17 February, 2016

Google to offer ‘Flood Alerts’ as part of Google Public Alerts

After introducing 'Cyclone Alerts' last year, Google Maps & Now Cards will now also display 'Flood Alerts' for India.

This is an extension of Google's effort to make critical information more accessible around natural disasters.

Users will now get information with details about the hazard, including a map and expected timeline, as well as tips on how to stay safe.

"Google will be providing 'River level' information for over 170 regions across India in which the Central Water Commission (CWC) has active observation stations. Users can now find 'flood alerts' along with 'river level' information and get public emergency alerts in case of floods," said the company release.

These alerts are now available on Google web search, Google Now cards in the Google app, Google Maps, and on the Google Public Alerts homepage, and can be accessed on desktop and mobile devices.

These alerts will be created and shared using data provided by the CWC.

Among all the natural disasters that occur in India, floods are the most common. Chronic floods during the monsoon season on an average affect more than 30 million Indians annually.

According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), on an average 7.21 million hectares (roughly 72,000 sq km) go under floodwater annually. This water typically ravages 3.78 million hectares of agricultural land, damaging crops worth Rs.1,118 crore annually.

Heavy rains and floods also account for nearly 1,700 lives lost annually.Apart from this, 1.25 lakh houses are annually damaged by torrential rains that also wipe out nearly 96,000 livestock.

Ironically, 60% of India's farmland, 66% of its livestock and its entire forest area depend on rains for survival.

Users can browse all active alerts at google.org/public alerts, and relevant alerts will also appear on normal Google Maps searches depending on the query.

Clicking through an alert on the map displays more info from the organization sending the alert.