Honduras is exposed to a variety of hazards including tropical storms, hurricanes, droughts, floods, landslides, and tsunamis. In recent years Honduras has implemented a series of policies, strategies and activities to incorporate the notions of disaster risk management from the national to the local level. The State has increased the mandate of the Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) to implement necessary actions to prevent and eliminate the country’s vulnerability related to natural hazards. At the request of COPECO, UN-SPIDER carried out a Technical Advisory Mission to Honduras in July 2015 with the aim of promoting the use of and satellite technologies in disaster risk management, preparedness, response and recovery efforts.
Permanent Contingencies Commission: (Comisión Permanente de Contingencias, COPECO)
UN-SPIDER assembled a team of experts from Latin America who focus their work on the use of space-based applications for various activities including the topic of disasters triggered by natural hazards.
The Technical Advisory Mission was conducted by the following experts:
Mr. Juan Carlos Villagran de Leon, UN-SPIDER and head of the mission to Honduras;
Mr. Julio César Castillo Urdapilleta, Mexican Space Agency (AEM);
Mr. Benito Orozco Serna, Mexican Space Agency (AEM);
Mr. Jesus Gonzalez Bernal, Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRECTEALC);
Mrs. Silvia Pardi Lacruz, Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil;
Mr. Hector Mauricio Ramirez, Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC), Colombia;
Mr. Marcelo Oyuela, Water Centre for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC).
The mission team benefited from the support of the engineers Yolanda Fletes and Lenin Díaz, who work at COPECO.
The Mission included visits to 12 institutions, including government entities, regional and international organizations and the Autonomous University of Honduras.
The Mission was used to focus on three specific outcomes:
· To provide COPECO and the members of the Inter-Agency Drought Panel as well as different institutions a series of satellite images and maps of the Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) developed by UN-SPIDER to contribute to the efforts that COPECO and the Panel conduct in the Dry Corridor related to the severe drought that is affecting the this region of the country;
· To provide the members of the Inter-Agency Drought Panel information regarding the application developed by UN-SPIDER using the open software called ”R” to process composite products based on MODIS satellite imagery for the generation of VCI maps;
· To facilitate the link between the staff engaged in the National Emergency Operations Centre (COEN) and the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, through the National Commission on Space Activities of Argentina (CONAE).
The mission took note that COPECO is recognized as the leading national institution regarding processes associated with disaster risk management. COPECO has the technical strengths and human resources which allow it to lead inter-institutional commissions regarding the topics related to its mandate.
The mission also noted the progress made by various institutions in Honduras to make better use of geospatial information through the establishment of the Interagency Commission of SpatialData (CIDES), the establishment of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (INDES), the elaboration of norms to manage metadata and a systematized inventory of layers of geospatial data and information. Moreover, COPECO recently established a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Honduras regarding the implementation of a drought monitoring system that makes use of satellite imagery and in-situ data.
One of the most interesting advances identified by the experts taking part in this mission of UN-SPIDER was the establishment of CIDES and the efforts undertaken to implement INDES. Government offices in charge of CIDES acknowledged that a national spatial data policy has been designed as a way to establish the INDES in Honduras in order to facilitate access to and the exchange of data among multiple institutions.
The mission noticed that there exists a goodwill to confront the challenges posed by natural hazards through inter-institutional efforts including the Inter-institutional Drought Risk Management Committee (CTIGRS) and the Technical Drought Panel; the mission also recognized the capacity of various government institutions to mobilize international cooperation; as well as the good attitude, enthusiasm, leadership and commitment of young people regarding the generation of spatial information for decision-making and that they are conscious of the needs and confront them seriously. Accordingly, the ongoing training of these young people with international support is seen as a critical element which will help Honduras generate the knowledge and the tools which are necessary to face the problems.
Based on their observations, the team of experts proposed a number of recommendations that aim to institutionalize the generation and use of space-based information during all phases of the disaster management cycle. The most important recommendation is the implementation of a policy focusing on the generation and use of geospatial information, including , in the planning processes that COPECO, the Secretariats and other institutions of the State carry out with regard to disaster risk management. This policy should contribute to institutionalise the use of geospatial information which in turn will allow these institutions to fulfil their mandates.
