Rapid emergency response mapping for the 2016 floods in Kelani river basin, Sri Lanka
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Alahacoon N, Pani P, Matheswaran K, Samansiri S, Amarnath G. 2016. Rapid emergency response mapping for the 2016 floods in Kelani river basin, Sri Lanka. Workshop Conference. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/80875
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Paper presented at the 37th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing (ACRS): Promoting Spatial Data Infrastructure for Sustainable Economic Development, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 17-21 October 2016. Beginning on 14 May 2016, a low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal caused torrential rain to fall across Sri Lanka. Some locations saw over 350 mm (13.77 inches) of rain fall in 24 hours. Floods and landslides have caused havoc in as many as 19 districts of the country, including around Colombo, causing floods and landslides which affected half a million people with causality reported over 100 and estimated economic losses closer to $2billion. In recent years, due to an increasing number in the frequency and intensity of extreme meteorological events potentially related to climate change, a growing attention has been paid to the operational use of satellite remote sensing applied to emergency response and relief measures. This is mainly due to the large and timely availability of different types of remotely sensed data as well as geospatial information acquired in the field which may be potentially exploited in the different phases of the disaster management cycle. IWMI jointly with Disaster Management Centre (DMC), Sri Lanka activated disaster charter with Sentinel Asia and escalated International Disaster Charter to access satellite images during the crisis response phase to support government agencies in relief and rescue measures. A total of 13 satellite images both microwave and optical datasets (ALOS-2, Sentinel-1, RISAT-1, RADARSAT-2, TerraSAR-X, FORMOSAT, Landsat-8) were provided by various space agencies to generate flood situation maps on a daily basis. The emergency flood situation maps were regularly shared to national and international organizations within 3-4 hours after the post-event image is acquired by the space agencies to support in relief measures. The derived flood maps were overlaid with local administrative division to give specific information on the priority area to the DMC and Air Force authorities to focus relief measures. These rapid response maps can further be used for postdisaster relief policy and damage assessment.