The Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) is preparing the launch of four navigation satellites in order to finalize the seven-satellites constellation of the the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
According to a report from the International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council, almost 22 million people were forced to flee their homes due to disasters triggered by natural hazards in 2013. These numbers could increase as urban populations grow, the report says.
At the request of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Ministry of Home and Civil Affairs (MoHCA), Royal Government of Bhutan, UN-SPIDER organized a Technical Advisory Mission to Bhutan to evaluate the current and potential use of space-based information in Bhutan and to strengthen all aspects of disaster risk management and emergencyresponse through better access to space-based information.
Mon, 02/06/2014 to Fri, 06/06/2014
Department of Disaster Management (DDM)
The mission team comprised seven experts: Shirish Ravan (UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER, China), Karma Lodey Rapten (UNDP, Bhutan), Rajan Bajracharya (ICIMOD, Nepal), Lingling Li (NDRCC, China), Stefan Keinberger (University of Salzburg, Austria), Hari Prasad Vajja (ADPC, Bangladesh) and Satya Parkash Katyal (ISRO, India).
Over the course of five days, the mission team conducted several meetings with key government agencies and institutions accompanied by the UN agencies involved. As part of the Technical Advisory Mission, a one-day workshop was conducted on the penultimate day of the mission. The workshop was attended by about 30 officials representing various ministries and departments of the Royal Government of Bhutan as well as numerous institutions. The workshop sought to generate awareness, address issues and suggest areas where space-based information can be utilized to support the disaster management cycle. During the course of the TAM, the mission team held several discussion sessions to reflect upon their findings to compile the assessments and develop a set of recommendations. On the final day, the team concluded with debriefing sessions with Mr. Chhador Wangdi, Director of DDM, MoHCA, and Ms. Christina Carlson, UNRC in Bhutan.
The mission team was made very much aware of the high priority placed on disaster risk reduction by the Bhutan Government. The importance of disaster risk reduction is echoed as one of the 16 National Key Results Area (NKRA) of the Royal Government of Bhutan for the 11th Five-Year Plan (FYP) running from 2013 to 2018.
The Disaster Management Act rightly identified the need of Hazard zone mapping, vulnerability maps and risk assessment. Thus, the mission team noted the DDM’s strive forward to build technical competence to perform tasks like hazard and risk mapping, assessing vulnerability and providing an efficient response during emergencies.
The mission team highlighted that the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is well positioned to support the disaster risk reduction mandates of Bhutan’s National Disaster Management Authority as the department is currently perceived by stakeholders as the coordination agency. While capacities to use space-based and geospatial information exist in several stakeholder departments, the DDM needs to be strengthened with the appropriate technical capacity and supporting mechanisms to coordinate with stakeholder agencies and develop national programmes.
In addition to several agencies using space technology to prepare map products for disaster risk management, there are various organisations implementing projects with national and international partners using Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology which are directly or indirectly contributing to disaster management. The coordination of these activities could be further strengthened to make available a wealth of spatial information.
Policy, Coordination and Cooperation
Formulation of geo-spatial policy related to disaster risk management, which may evolve finally into a National Spatial Data Infrastructure policy for the country
The Disaster Management plans and policies should incorporate the use of space-based information and geospatial technology in Disaster Management
A common approach and strategy is needed to define key concepts and terminologies to enable the reduction of disaster risk with a link to climate change adaptation and the pillars of Gross National Happiness (GHP) should be coordinated by Department of Disaster Management (DDM)
DDM should further strengthen tools and instruments to coordinate activities, capacities, projects and funds in the context of disaster risk management in Bhutan
Data access, availability and sharing
DDM should enumerate its data requirements and coordinate with stakeholder agencies for systematic generation data products required for disaster risk reduction decision making
Remote sensing data coverage for the entire country on medium resolution and specific areas on high resolution is required to enable generation of geospatial layers required for disaster risk reduction
Satellite data requirements for Bhutan should be streamlined through a single agency to enable judicious utilization of funds. All departments can make use of this data
DDM should use CGISC as a platform to plan strategies data needs to address current information gaps for disaster risk reduction
Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening
A capacity building strategy should be developed to address long-term capacity building needs of DDM and its key stakeholders
An institution within Bhutan (for example, College of Science and Technology, Royal University of Bhutan) needs to be enabled to offer regular capacity building progammes
Key agencies in Bhutan should be further linked to regional and international networks (e.g. such as GSDI, GEO etc.)
Strengthening disaster risk reduction decision making
The DDM has a critical role to play in establishing mechanisms which allow rapid data sharing with hazard and to ensure that risk maps produced by stakeholder agencies are of national standard
The DDM needs to leverage and expand capacities of stakeholder organisations so that they develop products needed for disaster risk reduction
Risk and vulnerability mapping should be carried out initially on a pilot basis to develop methodologies and later these methodologies should be applied at the national level. Specific ‘national missions’ should be initiated through DDM to prepare national and sub-national hazard, vulnerability and risk mapping (in a phased manner based on priorities).
Disaster risk reduction activities and related interventions should be further linked to climate change adaptation and the objectives of Gross National Happiness.
The DDM should embed early warning from Bhutan Department of Hydro-Meteorological Service (DHMS) in the risk management plans. Currently, early warning is a standalone element at DHMS, and therefore its benefits to responders at the field level and communities at risk are not fully exploited.
The DDM should develop capacities to improve multi-hazard early warning by integrating inputs from DMHS, the Department of Geology & Mines, the National Statistics Bureau and other agencies
The DDM should play an important role in tailoring/downscaling early warning information to serve decision makers and population at stake (use community-based disaster risk management programme as a base).
The DDM should integrate early warning information in a Disaster Management Information System (DMIS).
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – and based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Globalization and climate change have an increasing influence on the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people.
From 9 to 13 June 2014, UN-SPIDER conducted an international training programme on multi-level risk profiling jointly with its Regional Support Office ICIMOD. The purpose of the training programme, taking place in Kathmandu, Nepal, was to improve
The experts providing the training course included specialists from UN-SPIDER, from ICIMOD, from National Disaster Reduction Centre of China NDRCC (China), and from the National Remote Sensing Centre NRDC (India).
20 participants from disaster management agencies and stakeholder departments of ICIMOD Member States participated in the training programme. All but one ICIMOD Member state attended the programme: Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.
The training on ‘Regional Training on Multi-level Flood Risk Mapping’ was jointly organized by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and UN Platform for Space-based information for Disaster Management and EmergencyResponse (UNSPIDER) of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. Part of the support for this training course comes from “SERVIR-Himalaya”, funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The purpose of the training programme is to improve disaster risk management using space based and geospatial information by imparting hands-on training to the officials of member countries supported by ICIMOD and UN-SPIDER.
The training covered climate change, disaster risk reduction and space technology, developing hazard and vulnerability indicators at national and sub-national level, flood inundation modelling using HEC-RAS methods, flood inundation mapping and monitoring using satellite images and landslide hazard mapping using satellite remote sensing. More than 50% time was devoted to the hands-on sessions on flood inundation model (held by an expert of ICIMOD), on flood mapping and monitoring (held by an expert of NDRCC) and on landslide hazard mapping (held by an expert of the National Remote Sensing Centre of India). UN-SPIDER delivered lectures on climate change, disaster risk reduction and space technology and on the role of space technology in the Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA) and HFA2.