Help From Above


Emergency Mapping from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

On April 1, 2017 landslides crashed through the city of Mocoa in southwestern Colombia. Torrential rains caused flooding and surging rivers, leading to widespread damage to a large part of the city. More than 300 people were killed, and thousands more displaced.

GlobalMedic’s RescUAV team — consisting of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) pilots, Rapid Response Team members and engineers — is leading a UAV response to support the relief and rebuilding efforts. Working alongside local emergency management authorities, the team is providing high-definition video in real time, in addition to delivering detailed maps that have been cross-stitched together using thousands of collected aerial images. This critical imagery allows local engineers to compile comprehensive damage assessments, investigate high-risk areas, identify new blockades that are affecting river water flow, and plan strategies to mitigate future hazards.

Our Global Medic team has also been supporting requests from local police, including a search for a lost child. The UAVs are able to assist in searching regions of the riverbank that rescuers are not able access on foot. The durable design of the UAVs have allowed the team to continue operating despite windy and rainy conditions, and they will continue to assist the efforts of local authorities over the coming days.

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