U2 singer Bono has joined forces with the Philippine Red Cross to launch a drone service to deliver much-needed blood supplies in the country’s far-flung areas.
The U2 frontman said the Philippines would become the base for the largest drone delivery operation for blood and medical supplies in the Asia-Pacific region through Zipline, starting with a distribution center in the Visayas region, followed by two more in the eastern Visayas, and Mindanao.
Bono is a board member of Zipline, a United States company which makes drones to transport medical supplies to remote areas.
The service will launch in the summer of 2020, and will eventually run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The announcement of the initiative was made at the Philippine Red Cross Headquarters, with its chairman, Sen. Dick Gordon, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Zipline co-founder, and CEO Keller Rinaudo, and Bono.
The blood-by-drone plan is projected to help bridge the health helpline or delivery gap in the Philippines where millions live in more than 4,000 geographically disadvantaged areas, making it difficult for them to get help.
The situation worsens during natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, landslides, and tropical storms when roads are washed out or impassable.
The drones which are operated by remote control, can carry loads of up to 1.8 kilos, fly up to 145 kms per hour and travel a total of 160 kilometers in high winds and rain (about 80 kms back and forth with blood supplies).
The devices won’t land with medical supplies but will drop them over target areas using parachutes directly above hospitals as far away as Western Visayas and Mindanao.
Bono and U2 are currently in the country for their first-ever concert in the Philippines with “The Joshua Tree Concert 2019 Tour” Manila leg scheduled today.
SEND cheers to U2’s Bono and the Philippine Red Cross for this milestone undertaking!
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