Heavy rains in Indochina over the past month caused seasonal flooding in the Mekong Delta that killed as many as 30 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes. This false-color image of the delta and the nearby Tonle Sap was acquired on September 7, 2002, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft.
Normally, the Tonle Sap, which is the oblong body of water pointing toward the left-hand corner of the image, appears as a well-defined lake separated from the Gulf of Thailand by green wetlands. During the rainy season, however, the flow of the Mekong River, running down the center of the image, increases. The excess water backs up at the Mekong Delta on the right-hand side of the pennisula and flows west into the Tonle Sap and the surrounding wetlands. The result is the large uninterrupted lake that appears as an extension of the Gulf of Thailand in the image. When this image was taken, over 30 people in Cambodia and Vietnam had been killed and over 40,000 had been evacuated from their homes.
In this false-color image, clouds area white, land is pea green, and water is black and blue.
Image by Jesse Allen, based on data from the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA-GSFC