Earth Observation Mission News
Scientists Deploy Damage Assessment Tool in Laos Relief Efforts
17 August 2018
The 23 July failure of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam unleashed more than 130 billion gallons of water on rural villages in southern Laos, in Southeast Asia, devastating thousands of houses and businesses and displacing more than 6,000 people.
As authorities scrambled to gather information in the wake of the disaster, scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, activated a new tool to help them assess the damage and get help to people in need.
NASA researchers John Bolten and Perry Oddo and Stanford University researcher Aakash Ahamed recently developed a system that predicts flood damage based on satellite and ground data. The model estimates floodwater depth, adds information about land use and building infrastructure, and generates a dollar-value calculation of the damage in the target area.
Image credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Matt Radcliff - The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam was located in southern Laos, in Southeast Asia. Approximate location highlighted here in red.