Earth from Space: Irrawaddy Delta
This Envisat image highlights the Irrawaddy Delta in Burma/Myanmar (officially the Union of Myanmar).
The large white area on the right is Yangon, the country’s largest city and former capital. It sits at the convergence of the Yangon (left) and Bago Rivers, whose waters are seen (pink) flowing into the Andaman Sea.
Bassein (also called Pathein), the port city and capital of the Irrawaddy Division, is visible in white on the left. It is situated on the bank of the Bassein (Pathein) River, a western branch of the Irrawaddy River (the third inlet from the right above two chunks of land).
With a length of 2170 km, the Irrawaddy River is the country's largest. The Bay of Bengal is visible along the left side.
Cyclone Nargis hit the area in May 2008, devastating the country. Earth observation satellites provided vital information to relief workers in Myanmar throughout the crisis.
Immediately after the disaster, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs asked the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters for support by providing immediate crisis mapping of the affected areas.
The Charter is an international collaboration, initiated by ESA and the French space agency, CNES, to put satellite remote sensing at the service of civil protection agencies and others in response to natural and man-made disasters.
Following the request, more than 10 different sensors – radar and optical – from several observation satellites provided more than 60 images, which were used to derive 29 damage maps.
This image was created by combining three Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar acquisitions (2 January 2009, 17 April 2009 and 26 June 2009) taken over the same area. The colours in the image result from changes in the surface that occurred between acquisitions.