International Disaster Charter

The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters is a charter which provides for the charitable retasked acquisition of and transmission of space satellite data to relief organizations in the event of major disasters. Initiated by the European Space Agency and the French space agency CNES after the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999, it officially came into operation on November 1, 2000 after the Canadian Space Agency signed onto the charter on October 20, 2000. Their troika of space assets was, respectively, ERS and ENVISAT, SPOT and Fomosat, and RADARSAT. The assorted satellite assets of various private, national, and international space agencies provide for humanitarian coverage which is wide albeit contingent. First activated for floods in northeast France in December 2001, the Charter has since brought space assets into play for numerous earthquakes, oil spills, forest fires, tsunamis, major snowfalls, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and landslides.



Krasnodar, Russia Flood - July 2012

Krasnodar Flood Krasnodar Flood

On the night of July 7, 2012, a major storm dumped more than a foot (30 centimeters) of water on the Krasnodar area of southern Russia, near the Black Sea. The resulting flood was likened to a tsunami, where more than 170 people died, most in the city of Krymsk. The Moscow Times reported that more than 19,000 people lost everything. Krymsk is located in the western foothills on the northern slope of the Caucasus Mountains, a range that stretches between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The vast amount of rain quickly overwhelmed the small river channels that flow north from the mountains to the Russian lowlands and the Kuban River. Krymsk was directly in the pathway of the flash flood. The two images above compare the city of Krymsk before and after the flooding. The image on the left is a satellite image from Google Earth taken on July 1, 2011. The image on the right is an astronaut photograph taken by cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station, and shows the city of Krymsk on July 10, 2012. Regions that were flooded along the channel have tan to brown color in the ISS image, likely due to the mud and debris that was left behind by the floodwaters.

View our database of IDC responses for this site



Fires in Ecuador - September 2012

Fires over Ecuador

Fires over Ecuador
Fires over Ecuador

Between the months of June and September 2012, over 2,900 wildfires affected Ecuador, destroying some 15,500 hectares of land. The fires left behind three deaths and several wounded while some 4,000 persons were affected by the interruption of the water supply. Fires, believed to be the result of arson, were fought in the provinces of Pichincha (in the north near Quito) and in both El Oro and Azuay in the south of the country. Several provinces around the affected area were on alert with the potential for more fires. The worst affected provinces were Pichincha, El Oro and Azuay and eight provinces were issued with an Orange alert.

View our database of IDC responses for this site