Flood events pose a severe threat to communities in the Lower Mekong River Basin. The combination of population growth, urbanization, and economic development exacerbate the impacts of these events. Flood damage assessments, critical for understanding the effects of flooding on the local population and informing decision-makers about future risks, are frequently used to quantify the economic losses due to storms. Remote sensing systems provide a valuable tool for monitoring flood conditions and assessing their severity more rapidly than traditional post-event evaluations. The frequency and severity of extreme flood events are projected to increase, further highlighting the need for improved flood monitoring and impact analysis. In this study we integrate a socioeconomic damage assessment model with a near real-time flood remote sensing and decision support tool (NASA’s Project Mekong). Direct damages to populations, infrastructure, and land cover are assessed using the 2011 Southeast Asian flood as a case study. Improved land use/land cover and flood depth assessments result in rapid loss estimates throughout the Mekong River Basin. Results suggest that rapid initial estimates of flood impacts can provide valuable information to governments, international agencies, and disaster responders in the wake of extreme flood events.
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