Natural disasters – including cyclones/hurricanes, floods, droughts, earthquakes and volcanoes – have impacted 3.5 billion people totalling an estimated US$1.9 trillion in economic losses since 2000.
The UN has established the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which will lead to the “substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.”
The Sendai framework articulates four critical action areas which space solutions support:
- Understanding Disaster Risk – Earth observation (EO) improves accuracy of disaster forecasts.
- Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance – Earth observation improves government’s planning and prioritisation of disaster response.
- Investing in Disaster Risk Resilience: Earth observation supports a robust insurance market through improved calculation of risk.
- Enhancing Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response: Satellites provide critical national communications infrastructure, particularly when terrestrial networks are damaged or absent in remote regions.
The unique benefit that space solutions provide is global, repeatable, scalable data that can deliver high value insights about our dynamic planet, especially within developing countries where existing data and insight is poor.
Many global initiatives utilise space in the disaster resilience sector in developing countries:
International Partnership Programme: A UK Space Agency initiative that uses the UK Space sector’s research and innovation strengths to deliver a sustainable, economic and societal benefit to undeveloped nations and developing economies. IPP has 10 disaster resilience projects.