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FLOODS IN MALAYSIA Historical Reviews, Causes, Effects and Mitigations Approach

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  • Northwest University Kano Nigeria/ Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Abstract and Figures

Flood is the most devastating natural disaster experienced in Malaysia is flood. Throughout Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak, there is total of 189 river basins (89 of the river basins are in peninsula Malaysia, 78 in Sabah and 22 in Sarawak), with the main channels flowing directly to the South China Sea and 85 of them are prone to become recurrent flooding. The estimated area vulnerable to flood disaster is approximately 29,800 km2 or 9% of the total Malaysia area, and is affecting almost 4.82 million people which is around 22% of the total population of the country. This study is aimed at finding the causes, effects and mitigation of floods. A comparative study was carried out to determine the people perception on floods. It is clear that, most of the people believe that, improper drainage condition is the main cause of floods. About 33% of the population agrees that, water damage to building is the main effect of flooding and other part suggested that evacuating people from flood prone to safe zones is the best way of reducing flood victims. It is finally agrees that, government and local community should take necessary measures to ensure proper drainage is build and clear during rainfall season. It is suggested that people should avoid developing new buildings on a water ways to reduce frequent occurrence of flooding, or people and government most ensure that, flood prone areas are not occupy with buildings.
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FLOODS IN MALAYSIA
Historical Reviews, Causes, Effects and
Mitigations Approach
1Sani G. D/iya, 2Muhd BarzaniGasim, 3Mohd EkhwanToriman, 4Musa G. Abdullahi
East Coasts Environmental Research Institute, University Sultan Zainal Abiden, Kuala Terengganu Malaysia.
Abstract: Flood is the most devastating natural disaster experienced in Malaysia is flood. Throughout Malaysia,
including Sabah and Sarawak, there is total of 189 river basins (89 of the river basins are in peninsula Malaysia, 78
in Sabah and 22 in Sarawak), with the main channels flowing directly to the South China Sea and 85 of them are
prone to become recurrent flooding. The estimated area vulnerable to flood disaster is approximately 29,800 km2
or 9% of the total Malaysia area, and is affecting almost 4.82 million people which is around 22% of the total
population of the country. This study is aimed at finding the causes, effects and mitigation of floods. A comparative
study was carried out to determine the people perception on floods. It is clear that, most of the people believe that,
improper drainage condition is the main cause of floods. About 33% of the population agrees that, water damage
to building is the main effect of flooding and other part suggested that evacuating people from flood prone to safe
zones is the best way of reducing flood victims. It is finally agrees that, government and local community should
take necessary measures to ensure proper drainage is build and clear during rainfall season. It is suggested that
people should avoid developing new buildings on a water ways to reduce frequent occurrence of flooding, or people
and government most ensure that, flood prone areas are not occupy with buildings.
Keywords: Malaysia, flood, disaster, vulnerable area, river basin, and rainfall season.
I. INTRODUCTION
A flood can be defined as any high water flow that dominates the natural or artificial banks in any part of the river system.
Therefore, when a river bank is overtopped, the water extends over the flood plain and generally becomes hazard to the
society (Ching et al., 2013).
When floods occurred, it has terrible impacts on people as it disrupts their day to day activities and the impacts can last
for a week in the coming years, climate change is likely to make the situation even more challenging (NFRA,
2011).Flooding is a natural event, and no matter how hard a government or society tried to minimize or to stop it
completely (FRMP 2012).
The most devastating natural disaster experienced in Malaysia is flood. Throughout Malaysia, including Sabah and
Sarawak, there is total of 189 river basins with the main channels flowing directly to the south china sea and 85 of them
are prone to recurrent flooding (89 of the river basins are in Peninsula Malaysia, 78 in Sabah and 22 in Sarawak). The
estimated area vulnerable to flood disaster is approximately 29,800 km2 or 9% of the total Malaysia area, and is affecting
almost 4.82 million people which is around 22% of the total population of the country (DID, 2009).
Floods in Malaysia have been classified in two categories by the Malaysian Drainage and Irrigation Department, i.e. flash
flood and monsoon floods (DID, 2000a). Based on the hydrological perspectives, the clear difference between these two
disasters is the period taken by the river flow to recede to the normal level. Flash floods take only some hours to return to
the normal water level, while monsoon flood can last for a month (Noorazuan, 2006).
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Figure 1 below shows the rainfall pattern in Malaysia and how is it influenced by the two monsoons: the South west and
north east Monsoons. The location of Malaysia itself consists of West Malaysia (Peninsula Malaysia) and East Malaysia
(Sabah and Sarawak) and they are divided by the South China Sea (Toriman et al., 2013).
