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The increasing number of intense meteorological events means that flood events are more frequent. Their monitoring is essential to rescue and civil defence authorities, whilst mapping of their extent is widely by insurance companies.

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Sentinel-1 monitors floods in Malawi

29 January 2015

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Sentinel-1 has contributed to aid disaster response efforts in Malawi, following devastating floods which have affected the south African nation in January 2015.

After a long drought during December 2014, Malawi received heavy rainfall for several weeks in January, particularly from Tropical Cyclone's Bansi and Chedza. The rainfall caused floods which affected over half of the country, killing hundreds of people and leaving thousands homeless. It is some of the worst flooding that Malawi has experienced in many years, and is expected to result in a long process of recovery due to the disaster's impact on infrastructure and agriculture.

Sentinel-1, with its radar instrument, is a valuable tool for flood monitoring; as radar imagery can be used to easily distinguish areas of water from land. The acquisition of radar data is also unaffected by local weather conditions and cloud, enabling monitoring of a disaster area even during periods of stormy weather.

Different services and projects made use of Sentinel-1 data: