On 04 October 2017 UNDP officially handed over two drones to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and Ministry of Social Solidarity (MSS). This followed the delivery of a three-day drone operation training.
Mr. Claudio Providas, UNDP Country Director; H.E. Mr. Deolindo Silva, Vice Minister of MAF, and Mr. Rui Manuel Gago Exposto, General Director of MSS Corporate Services gave remarks during the handover ceremony. “Timor-Leste is a fragile island that is subject to natural hazards therefore data availability is important for decision makers for purpose of planning and early warning. Hazards have many ramifications and these drones will help MAF, MSS and the Government of Timor-Leste to better plan,” said Mr. Providas.
“UNDP is one of the most important partners and pillars for MAF. We hope that this drone can provide strong motivation and encourage MAF to identify activities related to illegal logging and forest fires as this drone has been equipped with GPS to take aerial photographs,” said Mr. Silva. “This equipment is important to help MSS to facilitate technical staff to conduct mapping of natural disasters in villages that have been identified as high risk,” said Mr. Exposto. Following the ceremony, the trainees performed a drone simulation.
This aerial based rapid mapping system that complements GIS technology will contribute to disaster risk reduction in Timor-Leste by collecting erosion, vegetation and watershed data, and monitoring impacts of disasters on infrastructure such as roads and community assets.
“This drone can fly at an elevation of up to 250 meters. The coverage area is 30 hectares and the capacity for aerial photography can to be up to 1,000 to 2,000 hectares in one day. This drone is very useful because it can identify natural disasters and sources of fires that cannot be reached by people. This drone equipped with GPS can identify the ground size of the land,” said Mr. Juliberto dos Santos, a MAF staff who received the training.
These two drones will be based at the National Disaster Management Directorate, MSS and National Directorate of Forestry, Coffee and Plants Industry, MAF.