While much of Europe is on drought alert, Pakistan is awash. Data captured from space by Copernicus Sentinel-1on 30 August was used to map the extent of flooding that is currently devastating Pakistan.
Heavy monsoon rainfall – ten times heavier than usual – since mid-June has led to more than a third of the country now being underwater, according to a Pakistani government official. This catastrophic flood has claimed the lives of more than 1100 people and more than 33 million, one in seven Pakistanis, have been affected by the flooding. Homes, croplands and infrastructure have been washed away. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, describes the flood as the worst in the country’s history and says it will cost at least $10 billion to repair damaged infrastructure.
The left side of the Copernicus Sentinel-1 image shows a wide view of the area affected and the image on the right zooms into the area between Dera Murad Jamali and Larkana. The Indus River has overflowed, effectively creating a long lake, tens of kilometres wide. The blue to black colours show where the land is submerged.
The Copernicus Emergency Management Service has been activated to provide flood maps from space to help responders deal with the crisis.
Europe’s Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission carries a radar instrument to ‘see’ through clouds and rain darkness, making it particularly useful for monitoring floods.