Figure1. Southwest and Northeast monsoons
Local weather changes are among the natural cause that triggered flash flood; while non-natural causes such as inefficient
urban drainage system and increase of the number of building in the urban areas, and it is the causes of most of the flash
floods event in the Klang Valley Peninsular (DID 2000a).
According to Chan, (1996), due to an increase in impervious surfaces such as roads, buildings and parking spaces, the risk
and exposure of urban dwellers to floods has recently increased. It has been observed that, the economic repercussions of
floods are more severely felt by the low-income dwellers especially in the flood-plain area (Chan, 2000). With their
minimal level of income, what they can do is only small effort to mitigate the impact of floods (Sulong et al., 2012).
Malaysia has experienced series of floods since 1920s and one of the severest is the December 2006 and January 2007
floods, the rescue and recovery departments has learn a lot of experiences as a results of these floods (Barton, 1994,
Drabek, 1995, Ewen et al., 2007 and Tompkins et al., 2008 ).
II. MATERIALS AND METHODS
Description of the Study Area
Malaysia is located in the South East Asia, it lies between the latitude 2o N and 7o N of the equator and longitude 99.5o E
and 120o E. it also covers an area of approximately 329,750 km2, comprise of Peninsula Malaysia (i.e. West Malaysia)
and the states of Sabah and Sarawak (East Malaysia) which is located along the northwest coast of Borneo Island. A large
open water of about 531.1 square kilometers of the South China Sea separated the Peninsula Malaysia and the states of
Sabah and Sarawak. Similarly, Peninsular Malaysia is also separated from Sumatra and Indonesia by the narrow straits of
Malacca and from Singapore by Straits of Tebrau (Ching et al., 2013).Malaysia generally is enclosed by over 4800 km of
coastlines, and the weather along these coastlines is influenced by convective rain and the rainfall distribution is greatly
influenced by topography and the monsoon winds (Ching et al., 2013).
Figure 2, below shows the location of the study area, the location of Peninsula, the Borneo Island and how the Peninsula
is also separated Sabah and Sarawak and surrounded by South China Sea by the Straits of Malacca and that of Tebrau
(Google.com).
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Figure 2. Map showing the study area.
Review of Flood History in Some Areas in Malaysia
Terengganu receive heavy rainfall during the North east monsoon that occurs between October and March and leads to
severe floods almost every year at all over the state. Terengganu is located at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia that
has never missed a flooding event especially during the months of November and December during the north east
monsoon period. The floods that occur at Dungun area of Terengganu state was due to the combination of physical factors
such as elevation and also its close proximity to the sea apart from heavy rainfall received during the monsoon period.
Hence, a flood that affects the Terengganu area and other location along the eastern coast is termed as a coastal flooding
(Muhd Barzani et al., 2007).
Historically, Muar River Basin has experienced frequent flooding over the years, there had been series of heavy rainfall
events that had resulted in flooding within the Muar River Basin catchments. The recorded floods are shown from
December 1926 to January 1927, February to April 1967, November 1967 to January 1968, December 1970 to January
1971 and November 1979 respectively. From 1980 to 2010, a total of 29 flood events have been recorded (Ching et al.,
2013).
Another enormous flood in the Malaysian flood disaster history, striking in four states in the Peninsular Malaysia like:
Melaka, Johor, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan. The flood incident started when the Northeast monsoon brought a heavy
rain through series of continues storms, causing destructive flood in Kota Tinggi, Johor (MNRE 2007a). The flood strike
as a result of two waves, the December 2006 which last for 13 days from 19 31 December, and January 2007 lasted for
7 days from 12 17 January. The series of floods were unusual as the 2006 average rainfall return period was 50 years
while the 2007 had more than 100 years of return period (Shafie 2007, BadrulHisham et al., 2010). The flood was
destructive with the highest water level recorded reached 2.75m, is the highest level ever recorded since 1950 and it
resulted in more than 100,000 people to be evacuated and the death of 18 people recorded (MNRE 2007a). Table 1, below
shows the flood history in Malaysia, including the lost and the fatality rate.
