FAO, French government to deploy satellite technology to mitigate flooding in Somalia


MOGADISHU (HOL) – Efforts to mitigate the impact of floods in Somalia got a boost Wednesday thanks to a partnership between FAO and the French Government which will leverage technology to respond to perennial floods.

According to a statement released by FAO, the in-kind partnership, will allow FAO and other actors to strategically focus their flood response efforts with innovations in technology and satellite imagery.

“The funding will support flood response efforts in three areas: river breakage analysis and assessment of the mitigation infrastructures put in place; monitoring and assessing possible Cyclone damages and reconstruction efforts; and an almost real-time monitoring of flood impact to guide emergency response. FAO is continuously exploring new ways to optimize the use of technology to enhance its programming through diversifying its partnerships with private sector actors,” the statement read in part.

The funding, FAO said will support a partnership with Airbus, a private company pioneering the aerospace sector with exclusive commercial access to the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), Pléiades, SPOT, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites.

FAO representative in Somalia  Etienne Peterschmitt said the partnership will be instrumental in bolstering its response to floods in Somalia. “ Advanced technology, such as what will be available to us through this partnership with Airbus, really enhances FAO’s emergency response to floods in Somalia. The generous contribution from the Crisis and Support Centre of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs comes at a crucial juncture.

The partnership is expected to help in easing the impact of floods especially in Beletweyne which has suffered perennial flooding uprooting thousands of people as a result of overflows from the Shabelle river.

“With this support from the Crisis and Support Centre of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in agreement with the Airbus Foundation, we wish to help FAO’s innovative and technology-based approach in monitoring and preventing floods in Somalia, at a critical moment. We see disaster (and especially floods) management as a key issue to preserve livelihoods and break away from the cycle of humanitarian crises that the people of Somalia are facing.” Aline Kuster-Ménager, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, French Ambassador to Somalia.

Satellites and new technology have proven to be game changers in FAO’s emergency efforts over the past years. Remote-sensing tools continue to help FAO to lead the way and break new ground in terms of reaching remote rural or previously inaccessible areas, especially in times of COVID-19.