Natural disasters, particularly earthquakes, storms, and fires, often block or outright destroy roadways, which are needed to provide egress for relief workers. This prolongs the process of recovery (and consumes large amounts of equipment and labor resources). It also exacerbates the human cost of the disaster: those in need of medical attention may not be able to reach it; ongoing life-threatening situations like fires and downed power lines may continue unchecked, with workers unable to reach them; and transport may have to be attempted by other means.

While air transport is a feasible option for both medical transport and supplies, it is more resource-intensive; and there are fewer aviation resources to go around—both in terms of equipment and personnel—than ground transport. In the case of the ...

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