Satellite images important to disaster management process

01 Dec 2014 / 17:54 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of satellite technology in the pre- and post-disaster management process is equally important as doing so during the disaster, said National Space Agency (Angkasa) director-general Dr Noordin Ahmad (pix).
In a recent interview with theSun, he said at present the whole disaster management operation is under the purview of the National Security Council of the Prime Minister's Department.
"We have engaged them on how best to use and promote the use of satellite technology in mitigating disaster. One way will be to use satellite images in the pre- and post disaster process," he added.
Doing so in the pre-disaster process would help the federal government and local authorities better understand the type, trend and extent of the disaster, and provide sufficient time for the mitigation methods to be put in place before a disaster occurs, he said.
"It will greatly minimise the repair costs due to damages from a disaster and ensure the emergency relief centre is easily accessible to the locals and the relief aid response team," he added.
Dr Noordin pointed out that by comparing the images taken during and after a disaster plays a vital role in the development planning process for an area.
"The images can act as a guide for the authorities to determine whether or not any building or infrastructure should be constructed in the area should it be a possible disaster prone area," he said.
As the cost of constructing and maintaining a satellite was exorbitant, he said it was important for Malaysia to collaborate with other countries or space agencies.
Currently, Angkasa through programmes like the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-Spider) and Sentinel Asia can get satellite disaster images when a disaster happens in Malaysia.
UN-Spider is an open network system that provides space-based solutions to support disaster management activities while Sentinel Asia is a disaster management support system in the Asia Pacific region.
"We do not have to pay for the satellite disaster images we obtain from UN-Spider and Sentinel Asia," he said.

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