Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook


Drought disaster, International charter, remote sensing, disaster management, drought response

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Remote sensing is often leveraged during the response phase of disaster management to improve the situational awareness of decision-makers. The International Charter "Space and Major Disaster" (Charter) provides remote sensing support to non-spacefaring nations facing disasters such as earthquakes, floods and tsunamis. However, the Charter has never activated for a major drought disaster. Since droughts affect over half of the nearly 3 billion people that suffer from natural disasters annually, this study seeks to determine whether satellite remote sensing can be effectively employed according to the intent, capabilities, and limitations of the Charter to benefit officials responding to a major drought disaster during the response phase of disaster management. A case study of a major drought in 2009, which severely threatened crops in Anhui Province, China, was used to test the methods available to the Charter that could have been used during the response phase of the drought. The analysis demonstrates the benefits, utility and limitations of remote sensing during the response phase of a major drought disaster.