Staff reporter 

To build the capacity of frontliners and key institutions involved in disaster management, the Department of Disaster Management in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) is conducting training on drones for emergency preparedness and response.

According to a press release from WFP, the training is a first of its kind for Bhutan and it will provide both theoretical and practical sessions.

The training will include details on existing disaster response efforts, the evolution of drone technology, drone regulations, data processing and analysis, use of drones in humanitarian situations, and use of the drone for disaster risk reduction and mitigations, among others.

The training will also witness practical sessions where officials from the Nepal Flying Labs will simulate a disaster scenario.

Nepal Flying Lab is a member of WeRobotics Flying Labs Network, a non-profit social enterprise in Nepal which builds capacity in drones and associated data products in various humanitarian sectors.

The press release stated that DDM, in partnership with WFP, supports the government in enhancing the capacity of frontline workers and key technical institutions such as the National Land Commission, Department of Geology and Mines, National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology, Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority, Department of Information Technology and Telecom, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, and Ministry of Works and Human Settlement.

In Bhutan, drone technology has been identified as critical in monitoring glacial lakes, search and rescue operations, mapping forest fires, climate-smart agricultural practices and disaster impact analysis.

It stated that WFP has decades of experience in aviation, logistics and telecommunications, serving affected populations in over 80 countries.

“Currently, WFP is scaling up its drone technology and innovation, to improve its ability to prepare for and respond to humanitarian emergencies. WFP also focuses on pre-positioning such technology for humanitarian interventions to build country capacities,” the press release stated.

Besides, the training is a part of DDM’s role in strengthening emergency preparedness and response capacities.

According to WFP, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, offer low operating costs and rapid deployment, even in difficult weather conditions. With responsible handling, drones can help monitor food security or the damage caused by disasters like floods, droughts, storms or earthquakes.  In emergencies, they can also provide communications connectivity.

WFP has been developing the use of drones since 2017 to improve preparedness for and response to humanitarian emergencies, encouraging collaboration and capacity building among first responders and government stakeholders worldwide.

The six-day training that began on June 2 will end on June 9.