24 November 2017
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Monday, 13 November 2017 15:18

Salima oriented on the use of drones in emergencies

Written by  Agness Manda

Judith Sherman drones are a solution

Salima, November 13, 2017:  United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF) in conjunction with other UN agencies has grouped together officials from Salima District Council and members of community based civil protection committees for an orientation on the use of drones as a means of disaster assessment.

The orientation exercise took place at Maganga Primary School last week and among other things, involved the stimulation of how drones can be used to take information and pictures in hard-to-reach areas in times of emergency.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) recently, the chief for HIV and AIDS at UNICEF, Judith Sherman, said the exercise would assist in making the people understand that the drones are a solution to most challenges faced during emergencies, especially when communities are cut off.

"What we want is to educate people on the use of drones so that they should not be surprised when they see them in use in case of emergencies.

 These drones are very important as they will help the department of disaster to discover more places that need help once they are affected by floods," said Sherman.

Deputy Director of Response and Recovery in Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA), Dyce Nkhoma, said the exercise has given government an idea to effectively use drones.

“The drones save time instead of working for a week to identify affected places, the drones will just identity the affected areas in just hours," said Nkhoma.

He also urged the communities that when they see these drones they should not misinterpret them for negative thoughts, but that the gadgets here to help in saving lives in times of emergencies.
Alfred Mtilatila, the director of Civil Aviation, said his department allows the use of drones for other purposes other than those military in nature.

"Although drones are adopted from military, they can also be used to deliver medicine and life- saving supplies or in crop assessments. So, as civilians, we are using to save people's lives,” said Mtilatila.

“I would like to thank DODMA for introducing this technology and I’m encourage people to involve the authorities when they want to use this technology because we would like to use this technology in a safe manner without actually interfering with normal aviation, that is why we are appealing to the public to inform the civil aviation authorities whenever they want to use this technology in any location," said Mtilatila.

Currently UNICEF is working with the government of Malawi and other UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations to use drones for risk -informed programming and emergency response.

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