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EARTH OBSERVATION
UN-SPIDER Opens Beijing Office

File image.
by Staff Writers
Beijing, China (XNA) Nov 16, 2010
The United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) set up its first office in China Tuesday in a bid to promote international cooperation in disaster management by using space-based information.

UN-SPIDER, which is under the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), works to "ensure that all countries and international and regional organizations have access and develop the capacity to use all types of space-based information to support the full disaster management cycle."

At the recent 53rd session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, China's Ministry of Civil Affairs and UNOOSA signed an agreement to establish an office of UN-SPIDER in Beijing.

"This is another landmark in the further development of the UN-SPIDER program," said Mazlan Othman, director of UNOOSA.

According to the agreement, the UN-SPIDER office in Beijing will contribute to the implementation of this program, in particular by raising awareness and supporting governments, international and regional organizations through the provision of technical advisory support in the use and access of space-based information for disaster risk management and emergency response.

By supporting the operation of the office, the Chinese government will provide the office premises, essential infrastructure, annual grant of 1.25 million RMB (about 190,000 U.S. dollar) and two experts.

Luo Pingfei, vice minister of civil affairs, said the Chinese government has, in recent years, taken space technology as an important technical means for improving the country's capacity to prevent and reduce disasters.

On September 6, 2008 China successfully launched two small environmental and disaster forecasting satellites and has established a relatively complete satellite application system for disaster reduction over the years.

Luo said China has the ability and experiences for providing space-based information and the products and services for major international disasters.

"I am confident that the resources invested in this would assist in bringing aid to those who need it most during a disaster and contribute to the entire disaster management cycle," Mazlan Othman said.



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Since its latest series of deadly eruptions, Java's Mt Merapi has been spewing volcanic ash clouds into the air. Satellite data are crucial for assessing the eruption's danger to air traffic and public safety. Mt Merapi began erupting on 26 October and has killed more than 200 people. Numerous international flights in and out of the Indonesia area have been cancelled due to ash clouds. ... read more







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