In early January 2003 heavy rains in Tunisia have led to floods that have displaced over 3,000 people. The floods can be seen in this false-color image (bottom) acquired on January 19, 2003, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft. The most devastating floods occurred in the northern and central parts of Tunisia. Most of the houses affected were built of soil and provided ample protection from the normally hot, arid conditions. In the unusually heavy rains and floods of the past few weeks, however, these dwellings simply crumbled. Cattle and food stocks have also been lost.
Normally, the salt pans of Tunisia and Algeria contain little or no water (top, acquired January 4, 2003). In this false-color image water is blue and black. Snow, which has also fallen in unusual abundance in the higher altitudes, appears as a bright cyan and can be seen along the Algeria mountains and ridges. Clouds appear as pale blue and white, and land is green and tan.
Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC