Floods in Bentong, Pehang State, Malaysia, 19 December 2021. Photo: Bomba and Penyelamat Negeri Pahang
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) through Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) is working with private Malaysian drone companies to assist with relief efforts in flood-affected areas across the country.
In a statement, the agency said a Special Drone Services Emergency Task Force (PTK2Dron) has been set up by MOSTI with TPM as the central coordinating agency.
MOSTI Minister, Adham Baba said, “Drones can offer vital aerial and visual communications, thus allowing supporting agencies to accurately assess the situation on ground and connect with those stranded without access to communications networks.”
“The high technology drones can deliver emergency services and essential supplies, including food and medicines to flood victims especially in unreached areas.”
TPM is collaborating with VStream, Alphaswift Industries Sdn Bhd, Aerodyne Group Sdn Bhd, Meraque Services Sdn Bhd, Geo Precision Tech, OFO Tech Sdn Bhd, Global Aero Services Sdn Bhd, the Malaysia Unmanned Drone Activist Society (MUDAS) and the Malaysian Autonomous Intelligence & Robotics Association (MyAIRA) to fulfil these services.
Aerodyne Group has been assisting in the flood relief efforts in Selangor. According to founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Kamarul A Mohamed, the company deployed tactical drones to harness critical information such as directional water flow, as well as to identify, reach and rescue stranded flood victims.
“Additionally, we developed effective evacuation plans, including prioritising rescue routes, especially in worst-hit areas. In this, we also identified factors contributing to the slow receding of water levels due to blocked water passages,” he added.
Razali Ismail, CEO of Meraque said the company, together with Pharmaniaga have collaborated to extend assistance to deliver medicines or critical items.
The company recently completed a proof-of-concept which involved the delivery of medical supplies from mainland Perak to Pangkor Island for an emergency medical treatment, as part of its readiness to deliver essentials to flood-affected areas.
MOSTI is also collaborating with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, National Security Council, National Disaster Relief Management Agency, the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre, the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox Secretariat members and Malaysian Space Agency.
Through the Special Taskforce, some 20 units of drones are ready to be deployed for surveillance and to supply essentials with payloads of up to 10 kilogrammes per delivery, upon approval from the authorities.
The drone companies are also preparing to deploy their assistance to Pahang and East Coast Malaysia soon.
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