Flooding on the Mekong River floodplain, Thailand and Laos

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this detailed image of the Mekong River on the border between Thailand and Laos. The image shows not only roads and buildings in great detail (in an area about 60 km northeast of Laos's capital city Vientiane), but also evidence of flooding. Southeast Asia's largest river winds as a red-brown channel of floodwater resulting from very heavy monsoon rainfall that affected populations from North Vietnam through Thailand and Myanmar to India, starting on 26 July. ISS crews have been specially tasked to document floods photographically---photos such as this represent the best of the kind imagery that NASA tries to gather to assist relief authorities on the ground.

The image shows flooded areas covering thousands of acres affecting farmland on the Mekong floodplain in zones far wider than Mekong River itself (650 meters, 2200 feet). The rectangular grid of fencelines sticks up above the level of the flood water in both images. Red-brown water on the farmland has been washed in from the hills and from the muddy water of the Mekong River. Clearer flood water (image lower center) is rainwater that has ponded in the immediate area, and has collected no sediment to redden it.
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This service is provided by the International Space Station program and the JSC Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ARES Division, Exploration Integration Science Directorate.
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