Friday 27 October: Drones in humanitarian Action

Friday 27 October: Drones in humanitarian Action


  • Live webinar on drones in humanitarian action with WFP and WeRobotics
  • Resources on the use of drones in humanitarian action
  • Evaluation form
  • Next steps 

Today we are moving a little bit away from our focus on agriculture and rural development to focus on the use of drones in humanitarian contexts in general, because we are convinced that, apart from the many linkages with our work, this topic also brings useful experiences and lessons learned that could be applied for the work in our sector.

Drones are increasingly recognized by humanitarian organizations of their potential effectiveness in early warning and disaster response. Drones can help humanitarian organizations to  quickly collect information, achieve higher data accuracy and provide safer monitoring systems in emergencies. Other possible uses could be delivering lightweight essential items to remote or hard-to access locations.

Live webinar on the use of drones in humanitarian action with Patrick Meier from iRevolutions/WeRobotics and Haidar Baqir from World Food Programme

WHEN : Friday 27 October at 2PM UTC / 4PM Central European Summer Time

Use the following link to connect to the webinar: http://fao.adobeconnect.com/e-agdrones5/



The webinar will be jointly presented by two experts: Haidar Baqir from the World Food Programme (WFP) and Patrick Meier (Executive Director and founder of WeRobotics). They will explore the use of drones in humanitarian context. Haidar Baqir will talk about the approach of WFP and present a one-year project to develop the coordinated use of UAVs for disaster response and what this means for the future of humanitarian work. Patrick Meier, who is currently working on different humanitarian drone projects will be talking about localizing appropriate robotics solutions in developing countries.

Haidar Baqir has been working in WFP for 14 years out of which 10 in field operations. He is currently part of the Global Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) in Rome which supports effective global leadership and coordination to IT humanitarian operations and supporting the ETC country teams in better serving the humanitarian community. Since he moved to WFP HQ in Rome, he has been on missions for the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa in 2014, as well as Nepal Earthquake and Yemen conflict in 2015. He holds a Master degree in Engineering and has three years of academic teaching at universities. Part of his current role is leading the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) coordination model project for WFP and the humanitarian response community.

Patrick Meier is an internationally recognized expert and consultant on Humanitarian Technology and Innovation. His new book, Digital Humanitarians, has been praised by Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, UN, Red Cross, World Bank, USAID and others. While at WeRobotics, Patrick also co-authored “Drones in Humanitarian Action: A Guide to the Use of Airborne Systems in Humanitarian Crises”. In addition, he authored the report “Humanitarian UAV Missions: Towards Best Practices” and wrote the chapter on Humanitarian UAVs in “Drones & Aerial Observation.”

Video Drones in humanitarian Action

Publication Drones in Humanitarian Action

This publication brings together 16 case studies that you can explore to learn more about different uses of drones, but that can also be useful for the work you do on food security and agriculture in a humanitarian context.

Case Studies in the publication:

  1. Flood mapping for disaster risk reduction: Obtaining high-resolution imagery to map and model flood risks in Dar es Salaam
  2. Using drones for medical payload delivery in Papua New Guinea
  3. Small-scale mapping with consumer drones in Nepal
  4. Deploying drones for spatial modeling of displaced landmines after floods in Bosnia Herzegovina
  5. Testing the utility of mapping drones for early recovery in the Philippines
  6. Mapping rapid damage assessments of Tabarre and surrounding communities in Haiti following Hurricane Sandy
  7. Using high-resolution imagery to support the post-earthquake census in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  8. High-resolution UAV imagery for camp management in Haiti
  9. Using drone imagery for real-time information after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
  10. Using drones for disaster damage assessments in Vanuatu
  11. Simulation: using drones to support search and rescue
  12. Using drones in fire and rescue services in the United Kingdom
  13. Using drones to inspect post-earthquake road damage in Ecuador
  14. Using drones to create maps and assess building damage in Ecuador
  15. Disaster risk reduction in Tajikistan
  16. Flood risk mapping in Malawi

Click here to download the full guide: http://drones.fsd.ch/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Drones-in-Humanitarian-Action.pdf

In French: http://drones.fsd.ch/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DronesinHumanitarianActi...

Other resources on the use of drones in humanitarian action


UAVIATORS has more than 3000 members in 120 countries. They want to promote safe, coordinated and effective use of UAVs for data collection and cargo delivery in a wide range of humanitarian and development settings. It is a network and community of practice that was founded by our speaker of today Patrick Meier.  

The Sky’s the Limit: Potential of Drone Usage in Rural Healthcare

In April 2016, a drone was accepted into the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum collection after completing the first drone delivery approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Media from four different continents covered the drone’s historic flight, which took place in Wise County, Virginia, during the largest medical outreach event in the United States. The Health Wagon and Remote Area Medical® (RAM) have partnered on the RAM – Wise Health Expedition since 2000, but July 2015 marked the first time that the rural event received medicine delivered by drone. https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/rural-monitor/rural-healthcare-drones/

World Food Program Teams up with WeRobotics

The World Food Program (WFP) is officially partnering with WeRobotics to develop coordination mechanisms to guide the safe and effective use of aerial robotics (UAVs) in response to humanitarian disasters. http://www.e-agriculture.org/news/world-food-program-teams-werobotics-use-drones-emergencies

The Government of Malawi and UNICEF announce first humanitarian drone testing corridor in Africa

The Government of Malawi and UNICEF have announced the establishment of an air corridor to test potential humanitarian use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) - also known as drones. https://www.unicef.org/media/media_94184.html

Rapid Damage and Impact Assessment Tropical Storm Erika

This report shows how the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has used drones to assess the storm damage in Dominica. https://www.gfdrr.org/sites/default/files/publication/Commonwealth%20of%20Dominica%20-%20Rapid%20Damage%20and%20Needs%20Assessment%20Final%20Report%20.pdf

In Australia, Drone project aims to deliver rapid disaster response after cyclones

The Australian Red Cross has teamed up with tech experts to run the project, which aims to not only drop aid packages to isolated areas but also assess disaster impacts to co-ordinate traditional emergency responses. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-31/drone-trial-to-deliver-rapid-disaster-relief-after-cyclones/8403334

Evaluation form

On our last day of our activity we would like to ask you to fill in this online evaluation form. Your opinion matters and we are looking forward to receive your feedback so we can better adapt our next capacity development activities to your needs and the needs of the Community of Practice.

What’s next?

You are now a registered member of our Community of Practice and as such you will receive a monthly newsletter with our latest updates on content and activities in your mailbox. We hope to welcome you to future activities and we are always welcoming contributions and blogs from our member for our platform. Let’s stay in touch!  

And as you already know, if you have a questions - let us know at e-agriculture@fao.org

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