The Italian NGO, COOPI is using drones to create a database indicating vulnerabilities and hazards in Mangochi and Nsanje, two districts with the highest flood potential in Malawi. The project will end up mapping 16,000 hectares.

“The drone has been collecting thousands of images, something in the range of 40,000 images, says Josef Clifford, COOPI’s Geospatial expert.

“And it has also been collecting points which are used to look at the topography of the area and from these two products we basically have to process them into final product, a high resolution image, around 28 centimetres per pixel.”

These detailed maps allow residents to visualise their whole community in one go. Chapola villagers were asked to locate their houses, potential shelters and evacuation routes. An exchange that benefits both scientists and locals.

“We got the knowledge from the community which is essential because you need to have local knowledge to know where things are for that village, what’s important in that village and what their understanding of the hazards and the risks.”

In this region, where natural disasters occur regularly, the EU is helping the population at a community level and the civil protection at a national level for a more efficient response.

“Some innovative technologies, like drone usage, seem to give great results in Western countries to know how, where and when to step in faster,” says Alexandre Castellano from the EU’s Humanitarian Aid office.

“We think this can be done here as well. This is why we appreciate and we finance this kind of intervention. Some of them are still pilot projects implemented in respect and harmony with local traditions.”

Advances in technologies are empowering both citizens and decision-makers to play a proactive role in managing disaster risks and providing more effective and cost-effective disaster response.

According to the European Union Humanitarian Aid office on average every euro spent for reduction and preparedness activities saves between four and seven euros, which would be spent in the aftermath of disasters.

SOURCE: euronews