The disaster that struck Beirut, Lebanon, tells us that Chemical hazards pose an imminent threat to our cities and citizens, and this should be an eye-opener.
As of August 5, at least 135 people have been killed, and around 5,000 people injured; another 300,000+ people are displaced due to the extent of the damages. With electricity out in most of the city, emergency workers are limited in what they can do. The government’s minister of information stated the country would be entering a two-week state of emergency. – Maxar Technologies Blog
Two earth observation companies E-Geos and Maxar Technologies, which are members of the World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC), have come up with satellite data to understand the extent of the damage. Such data sets are of immense value for rapid response in the event of disasters. Here is what the images tell us.
About 4 km2 of the area under impact
E-Geos, a leading international player in the geo-spatial business, came out with the assessment of the area under damage. It took advantage of the Radar images, which – delineates immediately the extent of damages, that covers an area of about 4 km2.
Port infrastructure heavily damaged
Maxar Technologies, leading Space Infrastructure & Earth Intelligence company, has come out with very high-resolution satellite images as open data to assist first responders. The data is available for non-commercial use under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 license (CC BY-NC 4.0). As seen in these high-resolution images below, port infrastructure underwent massive damage.
See the incredible damage from the #Beirut, #Lebanon explosion in these high-resolution #satellite images taken on August 5, 2020. Take a look at the large crater, the capsized Orient Queen and buildings with blown-out, shattered glass. pic.twitter.com/OxgzmZKNwR— Maxar Technologies (@Maxar) August 5, 2020
The above two examples show how satellite imagery holds a vital role in the rapid assessment of impact post disasters. Further, with the advent of automation and artificial intelligence, such insights from earth observation data become the new normal.