In November 2020 central America was struck twice by devastating hurricanes. First came hurricane Eta and after that hurricane Iota, which both caused widespread flooding and landslides. Together, Eta and Iota led to billions of dollars in damages, hundreds of thousands of people displaced and hundreds losses of life.
Upon the request of the government of Guatemala the Dutch Risk Reduction facility (DRR-Team) offered remote technical support during the arrival of hurricane Iota. HKV helped in that effort by providing rapid expert advice on hazard mapping and impact assessment. The open data sources and processing functionalities of Google Earth Engine were used to rapidly set up an interactive platform showing flood and landslide hazard maps, as associated with forecasted rainfall data for hurricane Iota. The interactive platform can be accessed here: https://hkvgee.users.earthengine.app/view/landslide-and-inundation-hazard
The platform also shows population centers, airports, the road network, power plants and more to allow a rough interpretation of potential flood and landslide impact. This way, the information in the platform supported local authorities in narrowing down regions with elevated probabilities of damage and helped in guiding humanitarian and disaster response activities.
Authorities in Guatemala expressed gratitude for the remote technical support and were also specifically interested in the techniques that were used to construct the hazard maps and to configure the online platform. Therefore we organized three follow-up technical training sessions in Spanish to transfer knowledge on these topics. The sessions received wide interest and drew participants from government and private institutions in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.