Table1. Floods history in Malaysia
Date/Year
Incidence
Property, Material, Crop or
other losses USD
Number of
Deaths
Source
(Chan, 2012)
1926
Flood known as “The storm
forest flood”
Thousands of hectares of
forests destroyed
NA
December 1996
Floods brought by Tropical
Storm Greg in Keningau (Sabah
State)
300 million
241
2000
Floods caused by heavy rains in
Kelantan and Terengganu
Millions
15
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December 2004
Asian Tsunami
Millions
68
December 2006
&
January 2007
Floods in Johor State
489 million
18
2008
Floods in Johor State
21.19 Million
28
2010
Floods in Kedah and Perlis
8.48 Million (Aid alone)
4
2011 & 2012
La Nina in 2011 and 2012 (which
brought floods)
NA
NA
III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
After an in-depth review of the previous finding by many researchers on floods, the causes, attributes, effects and action
taken to prevent or reduce the impacts, we come out with discussion as follows:
Causes of Floods
A research carried out by Kong et al., (2010), on urban flooding figure 3 shows that, 28% of people believe that flood is
due to improper drainage system, 20% think the cause is pollution, 18% says is the management of urbanization and 16%
said environment factor and 11% believe weather is the causative agent while 7% choose dam break (Kong et al., 2010).
Figure 3. Six Causes of flooding
This result was validated by the research carried out by Thorndahl et al., (2008). According to the study, flooding occurs
as a result of improper drainage system and they also state seven causes of urban flooding in which three of them are
related to drainage system (Thorndahl et al., 2008). Similarly, urban flooding due to dam breaking has been stated in a
research carried out by Gallegos et al., (2009). Another statement by Oguntala et al., (1982) also validates the research of
Kong et al., (2010) on the improper management of environment is one of the causes of flooding (Akin et al., 1982).
Therefore, this shows that, factors like improper drainage system, dam breaking and improper management of
environment are main causes of flooding with the support of almost 60%.
Effects of Flooding
A study by Vinet (2008) stated that, as the effects of flooding include damage to home, shops and industries. He point out
that, flood victims have problem with the cost of repair and some small shops do not reopen after the disaster.
The above research was recently validated by Kong et al., (2010), where they ascertain that, more than 33% of people
during their research agree that, water damage to house, structures and appliances are some of the effects of flooding.
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Also loss of income due to closing of business is another effect of flooding. About 25% of people agree with this effect,
and 17% believe that transport disruption is another effect of flooding (Kong et al., 2010). Figure 4 below shows the
results of their research.
Figure 4. Four Effects of flooding
IV. FLOOD MITIGATION
One of the solutions to flooding is to relocate people from flooded area and move them to more designed areas that are on
elevation area. Another way to reduce flood is to control the hazards with structural measures (Texier, 2008).
Similarly, research by Kong et al., (2010), yield almost similar result where they suggest that to reduce the effect of
flooding is to move people to higher elevation as shown in figure 5 below. They added that, 44% of people with the
suggestion of removing people to a higher elevation. Another suggestion is to use modified structures that can reduce
frequency of flooding, and more than 34% of their interviewers support this method. About 17% believes that, to reduce
flood people must participate in any type of emergencies of flood fighting, and 5% agree that none of this measures can
reduce flood since it is natural disaster (Kong et al., 2010).
Figure 5. Five suggestion of Flood Mitigation
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Water damages
to house or
structure
water damage to
contents
(furniture,
appliances)
Transportation
disrupt
Lost income
because of
closing bussiness
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
Participate in any
emergency flood
fighting
Move to higher
elevation
Flood proofed or
modified structure
None of the above
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V. DISCUSSION
Based on the research available, it shows that there are at least 4 effects of flooding which include water damage to
houses, disruption of transportation, reduction of income and damage of furniture and other appliances. But, most of the
population strongly believes that, water damage to houses is the main effects of flooding. Therefore, it is suggested that,
houses, shops and industries should be properly build so that to avoid building on the floodplain and on the flood prone
zones.
From the finding of the flood histories, it is clear that, there are many cause of flooding which include drainage system,
weather, urbanization, environmental factor, dam break and others. But from the previous research, most of people
believe that, improper drainage system is the main cause of flooding. Hence, the drainage system should be properly
managed and designed in such a way that it can accommodate the waste water flow and in case there is dam break or the
bank of the river is full due to persistent rainfall the drainage system can easily and conveniently drain the water.
For mitigations, there are many suggestions on the ways to reduce flood, many people think removing people from the
flood prone zones to a place with high elevation is the best way of mitigation. Therefore, the best mitigation is to stay
away from low elevation areas and engage in emergency awareness.
