By Staff Writer
Rocketmine, a subsidiary of the listed Delta Drone Group, has been appointed the survey & mapping partner for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in its Drones For Good project, in Malawi.
Africa’s leading premier drone data service provider said in a statement that it has been commissioned to fly over 21 000ha per month, across the country, to assist in UNICEF’s efforts to identify high-risk flood areas.
The company said the project has been awarded at a maximum contract value of R4.5 million ($330 000).
Adverse weather conditions, such as flooding from heavy rains, create logistical hurdles and delay the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid in Malawi. Exacerbated by a HIV pandemic within the country, these delays result in mothers waiting up to two months to establish the HIV status of their babies. This in turn causes interruptions to treatment for those that may test positive – as a result, half of all babies born HIV-positive, in Malawi, die before the age of two.
Rocketmine aims to effect change by assisting the disaster management aspect of the UNICEF project.
Rocketmine’s drone data solutions will be utilised for mapping, situational awareness and risk-informed programming within Malawi.
This project is an addition to the humanitarian drone corridor, launched by UNICEF in July 2017, in collaboration with Malawi’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It is lauded as the fastest way to meet safety requirements for manufacturers and operators to test long-range drones, in curbing the logistical issues inherent in Malawi.
“We are honoured to be part of this ground-breaking UNICEF project. It’s not every day a company like ours gets called to provide drone data solutions that will assist in solving critical humanitarian issues and potentially save lives,” Rocketmine’s managing director, Chris Clark, said in a statement.
Rocketmine added that it will create large scale detailed preparedness maps which will accurately depict the terrain before a disaster event.
This will enable teams to compare these maps to images taken before and after a disaster in order to quickly identify problem areas and effectively facilitate remedial action. Sophisticated flood modelling and aerial images of wells and water sources will form elements of the preparedness plan.