Nepal has suffered its worst earthquake in 80 years. Across the affected region, which stretches into India and Tibet, the death toll may top 10,000., but official numbers won’t be known for a while. The poor Asian nation’s limited infrastructure has been stretched to the breaking point by overwhelming need, as first responders attempt to rescue those trapped in remote areas and assess the damage.
High-flying drones and digital data crunchers are teaming up to assist in the finding of victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal. The use of drones has provided rescuers on the ground with better information about where people may be trapped and has assisted in determining the best way to send supplies and first aid to remote villages beyond the reach of trucks or helicopters.
On Monday, Ontario-based Aeryon Labs dispatched three drone aircraft to Kathmandu to work with first-responders at GlobalMedic, a non-profit that provides drinking water and shelter to disaster victims.
The charity Global Medic is using the drones to help photograph and map areas affected by the earthquake. It will then pass this information on to aid crews and rescue workers on the ground.
What authorities are trying doing to do is to figure out what is going on. Then you have humanitarian relief organizations trying to meet individual needs on the ground. They are asking, “Is this place flooded? What about roads and transportation here.
– Said Robin Murphy, director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue at Texas A&M University.
“You can send them into areas that are inaccessible” said GlobalMedic executive director Rajul Singh. “If I can’t get past the road I can put the UAV up there to see if anyone is there that needs my help. There are not enough helicopters in Nepal right now, and they shouldn’t be taking pictures, they should be flying aid.”