China says gave India data on floods; MEA calls it standard practice

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As several regions continue to reel under a flood-like situation in India due to incessant rains, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong has said that China provided satellite data on flood-hit regions to India to assist New Delhi for relief efforts.

The Chinese Ambassador claimed that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) requested for the satellite data on July 17 and under a multilateral mechanism – to which both the countries are signatories – and China responded swiftly sharing images of flood-stricken regions in India taken by Chinese satellites.

According to a Chinese daily, the data was shared under the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters which provides for sharing clear space-based data for countries affected by natural or man-made disasters.

The Ministry of External Affairs has issued a clarification saying that it’s a standard practice among the members of the Charter and ISRO being part of the multilateral group merely made use of the available resource. India received such information from seven others countries, MEA added.

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“Whenever there is a natural disaster, NRSC (which represents ISRO at the as member of International Charter Space and Major Disasters) and member agencies of other 32 countries which are a part of Charter can activate Charter and then Charter seeks information pertaining to the disaster-hit area available with all the 33 member space agencies. This is standard practice,” a statement issued by MEA read.

In India, floods have wreaked havoc in the northeastern state of Assam and the eastern state of Bihar with the death toll rising to 198 and more than around 1.17 crore people being affected by the calamity in the two states.

In Assam, as many as 18 districts are inundated, while in Bihar as many as 13 districts are affected due to floods. According to Assam State Disaster Management (ASDMA),  34,92,734 people in 2,753 villages in 18 districts are affected by the deluge in Assam.

While the numbers released by Bihar Disaster Management Department reveal that 82.12 lakh people under 1,241 panchayats of 106 blocks in the 13 districts are affected by the floods.

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