Technology that helped the disaster-stricken areas of Nepal and flood-prone Bangladesh is now extending its reach to Asia’s Lower Mekong River, to protect countries with rich ecosystems affected by the river, namely Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. It is expected to better predict and cope with floods and other natural disasters and build greater resilience to the negative effects of climate change.
On August 31st 2015, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officially launched a five year (2014-2019) regional project named SERVIR-Mekong, in partnership with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).
SERVIR-Mekong aims to bring the ‘space to village’ by equipping governments, regional instituitions with geospatial and publicly available data to come up with viable solutions to help the community along the Mekong river. A source of livelihood for more than 40 million people, the Mekong river needs to be under constant surveillance as the impact of extreme weather and climate change puts a strain on the ability of the communities to adapt.
Aside from providing surveillance, SERVIR is also focused on a list of issues vital to the region: such as disaster risk reduction and response; the protection of food and water resources; and safe, sustainable development of the entire Mekong River Basin. Decision makers are able to achieve this by tapping into the best science and technology in the region to boost economic growth while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
SERVIR Mekong also encourages the growth of regional platforms and events based on geospatial information to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing between technical organisations. In particular, geospatial analyses like these allow for effective and accurate visualisations of landscape level changes and enables an integrated view of complex development processes and issues.This not only promotes education in this area of research, it also raises awareness about using this type of information in development work.
Click here to find out more about SERVIR-Mekong and how it will help the development along the Mekong River in detail.