Sentinel-1 Helps Relief Effort After Cyclone Roanu

Sentinel-1 Helps Relief Effort After Cyclone Roanu

The Sentinel-1 space mission is helping towards the relief effort in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka after Cyclone Roanu struck the region.

The natural disaster has killed more than 100 people across the two countries, with tens of thousands in desperate need of aid.

In order to support the activities of emergency responders and to analyse the aftermath of the cyclone, officials are now looking to the Sentinel-1 space mission for further information on the flooded areas.

The Sentinel-1A satellite captured around 80% of the whole of Bangladesh in one single pass, with the images delivered straight away to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS).

With this data, the group was able to make flood maps, which revealed more than 170,000 hectares that are to be engulfed by the cyclone.

The request for the data was met with a rapid response, with the first flood map being delivered within 30 hours of activation.

A ‘rush mode’ has now been set up to make data from Sentinel-1 available for EMS to make response times as quick as possible.

The space mission is aiming to revolutionise the ways satellites are used to manage emergency responses and risk assessments, with large scale radar data to be provided in a systematic way.

The Sentinel-1A satellite can map a strip of land that is 250km wide, while achieving a 20m per pixel ground resolution.

The radar on the satellite has the ability to see through darkness, rain and clouds. As a result it is of great use for flood monitoring, normally connected with bad weather conditions.

Officials will now be able to assess damage to the environment and to property in a swifter fashion thanks to the images taken directly before and after a flood, which provide immediate information on the extent of the damage caused.

In addition, the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters has requested further data for flood maps in the west Sri Lanka area.

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