China GEO supports Brazil dam collapse disaster response

News / 12 March 2019

Following the devastating January 2019 Brazilian dam collapse, Chinese satellite data products were provided to support Brazilian disaster response as part of the ChinaGEOSS Disaster Data Response Mechanism.

On 25 January 2019, the tailings dam to the Córrego do Feijão mine burst near Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil, resulting in hundreds of lives lost and extensive environmental and economic damage.

Two days after the dam burst, the ChinaGEO Secretariat - based in the National Remote Sensing Center of China - trigged the ChinaGEOSS Disaster Data Response Mechanism to collect high-resolution satellite data of the impacted area in support of Brazil’s disaster response efforts.

Between 28-30 January, various Chinese optical satellite data products were provided to Brazil’s National Center of Risk and Disaster Management (Centro Nacional de Gerenciamento de Riscos e Desastres - CENAD). A 2m resolution image (GaoFen-1 satellite) provided an overview for planning, while a 0.92m resolution image (JiLin-1 satellite) provided river pollution information and a 0.5m resolution image (SuperView-1 satellite) assisted with assessments of building damage.

“[The ChinaGEOSS Disaster Data Response Mechanism] is complementary to the International Charter Space and Major Disasters,”  explained Professor Li Gouging, coordinator of ChinaGEOSS Data Sharing Network and co-chair of CODATA’s task group on Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research, “We are able to mobilize high-resolution satellite resources operated by both government institutes and commercial sectors for international emergency response and make the data openly available to the public afterwards.”

“[The ChinaGEOSS Disaster Data Response Mechanism] is our contribution to GEO and GEO Member countries on emergency response under the Sendai framework, coinciding with government-level mechanisms. We are glad that our work can provide help to countries most in need” said Mr. Wang Qi'An, Director General of National Remote Sensing Center of China and ChinaGEO Secretariat.

Lucas Mikosc of Brazil’s CENAD confirmed via email to China that the high resolution optical image obtained by SuperView-1 was a significant asset for planning field operations, and was used for tactical planning by the search and rescue team.

Ongoing support for disaster response

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) supports disaster resilience by increasing coordination of Earth observations to improve disaster forecasting, mitigation, management and recovery, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

A substantial reduction in loss of life and property can be achieved by strengthening cooperation and data sharing to help manage risks posed by fires, floods, earthquakes and other hazards.

Established in 2016, the ChinaGEOSS Disaster Data Response Mechanism is responsible for coordinating the provision of Chinese high-resolution satellite data and disaster analysis products to disaster-affected countries. The mechanism has been successfully launched for earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and typhoons in eleven countries.

Contributors include GEO’s regional initiative in Asia-Oceania (AO GEO), China’s Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), China Resources Satellite Application Centre (CRESDA), SpaceWill, CGSTL, National Satellite Meteorological Centre (NSMC), Japan’s RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project, and the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA).


For more information please contact Maddie West at mwest@geosec.org



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