In India, Social Drones are hoping to use their unmanned aerial vehicles to provide disaster relief.

This initiative came about in response to the flood that devastated the Uttarakhand region earlier this year, claiming 580 lives with another 5,100 people still missing. 

Social Drones joined forces with 10 other Indian companies to from a campaign looking to bring their technological expertise to the relief effort. 

They began by mapping the flood-affected areas and then using the data to direct delivery of food and medical supplies to over 200 villages, where about 5,000 villagers were stranded. 

“The government didn’t make any footage available to the public because they couldn’t capture it so we thought, let’s go film the disaster and the volunteers, who are the real heroes,” Mane said.

They took this one step further by delivering first aid kits to the more isolated areas. 

“A month ago the disaster management was there and they were recovering people and finding people but right now the majority of that work has been completed,” Mane said. “However, there are still people in various camps scattered across Uttarakhand and there are no linkages or channels to connect them. There’s no co-ordination with the government, which is mainly repairing popular tourist regions.”

As a result of their contribution Dr Saumitra Mohan, Darjeeling’s (West Bengal) district magistrate and tax collector, said real-time co-ordination and communication between all government and non-government stakeholders was crucial to combating these “man-made” disasters, paving the way for drone technology to take a more prominent and proactive role in saving lives in the future.