9 ways drones are being used for disaster planning, response, and relief operations

On April 24, a 7.8 earthquake, the most devastating in 80 years, struck Nepal, killing thousands and reducing its capital city, Kathmandu, to rubble. Roads have been damaged or covered by landslides making rescue efforts more difficult in one of Asia’s most impoverished and rural countries.

In this situation, aerial drones could be used to provide relief workers with a better understanding of the situation, help locate survivors in the rubble, perform structural analysis of damaged infrastructure, deliver needed supplies and equipment, evacuate casualties, and help extinguish fires. These are just a few of the potential peaceful applications for which drones can be used as outlined in a report released April 27.

In addition to relieving disaster responders from some of their most dangerous duties, the report notes that drones can perform the “3D” tasks—those that are dirty, dull and dangerous—allowing responders to focus on more important things.