Brazil joins the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’
In the year that severe flooding and landslides claimed over 800 lives in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil has joined the international space organisation that makes timely satellite data available to rescue authorities during disasters.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research – INPE – formally became the newest member of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ on 8 November.
Founded by ESA and the French and Canadian space agencies, the Charter is an international collaboration between the owners and operators of Earth observation missions to provide rapid access to satellite data to help disaster management authorities in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
Through the Charter, satellite data were used to create maps and aid rescue efforts following recent disasters such as the January’s 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the February 2011 earthquake in New Zealand and the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
“Brazil has already benefited from the extensive support of the Charter members in January 2011 when a major flood killed over 800 people and displaced thousands more in the state of Rio de Janeiro,” said Gilberto Câmara, Director of INPE.
As the Charter’s newest member, INPE will provide data from its CBERS Earth-observing satellite series.
There have been three CBERS satellites since 1999, and the fourth in the series is scheduled for launch in late 2012.
Images from these satellites have already been used to monitor deforestation and fire control in the Amazon region, water resources, urban growth and agriculture.
“By joining the Charter, INPE will be better to prepared to help the Brazilian and international society in the event of major disasters,” said Mr Câmara.
INPE is now the 13th member of the Charter. Other recent new members include the German Aerospace Center and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. Eumetsat and Russia’s space agency have also made requests to join.