Floods along the Syr Darya River, Kazakhstan

Floods along the Syr Darya River, Kazakhstan
  • Credit:

    Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Winter ice and a failure to observe regional water use agreements trigged floods along the mighty Syr Darya River in Southern Kazakhstan. At least 200 families living in communities around Qyzylorda, shown here, were forced to evacuate when the river burst its banks.

The Syr Darya is an important resource in Central Asia, providing water for farming and hydroelectric power. In early January, representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan met to plan water usage to prevent regional flooding. In early February, Kyrgystan sent a higher volume of water than agreed from its hydroelectric power station into the Chardara Reservoir on the border of the three countries. Uzbekistan had agreed to accept extra water in its Arnasay Reservoir, located just west of the Chardara, but did not take as much as required. As a result, the Chardara filled, and Kazak officials sent the extra water down the Syr Darya River. The River, already constricted by ice, could not take the extra water and overflowed.

This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image shows the flooded area as seen by the Terra satellite on February 10, 2004. Ice, which is light blue in the false-color image, lines sections of the River’s original channel. The flood water, a darker shade of blue, expands around the ice-defined banks of the River. Clouds in this image are light blue and white, vegetation is green, and bare soil is pink.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 800x600
  • JPEG 124 KB
  • 1600x1200
  • JPEG 447 KB
  • 3200x2400
  • JPEG 1 MB

Note: Often times, due to the size, browsers have a difficult time opening and displaying images. If you experiece an error when clicking on an image link, please try directly downloading the image (using a right click, save as method) to view it locally.


  • Data Date:

    February 10, 2004
  • Visualization Date:

    February 13, 2004
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration