NASA-Supported Techniques are "Best Practice" for UN Disaster Risk Reduction Guidelines

Refugee camps built in the Bangladeshi hillside are vulnerable to sudden landslides. Credit: UN Development Programme/Eno Jonathan

Refugee camps built in the Bangladeshi hillside are vulnerable to sudden landslides. Credit: UN Development Programme/Eno Jonathan

More than 925,000 Rohingya refugees currently reside in Bangladesh, but the camps they stay in are at risk from deadly landslides, especially during monsoon season. Decision makers there are using NASA Earth observations to inform which areas are most at risk – and now, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has incorporated these practices into a set of recommendations.

Titled "Recommendations for Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into Humanitarian Response," these UNDRR guidelines highlight opportunities for scientists, humanitarian agencies and local decision makers to collaborate on risk reduction in crisis-prone settings.

Those settings include southeastern Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of refugees live in camps built in hillsides prone to landslides and flash floods. This puts camp residents and staff at risk and makes it extremely difficult for organizations to provide humanitarian assistance.