Case Study 1: Damage Assessment in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan
In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the city of Tacloban in the Philippines. Soon after, a case the size of a backpack arrived, accompanied by a small team of experts. This pilot project to bring in a UAV, with a range of up to five kilometers and a high-resolution video camera, to assist humanitarian responders was the work of a partnership between several private sector firms and NetHope, a consortium of NGOs.
The Philippines lacked the necessary regulations, so the use of the UAV was cleared by a special agreement with the Mayor of Tacloban. The UAV was covered with insurance that covered damage or injury due to malfunction.
The UAV was used first to identify where to set up a base of operations, and then to check if roads were passable, a task that could take days when done on foot or by helicopter. The UAV was also flown up the coast to evaluate damage from storm surge and flooding and to see which villages had been affected. The aerial assessments “really helped to speed up …efforts, cut down on wasted time and work, and make them more accurate in their targeting of assistance.” It was also suggested that the UAV might have located survivors in the rubble using infrared cameras if it had arrived within 72 hours.
Interest is building in developing local capacity for using UAVs in disaster response. SkyEye Inc., a local start-up, is working with the Ateneo de Manila University to train five teams across the Philippines to locally deploy UAVs in preparation for next typhoon season.
UAV= unmanned aerial vehicle
NGOs= Non-Governmental Organizations
Disponível em http://www.unocha.org/about-us/publications/flagship-publications/*/72 Acesso em 15 Abr 2015.