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Space Technology for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in ASEAN – World

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SYNOPSIS

Space technology plays a crucial role in disaster management for the world’s most disaster-exposed region. While ASEAN countries with capabilities in space technology focus on their national endeavours and goals, climate-induced disasters continue to pose a significant transboundary threat. Given this, nations in ASEAN with access to space technology should consider coordinating the use of these resources, especially for the benefit of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) in a region where disaster risk is outpacing resilience.

COMMENTARY

www.rsis.edu.sg No. 048 – 3 May 2024 The authors’ views are their own and do not represent the official position of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. These commentaries may be reproduced with prior permission from RSIS and due recognition to the authors and RSIS.
Please email to Editor IDSS Paper at RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sg.

No. 048/2024 dated 3 May 2024 Space Technology for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in ASEAN Keith Paolo C. Landicho SYNOPSIS Space technology plays a crucial role in disaster management for the world’s most disaster-exposed region. While ASEAN countries with capabilities in space technology focus on their national endeavours and goals, climate-induced disasters continue to pose a significant transboundary threat. Given this, nations in ASEAN with access to space technology should consider coordinating the use of these resources, especially for the benefit of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) in a region where disaster risk is outpacing resilience.

COMMENTARY

In Southeast Asia, climate-induced disasters pose recurring threats to humanitarian needs and vulnerabilities. Notably, the World Risk Report 2023 showed that four out of the top 15 countries with the highest disaster risk are situated in this region.
Moreover, disaster risks such as extreme weather events are projected to continue to be significantly impactful in the next 2-year and 10-year periods according to the Global Risks Report 2024.

Climate-induced disasters such as droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones are increasingly devastating, resulting in transboundary impacts in the region. Such impacts present challenges that highlight the importance of collaboration and cooperation. A report by the ASEAN Secretariat underscores this need, employing a methodology that integrates probability models and satellite imagery to assess transboundary risks and plan scenarios accordingly.

Other forms of space technology, such as earth observation, location services, and satellite-enabled communications, have also been instrumental in HADR efforts responding to such climate-induced disasters. Earth observation data is used to aid rapid damage assessment and inform forecast models to mitigate future disasters.
Location services from the Global Positioning System (GPS) is vital in search and rescue operations. Satellite-enabled communications provide essential connectivity in disaster-affected areas as well. These tools not only identify the threat from transboundary and climate-induced disaster risks but also underscore the value of space technology in addressing these challenges.

These opportunities presented by space technology have enhanced coordination and response efforts, showing that such technology has the potential to bridge existing gaps and foster more concerted actions towards addressing complex regional problems.

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