The Hindustan Times has a front page article about the rising tensions between Pakistan and India. It claims that the Pakistan Army is bracing for a potential Indian assault.
When I read articles such as these my first inclination is to fire up Google Earth and try to visualize where, if such an attack were to occur, refugees and IDP’s might emanate from and migrate to. I typically set a Google Alert for the countries involved and then scan stories for mention of cities, roads, etc. I will then drop placemarks in all the locations I come across and look at the clusters. Once I have identified the clusters I look at roads into and out of those areas, nearby airports, and closest major cities.
The problem with the Pakistan/India border is that it is absolutely massive and while roads are somewhat sparse there are few geographic impediments that would force the opposing military forces into distinct conflict zones. It is going to take some educated guessing, on the ground knowledge and some fact checking of the whereabouts of the two countries’ militaries before we’re able to identify potential flash points. I am sure there are also some historical imperatives that will enable us to guess where such an event might occur.
While I certainly hope there is no conflict the fact is that humanitarian aid workers do not have the luxury of sitting around and waiting to see if something happens.
Posted in maps, News
Indiawaterportal.org has set up a blog titled Bihar Floods 2008 to disseminate information about the flooding in India’s Bihar region. There are some interesting posts, links and, more recently, Government of India maps of the flooding.
Posted in News
Tagged Bihar, floods, India
MSF has reached the flood affected regions in Bihar state and reports back from the frontlines:
An emergency relief team from the humanitarian aid agency, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has reached the areas worst affected by the flooding in Bihar State, India. The team, including a logistician, a water-sanitation engineer and a medical doctor, are assessing the extent of the humanitarian needs in Araria and Purnea-Madhepura. The team has also brought supplies of non-food items for distribution to the affected population.
Stefan Geens over at Ogle Earth has converted the UNOSAT PDF maps into a KMZ file for those of you interested in viewing the flooding in Bihar in Google Earth. We covered this in an earlier post sans KMZ. When will UNOSAT start publishing all their data in KMZ?
The International Herald Tribune is running a story on the flooding in Bihar province, India:
Half a million victims remain stranded after last week’s floods in northern India destroyed hundreds of rural villages. Aid workers say food and drinkable water are running out in overcrowded camps that house thousands of displaced farmers and their families.
Many flood victims in remote corners of Bihar, one of India’s poorest and most populous states, have gone without food for days, government officials and aid workers said. They may have to wait in trees and on rooftops for several more days before help arrives. Meanwhile, aid workers worry that at any time contagious diseases could break out in the makeshift refugee camps, where a quarter million people are living.
The flooding has affected more than three million people. It began two weeks ago when the Kosi River breached a dam across the border in Nepal and overflowed its banks downstream in India. The Kosi often floods the Bihar plains during monsoon season, but the flooding this year has been the worst in five decades, in part because the swollen river reached villages rarely threatened by high water that were unprepared to deal with it.
Posted in News
Tagged flooding, India
UNOSAT has maps of India’s Bihar region available for download. The recent flooding of the Kosi River has displaced tens of thousands of individuals in both India and Nepal. Reuters has more here and MSF says it has people on the ground. Here is BBC coverage of the tragedy:
UPDATE #1: Sorry, folks, I got a bit ahead of myself and with too many tabs opened ended-up posting the wrong map. I have corrected the issue (Thanks, Kelly!) and the link is good.
UPDATE #2: Einar Bjorgo of UNOSAT has provided a link to download a KMZ file of the overlay. Stefan Geens over at Ogle Earth has also created a KMZ file for download.
UPDATE #3: Google LatLong Blog has integrated new maps and imagery into a KML file. Download it here and read the entire post. (9/26/08)
Posted in News
Tagged flooding, India, Nepal
Here is something that I do believe will succeed. VNL has created a solar powered portable GSM network for rural communities in India. The components are inexpensive to manufacture, easy to operate and portable. Here’s an excerpt for a Wall Street Journal – Asia article about this new technology:
“We started with a clean sheet of paper, and told ourselves that we needed to design technology perfectly suited for the rural environment,” says VNL Chief Executive Anil Raj, a former executive at Ericsson.
The tower is designed to make it easy for people with little professional training to install. The equipment comes with a pictorial instruction manual similar to those for Ikea’s do-it-yourself furniture. It has just one button, used to turn it on.