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The Technology’s Role in Disaster Aid Relief

The world is changing, but human needs are still the same. Whether it’s drought-struck rural Africa or Eastern Europe after Chernobyl, technology has always come to our aid in times of dire need.

Imagine if you could do more with less? Could you help more people with less effort and money? The best way to see how that can be possible is not to look any further than the technology itself. Technology has a very important role in disaster aid relief and should continue to play a big part as it evolves.

Important technologies for disaster aid relief

Many technologies are involved today in disaster aid relief from all the various sources available, from local charities to international organizations like the UN.

A few stand out as crucial technologies for effective relief, not only in the subject of disaster aid relief but also for other SCD projects and need-driven activities around the world. The high impact technologies include:

Remote Sensing

Satellites can provide valuable data necessary to timely respond to disasters, from mapping flood-prone areas to disease outbreaks. This is especially helpful in rural Africa, where mapping often is scarce or nonexistent, and needs are great.

Mobile connectivity/communication

Mobile devices can provide real-time information about what’s happening during emergencies, allowing aid agencies to act quickly. Information and connectivity are needed to provide relief, and it’s delivered via mobile phones.

A satellite-based push-to-talk (PTT) device, which is satellite-based and does not require cellular coverage will allow for valuable access. It can be used even in some of the most remote locations on Earth. An Iridium PTT or push-to-talk unit can be useful as it has coverage for those areas where cellular does not and can be very helpful in times of disaster and heavy need.

Mapping & GIS

Disaster maps are critical tools for relief workers. They provide situational awareness, insight into who needs help and where to find them. Crisis mapping tools can alert aid agencies of needs on the ground during disasters, helping them respond quickly to areas that are most in need.

Remote Sensing & GIS can be used to predict future events based on past patterns, thus allowing for better preparedness before disaster strikes.

Sensors & Telemetry

Sensor networks can provide opportunities for early warning systems, even in areas with little or no connectivity. They are very useful in collecting meteorological data that improve our ability to forecast flooding and weather events, especially when integrated into climate models.

This means that sensors can collect real-time data about atmospheric conditions and send it to the local meteorologist who can make informed decisions on what precautions need to be taken before disasters strike.

Aid agencies also use sensors to take the pulse of communities post-disaster, providing valuable information that can help target further relief efforts.

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

UAVs are being increasingly used to provide valuable data about disasters, including reconnaissance for areas that are hard to reach by human eyes. Geospatial agencies can use UAVs to capture geotagged photos of disaster-affected areas and detect the extent of the damage.

UAVs equipped with infrared cameras have been effective in detecting hotspots, which can help anticipate where fires may break out. They can also be used to track the spread of a fire over a vast area and spot stranded people or animals.

Animal conservation groups have even used it to locate lost or injured animals that have wandered off from their herds. Such technology has been used to locate elephants that have strayed into dangerous areas in Africa.

The Internet of Things

Finally, the Internet of Things is a very important aspect of innovative technology for disaster relief. The internet of things refers to any device with an on and off switch that can be connected to the Internet (and thus, to each other). These devices collect data while turned on, which can then be accessed when the device is off.

The Internet of Things can collect data about weather systems, poverty levels, and even medical records to help aid agencies make decisions on the best course of action for relief efforts. The possibilities are endless with this technology as it continues to be developed further.

This means that sensors are all over the world collecting valuable data that can help save lives. We’ve come a long way from manually taking notes and painting maps, and the possibilities for this technology are only beginning to be realized.

As technology continues to progress, humanitarian aid can improve to meet the needs of agencies and organizations responsible for delivering vital relief in times of crisis.

With the proper tools available, there is no limit to what saves lives during natural disasters or man-made disasters, wars that are fought over land or ideology, epidemics like Ebola, poverty, famine, famine caused by wars, and other extreme situations.

As technology continues to progress, humanitarian aid can improve to meet the needs of agencies and organizations responsible for delivering vital relief in times of crisis.

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