Canadian emergency relief organization GlobalMedic has been using Scout and SkyRanger small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) built by Aeryon Labs of Waterloo, Ontario, to assist with the earthquake relief operation taking place in coastal Ecuador following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated the region on April 16, 2016.
As of April 28, 58 people are still counted among the missing in Ecuador, potentially adding to the confirmed death toll of 654, and over 16,000 injuries suffered during the quake.
Part of the relief effort has involved mapping the city of Quito, located in the Andean foothills at an elevation of 2,850 meters and completely devastated by the earthquake.
From the video footage provided by Aeryon Labs, most of the work going on in Quito right now seems to involve heavy equipment knocking down partially collapsed buildings.
The eerie looking map of Quito in Aeryon’s video has been assembled from 1,154 stitched photos from five flights completed by the company’s unmanned aerial vehicles covering 80 acres of land.
Two days ago, GlobalMedic’s UAV team met with Canadian Ambassador to Ecuador Marianick Tremblay in Manta, Ecuador, to demonstrate how Aeryon Labs Scout and Skyranger UAVs are being used in the disaster mapping process.
Using high-resolution visual data collected from drone fly-overs, 2D and 3D models can help disaster relief organizations and local government to be as effective as possible in formulating emergency response and reconstruction strategies.
GlobalMedic responds to disasters with their Rescue Unit, Water Purification Unit and Emergency Medical Unit.
Yesterday, GlobalMedic installed a Trekker Water Purification unit to provide access to safe drinking water for the town of Los Ranchos, with a population of over 1,400, who had been forced to boil water retrieved from a ground reservoir.
GlobalMedic has also just finished mapping three locations affected by landslides near San Vincente using Aeryon’s sUAS and are now on their way to conduct further flights in Pedernales with the National Secretariat for Risk Management liaisons.
Aeryon’s unmanned aerial systems have also been used by international relief organizations in the April 2015 Kathmandu earthquake and for December 2014’s Typhoon Hagupit disaster response in the Philippines.
Being so small and easy to use, Aeryon sUAS are ideally suited to emergency response situations in which access to AC power for charging batteries is a challenge, owing to the vehicles’ use of solar panels.
Donations for emergency relief efforts by GlobalMedic can be made here.