Improving Disaster Response through Aerospace Technology

two people standing in front of a glowing balloon
Photo: Marty Melville / AFP / Getty Images
A CATACLYSMIC SERIES OF NATURAL DISASTERS IN 2017, particularly in the western hemisphere, exposed a widespread lack of disaster preparedness, as well as many shortcomings in recovery strategies. Several severe earthquakes struck Mexico and a series of hurricanes and tropical storms tore through the Caribbean, decimating Puerto Rico and dealing considerable damage to Texas and Florida. The days following hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, or other disasters require a coordinated and timely deployment of response resources, but recovery efforts are often stymied by a lack of information, disrupted communications, and hazardous conditions.

In these circumstances, the aerospace field offers tremendous capabilities for effective disaster response. With the use of satellites, drones, and other aerial technologies, responders can identify areas in need of aid, establish clear routes, restore communications, and crowdsource imagery data to provide rapid, cost-effective analysis. By analyzing the capabilities offered by these aerospace technologies, it becomes clear that increased funding and development would prove a boon to effective disaster response and recovery.

Read the full article in New Perspectives in Foreign Policy