Sa’ad Abubakar Asha is a typical Mallam whose sale tea and bread in Suleja, Niger State, Sa’ad lost 2 of his wives and 6 children and his ancestral house to recent flooding disaster earlier in July 2017. WHY? because he lacks appropriate access early warning information, guidance about the impending disaster and foremost he has no flood insurance to cover for his family and house lost.
Like Sa’ad, there are about 5.4 billion people and assets worth $Trillions living across the largest and populist cities in the world and of which all are vulnerable to short or long-term flood disaster. Most of this individuals, communities and assets living within the coverage flood zones are ignorant, living with less or no in-depth knowledge of such risk.
Flood has been a major devastator with no or limited resiliency for centuries, it’s the most frequent natural disaster that affect the world with a frequency of about 45%, alone it has accounted for about 75 % of all death related to natural disaster.
In 2012, the most devastating flood hit Nigeria, about 30 states were affected. With over 2,000 deaths, 2.9 million people were displaced from their homes, destruction of valuable properties, lots of farmlands were washed away leading to food insecurity, hosting pathogens & vectors resulting in pandemic disease outbreak and overall economic losses estimated in $Billions.
The Disaster Response on Facebook Page spotlights efforts on Facebook to help communities prepare for and recover from natural disasters around the globe lead by the facebook data for good initiative (https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/11/facebook-social-good-forum/)
Inspired by Facebook's data for good initiative, i quickly realized that Facebook has a conglomerate of about 2billion user globally, which makes it a powerful tool and avenue for disseminating flood disaster early warning to the 5.4billion flood vulnerable inhabitants global.
What it does
FLOEWS: Flood Early Warning System. It's an all-round solution that monitors and forecast flood imminence, thereby, disseminating the forecast as warning to the inhabitants of those floods vulnerable corridors, for early preparedness, awareness and response. FLOEWS also serves as platform for flood risk reduction and overall strengthening path to resiliency.
FLOEWS is simply arming the the inhabitant of such region with vital weapon "an Early Warning information" about when the flood is expected, its coverage, infrastructures and utilities at risk, magnitude, how to respond and evacuation action strategy, so as to prepare early towards the reduction in devastation among lives, valuable assets, biodiversity, food and water supply.
How I built it
I utilizes diverse dataset ranging from climatic (rainfall, temperature, humidity, precipitation), hydrological (runoff, river, stream, lagoon, dam, ocean) and topographical data (ground location, extent, elevation, soil type, drainage type/size/status). The data-sources also vary mainly from Satellites (NASA, ESA Sentinel, Airbus, CNES Satellites), Insitu (Meteorological station, Dam and River measurement meters & gauges, survey & Geo-informatics & telemetry equipment "total station, GPS, CORS, kinematics", UAV "Drone"), collection & Crowd-source data etc. all inform of Big Data but categorically inform of LIDAR points cloud, digital elevation & surface models, satellites imagery, remotely sensed infrared/synthetic RADAR aperture/SONAR/burn scar/raster footprint.
All the collected data are refined, aggregated and computed via "Hazus model" using a defined algorithm, the output of the computation shows the extent/coverage, speed/flow/volume of the flood, geographical settings and assets at risk, expected magnitude & menace and date of occurrence. The overall output serves as the Flood "FORECAST & WARNING". The right users/consumers/beneficiaries/customer segment are thereby matched together with the most suitable channel of disseminating the warning accordingly "via cloud: FLOEWS-AS-A-Service, open/access data services, API, web/mobile application, Social Media "FACEBOOK", SMS/USSD/IVR, TV/Radio/Print Media, Peer-to-Peer”. etc. Utilizing this approach will provide an optimum and exponential growth of usage, with clear understanding of the communicated risk as an early warning and thereby, responding to the appropriate emergency strategy.
Challenges I ran into
Sourcing data, regulation & licensing, finance, slow adaptation rate, ignorance, taboo and above all is despite FLOEWS and its approach towards providing a self-manageable, dematerialized, demonetized and democratized flood early warning system remain a pioneered and a new but capable of disrupting the conventional system exponentially.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
From inception to date FLOEWS has covered while providing a total 100,598sqkm for flood vulnerable zone globally with an flood early warning for ear;y preparedness, awareness and response to emergency strategy towards the reduction in devastation among lives, valuable properties, bio-diversity, food and water supply. Competition Participation and Traction: • Finalist Obama Initiative for Climate Resilient Innovation Challenge 2014. • Finalist ESRI Data visualization Challenge 2014. • Finalist Copernicus Masters-DLR Energy, Health, Environment Category 2016. • UN SDG Influx Trust Challenge 2017 Continental Winner. • Among 28 Global Winners for UN SDG Influx Trust Challenge 2017. • Among 1000 UN Talent 2018. • Among 1000 UN Unleash Innovation Lab Challenge Denmark 2017. • Finalist Singularity University Global Impact Challenge West Africa 2017. • Among 20 finalists for Collective Global Accelerator London 2017. • Finalist 1776 Challenge Cup, Nigeria 2017. • Finalist Facebook DevCircle Challenge, Lagos 2018. • Winner Lagos Innovates: Secure Lagos Innovation Challenge 2018. • 1st Runners Up Actin Space Challenge 2018, Lagos
What I learned
I biggest learning takeaway is the recent realization that Facebook data for good initiative has equipped FLOEWS with a powerful tool to aid disseminate the flood early warning to the conglomerates of Facebook users in flood vulnerable regions globally.
What's next for FLOEWS: Flood Early Warning System
If Facebook can considerably recognized FLOEWS initiative and thereby, help mentor and amend FLOEWS so as to serve the flood vulnerable community sustainable. Secondly, if Facebook can help embrace FLOEWS as an all-in-one and all-round solution with unique ability for monitoring & forecasting flood imminence, and thereby, disseminating the forecast as warning via its already existing Facebook for Disaster initiative to the corresponding flood vulnerable users and their various geographies.
FLOEWS in partnership with Facebook to help serve the 5.4billion flood vulnerable inhabitants globally.