Pacific: UAV4Resilience - Utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Disaster Assessments in the Pacific Islands

Comparison of an image taken during the field tests in Tonga (top) against the satellite image of the same building (bottom). Photo credit: World Bank

Context and Objectives
The UAV4Resilience – Utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Disaster Assessments in the Pacific Islands project was launched in January 2017 to develop the capacity and readiness of Fiji and Tonga in deploying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for disaster and climate risk assessments and rapid identification of damage to the physical environment in post-disaster situations. The Project falls under the Programmatic technical assistance Building Climate and Disaster Resilience in the Pacific.

Main Activities

The activities of the project were to test UAVs, turn lessons learned on the use of UAVs into a document with best practices on the use of UAVs as well as a roadmap to guide the implementation of a UAV survey, and to build capacity on the use of UAVs in the Pacific Region.


The UAVs were tested, and the lessons learned were turned into a best-practices document.The main island of Tonga, Tongatapu, was assessed with UAVs in October 2017.

The project led to an ACP-EU NDRR follow up project under Window 3, which used UAVs to assess in February 2018 the damage that Tropical Cyclone Gita caused to Tonga. Comparing the images before and after the disaster informed the development of a Recovery Framework for Tonga and enabled to create a post-disaster baseline map that could be incrementally updated throughout the recovery and reconstruction phases.

Partnerships and Coordination
The team has kept the Tonga National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) informed of the progress and reflected their needs in the project implementation and design.
The Pacific Community (SPC), the regional partner has been kept informed of the progress, and discussions have been held with SPC on sensors to be tested. 
A close collaboration with the Tonga Civil Aviation Authority (CCA) was established, as well as with the regional aviation regulatory organization Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO).

Useful Links

The UAV images of Tonga are available at OpenAerialMap.

A Results in Resilience feature story is available here.

Information on the follow-up ACP-EU NDRR project can be found here.

  • Pacific
Priority area
  • Risk identification and assessment
Window of Action
  • Window 1
Amount approved
  • $500,000
  • $0
  • 01/2017 - 02/2020