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Earlier this year, Pakistan has approved its first National Disaster Management Plan. The highly disaster-prone country seeks to improve and build on existing infrastructure in order to support emergency assistance. An earlier flood risk management program in the Lai Nullah Basin had become a great success, reducing flood damage in this region dramatically. With this accomplishment in mind, Ahmed Kamal, a Pakistani official and co-formulator of the plan, was convinced that these efforts could be expanded to the whole country. The National Disaster Management Plan was developed in cooperation withh the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Publishing date 04/04/2013

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) jointly organized the United Nations/Pakistan International Workshop on Integrated Use of Space Technologies for Food and Water Security. The Workshop took place from 11 to 16 March 2013 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The Workshop participants discussed how space tools could contribute to sustainable economic and social development programmes supporting food security and water management, primarily in developing countries, with the following objectives:

  • to enhance capabilities of countries in the use of space-related technologies, applications, services and information for identifying and managing water resources, and addressing food security concerns;
  • to examine low-cost space-related technologies and information resources available for addressing water- and food security needs in developing countries;
  • to…
Publishing date 19/03/2013

As flash floods hit Pakistan in February and caused damage over a wide area which also killed 29 people in various area in Peshawar, ICIMOD, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and host of a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office, tries to help communities in understand and adapt to the impact of human development and climate change. ICIMOD also works together with the local authority, Province Disaster Management Authority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, to raise awareness within communities on minimizing damages.

Pakistan itself does not yet have a national strategy that specifically plans for dealing with flash flooding, but in late February the country's National Disaster Management Committee approved a new Disaster Risk Reduction policy to help the country build resilience to extreme climate events like floods, avalanches, and landslides. On other hand, community leaders also have taken part in workshops on how to help them reduce the damage floods…

Publishing date 11/03/2013

Pakistan faced floods and tormenting rains during the last three consecutive monsoons from 2010 to 2012. Experts from UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office SUPARCO in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) started generating data on a daily basis on flood extent, damage to households, infrastructure crops and undertaking detailed Damage Need Assessment (DNA).

In the aftermath of floods, monitoring of flood recession and ponding of water in the affected areas were carried out on decadal basis and were published by SUPARCO- FAO jointly in three reports (Reports 1 to 3) covering the years 2010 and 2011. A fourth report covering 2012 was now released.

Publishing date 31/12/2012
Regional Support Offices mentioned:

Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) - host of one of UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Offices - conducted a five-day training/workshop on “Flood Risk Mapping Using Spatial Technologies” from 5 to 10 December, 2012.

The workshop was jointly organized by SUPARCO and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in collaboration with Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD), National Disaster Management Authorities (NDMA), Federal Flood Commission (FFC), Japan Aerosapce Exploration Agency (JAXA) and International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM).

Satellite remote sensing technology integrated with flood modeling techniques undoubtedly provide rapid and steadfast means to identify the flood risk areas of the country. This helps in mitigating the effects of flood by providing early warning risk maps and identification of flood hotspot areas for subsequent relief/rescue efforts.The training focused on…

Publishing date 28/12/2012
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The summer of 2012 marked the third consecutive monsoon season in Pakistan that caused widespread flood damage. These images show part of the irrigation infrastructure. Both images show flood conditions, but flood waters shifted between the date of the earlier image, acquired September 19, 2012, and the later image, acquired October 5, 2012. Acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, these images use a combination of visible and infrared light to increase contrast between water and land. Water varies in color from electric blue to navy. Vegetation is bright green, and bare ground is pink-beige. Clouds are pale blue-green and cast shadows. The irrigation infrastructure can be identified by its straight contours. In the more recent image, flood waters have receded in the northwest but increased around Hamal Lake.

Publishing date 10/10/2012

On 18 September 2012, the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated for floods in Pakistan. Torrential rain, which began on 5 September, had caused flash floods in Pakistan leaving an estimated one million people homeless.

A flood map of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh Provinces in Pakistan (as of 14 Sep 2012) acquired via this activation is now available. This map illustrates satellite-detected standing flood waters over the affected provinces hit by flash floods and urban flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains that fell across the country in early September 2012. Flood analysis is based on crisis satellite imagery collected by MODIS sensors on 14 September 2012.

Publishing date 25/09/2012

On 18 September 2012, the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated for floods in Pakistan. Torrential rain, which began on 5 September, had caused flash floods in Pakistan leaving an estimated one million people homeless. Over 100 people have been reported killed in the floods, and many homes and properties have been inundated. Agriculture has also suffered due to the flood waters, washing away crops and livestock. Relief efforts are under-way, but local efforts are hard-pressed to cope with the scale of the floods. Among the districts affected are: Dera Ghazi Khan, Ghotki, Jaffarabad, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Muzzaffagarh, Nasirabad, Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Shikarpur. The Charter was activated UNITAR/UNOSAT on behalf of UNPD.

