Project Background (page 1 of 2)
The continent of Africa has experienced significant major disasters over the past several years, including famine in Niger, drought in Swaziland, oil pipeline explosions in Nigeria, eruption of Mt. Nyiragongo, in Congo, DRC on Feb. 04, 2002, earthquakes in Algeria and Morocco, locust infestations and post-election killings and refugee displacements in Kenya, a fatal ferry accident in Egypt, continued refugee vulnerability in Darfur and floods in fourteen African countries.
The Arab Republic of Egypt, like other nations within NATO’s designated Mediterranean Dialogue Countries, is vulnerable to a wide array of biogenic and anthropogenic disasters. Moreover, given the known associative relationship between poverty and disaster vulnerability, Egypt’s socio-economic profile is such that substantial segments of the population are at increased risk of suffering from the impact and sequellae of catastrophic events. Consequently, there is a demonstrable need to augment the technological capability to address the full life cycle of disaster management, including vulnerability assessment, disaster preparedness, mitigation initiatives, early warning, emergency response, humanitarian relief, damage assessment and post-disaster reconstruction.
Successful disaster management and mitigation requires a multi-disciplinary approach, given the wide diversity of disasters and the multiple sectors that are subsequently affected. One set of technological tools that is indeed multi-disciplinary and has in recent years demonstrated utility as an adjunct to addressing the full spectrum of disasters and to multi-sector decision support is satellite remote sensing. Many image collecting satellites now orbiting the earth contain the capability to directly broadcast the data being acquired from on-board sensors. Some of these satellites/sensors which transmit data with no required annual license fees include: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s (NASA) Aqua and Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), the Chinese Space Agency’s Feng Yun (Wind & Cloud) Multichannel Visible and Infra Red Scan Radiometer (MVISR), and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) GVAR (GOES VARiable Format). Receiving stations can now be acquired relatively inexpensively to receive the data being transmitted when the satellites are within range of the receiving station.