WATCH: Resupply air drop 101 from the AFP
MANILA, Philippines—It’s like a movie scene. A helicopter flies above an inaccessible area and drops packages with essential supplies. But in the region of Cagayan Valley, it isn’t a movie but real life.
It’s called resupply air drop, which armed forces worldwide practice. It’s often a last resort to deliver badly needed supplies in conflict or disaster zones and is always a difficult and technically challenging mission.
In Cagayan Valley, which remained flooded in the wake of Typhoon Ulysses, the scene replays itself—people rush to low altitude helicopters to get aid packages.
The Philippine Air Force drew flak from some netizens after a video of one of its resupply drop missions in Iguig, Cagayan circulated on social media over the weekend. It was likened to a scene from Hunger Games, the movie about groups of people, which the film refers to as tribes, who fight for survival by killing each other.
Some netizens asked if the relief goods were being distributed properly.
On Tuesday (Nov. 17), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) released an explainer video about resupply air drops and the reason these were used for relief missions in Cagayan Valley.
“Communities in Cagayan Valley are trapped between the Cagayan River and farmlands which are now submerged in waters from the river,” the AFP said.
The constant rains made the earth too soft to land on for heavy-lifting helicopters. Air drop missions, the AFP said, are risky because “the balance of the chopper is constantly changing while unloading cargo.” This, the AFP added, “might cause an accident.”
It said during resupply air drops, pilots “skillfully hover” between 0.6 meter to 0.9 meter above the ground to avoid damaging the aircraft and the supplies that it carries.
During these missions, these helicopters carry no passengers other than their crew to use all the space available for cargo.
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