By Asmau Ahmad
Google has announced the expansion of its Flood Hub platform to cover 80 countries worldwide, including the addition of 8 new countries in Africa.
To date, 23 African countries are on the Flood Hub.
In a statement issued by the Nigeria Agency Lead, Nosa Iyamu, the expansion was part of AI-enabled efforts to address the devastating impacts of floods and provide critical support to vulnerable communities.
In an attempt to further enhance flood preparedness, Google explained its intentions to expand flood alerts through Search and Maps notifications, ensuring that individuals have convenient access to timely and critical flood information.
This expansion 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,” said VP Engineering & Research and Crisis Response Lead, Yossi Mattias.
“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,” he continued.
Also, the Flood Hub platform now offers forecasts up to 7 days in advance, benefitting a population of 460 million people globally. This expansion extends the reach of Flood Hub’s valuable services to countries such as Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan and Thailand.
The statement read in part, “Flood Hub platform has been available in several African countries prior to this expansion, including Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, 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,” the statement continued.
According to reports, floods claim tens of thousands of lives and cause billions of dollars in damages each year across the world.
On the African scene and across the globe, the impacts are particularly severe in low-resource regions that often lack effective early warning systems.
Google maintained that 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.”