Hurricane Maria survivor designs DroneAid open source disaster relief tool

You’re not resilient if you don’t have WAR

In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, smart organisations are focusing on building resilience into their corporate DNA. Resilience implies the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and to recover quickly when a disaster strikes – even one that is unexpected and unplanned for. An effective resilience programme will cover people, processes and technology, but the necessity for a work-area recovery (or WAR) capability should never be ignored.

This is because when a disaster makes it impossible to use one or more of the organisation’s primary sites, it is very important to have somewhere for staff to work.

“Technology developments like the cloud, and the widespread use of sophisticated mobile devices, mean that some members of staff can continue to be productive from home for a limited period, but many jobs require in-person collaboration and supervision,” says Innes le Roux, GM: Resilient Office Services, ContinuitySA. “Specialised areas like treasury and call centres also cannot operate in isolation…


Hurricane Maria survivor designs DroneAid open source disaster relief tool

A month after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, residents were still asking for water and food in messages scrawled on the ground that Pedro Cruz captured from his drone. To help, he later created DroneAid, which IBM has open-sourced. (IBM)

Pedro Cruz spent weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in September 2017 helping bring food and water to people trapped in remote areas.

He quickly realized he could use an airborne drone to help, using its video connection to read dozens of messages painted on the ground asking rescue crews to bring water, food or medicine.

It wasn’t until nearly a year after the hurricane devastated the island territory in September 2017 that Cruz figured out a way to connect his drone to disaster aid through a computerized visual recognition tool…



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