After the Storm, a Hurricane usually leaves behind a trail of severe destruction and internal damages to infrastructure, coastlines and low lying areas, greatly affecting Islands and countries that crosses its path. This much is evident in the Caribbean region where Hurricanes Irma and Maria totally destroyed infrastructure, uprooted rain forest, vegetation and cut off power supplies, limiting contact with the outside world in countries such as Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda. As reported by CNN while recording live in Roseau, Dominica's Capital City, widespread destruction was observed as numerous buildings were damaged, cars and boats overturned, and many roads and bridges were impassable due to blockage by uprooted trees .
Due to the combination of widespread damages and impassable roads, assessment would be tremendously difficult in determining the extent of how many individuals were either trapped, injured or deceased at ground level. As a result, the use of Drones has recently gained widespread popularity to aid in the recovery efforts after Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
Drones have proven beneficial to the affected regions in the following ways:
1. Map Creation and Analysis of Infrastructural Damage
2. Delivering Emergency Supplies to Individuals in Entrapped Areas
Map Creation and Analysis of Infrastructural Damage
Severely affected areas can be 3D Mapped through the use of Drones to determine and identify the areas most needed for aid. Drones are also advantageous in analyzing extensive damaged areas and can lead rescue teams to areas where victims may be trapped, due to debris, in the shortest possible time.
Additionally, the use of Drones are also a cost effective method, as it does not have a hefty operational costs, as that of helicopters. It also produces high resolution images in real time when compared to satellites relay imaging (which does not produce high resolution images and can be time consuming, especially when urgent and lifesaving information is needed). Furthermore, Drones have proven advantageous in getting results in the shortest possible time, due to difficultly in assessing structural damages.
Delivering Emergency Supplies to Individuals in Entrapped Areas
Compromised electricity lines, underground gas pipes and a blocked egress points such as roads, bridges and tunnels can present a major threat to the safety and survival of individuals affected or trapped within these affected areas. In such situations, Drones can be utilized to deliver supplies and basic necessities such as food, clothing, water and medication. These supplies can now be delivered within a shorter time frame and be a major advantage in assisting and stabilizing those who have sustained a major injury, thus preventing possible death.
Drones are also used to reestablished communication so that affected individuals can reconnect with family and friends. Furthermore, the use of Drones, as similarly employed by the Vihara Foundation's Disaster Management Task Force, is used to assess the impact of Hurricanes on the communities, thereby being able to generate valuable statistical data and information on survival, injuries and mortality rates in affected areas.
1. “Dominica knocked to its knees by Hurricane Maria's might” by Michael Holmes and Dominique van Heerden, September 22, 2017