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EROS Center Helping With Recovery In The Philippines

In the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, a U.S. Geological Survey Center in South Dakota is doing its part to provide disaster relief. The Earth Resources Observation and Science Center north of Sioux Falls has been circulating satellite images after various disasters for about nine years.

Following a tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean in 2004, EROS has collected, archived and distributed satellite imagery to various relief organizations after major disasters.

Tom Holm is Chief of Policy and Communications for EROS. He says the damage in the Philippines is massive, and the imagery helps responders know if they are able to reach certain areas to deliver relief. He says the images provide an overall view that is not available from the ground.

"From the ground you can see only a certain distance and from a satellite perspective you get that more synoptic view and you can get a broader picture of the damage," says Holm. "And the real value is you look at imagery to as before an event and then after the event and then you can begin to look at the change that has occurred to know where- for example- you need to focus your relief."

Holm says EROS delivers their data to a number of different organizations, including The Red Cross, The Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

He says he expects data from the typhoon to keep coming into EROS for at least a month.