Various men and women may have mixed feelings concerning using drones because of a contentious military usage, but many overlook the crucial function undertaken by drones in catastrophe relief.

Drone Development and History

Drones are not a new phenomenon by any means, they have been around because 1918, but the technological advances throughout the 21st century have allowed them to be paired with actual time reconnaissance capabilities far superior to that of satellites.


Whilst it was the British who dwelt with the growth of unmanned aerial systems during the interwar period, it was the Americans who stepped up the potential and laid the tracks for the drones use in reconnaissance during the Vietnam War. The capacity to photograph areas and relay the images quickly increased and both the US and the UK invested heavily in drone reconnaissance. Considering that the 9/11 atrocities drone surveillance capability has developed exponentially and many entrepreneurial drone fans realized the chance for applications more acceptable to society.

The Eureka Seconds

When a natural disaster relief occurs around the planet, the mobilization of the disaster response and relief operations can take some time, time which only can’t be afforded to the victims. Following Hurricane Sandy that devastated Haiti in 2012, a mere two years after a devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake, saw an unprecedented number of drones sent in to survey the region, identifying where disaster response was required most. The real-time imagery provided valuable information to the emergency direction of helicopter medical and operations team setup. The lessons learned in Haiti were applied from the Philippines in 2013 after Typhoon Haiyan.

As drones became accessible to the public as prices were reducing, the ability to use a large base of local knowledge in disaster management became a game changer.

Following disasters of any type, a drone can be requested through the many organizations that have emerged, this rapid deployment of a very important advantage gives an extremely quick, detailed image of the region. This is exceedingly beneficial in difficult to access areas, particularly where traditional surveillance isn’t able to be deployed. Drones are equipped to supply the sampling of substances from the atmosphere and relay this information in real time.

Drone Program in Disaster Relief

The concept was first discussed in 2009 in the Emergency Management magazine. Drone augmented reality brings both an immediate and in-direct feed into people surveying the catastrophe area. This is an incredibly valuable tool if rescuers will need to understand the geographic context of a room. By way of example, should a large earthquake cause widespread devastation and sew many buildings, the drones ability to nourish augmented reality through live footage and satellite feed will allow rescuers to identify where buildings were status and where the roads run. This technology is also very effective within wooded or forest areas where rescuers are able to overlay paths and features and tackle methodic searches of areas.

As previously mentioned, the drones ability to shoot pictures is of terrific importance in disaster management. Quick deployment of drones to a disaster area will allow management to see that the scale of the disaster quickly, as was observed in the Balkans at 2014 where the entire region beneath flooding was observable in a couple of days. This rapid visibility enabled the identification of displaced mines as well as the actions required to prevent further movements.

Does this imaging permit priority allocation of resource, it provides the specifics of the infrastructure. In a very short period following drone installation, agencies will have the ability to identify the paths into the area which can and can’t be taken.

The ability of a drone to execute the reconnaissance function at a disaster area also overcomes some of those ‘soft’ problems in disaster management. The absolute scale of death and destruction will bring a psychological and physical fatigue to rescuers and this can be alleviated by the drone’s freedom. Rather than many hours of constant digging or searching, the drone can be programmed to undertake the survey, utilizing Infrared cameras to spot hotpots and scan large regions.

The autonomy application doesn’t end there, as noticed with Amazon’s house delivery service being trialed, drones can undertake deliveries of packages. Drones may be loaded with essential supplies and flown to where these tools are needed most. This considerably lowers the probability of physical movement by men and women in challenging areas, it also expedites health equipment to areas where they’re needed most.


The skills of drones to support disaster management and relief is clear for all to see. From rapid surveillance to supply delivery, the drone has been an essential tool in recent crisis recovery. As technology advances, governments should ensure the use of drones is contained in their disaster planning and procurement. Whilst many people may believe disasters simply impact the developing world in places such as Haiti, the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina in Southern USA and also the huge scale floods in SW England highlighted that even developed countries demand drones for disaster relief