Google has made a momentous announcement today, unveiling the expansion of its Flood Hub platform to encompass a total of 80 countries across the globe. This expansion is particularly noteworthy as it includes the addition of eight new countries in Africa, resulting in a total of 23 African countries now being part of the Flood Hub platform. The primary objective behind this expansion is for Google to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) in effectively addressing the devastating consequences of floods and providing crucial support to vulnerable communities. With this recent update, the Flood Hub platform is now capable of providing forecasts for up to seven days in advance, proving immensely beneficial to a substantial global population of approximately 460 million individuals. Additionally, this expansion widens the reach of Flood Hub’s invaluable services to encompass countries like Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Thailand..
Before this expansion, the Flood Hub platform had already spread its roots in numerous African countries, counting Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and South Africa. However, with this recent expansion, the Flood Hub platform has cast its net wider, encompassing an extra 60 countries like Burundi, Eswatini, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. This inclusivity ensures that a wider range of African communities facing high flood risks and extreme weather conditions can benefit from Flood Hub’s accurate and timely flood forecasting services.
Floods wreak havoc, taking countless lives and leaving behind a trail of billions of dollars in damages annually worldwide. The brunt of their impact is felt most severely in regions with scarce resources and woefully insufficient early warning systems. By equipping governments, aid organizations, and individuals with advanced flood forecasting tools, Flood Hub empowers communities to take proactive measures and make informed decisions, ultimately reducing the devastating effects of floods.
To further enhance flood preparedness, Google is expanding flood alerts through Search and Maps notifications. This expansion ensures that individuals have convenient access to timely and critical flood information, enabling them to take necessary precautions to protect lives and property.
Yossi Mattias, VP Engineering & Research and Crisis Response Lead, expressed Google’s commitment to supporting communities worldwide, especially those in regions with limited resources and vulnerable populations. The Flood Hub platform plays a vital role in providing accurate flood forecasting, saving lives, and protecting livelihoods.
Since 2019, nonprofit organizations have collaborated with Google.org to establish offline alerting networks, recognizing the limited access to cell phones or the internet in certain communities. These networks rely on trained and trusted community volunteers who play a crucial role in amplifying the reach of Flood Hub’s warnings. As a result, even individuals without digital connectivity can receive life-saving flood alerts, ensuring their safety during times of crisis.