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Relating violence to MODIS fire detections in Darfur, Sudan

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The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Thermal Anomalies and Fire Detection data product can provide an input into early warning and rapid response efforts of interest to human rights, humanitarian and security communities. A review of fire detection data during a period of intense violence in Darfur, Sudan, marked by burning campaigns targeted at many settlements in the region, was conducted to test which, if any, of these fires were detected by MODIS. The results indicate that a significant portion of the fires related to violence were detected, and a relationship was found between increased fire detections and reported violence. However, underlying difficulties in the anecdotal reporting introduce uncertainties into the results. While not universally applicable, calculating increases in fire detections on a daily, global basis can possibly provide objective, satellite-based information on certain violent conflicts impacting civilian populations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Science and Human Rights Program, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, USA

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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