• The Flood Hub platform has been available in several African countries prior to this expansion.
• The new countries include Burundi, Eswatini, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.
Google has announced the expansion of its Flood Hub platform to cover 80 countries worldwide.
This includes the addition of eight new countries in Africa bringing the total number of African countries on the platform to 23.
According to a presser by the tech giant, this expansion comes as part of AI-enabled efforts to address the devastating impacts of floods and provide critical support to vulnerable communities.
“Floods claim tens of thousands of lives and cause billions of dollars in damages each year across the world,” Google said.
It added that their impacts are particularly severe in low-resource regions that often lack effective early warning systems.
“By equipping governments, aid organisations, and individuals with advanced flood forecasting tools, Flood Hub empowers communities to take proactive measures and make informed decisions to reduce the devastating effects of floods,” the company said.
The Flood Hub platform has been available in several African countries prior to this expansion.
These include Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, DRC, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, South Africa, and now, with the expansion, it encompasses 60 additional countries.
These new countries include Burundi, Eswatini, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.
“The inclusion of these countries ensures that a broader range of African communities facing high flood risk and extreme weather conditions can benefit from Flood Hub’s accurate and timely flood forecasting services,” Google said.
The Flood Hub platform now offers forecasts up to seven days in advance, benefitting a population of 460 million people globally.
This expansion also extends the reach of Flood Hub’s services to countries such as Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan and Thailand.
To further enhance flood preparedness, Google is expanding flood alerts through Search and Maps notifications.
This seeks to ensure that individuals have convenient access to timely and critical flood information.
This aims to empower more people to take necessary precautions and safeguard lives and property.
“We recognise the significant impact that floods have on communities worldwide, especially in regions with limited resources and vulnerable populations,” Engineering and research and crisis response lead VP Yossi Mattias said.
“We are committed to expanding the reach of the Flood Hub platform to support these communities and provide accurate flood forecasting that can help save lives and protect livelihoods.”
Since 2019, nonprofit organisations have been working with Google.org to establish offline alerting networks, acknowledging the limited access to cell phones or the internet in some communities.
These networks are designed to leverage 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 are able to receive life-saving flood alerts, ensuring their safety during times of crisis.