Robots and drones may help end flooding in cities

Cork is among four cities worldwide chosen for a unique project set up by the International Red Cross to look at using emerging technology, including robots and drones, to ease flood risks.

The Irish Red Cross, American Red Cross, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are hosting workshops in Cork, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and Seoul “to “compile a report on new and emerging technologies, including solutions that are, or will be become, directly accessible to individuals to enhance their daily lives, particularly in times of crisis”.

The Irish Red Cross has invited some victims of flooding in Cork to a workshop to be held at the Kingsley Hotel on Saturday, November 1. A Red Cross spokeswoman said it was part of a global dialogue on the use of new technologies “to improve and expand a community’s ability to prepare for emergencies”.

The agency said it invited flooding victims as it “needs their invaluable personal input to help find a realistic response to future weather disasters”. It has also invited representatives from utility companies, health care professionals, retailers, farmers and teachers to participate in the workshop.

“The sharing of information will guide us on how to incorporate new technologies in the future, such as using social media, smartphones/apps, integrated handheld devices and unmanned aerial vehicles, etc,” the spokeswoman said.

Millions of euro of damage was caused to homes and businesses in Cork City and county in recent years, as was the case in the three other cities chosen by the International Red Cross for its workshops.

Cork’s city centre is regularly hit by tidal flooding.

Flooding and major rainfall has also contributed to flooding in Skibbereen and Clonakilty, while rain caused significant flooding in 2012 in Glanmire, Douglas, Togher, Bandon, and Midleton.

Last year, the Irish Red Cross launched a first-aid app which also included information on imminent emergencies.

“We have also developed a Tera system which allows us to send specific messages to communities providing them with advice about what to do if their homes get flooded,” the spokeswoman said.

- Anyone can attend the workshop at the Kingsley Hotel provided they pre-register at


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