Globhe to work with UNICEF in Malawi

Globhe Drones, the world’s biggest drone-for-hire platform recently signed a deal with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Malawi that would see the former providing drone services in emergency preparedness and response situations in the country.

Along with a handful of other countries in southern Africa, Malawi has been experiencing a few too many severe floods in the last couple of years caused by a rise in tropical cyclones.

The latest to hit was Cyclone Freddy in February and March, which left at least 1,216 people dead (with 537 more reported missing) and a trail of destruction and desolation in Blantyre, Phalombe, Mulanje, Chikhwawa, and Nsanje districts south of the country.

“Due to climate change, we see more destructive climate disasters more frequently worldwide,” says Helena Samsioe, Founder and CEO at Globhe.

“Malawi has suffered from three major floods in the past four years. Data from drones help respond to floods more efficiently but also help limit the destruction in the first place.

“However, it’s been hard to get ahold of data from drones, and we’re happy to have changed that by unleashing the power of drones through the Globhe marketplace – now making data from drones easily accessible when and where it’s needed.”

In their new partnership with UNICEF Malawi, GLOBHE would provide aerial data to the world body to monitor vulnerable areas and create impact-based flood risk maps. These maps enable the organisation to provide anticipatory and predictive scenarios to avoid human suffering and infrastructure damage.

Already, teams from Globhe have captured data on 6,200 hactares in Rumphi and 13,500ha in Karonga in northern Malawi. The project was executed by local drone operators and surveyors, most of whom have graduated from the African Drone Data Academy, an initiative supported by UNICEF.

Drone operators use ground control points (GCPs) to capture highly accurate data, connecting the models produced with known coordinates on the ground, to give the data a high vertical and horizontal accuracy of around 10cm.

In a statement, Globhe explained that the drones’ spatial resolution is significantly higher than that provided by satellites, which generally produce a 5-30-metre resolution. In comparison, the drones provide five-centimetre resolution for Orthomosaic maps and 50centimetres for Digital Surface and Digital Terrain models.

“Our drone data give a better representation of reality and terrain features, and this level of accuracy is key to doing correct flood risk modelling and enabling an effective preparedness and disaster response,” says Alexander DC Mtambo, Head of Drones Africa at Globhe.

Recent mudslides and floods in South Malawi are a reminder of how important the work is, Globhe says. Using drones to create flood models will significantly improve disaster management capabilities and give the country a better chance of protecting the communities from the devastating effects of floods.

“Our work with preventive flood mapping plays a key part in mitigating risks to humans and infrastructure, and therefore there is a great need to continue the preventive efforts in Malawi going forward,” Mtambo says.

The leading industrial drone marketplace in the world, Globhe connects over 8000 local drone operators with stakeholders in need of data collection in 134 countries.

“Using high-end drones to capture this critical data is very effective, both in terms of getting accurate and high-resolution data as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the monitoring operations,” says Margherita Bruscolini, Head of Drones at Globhe.


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