  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UN-SPIDER will be…
Publishing date 30/08/2016
Regional Support Offices mentioned:

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters has been triggered to provide satellite-based emergency maps in response to the 7.5 magnitude strong earthquake that struck the Hindu Kush region of north eastern Afghanistan at 09:09 UTC on 26 October. Additionally the Copernicus Emergency Management Service was activated on 26 October 18:48 UTC, requesting reference and grading maps. 

The International Charter was activated on 26 October 2015, at 18:24:00 (UTC+01:00) by UNITAR-UNOSAT on behalf of UN OCHA. The latest numbers count 80 reported casualties in Afghanistan, another hundred people were injured. The Hindu Kush region is located in the Badakshan Province, close to the Pakistan border. Due to mountains and remote settlements assessing the situation is complicated. Further severed communications and landside impede the access of rescue teams towards the affected Afghan regions.   

Publishing date 28/10/2015

A joint project between DigitalGlobe and many volunteers has helped in the eradication of polio through mapping of villages in developing countries during vaccination campaigns. The mapping of the often isolated settlements was complicated and apart from analysing big data captured by satellites, DigitalGlobe had to rely on volunteers and crowdsourcing based on the Tomnod programme. The final result is a map covering 285,103 villages in Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

These maps are used to ensure that vaccination campaigns have the required data to search for everyone who needs to be immunized against the illness and know the amount of medical doses and human staff that ought to be sent. In the past two months polio was finally eliminated from the whole African continent after it disappeared from Nigeria and Somalia. Only two countries remain with the presence of this disease: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

DigitalGlobe is involved in the delivery of satellite…

Publishing date 17/08/2015

An agreement signed by all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) states (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and India) is underway to promote a rapid response to natural disasters.

A Saarc monitoring system including tools for early warning system and risk mitigation could ease the humanitarian and technical assistance in member states when affected by natural disasters, facilitating for instance disaster relief or information on potential risks.

India is taking a leading role in setting up the system and is committed to provide technical assistance to all member states, besides manpower and financial support, as The Times of India informed.

"New Delhi was signatory to an agreement in Jakarta this January to develop a standard operating procedure for the region," said Santosh Kumar, director of Saarc Disaster Management Centre and executive director of the National Institute of Disaster Management.

Publishing date 29/04/2015

In 2004 the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) began working in partnership to rebuild the country's geologic science capacities. The goal is to monitor Afghanistan's water resources by applying modern techniques using global positioning systems, hydrology, water sampling and development of water resource databases.

During the first year of this partnership over 150 wells were inventoried creating a data subset. Today, the programme is successfully installed and 102 precipitation monitoring stations are being operated recording rain, snow and other meteorological parameters needed for the calibration and validation of remote sensing models in use in Afghanistan. Monitoring over ten years indicated a decrease of water levels in Kabul.

“Now after 10 years of groundwater-level monitoring, recent analysis of the data shows an improved understanding of groundwater resources and its sustainability in Kabul. AGS…

Publishing date 21/08/2014

UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Pakistan supported emergency response efforts following the massive landslide in Afghanistan on 2 May 2014. The experts prepared impact and damage maps for Ab Barek in the Province Badakhshan.

The maps depict an analysis based on SPOT 5 satellite imagery from 17 January 2014 received at SUPARCO's Satellite Ground Station in Islamabad and Worldview 2 imagery acquired on 2 May 2014 and provided by the US Geological Survey. The maps were prepared in collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

On 2 May 2014, torrential rainfall had caused a section of mountain to collapse burying about 300 homes with 2000 people missing. As UN-SPIDER reported previously, the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated on 29 April 2014 in response to the heavy rains and…

Publishing date 20/05/2014
Regional Support Offices mentioned:

The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) made an appeal for greater support for disaster risk reduction efforts in the country.

As UN-SPIDER reported, the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated over the weekend due to mudslides in the Province Badahkshan. Officials expect the death toll to reach over 500 people, 4000 are displaced.

Environmental degradation and the proximity of villages to landslides-prone area were the major factors influencing the scope of the disaster. “What happened over the week end in Argu is a lesson learned for all of us who are working to reduce disaster risk,” said Mohammad Ajmal Karimi, ANDMA’s Deputy Director for International Relations.

Afghanistan is one of the high-risk countries in the world, facing many environmental hazards, but receiving disproportionally…

Publishing date 08/05/2014

The International Charter: Space and Major Disaster was activated on 29 April 2014 by UNITAR/UNOSAT on behalf of UNOCHA. Heavy rain in northern Afghanistan caused flash flooding on 25 April, killed over 120 people and tens of thousands were evacuated.

In the provinces of Jowzjan, Faryab and Sar-e Pol at least thousand homes were destroyed, infrastructure and agriculture were severely affected. The area is particularly prone to flood.

Images and data products are already available on the International Charter’s website.

Publishing date 02/05/2014

For the first time, about 70 percent of a country has been mapped using an advanced remote sensing technique known as hyperspectral imaging. In order to assist Afghanistan in understanding their abundant natural resources, in particular the development of an economically viable minerals market, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations led an effort to fully map Afghanistan with hyperspectral data.

Airborne hyperspectral sensors measure light reflected from the earth. The spectrum of the reflected light can be interpreted to identify the composition of materials at the surface, such as minerals, man-made materials, snow, and vegetation. These materials can be identified remotely due to their unique light spectra. In addition, these data allow large geographic areas to be mapped quickly and accurately, showing mineral resources, natural hazards, agricultural conditions and infrastructure development.

Publishing date 18/07/2012

On June 22nd, an inter-agency briefing with UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER took place in Kabul to determine how best to make use of spatial data/mapping tools to support disaster risk reduction and emergency response activities in Afghanistan.
After an introduction of the UN-SPIDER programme, the experts discussed new directions especially on giving access to remote sensing (RS) data relevant for disaster preparedness planning and emergency response. The important role of RS in humanitarian response and planning was underlined by various examples from OCHA and recent floodings. In open discussion after the initial presentations, a wide range of interests and expectations were raised and a real need for RS data and its use was being honed.
As follow-ups, OCHA and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) will finalize the steps forward for this technical group and individual agency commitments. The Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) will establish a Government…

Publishing date 22/06/2009

Afghanistan is a country exposed to earthquakes, floods, droughts, mass movements and other hazards. Recent droughts in the years 2000, 2006, and 2011 have impacted millions of Afghans. Earthquakes have also caused fatalities, injuries and losses of various kinds. On 22 June 2009, UN-SPIDER was invited to a briefing among United Nations agencies in Kabul to discuss how best to make use of spatial data/mapping tools to support disaster risk reduction and emergency response activities in Afghanistan.