Using Satellite Systems for Skilled Rescue Teams
A month ago, during a two-week period, the islands of Indonesia were hit by powerful earthquakes, tsunamis and secondary shocks. A month after, more than 430,000 people are still homeless, and the streets are littered with rubble and debris from damaged shopfronts.
Back in the Day of the Event
Immediately upon receiving information about the incident, an emergency action took place in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ISI by MAGNUS Control Center. This time, the island of Lombok (also felt in Bali) has suffered from an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, causing over 300 casualties.
“Once the alert received, we began to monitor the developments on the island regularly. First, we analyzed to map and locate all Israelis who were in the area. We conducted a scan of our satellite system to identify the Israeli travelers who own a satellite device in the area, and at the same time we received information about other travelers with the help of consular officials” explains Or Lev, the Operations Manager for MAGNUS.
“We then proceeded to contact ISI, a company with whom we cooperate within end-to-end operations around the world to obtain accurate satellite imagery and assess the extent of the damage. This way we can better understand the location of the hikers and prepare evacuation plans with an emphasis on minimizing risks, due to fear of secondary shocks and tsunamis that follow earthquakes of such magnitude. The more intelligence available, the faster we can enable our operations”.
The ability to understand and identify places of priority for sending rescue teams is essential. Moreover, the ability to identify land changes due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, etc. enables to pinpoint the places where survivors can be found and reached as quickly as possible.
This capability allows a clear separation between the affected area and areas designated for evacuation. Without proper analysis of the situation, survivors may transfer to locations that were not immediately affected by the disaster but geologically located in unsafe areas.
There is no doubt that the ability to accurately reconstruct affected terrain before and after the disaster helps to build prioritization of a scanning program and even shortens response time. With a deeper understanding of the territory hit by an earthquake, the teams can prepare for the operation in advance, Including the preparation of proper equipment, hiring water experts, and carrying out a precise and rapid action.
Learning from Past Events
“In the case of the 2017 tsunami in Southeast Asia, it took a long time to become known. We were the first to reach the area”, said Hilik Magnus, founder of MAGNUS. “We have approached the UN with a proposal to establish a global emergency center. At the time, we focused on two capabilities – communications and information – the two are essential for rescue operations.
“At the same event, we established communications through a satellite system. The satellite system assured us dialogue even when all the other communications systems collapsed. We have built a reliable, skilled and experienced workforce, equipped and well managed. “These basic factors, alongside the construction of a broad intelligence program combined with satellite images of the area, life-saving assistance can be provided in almost real time.”