NASA/USAID SERVIR Initiative Responds to Earthquake in Nepal

©SERVIR

SERVIR Imagery of Nepal

SERVIR, a joint development initiative of NASA and USAID, is working to help Nepal recover from the earthquake that struck on April 25, 2015.

SERVIR partners with leading regional organizations around the globe to help developing countries use information provided by Earth observing satellites and geospatial technologies for managing climate risks and land use. SERVIR has hubs in East Africa, the Hindu Kush-Himalayas, and the lower Mekong. SERVIR-Himalaya is based in Kathmandu near ground zero for earthquake devastation.

With their country reeling in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD, which hosts the SERVIR-Himalaya hub in Kathmandu, is working around the clock to coordinate geospatial and remote sensing information to support disaster response. An office has been set up in the Ministry of Home Affairs and at ICIMOD, and teams are operating 24/7 to map the disaster-struck region for the Government of Nepal and other organizations striving to save lives and help those in need.

ICIMOD is coordinating with partners and space agencies worldwide to collect and analyze data and imagery, and to provide targeted information to the Government of Nepal, USAID-Nepal, and relief agencies. An earthquake information page has been set up at www.icimod.org/nepalearthquake2015 as an efficient platform for finding and sharing information.

"Thankfully, the team at ICIMOD is physically okay and able to aid in disaster response efforts," says Dan Irwin, NASA SERVIR project director at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "Unfortunately, this is a tragedy that will forever change Nepal. It's so sad to see the loss of lives and livelihoods, the loss of many buildings and infrastructure, and the damage to world-renowned cultural gems like Bhaktapur. It's heartbreaking for our friends and colleagues, and we're committed to do all we can to help them access NASA and other critical satellite images and products that can aid emergency response at this challenging time."

ICIMOD is focused on getting information about many hard-hit remote mountain areas and villages, including the districts of Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Kavre, Gorkha, and Sindhupalchowk areas where ICIMOD routinely works.

The SERVIR Coordination Office team in Huntsville, Alabama; four SERVIR-Himalaya team members currently in Arusha, Tanzania; members of the SERVIR Applied Sciences Team; the NASA SPoRT team; the University of Arizona; University of Alabama-Huntsville Earth System Science students; colleagues at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory; managers of the NASA Headquarters Earth Science Division hazards and disasters program; and others are generating and processing products to support ICIMOD.

The group is identifying and tasking sites for NASA satellites to image, collecting these images as well as images and data from other US government agencies and from private/commercial organizations, then processing and compressing the data into files that can be received on location in Nepal, where bandwidth is currently limited.

ICIMOD/SERVIR-Himalaya is printing the images and providing them to Nepal government agencies, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, to help target recovery efforts and speed assistance. These photos can help direct rapid response, pinpoint landslides and other hazards occurring within the disrupted landscape, assess the extent of damage, and more.

For more information about SERVIR: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/servir/ and www.servirglobal.net

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