Geospatial information for sustainable food systems

A remote sensing-based rapid assessment of Amphan cyclone in Bangladesh

The super-cyclone Amphan slammed into the coast of eastern India and Bangladesh on Wednesday 20 May 2020, generating severe winds and heavy rainfalls, bringing heavy gales and the threat of deadly storm surges. An estimated 10 million people in 19 districts were affected by the cyclone and about 500,000 families have lost their houses and shelters while saline water intrusion is likely to have long-lasting consequences on livelihoods in the coastal areas.

The rapid impact assessment of the Amphan’s cyclone was conducted by FAO in close collaboration with WFP and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission with the objective to provide quantitative estimates of the flood impact and households vulnerability in support to response and recovery actions. Using freely accessible Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) imagery from NASA-DFO - Combined Sentinel1 and Optical sources, EOS Singapore - Sentinel-1, WASDI Fadeout - Sentinel-1 and Sentinel Asia JAXA - ALOS PALSAR 2, flood, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission digital elevation models and existing land cover and other geospatial information, this rapid impact assessment provided information about flood extent, severity, impact by land cover types (single and multiple crops, orchards, fisheries and aquaculture sectors) and identified the most vulnerable areas. 

A collaborative and operational system for assessing disasters vulnerability, impacts and recovery using the latest advances in GIS and remote sensing in Bangladesh have the potential to provide timely and robust geosaptial information in support to programmes to promote resilient livelihoods.