Publishing date 20/09/2012

UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office located in Japan, ADRC (Asian Disaster Reduction Centre), is in the process of producing the booklet "Considerations for effective use of space-based information to assess Tsunami impacts - Lessons learned from the recent Tsunami in Japan". This publication is realized in cooperation with the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). The booklet will be of great value for other nations' disaster preparedness efforts by providing lessons learnt on the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent tsunami. The publication will be presented at the occasion of the 5th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled to take place on 22-25 October 2012 in Yogakarta, Indonesia. The booklet will also be offered for download on the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal.

This initiative is an outcome of the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office (RSO) meeting in February 2012 in Vienna, Austria, where RSOs agreed to contribute to UN-SPIDER activities and to…

Publishing date 03/09/2012

SUPARCO, the National Space Agency of Pakistan, host of UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Pakistan, conducted a hands-on training on the COSPAS-SARSAT programme to enhance the capabilities of search and rescue operators in emergency situations using satellite services. The training was carried out on request of the Civil Aviation Authority and took place in the city of Karachi from 17th-19th July 2012.

COSPAS-SARSAT is a programme established in 1988 under the International COSPAS-SARSAT Programme Agreement signed by Canada, France, the former USSR, and the USA. The mission of the programme is to provide accurate, timely and reliable distress alert and location data to help search and rescue authorities assist persons in distress. The objective of the COSPAS-SARSAT system is to reduce, as far as possible, delays in the provision of distress alerts to search and rescue services, and the time required to locate a person in distress at sea or on land and…

Publishing date 03/09/2012
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Pakistan is expanding its glacier monitoring network into the higher Himalayas to better assess climate change impacts in the upper Indus basin and related flood hazards. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, helped the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) establish on 10 June the country’s highest automatic weather monitoring station, costing US$ 20,000, at 4,500 metres above sea level.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, informed the UN Security Council last month of the threat posed by climate change to his country. “Pakistan’s vast glacial area covers around 15,000 square kilometres, which are in rapid retreat. The rate of glacial recession, which has gone up by 23 per cent in the previous decade, is faster than in any other part of the world,” Haroon was quoted as saying in a government release dated 21 July.

The new station will help gather data on temperature,…

Publishing date 17/08/2011

An advanced level remote sensing based climate and flood warning technology is being introduced to upgrade flood management of Pakistan. The project will help build the capacity of Pakistan Meteorological Department and other agencies responsible for flood forecasting, early warning and management at the national, provincial and district levels, a senior official said here on Friday.

UNESCO with the financial assistance of Japan is introducing the system at a cost of 3.5 million dollar which is expected to be completed by 2013. The official said the project will be completed in two years, which will enable the institutional capacity of Pakistan, to predict floods as prior as 1 to 14 days by tracking weather and flood waves. This would be major milestone in achieving the better capacity to mitigate extreme floods like 2010 floods in Pakistan, he added.

The project will not only bring state of the art technology but will also harness linkages between Pakistani…

Publishing date 12/08/2011
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Islamic countries must come together and devise a mechanism to share satellite data amongst each other for better disaster management and faster development.

This was the crux of the opening day of a four-day international conference titled “Development of Data Sharing Platform for National Satellite Earth Stations of the Islamic Countries”, which is being attended by satellite experts from members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The conference aims to bring the experts together to develop a mechanism for satellite data sharing for better disaster management in case of floods and earthquakes.

Ahmed Bilal, Chairperson Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, said that experts from Islamic countries must come forward and play their role to promote sharing of satellite data. He said satellite communications has “transformed the entire world into a global village”. He added, “Life without satellite television, satellite telephony, the internet,…

Publishing date 14/07/2011

As part of its efforts to help Pakistan tackle natural disasters, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and partners have launched a project to upgrade the early warning system in the South Asian nation, which last year experienced the worst flooding in 80 years.

Heavy monsoon rains in July 2010 battered the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan, causing floods that affected over 20 million people, killed nearly 2,000 and made 1.9 million homeless.

The project, implemented by UNESCO, in cooperation with the Pakistani Government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, aims to, among other things, reduce the human and socio-economic impact of the floods and encourage the development of safer dwellings close to flood plains.

There are also plans to draw detailed maps of areas vulnerable to flooding in the Indus valley, according to a news release issued by UNESCO.

“Given that most…

Publishing date 14/07/2011

Last year's disastrous floods in Pakistan could have been minimized if European weather monitors had shared their data and it had been properly processed, U.S. researchers said Monday.

"This disaster could have been minimized and even the flooding could have been minimized," said lead author Peter Webster, a professor of earth and atmospheric science at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

"If we were working with Pakistan, they would have known eight to 10 days in advance that the floods were coming."

Using data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), Webster and colleagues found the floods could have been predicted if the data "had been processed and fed into a hydrological model, which takes terrain into account."


Published by The Edmonton Journal on 01 February 2011

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Publishing date 02/02/2011