Aid to the Climate Emergency in the South region of Brazil

05 July 2024

Telespazio Brasil has been a crucial ally of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), which plays a vital role in rescue operations and assistance to flood victims in the South region of Brazil, providing cutting-edge data and technology to support the emergency operations that FAB has been conducting in the area.

The southern regions of Brazil have been in a state of climatic and environmental emergency for more than 20 days. Torrential rains that began at the end of April triggered floods that have caused significant damage and monumental challenges in various states, including Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Paraná.

The tragedy caused by the incessant rains was exacerbated by soil saturation due to previous precipitation, the region's topography, and the overflowing of rivers that facilitate water accumulation. The damage has been catastrophic in both urban and rural areas, with floods affecting vast stretches of land, homes, businesses, transportation systems, roads, and crops, as well as causing significant human loss.

In this context of emergency, Telespazio Brasil has provided the Brazilian Air Force with images and maps from the Italian COSMO-SkyMed satellites, owned by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Italian Ministry of Defence, which is crucial for understanding and mapping affected and potentially flooded areas.

Data from the COSMO-SkyMed constellation are distributed worldwide exclusively by e-GEOS (ASI/Telespazio).

Satellite images are of crucial importance for understanding and mapping affected and likely flooded areas. This way, it is possible to have a reference of the impact and the safety to draw up more effective action plans, identifying priority areas for rescue, evacuation, and supply delivery operations. Additionally, images allow continuous monitoring of the situation, enabling quick and precise response actions as the scenario evolves.

"We are very proud to have contributed to assist FAB in this dramatic moment. The images acquired by the COSMO-SkyMed satellite system, once again, proved to be an essential and high-quality tool for assessing a situation during and after a climatic event such as the flood that has afflicted the South of Brazil."

Marzio Laurenti, CEO of Telespazio Brasil.

The maps show the flooded areas in Santa Maria on May 4th. The images were obtained from the processing of SAR images from COSMO-SkyMed satellite.

The Brazilian Air Force Operations

Since the beginning of the floods, FAB has played a vital role in aiding affected communities, whether through logistics operations, supply distribution, or rescue and support operations.

FAB is using a variety of aircraft, including helicopters and transport planes, to allow their teams to fly over flooded areas, rescuing people in risk or/and isolated areas. In addition to rescue efforts, the Air Force is involved in transporting essential supplies, including food, drinking water, and medicines, to ensure that the help quickly reaches the communities that most need.

Regarding the use of orbital images to support the crisis in Rio Grande do Sul, the Aerospace Operations Command (COMAE), located in Brasília (DF), has been working in a dedicated group using these images, providing maps of flooded areas and other flood-related information. The goal is to use the Brazilian satellites and image acquisition contracts to make images available directly and freely to interested institutions. This allows them to produce flood monitoring maps quickly.

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