Floods, the most prevalent and perilous natural disasters, constantly jeopardize communities worldwide. Over the past few years, Google Research has undertaken significant investment in pioneering AI modeling for flood forecasting. This initiative aligns with Google's commitment to assisting global communities in mitigating the impacts of climate change through AI-driven early warnings for natural disasters.
Google's flood forecasts, a result of collaboration with organizations, governments, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), are accessible to the public through various channels, including the Flood Hub (g.co/floodhub). This platform serves the public, NGOs, governments, and researchers with comprehensive global flood information. In a concerted effort with local humanitarian organizations, Google actively contributes to anticipatory actions, leveraging flood information to support vulnerable communities. Notable examples from the past year illustrate the practical applications of this collaboration.
Google and Give Directly in Mozambique: Supporting Anticipatory Action In early 2023, Google partnered with GiveDirectly, an aid organization facilitating unconditional cash transfers to communities in need. The collaboration aimed to test the efficacy of utilizing riverine flood forecasts and digital cash infrastructure to provide rapid financial assistance within a day of a flood warning. This initiative, piloted during Cyclone Freddy in Mozambique, demonstrated the potential to enhance disaster preparedness. The collaboration is set to continue in 2024, expanding its tools and coverage to Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Google and UNOCHA: Flood Alerts in Nigeria The UNOCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data collaborated with Google between August and October 2023 to generate flood alerts in Nigeria based on Google's flood forecasts. This pilot revealed the significant value of combining hydrological and inundation forecasts for estimating flood impact. The alerts aimed to notify relevant stakeholders promptly, facilitating more effective responses. Plans for further collaborations in 2024 include forecasting severe flood events and rapid mapping for ongoing floods.
Google and ICRC in Somalia: Supporting Humanitarian Work Google supported ongoing humanitarian efforts in Somalia, providing The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with inundation risk maps and daily flood forecasts. This information assisted in prioritizing humanitarian operations, alerting populations and authorities, and implementing floodproofing measures in critical locations.
Google and monday.com: Implementing Actionable Alerts In June 2023, monday.com collaborated with Google to leverage Flood Hub forecasts in developing an extensive early flood warning system for the Red Cross in Assam, India. This collaboration empowered Red Cross volunteers to translate forecasts into actionable tasks, enhancing community preparedness. The ongoing collaboration seeks to identify additional areas for cooperation and improve technical integration between the tools.
Looking forward, Google is committed to expanding Flood Hub coverage to more areas and countries while continually enhancing its functionality. The goal is to encourage global collaborations, empowering organizations to leverage Google's flood forecasting to support relief work and safeguard flood-affected communities worldwide.