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Satellites assist in management of Ebola crisis

06 November 2014

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The International Charter was activated last Month (October 2014) to assist in the management of the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

The International Charter for Space and Major Disasters (the 'Charter') is an international agreement between space agencies to provide free satellite images in the immediate aftermath of natural or man-made disasters. It has so far responded to over 400 disasters in over 110 countries, but its activation in October 2014 was the first time it has been activated to assist with the response to a disease.

The recent Charter activation will allow the World Health Organisation to acquire satellite imagery of Sierrra Leone and Guinea - areas of West Africa that have seen a high number of Ebola cases. The epidemic has so far claimed over four thousand lives in West Africa and people are still falling victim to the spreading disease. It is the worst outbreak since the discovery of the disease in 1976.

The satellite images provided by the Charter will assist in the response to the epidemic by providing international teams with maps that will allow them to better characterise where and how to deploy overseas medical staff and their support bases. The UK-built and operated DMC2 is one of the satellites that has acquired images of West Africa, an excellent example of a UK satellite being used in support of our international humanitarian efforts.

Source: UK Space Agency

Image credit: DMCii - UK-DMC2 image of KanKan Prefecture, Guinea

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