VI. CONCLUSION
The research was conducted in order to review the past work on flood causes, effects and mitigations approach so as to
keep people around the river area up to date on how to tackle and control floods and also how to reduce the impact and if
possible to avoid damages. The findings of this study shows that, large percentage of people believes improper drainage
system is the main cause of flood and also some part agree that the main effects of flood is the damage to houses and
appliances, lastly some stated that the main way to avoid flood damages is to evacuate people from the flood prone zones.
Finally the main aim was achieve and the author hope that, this work will help people and government in designing
appropriate flood control measures
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The author would like to thank the support of East coast environmental research institute (CRIM). I would also like to
appreciate the tireless efforts and encouragements of my supervisors Prof. Dr. Mohd Ekhwan Toriman, Prof. Dr. Muhd
Barzani Gasim from ESERI, UNiSZA and my colleague Musa Garba Abdullahi.
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... Flood occurrence has become a national issue in Malaysia as it has threatened life and property and disrupts social and economic activities (Du, FitzGerald, Clark, & Hou, 2010; The Official Portal for Department of Irrigation & Drainage Malaysia (DID), 2011). Flood is the major and the most severe of all disasters in Malaysia (Sani, Muhd, Mohd, & Musa, 2014;Wan Nor Azmin et al., 2010). There are more than 85 water basins identified as prone to flood. ...
Chapter
River flood exposes the population to multiple attacks from the physical, mental, health risks and its related negative effects. This study focused on the Pahang River and the three worst-hit district population (Pekan, Kuantan and Temerloh). Tools on areas of self-perceived health symptoms, QOL, depression, PTSD and community empowerment were assessed. Semi-guided questionnaires were distributed to a total of 602 victims. Questions on health symptoms were asked to respondents (R) and household members (HM). PTSD screening, i.e., the Trauma Screening Questionnaire, was used. Depression was assessed through the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). WHOQOL-BREF assessed four domains of QOL, i.e., physical activity, psychological, social relationships and environment. Community empowerment using the Individual Community Related Empowerment tool to assess five domains, i.e., self-efficacy, participation, motivation, intention and critical awareness. Prevalent disease showed that majority suffered from hypertension (11.0%) and diabetes (7.3%). Two main symptoms experienced were cough (R = 47.2%, HM = 43.7%) and flu (R = 42.7%, HM = 40.4). Monthly health expenditure was higher post flood. Purchase of prescription medications rose from MYR24.40 to 31.02. A total of 33 people were suspected to suffer from PTSD. Through BDI assessment, it was estimated that as many as 104 (17.3%) suffered overt (high) depression. The prevalence of QOL domains are as such: low physical activity was highest at 59%, low psychological activity at 53.3%, low social relationships at 43% and low environment at 45.2%. On community empowerment, low empowerment was seen on four domains: self-efficacy at 52%, participation at 55%, motivation at 54.2% and critical awareness at 74.4%. The domain with good intention and willing to participate was at 54%. Results indicate that the community was not adaptable to flood events. This is evident from high amount of experienced symptoms, low QOL (physical and psychological aspects) and empowerment (except intention). Proportion of PTSD and overt (high) depression was however quite low. Keywords: Flood, health symptoms, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, quality of life, empowerment
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the root causes of disaster vulnerability in Jakarta, to highlight the strategies and implications of official policies, and to consider alternatives for vulnerability mitigation. The February 2007 floods which struck Jakarta emphasized the extreme vulnerability of informal poor communities and the inefficiency of the disaster management policy set up by the Indonesian government. Design/methodology/approach – Detailed field investigations were undertaken before, during and after the February 2007 flood event in several informal districts of Jakarta to collect secondary data and conduct interviews with the population and some stakeholders of the disaster management scene. Findings – Human factors are dominant in explaining the magnitude of the 2007 flooding episode. Urbanization is partially responsible for the extent of the flooding by waterproofing the soils. Yet floods do not strike the inhabitants of formal and informal settlements in the same way. People from the poor illegal areas are the most affected. Their behaviour and coping strategies during the crisis are not due to a low perception of risk, but rather to some daily and non-hazard-related constraints which are not taken into account by the government. Practical implications – To prevent increasing vulnerability among these communities, it is essential to refocus disaster management strategies on a daily pattern and to integrate them within a global development framework, to de-marginalize them in terms of access to resources (public services, economic values), and to favoir empowerment. Originality/value – It is imperative to focus on poverty reduction and to develop economic projects aimed at treating the causes of vulnerability.
