How drones boosts disaster relief, recovery and rehabilitation efforts

Disaster relief and rehabilitation is the cornerstone of a civilized society. Drone-led survey, mapping and surveillance help structure, direct and improve these disaster relief, recovery and rehabilitation initiatives. Imagine a world where a society’s will to stand-up after a disaster is elevated by the authorities’ pre-conceived relief stratagem.

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a continuous and evolving process. You can compare it to the ‘machine learning’ concept. The system learns and grows, getting better and well equipped over time.  You won’t be able to foresee a disaster way ahead of time. However, with the right analytics and intelligence, you may be able to not just minimize the impact of the disaster, but also provide immediate and on-point relief to the victims.

Why do we fear disasters? Our world continues to revolve around certainties. Work, home, projects, production, consumption, deadlines, etc. This is how a society sustains itself, in perpetuity. However, disasters interrupt this flow and hit the society; it’s functioning, and it’s individuals.

Here, drones help empower the authorities and society with enough intel and situational awareness to get the disaster-related ‘uncertainties’ under control. This helps the disaster relief teams structure a progressive plan to rebuild after the disaster.

Drone-enabled disaster relief and rehabilitation

You saw how ideaForge drones help with Search and Rescue (SAR) post-disaster. These drones helped the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) save survivors in Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and even Nepal (during the earthquake of 2015).

However, every disaster alters the society and its surroundings. Beyond the loss of life, the disaster also induces destruction of livelihoods and property. The authorities and the society must work together to get the community back on its feet.

Drones are a great boost for these attempts of relief and rehabilitation. Right after a disaster, the disaster relief teams can use drone-led visual/thermal survey and mapping of the entire afflicted area. These high-resolution ortho-rectified maps give the authorities a clear idea of the destruction and disruptions. They know:

  • how the transportation is affected (damaged roads due to landslides, earthquake, etc.),
  • how the electricity and communication is disrupted (uprooted utility poles or damaged transformers)
  • how the emergency medical or essential supplies are affected, etc.

The authorities use the maps to create multiple action plans.

1.     Drone-enabled Immediate Action Plan

After the SAR response, these maps help the disaster relief teams plan an immediate action plan. This may include evacuation or relocation of the survivors. It could also include the work for restoration of basic utilities.

Regular ground-zero surveillance with drones helps with spotting any related risk-points. Authorities can look for possible gas leaks or even random incidents of crime. The on-ground team can converge at the point to diffuse or handle the situation.

2.     Drone-led Interim Action Plan | Medical and Essential Aid

 Beyond the immediate disaster relief, drone-led surveying, mapping, and surveillance help keep a close tab on the affected areas. The disaster’s repercussions would last for some time. People might be displaced from the homes, without basic medical and essential supplies.

Drone-deliveries help supply these medical and food/essential supplies to the survivors. ideaForge drones are equipped with these supply-drop capabilities. These drones are sturdy, fast, precise and versatile. They can easily supply the essential items to the people in need.

3.     Drone-powered Long-term Action Plan | Rebuilding and rehabilitation

Post-disaster, it’s all about reinstating order and improving the lives of the people. Drone-led surveying and mapping help create a detailed visual/thermal 3D Elevation and Contour model of the terrain. This ortho-rectified 3D terrain model helps with planning the rebuilding and rehabilitation phases.

Drone-led surveillance and surveying help assess the actual disaster impact in terms of property and livelihood. The surveillance can help create an estimate of the damage to, say, standing crop of construction, etc. This would help streamline the processing and direction of proper financial aid.

Learning for the future: Disaster prevention

We covered the 5-key drone impacts for disaster preparedness and the ways drones help with disaster response. Above, you saw the drone-benefits within disaster relief and rehabilitation. However, there’s one more facet of disaster management.

Disaster prevention. The holistic approach to disaster management dictates a focus on the evolution of DRR. Here’s how drones enable this evolution.

  • Regular and detailed terrain mapping for historical referencing
  • Studying the triggering points which worsen the risk-profile of disaster-prone areas (unplanned construction, deforestation, mismanaged watersheds, indiscriminate irrigation, etc.)
  • Analysing the bottlenecks of restrictions of current disaster preparedness, response and relief measures (with live on-site surveillance)
  • Creating disaster simulation (flood, etc.) using detailed 3D contour and elevation models
  • Speeding up the risk detection, processing and mitigation timeline for better results

Disasters are a fact of life. However, we can control the impact it has on our lives. The government set ₹577.93 crores aside for disaster management in the Union Budget of 19-20, a 102% increase over the last year. Within this, the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation saw an allocation increase from ₹3.03 crore to ₹296.19 crores. This goes to show the focus and movement towards effective and progressive disaster management.

Drones ‘are’ the key to make these investments and initiatives reach their intended result. They help augment our efforts to create a safer and more stable world. That’s why drones are the ideal efficiency-partner for disaster management.



October 2022

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