Google’s new AI flood alert software now covers India and Bangladesh

Aditi Premjit 8th September, 2020

According to statistics 12 per cent of India’s land is prone to floods (Source: Gettyimages)

Google has announced the launch of its new Artificial Intelligence flood forecast that will help India and Bangladesh predict floods, as reported by NDTV. This new initiative provides further knowledge on the water levels and timing of the flood in the form of alerts. Available in 9 different languages, it enables the government to provide fast, efficient, and accurate warnings to people in flood-prone regions. According to Google, around 20 crore people in India can now receive alerts from the flood forecasting system. This new initiative can potentially save the lives of thousands of people.

For several years, Google’s Flood forecasting initiative has been working hand in hand with the Indian Government’s Water Commission to provide better outcomes. They tested it for the first time in Patna in 2018. Patna is one of the most flood-prone regions in India. The company also announced in 2018 that they were not just working on flood warnings but also on health care services. The flood warning system was extended to the whole of India by June of the current year.

Thus far, it has sent 3 crore notifications to people in flood-affected areas across the country. Apart from notifications it also sends out visual warnings via phones to make it easier for people to grasp the situation at hand. It also provides people with more information about how high the water is likely to rise at a specific area in a specific time, based on the Google forecast. This means more than 20 crore people across 2,50,000 square kilometres will benefit from this.

A study of Google’s forecasts in the Ganges- Brahmaputra river basin, carried out by scientists from Yale, claims that 70 per cent of the people who received flood alerts were prior to the coming of the flood and 65 percent took required action after receiving the alert. The researchers at Yale found that in an area suffering from low literacy, limited education, and high poverty, a majority of citizens act on the information they receive, as reported by NDTV. Thus, early warnings are definitely worth the effort. As for Bangladesh the tech giant has covered over 4 crore people and are currently working on its expansion.

(Sources: NDTV, AnalyticsIndiamag, Fortune, WorldFocus, Tech-EconomicTimes)

Edited by Swikruti Kar

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