A drone video compiled from social media uploads has been posted on YouTube by The Star Online, and it shows the aftermath of a tsunami that swept the coastlines of Palu, Indonesia, on Friday:
According to the Daily Mail, the tsunami was triggered after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake. The waves were said to be as high as 10 feet, but they crashed through the cities of Palu and Donggala at speeds up to 500 mph.
Screenshot from Star TV’s video shows extent of damage caused by Friday’s tsunami.
Kompas, an Indonesian news website, reported 420 people have been confirmed dead, but that number is expected to increase to the thousands once the surrounding areas have been searched thoroughly.
Cars and houses were swept, and buildings and mosques were submerged.
The Daily Mail also said the fishing town of Donggala, which was struck by the tsunami first, is currently unreachable due to damaged roads, so sea or even air access has to be used to aid survivors.
Drones need to be used in Indonesia!
If the weather is right, UAVs can be deployed to first survey damage then send emergency payloads to survivors. Palu from Donggala is about 25.5 miles away from each other, but a fixed-wing drone can be used in this situation to access areas that are currently unreachable by road.
With today’s UAV technology, a drone can be deployed near unreachable areas to drop off packages or survey damage.
Besides using standard ground practice, search and rescue teams should be equipped with drones to help scan areas faster from above. The drones can be used to scout general areas, while a ground team can go in and dig through rubble to find survivors.
BBC reported that communication to Donggala is currently unavailable, so a drone with the ability to provide a temporary network can also be flown in to provide cell phone coverage.
Communication and time is key
Drones need to be used in Indonesia right now to save time and deliver supplies, and pilots need to work with local authorities so that drone flights don’t interfere with other operations. An aerial view can easily be obtained by using a cheap, consumer drone, but more advanced UAVs designed specifically for disaster situations should be used to help search for tsunami victims and survivors.
Drone technology and its benefits can be displayed for the world to witness, but more importantly, lives can be saved thanks to UAVs.