In an effort to enhance disaster preparedness in India, tech giant Google on Tuesday announced public emergency alerts for floods in the country. Along with flood alerts, Google users will also be able to access "river level" information for more than 170 areas in which the Central Water Commission (CWC) has active observation stations, the company said.
"Timely information is the first step in disaster preparedness and has the potential to save thousands of lives lost to natural disasters each year. By making critical information more widely available to people, flood alerts will enable citizens across the country to make quicker and more informed decisions," said Payal Patel, product manager, Google India.
These alerts can be accessed on Google web search, Google Now cards in the Google app, Google Maps, and on the Google Public Alerts homepage, on both desktop and mobile devices. The 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, Google said.
Heavy rains and floods also account for nearly 1,700 lives lost annually. In 2015, the internet search giant introduced cyclone alerts to show information about cyclones in India. Clicking on the alert help users find information with details about the hazard, including a map and expected timeline, as well as tips on how to stay safe.