There is nothing natural about disaster

Rohini Swaminathan grew up in a small forest in South India “the kind, you know with monkeys,” and now she works on the cutting edge of humanitarian satellite delivery. Once witness as a girl to the devastation of the 2004 tsunami, today she is a Geomatician working to bring faster, more efficient, more informed humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction.

With climate change and burgeoning global populations every piece of the planet is at risk from natural or manmade hazards. What we do with this knowledge is what can change disaster back into hazard. Swaminathan takes us through UNOSAT’s cutting edge work mapping floods, earthquakes, fire, drought, war, rebellion, and tsunamis using satellites as the key to this battle against disaster. Rohini Swaminathan is a Geomatics engineer working with UNOSAT, the Operational Satellite Applications Programme of UNITAR, the United Nations Institute of Training and Research based in Geneva, Switzerland. She also trains local decision-makers in Asia and Africa on systems to reduce disaster-related risks in Bangladesh, and countries in East Africa. Previously she worked with DEVELOP, part of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program in the United States. This talk was given at a TEDx event independently organized by PlaceDesNations.


Research Institute on Leadership and Operations in Humanitarian Aid
Großer Grasbrook 17 
20457 Hamburg, Germany
Tel.: +49 40 328707-241




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