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In recent years, analysts have focussed on building a range of strategic responses to enhance the ability of communities and businesses to manage and recover from natural disasters. The experience from each new crisis adds further to the process of hazard management. The results in tourism research have expanded the community's collective capacity to respond to such circumstances, but little consideration has been given to how small firms, which are the mainstay of the industry, actually deal with the impacts of a regional catastrophe.The 2003 bushfires in northeast Victoria (Australia) devastated over 1.1 million hectares, destroying the livelihood of some operators and leaving more than one thousand small tourism firms without a revenue base. This paper examines how they prepared for, and recovered from, the event. Perhaps not surprisingly, it exposes their vulnerability and lack of preparedness for dealing with a hazard of this magnitude. On the other hand, it demonstrates the resilience of real-world operators and their reliance on accumulated experience to manage their own recovery. There are lessons here that may well apply in similar circumstances. For example, the paper notes the inadequacy of insurance as a risk management strategy, but emphasizes the value of collective approaches to marketing to rebuild the confidence of future visitors.
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The southern part of France near the Mediterranean Sea is subject to flash floods generated by heavy rainfalls typical of the Mediterranean climate. In November 1999 (the 12th and 13th) and in September 2002 (the 8th and 9th), 5000 km2 were touched by rainfalls superior to 200 mm in the departments of Aude and Gard. In both cases, maximum precipitation exceeded 500 mm within 24 h. The damage amounted in the hundreds of millions of euros, and there were numerous fatalities: 35 in 1999, and 23 in 2002. Following a survey of available data, this article details the cost of the damage for both flash flood events. The distribution of the damage is quantified by sector of activity (e.g., industry, agriculture). The average ratio “euros of loss per inhabitant” is quite similar in both cases, but this average hides some geographical discrepancies. Losses in industry can locally worsen the overall toll. The mapping of damage on a local scale and the amount of losses per inhabitant demonstrate that rural areas underwent heavy losses. This was mostly due to the destruction of the public infrastructures (e.g., roads, bridges) that represented more than half of the overall loss. In some rural areas, the cost of flash floods can exceed 15,000 euros per inhabitant. Such flood prevention issues as flood warning systems and land use planning must not focus only on the cities. Death, injury and heavy material losses also disadvantage the rural and mountainous areas where populations and activities are concentrated near rivers.
Article
Modeling of dam-break flooding in an urban residential area in southern California is presented. Modeling is performed using BreZo, an unstructured grid, Godunov-type, finite volume model that solves the shallow-water equations. The model uses terrain data from a 1.5 m Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and contour data depicting the reservoir and breach geometry. A spatially distributed Manning coefficient based on a landcover classification derived from digital orthophotos and vector data (e.g., parcel outlines) is also used, and the interception of flow by storm drains is modeled with sink terms in the 2D continuity equation. The model is validated with flood extent and stream flow measurements, and a sensitivity analysis is completed to identify the necessary level of data and model complexity for accuracy purposes. Results show street depressions in the land surface should be resolved by the computational mesh for flood extent and stream flow accuracy. A ca. 5 m resolution mesh that spans streets by approximately 3 cells achieves a good balance between accuracy and computational effort. Results also show that heterogeneous resistance is important for stream flow accuracy, and the interception of overland flow by storm sewers is important for flood extent accuracy. The sensitivity of predictions to several additional factors such as the reservoir level, breach geometry and DTM source (LiDAR, National Elevation Data, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Data) is also reported.
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This paper explores the relationship between disaster risk reduction and long-term adaptive capacity building in two climate vulnerable areas—the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean and Ceará, in NE Brazil. Drawing on past applications of the disaster risk reduction framework, we identify four critical factors that have led to reductions in risk: flexible, learning-based, responsive governance; committed, reform-minded and politically active actors; disaster risk reduction integrated into other social and economic policy processes; and a long-term commitment to managing risk. We find that while the presence of these factors has reduced overall risk in both regions, in Ceará, disaster response as it is currently practiced, has fallen short of addressing the fundamental causes of vulnerability that leave those prone to hazards able to cope in the short term, yet enmeshed in poverty and at risk from the longer-term changes associated with climate change. Although calls for integration of disaster risk management with poverty eradication are not new, there has been insufficient attention paid in the literature on how to foster such integration. Based on the two case studies, we argue that the adoption of good governance mechanisms (such as stakeholder participation, access to knowledge, accountability and transparency) in disaster risk reduction policy may create the policy environment that is conducive to the kind of structural reform needed to build long-term adaptive capacity to climate-driven impacts. We conclude that without a synergistic two-tiered approach that includes both disaster risk reduction and structural reform, disaster risk reduction, in the face of climate changes, will prove to be an expensive and ineffective palliative treatment of changing risks.