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When Disasters strike, Satellites come calling
22 October 2018
Huddled in an inconspicuous corner, eyes transfixed on their computer monitors, a group of young experts wait for satellite images to arrive. A disaster has just struck Indonesia, and the twin impact of the earthquake and the tsunami it triggered could be devastating. The initial ping about an impending disaster has proved true, and the International Disaster Charter has just been activated.
Five-thousand kilometers away from the disaster zone centered on Palu in Indonesia, the team of disaster experts has assembled at the Geoinformatics Center (GIC) of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand. Having been nominated as the project manager under the Global Disaster Charter, they will be the single access point for satellite information that will start flowing from all over the world.
As images start arriving, the trickle of satellite data turns into a virtual flood as numerous satellites reorient themselves towards the disaster area and start beaming the latest images. As a member of the disaster team, Syams Nashrrullah has worked on disasters before. This is the third disaster charter activation in 2018, which included the floods in Japan, the earthquake in Lombok, and now the Sulawesi disaster.
Image credit: Reliefweb - Indonesia: Tsunami/Earthquakes - Sep 2018