We frequently hear about small, unmanned aerial systems (also known as UAVs or drones) on the nightly news, but the stories often focus on military operations like targeted missile strikes. However, this advanced technology can also be invaluable to humanitarian efforts following a disaster, such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In these scenarios, drones can be used to locate victims, monitor population migrations, assess damaged structures, map infrastructures, deliver supplies to remote locations, provide immediate situational awareness to first responders, and establish communication.
Help and Location Operations, a UAV program, is core to my organization’s operations when helping with relief efforts. With HALO, we’re able to equip NGOs and first responders with imagery for immediate situational awareness before they arrive on-site. High-resolution imagery allows us to coordinate relief efforts and evaluate potential hazards, which helps aid workers enter dangerous situations and save lives. HALO will not only provide immeasurable benefits to local authorities, partners, and fellow NGOs, but it also has the potential to improve conditions around the world.
—Mina Chang is CEO and president of Linking the World, an international humanitarian aid organization with a focus on children, global awareness, and breaking the cycle of poverty around the world. Linking the World has been saving lives and transforming communities since 1997 through its unique emphasis on partnerships to kindle hope.