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First post-typhoon damage assessment for Tacloban City (Philippines)

Nov 11 2013

More than 700 residential buildings were completely destroyed and more than 1200 were damaged by the Haiyan typhoon in the Tacloban city alone (Philippines). This is the result of the first rapid damage assessment carried out soon after the event by the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS), coordinated by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). The damage assessment maps are expected to support response activities and, in the longer term, reconstruction efforts.

The analysis, carried out by comparing pre and post event satellite imagery, shows also that in Tacloban, one of the hardest hit areas, 5 industrial facilities and 7 educational buildings were destroyed while 18 roads are blocked. 70% of the built-up area is affected, of which 58% is either destroyed or highly affected. 65% of the affected area is residential. Roads are blocked at 113 different locations.

On 9-10 November 2013, the Copernicus EMS started the delivery of the first damage assessment maps for the Haiyan typhoon which hit the Philippines on 8 November. Initially, radar-based flood maps were produced on the basis of the forecasted path of the typhoon. On Sunday morning, it was possible to compare such imagery with pre-event very high resolution imagery over Tacloban city present in the image archives, allowing the generation of very detailed damage assessment maps over the city.

The service was activated at the request of the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre. A large number of humanitarian relief organisations were timely informed about the products, which are freely available through the Copernicus Emergency Portal.

The Copernicus (former GMES) EMS is the European operational mapping service aimed at providing civil protection authorities and humanitarian aid agencies with timely and relevant satellite derived information in emergency contexts (natural and man-made disasters as well as humanitarian conflicts). The Copernicus programme comprises 6 major service components. The EMS is the first Copernicus service to become operational. Since 2012, the JRC has been responsible for the technical coordination of the EMS. Since the beginning of its operations the EMS has been activated for 57 major disasters and emergencies, 28 on the territory of the European Union and 25 outside the Union. During 2013 summer alone, the EMS delivered more than 150 mapping products to support emergency management responders dealing with floods, forest fires and other disasters that affected parts of Europe (Eastern Europe, France, Portugal) and overseas (India).