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This paper illustrates some applications of COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) observations for rapid mapping of flooded areas and damages in small to medium size catchments. The results presented here have been obtained within the framework of the project "OPERA Civil protection from floods" funded by the Italian Space Agency and run by a team of scientific research centres and private companies. The project aims to the systematic evaluation of the added value of the use of Earth Observation techniques into operational flood prediction chains. Due to the specific geomorphology of Italy, the focus is mainly on flash floods on small sized river catchments. Monitoring and modelling processes at proper space-time scales in this environment raise several issues to be solved, compared to applications in larger river basins. Here we address some related to the suitable use of CSK imagery.