Flooding along the Mekong River

Flooding along the Mekong River

Heavy rains pushed the Mekong River over its banks in Cambodia in August 2011. On August 12, 2011, Voice of America reported that 37 villages, and up to 5,000 homes had been flooded. Philstar.com reported that schools had been closed, and rice and cassava crops had been affected.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image on August 13, 2011. For comparison, the bottom image shows the same region a year earlier, on August 16, 2010. Both images use a combination of visible and infrared light to increase contrast between water and land. Water ranges in color from electric blue to navy. Vegetation is green. Clouds are pale blue-green.

Despite cloud cover, significant changes are apparent along the Mekong River between 2010 and 2011. In 2010, the river is a thin blue line extending southward toward Phnum Penh (Phnom Penh). In 2011, flood water spans kilometers north of the city. Higher water is also apparent south of Phnum Penh, and around Tônlé Sab (Tonle Sap).

  1. References

  2. Philstar.com (2011, August 12). Over 1,000 Cambodian families affected by Mekong River flood. Accessed August 16, 2011.
  3. Sakada, C. (2011, August 12). Thousands of homes flooded in northeast provinces. Voice of America. Accessed August 16, 2011.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    August 13, 2011
  • Visualization Date:

    August 16, 2011
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration