Earth Observations for Disaster Risk Financing

Disaster Risk Financing

The cost of disasters is increasing. Population growth, increasing concentration of assets, and climate change are increasing exposure, hazards, and losses. Developing countries typically lack financial protection against the impacts of these disasters and rely on ex-post measures to attempt to meet financing needs.

Disaster risk financing (DRF) can increase the ability of national and local governments, homeowners, businesses, agricultural producers, and low-income populations to respond more quickly and resiliently to disasters by strengthening public financial management and promoting market-based disaster risk financing.

The role of EO in DRF

The implementation of Disaster Risk Management and the rapid response financing in the wake of a natural disaster, requires a deep knowledge of the environmental situation, the potential affected areas, infrastructure and people. Risk financing solutions require a clear understanding of risk and reliable triggers. Triggering mechanisms need to be known, transparent, objective and consistent over time and for this reason, and in order to ensure the availability of contingency funds for a large variety of scenarios to be covered, it is necessary to make use of satellite images in a combined and complementary way with in situ observations.

EO based services deliver essential information to evaluate the status of preparedness, to define measures to enhance the disaster prevention or about situation analysis of an event for an efficient emergency response.

Successful Stories


Disaster Risk Financing and Transfer

The Project: e-Drift (Disaster RIsk Financing and Transfer), financed by ESA and led by CIMA Research Foundation (IT), aims exactly at improving the performance of the EO products and determine a fully automatic and reproducible way to service such products. In addition, the project also aims to create a strong network between providers of value-added services utilizing EO data, In-Sector service providers for the insurance market and reinsurance companies with the final purpose to create new or improved products and solutions for the Insurance sector.

The e-Drift project consortium includes leading companies in the EO value adding, and leading actors in the insurance market. And concentrates as a pilot study area on South East Asia, more specifically on Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

The e-Drift Virtual Platform enables an easy and timely access to various services and products guaranteeing high computing capability and direct access to the EO datasets of the Sentinel constellation. Services will cover several key areas of interest of the insurance market and of Countries that would like to transfer their sovereign risk. The e-Drift Virtual Platform will be released as a PAAS, so that can be embedded in the IT systems of the In-Sector Providers, and as a SAAS, so that can be used by In-Sector Providers by a unique and KISS End User Interface.

The virtual platform is heavily based on already existent platforms and SW that have been developed and tested throughout the years the key ones being: WASDI providing middleware and backend services, RASOR providing libraries for the impact computations, ESA Urban TEP and ESA GPOD providing computing services and products.

eDrift services fields of application

Case study: The SEA DRIF platform

The perfect application for the eDrift services

Developing countries, such as many South-East and South Asia countries with middle-low incomes, typically lack financial protection against the impacts of disasters and rely heavily on ex-post measures, such as donor assistance, in order to meet their financing needs.

In March 2017, the World Bank commissioned the development of a web system to support a rapid flood financing response in Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia. The project, named “South East Asia Flood Monitoring and Risk Assessment for Regional DRF Mechanism” led by Deltares (NL) has resulted in an IT platform able to estimate the number of people affected by a flood, by a combination of real-time models, EO data and ground observations. The combination of diverse types of input data for a rapid estimate of flood impact is considered highly innovative and responds to the demand from World Bank country clients to be provided with technical and financial tools and means to manage emergencies and save lives.

SeaDrif platform mw-65

Rapid Analysis and Spatialisation of Risk Project,

A consortium of European research institutes and companies meet with the European Commission’s Research Agency to kick off the Rapid Analysis and Spatialisation of Risk Project, or RASOR Phase 1. The EC has already invested significantly in rapid response services through the Emergency Management Services Programme, one the Copernicus Core Services. Through the Copernicus downstream services call, the EC signaled a desire to see new disaster risk management services created, facilitating the work of those interested in risk reduction and mitigation, and supporting the full cycle of disaster management. RASOR aims to increase the simulation abilities of national civil protection agencies, international organisations interested in risk reduction and the reinsurance sector.

RASOR has a global focus, and aims to support risk reduction through enhanced spatialisation of hazard, exposure and vulnerability, combined with the possibility of simulating risk reduction measures that support the development of new emergency management protocols. Unlike many new disaster-related applications, RASOR is not a mapping services, or a visualization portal. RASOR is a trade-space, in which users and practitioners can upload information and products from a wide range of different sources and perform simulations based on real or imaged events from the past, present and future. Users can compare the results of flood models with EO-based flood monitoring, or analyse the impact of a landslide on a flood risk profile. Ultimately, risk reduction decision makers will always be taking subjective decisions. RASOR aims to make those subjective decisions as expert as possible by enabling a single, common spatialisation and viewing platform for risk-related information. Ultimately, RASOR users will be able to analyse impact on five critical areas of interest: physical, demographic, social, economic, environmental.

Web Advanced Space Developer Interface

The WASDI project lies in a complex environment of existing computer tools and services.

According to the new paradigm of moving processors to the data, WASDI has been developed to work on the top of the Data Information Access Services (DIAS) platforms to facilitate the development and deploy of EO Data processors.

WASDI allows to manage the full EO Processor development cycle, starting from the basic features like searching the multi provider catalogue, exploring images and applying pre-processing steps, mask or filters, directly on the web.

WASDI key feature is the possibility for EO Experts to develop their own processor at home and deploy it to the cloud with simple drag and drop operations, closing the gap in the distribution of new EO processor to the market.

WASDI, by means of a smart multi language programming library, let the user develop his own processor, in his own environment, with his own tools. Once the processor is tested and ready, the user should be able to drag and drop it in WASDI to let this processor been automatic deployed in the cloud.

The user can develop using this library on his own personal computer and the WASDI code takes care of accessing missing data from the cloud once is needed, during the development and testing phase. Once the processor is deployed, the system recognizes that the software is running on the cloud and makes direct access to the input data in a transparent way.

WASDI is used by CIMA Research Foundation researchers to provide to Italian Civil Protection Operational Service for Near Real Time (NRT) flooded Area Detection, EO Based Root level soil moisture evaluation, Vegetation indexes for forest fire forecast models.

WASDI is also the technological base of the e-DRIFT project.