Google has now expanded FloodHub to 80 countries worldwide, adding 60 new countries across Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and South and Central America. The newly included regions include areas with the highest percentages of people exposed to flood risk, such as the Netherlands, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. This comes as flooding, due to climate change, continues to affect over 250 million people per year, resulting to economic damage of at least R200 billion ($10 billion) across the world. Another important upgrade is that FloodHub will be able to provide forecasting up to seven days in advance, which is a big increase from 48 hours last year. The platform will be able to provide forecasting to 460 million people around the globe, according to Google.
Yossi Matias, Google's vice president of Engineering and Research and Crisis Response Lead, said in a statement that the application now covers some of the most flood affected places.
"As part of our work to use AI to address the climate crisis, today we’re expanding our flood forecasting capabilities to 80 countries.
"With the addition of 60 new countries across Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and South and Central America, our platform Flood Hub now includes some of the territories with the highest percentages of the population exposed to flood risk and experiencing more extreme weather, covering 460 million people globally," he said in a statement.
The application was first launched in 2021. With more countries and improvements made, it should help in especially flood-prone regions.
"Governments, aid organisations, and individuals can use Flood Hub to take timely action and prepare for riverine floods, seeing locally relevant flood data and forecasts up to seven days in advance - an increase from last year, when information was only available 48 hours in advance," Matias added.
The first batch of African countries to be included in the application were Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and South Africa.
The latest African countries to be added are Burundi, Eswatini, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.