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Irma-17: Comprehensive Satellite Detected Building Damage Assessment Overview - As of 21 September 2017



Hurricane IRMA-17 originated as a tropical storm in the eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean on 30 August 2017 and gained strength as it moved west to the Caribbean. On September 6, 2017, it first made landfall in Antigua and Barbuda as a Hurricane of category 5 and continued its path though several Caribbean Islands until September 10, 2017 when it hit the southwest of the United States of America. IRMA-17 severely affected several Caribbean Islands with storm surges, intense rainfall and strong winds that reached 298 km/h. According to UNOCHA, 48 people have been reported dead, 1.2 million people have been affected by damage to water infrastructure and 17,000 people are in immediate need of shelter. The Caribbean disaster emergency management agency (CDEMA) in the last Hurricane IRMASituation Reports (#7, #8 and #9) are still listing the ongoing priority needs, including food and medicine, in several islands such as Anguilla, Virgin Islands (UK), or Turks and Caicos among others.

On 05 September 2017, UNITAR-UNOSAT on behalf of UN OCHA activated the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters to support the planning and coordination of emergency response operations with satellite imagery analysis covering most affected areas in the Caribbean region. Within the operational framework of this Charter Call, UNITAR-UNOSAT and SERTIT have supported emergency response operations by providing satellite-derived value-added analysis & mapping products covering the following countries and territories: Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin. In addition, due to the magnitude and widespread of damages caused by the powerful hurricane IRMA-17, satellite imagery analysis support was also provided by other agencies and satellite mapping groups such as COPERNICUS EMS and NGA who covered with satellite analysis as many affected countries /
territories as possible.

UNITAR-UNOSAT provided overall satellite analysis coordination support for this event by regularly updating the GDACS Satellite Mapping and Coordination System platform (SMCS). An access link to the GDACS-SMCS platform was shared with all end-users to provide them with updated information about satellite acquisition and analysis plans including expected product delivery by different agencies or satellite mapping groups. In addition, due to the magnitude and widespread damage caused by the powerful hurricane IRMA-17, other agencies and satellite mapping groups such as COPERNICUS EMS and NGA also provided satellite imagery analysis support in order to analyze as many affected countries / territories as possible. Findings and results of this comprehensive analysis are described in the present document.


In response to the emergency caused by IRMA-17, UNITAR-UNOSAT, Copernicus EMS, SERTIT and NGA performed building damage assessment analysis using pre- and post-event satellite data covering different areas of interest within most affected countries and territories

Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Date(s): 
06 Sep 2017 to 15 Sep 2017
Report completed
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme
Antigua and Barbuda
Virgin Islands, British
Turks and Caicos Islands
Saint Barthélemy
Saint Martin (French part)
Hurricane Irma - Sep 2017