In the face of devastating natural disasters and unprecedented attacks on cultural heritage, digital imaging tools have proven essential for assessing damage and planning for recovery. As part of a partnership between UNESCO and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), satellite images developed through UNITAR’s UNOSAT programme have been increasingly used to evaluate at-risk sites in Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen and Nepal. These images are often the only means of assessing damage to inaccessible properties. For example, satellite imagery was used to determine the scale of the destruction of historic temples and monuments of the World Heritage property, Kathmandu Valley (Nepal), following the earthquake of April 2015, allowing experts to assess the damage and plan for the recovery.
Prepared by UNESCO