Humanitarian Aid

Eye In the Sky Brings New Dimension to Disaster Recovery

Oct. 17, 2018 | BY Claudette Roulo

Personnel from across the Defense Department have been hard at work since Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida on Oct. 12.

At least 29 people died in the storm as it made its way up the East Coast, and estimates put damage and recovery costs into the billions. More than 5,000 DOD personnel are mobilized to deliver power, water, food and other assistance to people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.

Disaster recovery experts, including Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard personnel, have traditionally surveyed storm damage from the ground, sea and air. But unmanned aircraft piloted by service members like Air Force Senior Airman Austin Klewicki are adding a new level of detail to those surveys.

“Damaged roofs, collapsed buildings and anything we can get [to] help [the] guys on the ground [to] try to secure the surrounding area,” Klewicki said. “Whatever I can do to help; that is all I can ask for.”

FEMA
An aerial view shows devastated buildings along a sandy coast.
Aerial Assessment
Damaged structures along Florida coastline are visible during a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers aerial assessment, Oct. 17, 2018.
Photo By: Christopher Gardner
VIRIN: 181017-A-CE999-002A
National Hurricane Center
A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration taken at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Oct. 10, 2018, shows the position of Hurricane Michael over a map of the Florida panhandle.
Hurricane Michael Map
A satellite image taken at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Oct. 10, 2018, shows the position of Hurricane Michael over a map of the Florida panhandle.
Photo By: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
VIRIN: 181010-O-EE902-1001

National Guard Hurricane Response
Soldiers distribute water and supplies to residents in need following Hurricane Michael.
Supply Point
Soldiers distribute water and supplies to residents in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 16, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The soldiers are assigned to the Florida Army National Guard.
Photo By: Army National Guard photo by David Sterphone
VIRIN: 181016-Z-OK522-500A
DVIDS Hurricane Michael Feature Page
Airmen use chain saws to clear fallen trees in neighborhoods near the 10 Mile Road area in Panama City.
Clearing Debris
Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Gardner, right, and Staff Sgt. Alex Spano use chainsaws to clear fallen trees in neighborhoods in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 16, 2018, in Hurricane Michael's aftermath. Gardner and Spano are assigned to the Florida Air National Guard.
Photo By: Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Carlynne DeVine
VIRIN: 181016-Z-GJ639-1104A