Peru

Google’s balloon-powered internet is helping Peru during extreme floods

During natural disasters, the ability to communicate with loved ones and get basic information is vital. But communication infrastructure is often one of the first things to be knocked out by high winds, massive rain, and flooding — especially in remote and rural regions.

Massive jellyfish-like balloons traveling at the edge of space, however, are making that problem a thing of the past.

Over the past two months, Peruvians affected by extreme rain and severe flooding since January have had basic internet access, thanks to Project Loon, an initiative from Google’s parent company Alphabet to bring internet to developing nations.

The efforts in Peru show that Project Loon could be a model for relief during future natural disasters, with the potential to increase connectivity and communication when it’s needed most.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by heavy rains in Peru over the past several months, and the Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in more than 800 provinces in the country.

X — Alphabet’s research division for “moonshot technologies” to make the world a better place — has used Project Loon to connect tens of thousands of Peruvians in flooded regions around Lima, Chimbote, and Piura. Project Loon head Alastair Westgarth…

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