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International space charter on disaster to meet today

Our Bureau

Since November 2000, the Charter has been activated more than 80 times to assist in emergencies such as floods, fires, landslides, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, oil spills, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes and civil accidents.

Bangalore , Oct. 3

THE International Charter on space and major disasters will celebrate its fifth year here with a special session of the charter organised by the Indian Space Research Organisation on October 4 and 5.

The Charter is a cooperation initiative created between the European Space Agency, the National Centre on Space Studies of France (CNES) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Its signatories have agreed to provide access to value-added earth observation satellite data to countries hit by or vulnerable to natural or technological disaster.

The participants will discuss the Charter's impact, performance, capabilities of remote sensing for disaster management and the response to recent disasters. The executive secretariat and board of the Charter has also scheduled its meeting during October 6-7.

Since November 2000, the Charter has been activated more than 80 times to assist in emergencies such as floods, fires, landslides, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, oil spills, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes and civil accidents, a release from ISRO, a signatory, said.

"With a low response time of 38-48 hours and by providing high reliability data, the Charter has proved the effectiveness of space information for emergency management," the release said.

During the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster that struck India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand, at least 200 sensor images acquired from satellites owned or operated by the Charter members were distributed.

The Charter also provided space information on Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans on August 29.

The ISRO Chairman, Mr G. Madhavan Nair, will preside over the fifth anniversary event. Mr Jean-Luc Bessis of CNES will deliver the keynote address on disaster management.

Participants include functionaries from space agencies CNES, CONAE, CSA, ESA, ISRO, JAXA, NOAA and USGS, besides the UN.

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