Press releases

  1. 21 Feb 2011

    When a major disaster strikes in remote parts of the world, knowing if the area is populated, and how densely, is crucial for the effective organisation of humanitarian operations. The Global Human Settlements Layer (GHSL), developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), will soon provide this detailed information for the first time on a global scale. The breakthrough is new advanced algorithms, developed by the JRC, that allow automatic analysis of medium resolution data provided by European satellites. The first test results confirm that the combined use of ICT technologies permit fast and precise mapping of built-up areas, anywhere in the world. In addition, the algorithms allow massive datasets to be processed more efficiently and rapidly, making it possible to monitor the changes in human settlements regularly and equally importantly, to collect the same information from heterogeneous satellite data. This can help to reduce risks in areas that experience recurrent disasters and to focus post-disaster humanitarian interventions on the most likely populated places in disaster affected countries and regions.

  2. 15 Jan 2010

    More than 4000 physical structures were destroyed or damaged in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, by the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the country on 12th January 2010. About 2000 residential buildings have partially or totally collapsed and the same number of buildings shows severe damage. A number of critical infrastructures such as government buildings, educational structures and hospitals have collapsed or are severely damaged. These are the preliminary findings of a rapid damage assessment carried out by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) based on the analysis of very high resolution satellite imagery acquired before and after the disaster. Rapid damage assessment provides valuable information in order to effectively plan relief and assistance measures, as well as for subsequent reconstruction and recovery planning efforts.

  3. 24 Jul 2009

    The forest fire situation in Europe is constantly monitored by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), a system established by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Directorate General for Environment (DG ENV) of the European Commission.

  4. 28 Aug 2007

    According to the European Commission's European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), 183 987 hectares were burnt in Greece between 24 and 26 August, during the major forest fires that have ravaged that country. This brings the provisional figure to this point in the 2007 forest fire season in Greece to 268 834 hectares. The concentration of damage in the Peloponnese coincides with the fire danger maps produced by EFFIS Fire Danger system that shows the Peloponnese as being the area of Greece with highest meteorological fire risk. However, the forecasts for the coming days show that the fire risk in Greece in general and the Peloponnese in particular will reduce.

  5. 10 Aug 2009

    Estimates from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) show that 200 000 hectares of land in the EU have already burnt in 2009, compared to a total of 180 000 in 2008. EFFIS continuously monitors the forest fire risk, which at present is still high, and has just released the 'Forest Fires in Europe 2008' report providing a comprehensive overview of the forest fire danger conditions and impact of forest fires in Europe for 2008.

  6. 16 Aug 2006

    From 31 July to 14 August, mapping of fires larger than 50 ha with satellite imagery indicates an increase of burnt areas from 13,591 to 49,881 ha in Portugal and from 2,241 to 88,473 ha in Galicia Up to 31 July, more than 64,500 ha were burnt by forest fires in the EU. This is the information received from the Member States and compiled by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), the system developed by the European Commission to monitor forest fire risk in Europe and provide Member States with early risk warning and damage assessment. After a rather quiet beginning to the fire season in the Mediterranean Regions, the beginning of August has witnessed a sharp increase in fires and burnt areas, mainly in Galicia (Spain) and in neighbouring Portugal. On the other hand, in Northern Regions of Europe an unusually high fire danger was recorded in spring and early summer. The figures for 2006 so far are much less than the 610,000 ha (i.e. twice the area of Luxembourg) burnt in 2005, but the fire season is not yet over.

  7. 2 Aug 2007

    Figures released by the Joint Research Centre's European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) show that burned land area in 2007 at 3376 square kilometres is already reaching 2006 totals and that July has been the worst month on record…

  8. 17 Mar 2010

    A comprehensive atlas of all damage caused in Haiti by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake on 12 January 2010 is now available to help planning recovery and reconstruction measures. The atlas, based on the comparison between predisaster satellite imagery and postdisaster aerial photos, provides an overview of building damage in the main affected cities in Haiti showing that almost 60,000 buildings, ten times more than initially estimated, were either destroyed or very heavily damaged.