The experts suggested several strategies to implement this policy, including:
· The use of opportunities offered by the space community in terms of open access to data, satellite imagery and products free of charge to generate relevant and pertinent information;
· To complete the establishment of the National Integrated System for Disaster Risk Management and Territorial Studies (SIGRET);
· To adopt the CIDES and the Panel of the Experts for Drought as examples for inter-institutional groups of professionals in charge of generating geospatial information for the decision-making process;
· Strengthen the skills of professionals and staff which work in government institutions affiliated to CIDES regarding to generation and use of space-based information;
· Establish a department or a unit within COPECO which focuses its efforts on geographic information systems and satellite information.
Mapping the extent of a natural hazard (e.g., assessing areas with a high risk) or disaster is a first step in disaster risk management and emergency response. Subsequently, exposure mapping enables the estimation of the impact of hazards or disasters, for example, regarding the number of affected inhabitants or infrastructure. The following practice shows the use of Quantum GIS to analyze a disaster extent map in combination with auxiliary data such as population or land cover data.
The objective of this practice is to estimate the exposure of a natural hazard or disaster. As an example, the number of inhabitants affected by a flood event is estimated. The joint use of the flood mask, created by the Recommended Practice: Flood Mapping, and the WorldPop data set constitutes a viable solution to quickly estimate the impact of the flood regarding the population. The proposed methodology is a universal practice which combines a simple approach based on open-source software and free of charge data together with a beforehand created map covering the extend of a natural hazard or disaster.
Disaster Cycle Phase:
Recovery & Reconstruction
Relief & Response
The practice was applied in the context of the flood event in Malawi in January 2015. Since December 2014, heavy rains affected Malawi causing rivers to overflow. The flooded area in this analysis covered a part of the Nsanje district around Chiromo.
This practice can be applied globally. Besides of the beforehand created hazard or disaster extent map, the practice does not need specific near real-time data as it is based on population, land cover, or other auxiliary geodata archives. The WorldPop data set provides population data for Africa, Asia as well as Central and South America with a spatialresolution of 100 meters. The Landcover30 data base provides global landcover data with a spatial resolution of about 30 meters.
Para llevar a cabo un monitoreo de inundaciones es importante identificar previamente las zonas más expuestas a estos desastres. A parte del uso de modelos climatológicos preparados en estaciones meteorológicas, es también altamente recomendable realizar estudios a través de técnicas de percepción remota mediante datos e imágenes satelitales. A continuación se expone un caso de monitoreo de inundaciones en las zonas de Colombia con mayor riesgo a sufrirlas.
Este proyecto está orientado a la identificación de aquellas áreas con mayor riesgo a sufrir inundaciones mediante el empleo de imágenes de satélite. Y es así como derivado del mismo se expone a continuación una práctica recomendada que tiene por objetivo generar información sobre la dinámica de expansión y contracción de cuerpos de agua, a través de un análisis multitemporal de índices espectrales, generados a partir de imágenes RapidEye y SPOT 5, seleccionadas de acuerdo a las fechas oficiales de ocurrencia de eventos climatológicos “Niño” y “Niña”.
Disaster Cycle Phase:
Región del Caribe, Colombia.
Este proyecto ha sido empleado en la Región del Caribe de Colombia. Esta zona figura entre las más expuestas a los fenómenos climáticos por la forma en que se utiliza su suelo. Así lo reveló un estudio realizado por el Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi, IGAC. Sus tierras ahora se pueden catalogar como deterioradas o en proceso de erosión, debido en gran medida al uso indiscriminado del recurso. Por ello estos suelos ya no pueden retener el agua suficiente para enfrentar un fuerte verano, lo que representa que los ríos bajen su caudal y se vea afectada de manera directa la biodiversidad colombiana. En el invierno, los terrenos no regulan la gran cantidad de recurso hídrico que reciben, razón por la cual se dan las inundaciones, en algunos casos inmanejables.
