A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti on Saturday morning August 14, 2021, leaving at least 1,941 people dead and more than 6,900 injured. Casualties are expected to increase over the week as search and rescue continues. Those efforts are currently being complicated by heavy rains from Tropical Storm Grace and blocked roads in the region due to damaged infrastructure and mudslides.
Remotely sensed data can be a life-saving tool following a natural disaster to understand damage and map routes to deliver aid. However, when bad weather is either the cause or follows the event, getting a clear picture of the situation on the ground is difficult. In those situations, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors which capture data at night and see-through cloud cover, dust and smoke, can provide the information needed.
DinSAR analysis is commonly used after events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to show land movement over time. With the surface changes measured at the meter scale, it’s evident that a tremendous amount of energy was released over a large area causing wide-spread destruction and damage to tens of thousands of homes, buildings and critical infrastructure.