Flooding in Indochina

Flooding in Indochina

For the past month heavy rains in Indochina and China have led to massive flooding in the Mekong Delta. This false-color image of the floods (bottom) was acquired on August 29, 2002, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft.

The Mekong River travels south from the China-Lao border, through the Indochina Peninsula, and empties out into the South China Sea at the lower right-hand corner of the image. This year both heavy rains in Indochina and run-off from massive floods in China have led to flooding of the Mekong River. As can be seen in the center of the image, the river delta now resembles a lake straddling the border of Vietnam and Cambodia.

So far 18 people in Cambodia have been killed and several thousand throughout the region have been evacuated from their homes. Cambodian officials, however, fear the worst damage could come from the loss of crops. The floods are arriving on the heels of one of the worst droughts in 20 years. The combination of the two could lead to a food shortage in Cambodia, which could affect hundreds of thousands of people. Normally, the Mekong River and its delta would resemble a serpent-like entanglement of broad lines (top, acquired August 1, 2002).

In this false-color image, land is green, and water is blue and black. Clouds blue and white.

Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.