Haiti earthquakeSPOT 5 helping to coordinate relief efforts
An earthquake of magnitude 7 on the Richter scale hit Haiti on 12 January, centred approximately 15 km west of Port-au-Prince. More than 30 aftershocks greater than magnitude 4 followed. The damage is extensive and many public buildings in the capital are down.
The next day, CNES activated the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters for the United Nations’ Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the French civil protection directorate.
SPOT 5 was tasked to acquire priority images of Haiti and a pre-earthquake SPOT 5 archive image of Port-au-Prince from March 2007 was delivered.
This archive image served as a baseline for the SERTIT regional image processing and remote sensing department in Strasbourg, France, to generate rapid post-quake damage maps for the charter. SERTIT also produced maps for civil protection teams under the European GMES SAFER project, for which Infoterra France has also delivered an ExpressMap of Port-au-Prince.
A SPOT 5 image of Port-au-Prince was acquired on 14 January, and another the next day. Both images were delivered to the charter shortly after acquisition.
A new image was acquired on 20 January of the area south-east of Port-au-Prince following a strong aftershock. It was delivered to the charter a few hours after acquisition.
Not far from the disaster area, Spot Image Corporation is accelerating dissemination of imagery in the United States. Spot Image headquarters in Toulouse, France, is coordinating distribution in Europe and the rest of the world.
To speed coordination of humanitarian relief teams, the United Nations’ DPKO Cartographic Section has been granted an extended user licence for all of its field partners for the SPOT 5 image of 15 January and for a KOMPSAT-2 image acquired 16 January.
SPOT 5 imagery is listed by the OpenStreetMap map resources community, which has launched a collaborative map project for Haiti at WikiProject Haiti.
In Jacmel, Haiti has a cultural heritage site that is a candidate to become a World Heritage site. The images SPOT 5 will be shown in internal meetings of UNESCO where is preparing the overall UNESCO action plan to assist Haiti.