Geospatial information for sustainable food systems

Remote sensing applications for monitoring floods in South Sudan

Disasters affect people living, in particular, the most vulnerable communities and weather-driven natural hazards, including storm surges, floods, flash floods, and subsequent mass movements, are the most prominent natural disasters worldwide. 

In the second half of 2019, South Sudan has faced unusual heavy rainfall that caused extended flooding that affected nearly 1 million of people. Accordingly, the FAO Geospatial team involved in South Sudan land cover mapping analysed the impact of floods on the Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.

The land cover database and additional remote sensing flood related data were essential input instruments for the analysis. The water detection was possible following a methodology using ESA Copernicus constellation Sentinel 1 radar imagery freely available on Google Earth Engine platform. The methodology was initially tested in NBEG State with the possibility to extend the analysis to other areas. Additional ground information could be considered to further validate and improve the accuracy of the results. The development of an operational flood monitoring system using the latest advances in GIS and remote sensing with field validation information can provide rapid emergency livelihood support to the most crisis-affected and food-insecure populations and support national food security.