Google Flood Hub: 23 African countries now receive early flood warnings

South Africa is one of multiple African countries that have access to a platform that issues early flood warnings, giving authorities time to prepare for the worst.

Google announced that eight additional African countries will join South Africa on the Flood Hub, bringing the number of participating countries worldwide to 80.

The A.I.-enabled hub was established to address the devastating impacts of floods and provide critical support to vulnerable communities.

“The Flood Hub platform now offers forecasts up to seven days in advance, benefitting a population of 460 million people globally,” the announcement by Google stated.

According to Google, the Flood Hub platform was now available to Burundi, Eswatini, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal and Zimbabwe, in addition to Angola, Cameroon, the DRC, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria and others.

“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.”

According to the statement, floods claim tens of thousands of lives and cause billions of dollars in damages each year across the world.

“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.”

Google will now also send out flood alerts through Search and Maps notifications, to empower 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,” say Yossi Matias, Google’s VP of Engineering and the research and crisis response lead.

“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, non-profit organisations have been working with 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 people without digital connectivity can receive flood alerts.

For more information on the Flood Hub check out this video and please visit the Google Keyword blog.

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