15 May 2019, Ereimentau city – UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) conducted another testing of drones for disaster risk reduction, with the goals of timely location of forest/steppe wildfires and monitoring of situation, organization of works for flooding prevention.
According to the Committee for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Interior, 14,567 fire related incidents were registered in Kazakhstan in 2018. In those fires 434 people died, 412 were injured and the material damage from fires amounted to more than 3 billion tenge (more than 8.7 million US dollars). During the same year about 1.5 thousand houses were damaged by flooding, which required additional 3 billion tenge for recovery works.
Colonel Rustambek Amrin, the deputy head of the Control Center for Crisis Situation of the EmerCom, noted that “Wildfires present a big danger for human lives, cause significant material damage and the Committee for Emergency Situations is considering all modern technologies for reducing risk of disasters threatening regions of Kazakhstan».
Drone testing took place on the territory of the Ereimentau rayon of Akmola oblast, with participation of representatives of the Committee for Emergency Situations, Center for emergency situations and disaster risk reduction, emergency department of Nur-Sultan city, emergency department of Akmola oblast, Kokshetau Technical Institute, KazAviaLesoOkhrana state enterprise, the Committee of Forests of the Ministry of Agriculture, administration of the Ereimentau rayon, local forests management and Buiratal national park.
During the testing flights the participants learned in practice the capabilities of the unmanned aviation to protect forests from wildfires through timely location of wildfires, including monitoring wide steppe areas adjacent to the state forests reserves.
Also, the testing flights demonstrated capabilities for flooding period preparation through mapping of rivers and lakes, location of possible ice jamming points, creation of 3D maps for calculating water volumes in the winter snow.
At the beginning of 2019 UNICEF together with the Committee for Emergency Situations conducted series of testing for use of drones in search and rescue operations, and for wildfire location in mountainous regions. The seminar on use of unmanned aviation was conducted for experts of all regional and oblast level rescue teams of the EmerCom and for representatives of the local administrations (oblasts and cities).
UNICEF has initiated establishment of the drone testing corridors in several countries for testing drone technologies to address population’s needs. The experience of Kazakhstan was presented at the Global Drones for Social Needs meeting held in New York city in April 2019.
The drone testing corridors in Kazakhstan are the latest addition to the global efforts of UNICEF to use drones for humanitarian assistance. UNICEF is helping with establishment of drone testing corridors in two other countries. So, the world first vaccine delivery by drone was recently made in Vanuatu at UNICEF drone testing corridor.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.