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The Canadian Red Cross and RBC are working together on technology to help Canadians most at risk of flooding disasters.

In certain areas such as Fredericton, Montréal’s suburbs, and along the banks of the Ottawa River, residents regularly have to be evacuated due to flooding.

Flooding events can devastate a community and, due to climate change, it is possible that floods may become more frequent across other parts of Canada.

Together in a Disaster

When disasters happen, the Canadian Red Cross is there supporting government efforts. Working in support of the authorities, the Red Cross may provide lodging to individuals who’ve been displaced from their homes. It also provides food, clothing, and personal hygiene supplies to assist those in need in the days or weeks following a disaster. It’s there in the longer term too. For months or even years following a disaster, the Red Cross works with municipalities to help rebuild communities. It also helps with emotional and financial support for individuals in need.

Helping Canadians be Prepared

Now, as part of the RBC Tech for Nature program, which focuses on reducing the effects of climate change through investments in technology, the Red Cross and RBC have partnered to help increase emergency preparedness in vulnerable communities across Canada.

Through the partnership, the aggregated data provided by RBC will provide valuable insights to help inform the Red Cross’s operational risk reduction activities. RBC can combine cutting-edge spatial data that identifies where floods are likely to occur with its real-time understanding of the communities most in need from a financial perspective. This information contributes to a situational awareness that can help direct assistance to those who are most vulnerable.

Helping clients thrive and communities prosper is core to RBC. This is why RBC’s Location Intelligence and Climate Analytics team is working to share and leverage such insights with the Red Cross.

“RBC is proud to partner with Red Cross to help ensure more Canadians have the resources needed to overcome disasters, such as floods,” said Graham Watt, Director of Climate Analytics at RBC. “By combining their cutting-edge spatial data analytics – showing where disasters are most likely to occur, predicting their impact – with our aggregated financial insights, Red Cross can improve the efficiency of response actions taken when facing a crisis.”

One potential application by Red Cross is to use the anonymized and aggregated information in a new pilot program. In the most vulnerable communities, Red Cross volunteers will be able to connect with households about flood-risk awareness and propose actions to mitigate the impact a future flood may have on a home—for example, uncovering floor drains, moving valuables to higher floors, or installing sump pump systems to help prevent basement flooding and defend a house’s foundations.

Being Prepared Is Being Future Ready

As the climate changes, disasters all around the world are expected to become more frequent and severe. Already, the Red Cross is seeing more fires, floods, tornadoes and ice storms disrupt the lives of Canadians.

According to Greg Sarney, Director of Corporate Partnerships at the Canadian Red Cross, as that trend continues it’s going to stretch the charity’s resources ever thinner. “That’s part of the reason why disaster risk reduction projects like this one with RBC are so important. Reducing the risk,” explains Sarney, “can give communities the best foot forward to be prepared.”