El cálculo de las superficies de expansión y contracción de cuerpos de agua a partir del procesamiento de imágenes de satélite multiespectrales RapidEye y Spot 5 de alta resolución, y la combinación de técnicas de análisis espacial, permiten la generación de cartografía a escala municipal (1:25.000), que puede ser integrada en los análisis y zonificación de las amenazas por inundaciones y condiciones secas que suelen ser frecuentes durante la ocurrencia de eventos niña y niño.
Los resultados de este trabajo pueden ser empleados como una base técnica para eventuales manejos del riesgo agroclimático, puesto que permiten identificar aquellas zonas con mayor riesgo a sufrir inundaciones tanto a nivel municipal como regional, dependiendo de la escala de trabajo seleccionada. De esta manera, se complementa una adecuada preparación de los planes de contingencia mediante la generación de alertas que informen del posible impacto al sistema productivo establecido en la zona.
UN-SPIDER and its team of experts carried out a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Zambia from 26 to 30 May 2014. The TAM was conducted upon invitation of the Office of the Vice-President, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU).
The team met with about 15 key stakeholder agencies in the country including the Survey Department, the Meteorological Service or the National Remote Sensing Centre. The experts took stock of issues such as policy gaps, availability of satellitedata and geospatial information for all relevant institutions, the current use of in the country, and data sharing practice. The team also looked at challenges and constraints, existing capacity and further training needs, established institutional linkages and ways to strengthen disaster risk reduction and emergencyresponse at the country level.
As a first follow up of the TAM, information was shared on data collection and very high resolution data acquisition options, seeing the high interest of the host institutions to work immediately on the implementation of the agreed recommendations. Meetings were also extended to various UN agencies with disaster-management responsibilities locally, and presentations on best practices were made at a workshop at the end of the mission.
A one-day workshop introduced participants to the potential of space-based technologies for disaster management and to best practices, and looked at options to improve their usage in Zambia.
Zambia is in many ways advanced in its use of technology and its ability to use geospatial data. Its main needs are to set up a national spatial data infrastructure, to expand data-sharing, and to obtain access to regular Earth observations and high-resolution data from public and commercial sources.
To build capacity for remote sensing and the geographic information system and raise awareness, making optimal use of low-cost approaches and free data sources, applications, technologies and services;
To set up a fire warning system, recruit more fire watch staff and acquire more fire watch facilities and modelling tools;
To collect specific upper atmospheric data and models;
At the request of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Government of Mongolia, UN-SPIDER supported NEMA and stakeholders organisations in strengthening disaster risk management and emergency response by effective use of space based information including data sharing, National Spatial Data Infrastructure, policy level interventions and capacity.
The team of seven experts, under leadership of the UN-SPIDER, visited Mongolia from 11-15 August 2014. The mission team represented following organisations: UN-SPIDER/UNOOSA, National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC), University of Georgia, Airbus Defence and Space, Asia Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO). Some of these organisations are already engaged with organisations in Mongolia in the area of disaster management and space technology.
During this five-day mission, the mission team visited seven Ministries and Government agencies and three United Nations offices to carry out in-depth discussions. On 15 August, the Workshop “Use of Space Technology in Disaster Risk Management” was organized. About 40 officials representing various ministries/departments, institutions, and academia attended the workshop. The workshop generated awareness among a larger group of stakeholders in Mongolia, and sought their inputs on current challenges in using in disaster management.
Mongolia has invested heavily in Earthquake Early Warning Systems and needs to strengthen its’ efforts towards disaster risk reduction as well as to be equipped with adequate capacity, skills and infrastructures;
DRR decision making calls for balanced effort to address issues with respect to stages of disaster management and related activities should be further linked to climate change issues involving space based information ;
Long term analysis should be conducted on a regular basis;
More detailed hazard assessments maps are needed for operational purposes;
Mechanisms should be established for allowing for rapid data sharing with minimal administrative action;
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