Research and Application News
Pakistan earthquake: UNOSAT provides damage analysis to UNICEF and other rescuers
02 October 2013
It took only minutes after the first seismic shock that hit the Pakistani province of Baluchistan in the afternoon of 24 September for experts to understand that this emergency would require the mobilisation of humanitarian assistance. Despite the scarcity of population of Baluchistan, which is also the largest province in the country, the intensity of the quake was enough to affect 300,000 people and cause at least 348 deaths according to UN figures. Two days later a second powerful quake hit the most affected district, Awaran, causing additional damage and new deaths.
Within one hour from the quake, UNOSAT rapid mapping was requested by UNICEF. On the same day UNOSAT experts also contacted and triggered the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, which provides data support to humanitarian mapping in case of major emergencies in which the UN is involved.
The first damage assessments based on satellite analysis were published by UNOSAT already on 26 September. As customary, UNOSAT publishes the results of its humanitarian rapid mapping on the web to facilitate downloading from various humanitarian operators in multiple locations at the same time. This service has been active since 2003 and was recently commended by member states and OCHA in a meeting held in Geneva only hours before the Pakistani earthquake.