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Hope Amidst Chaos: Stories from Disaster Zones


We hear about drones in everyday news. HAND has started a new initiative to explore the use of drones to help disaster-stricken communities rebuild their lives. Working with a volunteer staff from Temasek Polytechnic since early 2019, HAND staff has been progressively trained to operate small off-the-shelf drones for aerial surveys in Bromo, Indonesia.

Drones can cover more distance from the air compared to volunteers in vehicles or on foot. In a disaster zone, drones are vital assets in search and rescue, damage assessment, and recovery operations planning. In the next chapter for HAND, drones will be a crucial platform for rebuilding a post-disaster community.

Adrone can fly to a disaster zone that is cut off from access. It can avoid risky and dangerous situations on the ground by observing from a safe distance in the air. At all times, video information is relayed in real-time to planners to make informed decisions.

Equipped with high resolution cameras and mapping software, these drones can fly automatically and take high quality photos and videos. These photos are then stitched together at a click of a button to form highly accurate three-dimensional maps that can be measured and annotated. With these maps, HAND can assess the situation meticulously to plan access routes and mark important areas for re-construction, medical services, supply storage, etc.

It is estimated that drone aerial mapping can reduce three day’s work by a RAT team into one day, while eliminating risks. So, whenever post-disaster survivors hear a drone above them, they will feel comforted that help will come quickly.

Drone deployment training in Bromo 2019 with Keng Mun and Desmond from Temasek Polytechnic Singapore.

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