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Effective Measures for Flood Mitigation: Strategize, Cooperate & Take Action

Effective Measures for Flood Mitigation: Strategize, Cooperate & Take Action

Flash floods are a common occurrence in Malaysia and they are bound to pay us a visit every monsoon season. In December 2021, the country experienced its heaviest rainfall in the last one hundred years, causing flooding in 8 of 11 states. There are several factors that can influence the occurrence of floods and these include heavy rainfall, deforestation, urbanization on low lying areas, climate change and the most common one – clogged drains. 

When a flood occurs, lives and crops are endangered, not to mention setting back the country’s economic activities and developments. Infrastructure is damaged, livestock are killed and people lose their homes and source of income. In addition to massive traffic congestion and destroyed homes, flooding could also bring about mosquito-borne diseases and even death by drowning. The disruption to daily life and loss of assets will undoubtedly take a toll on people’s mental and physical health, especially those living in lower socio-economic communities. 

According to a government report, the floods of December 2021 caused an estimated RM20 billion in overall losses. The first most vulnerable Malaysian state was Selangor, suffering RM3.1 billion in losses, followed by Pahang, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Kelantan. With the highest population of Malaysians at 6.6 million, eight out of nine districts in Selangor have been identified as flood prone hotspots and these hotspots may increase substantially as time goes by. 

In our ongoing battle with floods, preparation is critical. It is crucial to always keep our guard up. Proper planning will also help to reduce potential losses and the impact of flooding on your home or businesses. Here are a few tips that we can adhere to, especially now that we are experiencing rainfall on a daily basis.

1. Monitor weather conditions and check the risk of flooding in your area.
Keep yourself and your family alert by paying attention to news alerts and the weather forecast be it on social media or on traditional media such as radio or television. If there is a potential risk, be sure to pack up some important belongings or items and keep them aside should there be a need to evacuate. 

2. Keep drains from clogging by cleaning up garbage and debris to reduce the risk of flooding.
Flash floods are usually caused by clogged drains. If drains are being obstructed by rubbish and debris, rainwater cannot flow through quickly enough. Hence it is important to always maintain a clean environment and ensure that drains surrounding offices and homes are always clear of obstruction. This will also help in preventing the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes which causes dengue fever. 

3. Move valuable belongings, chemicals, and electrical devices to an elevated, safe place away from expected water levels.
On a regular basis, items like our phone and tablet charges, gas cylinders, medications and other chemicals are stored away from prying hands of children. When flood season arrives, these items should not be exposed and should be moved to safer places where flood waters are not able to reach them to prevent electrocution, chemical leaks or explosions. 

4. Ensure that insurance covers against flood damage to property.
A very important aspect is insurance coverage. It is imperative that individuals and business owners insure their property against natural disasters in order to have peace of mind especially when monetary funds are required to restore homes and businesses post flood. 

5. Ensure that everyone in the house knows where to turn off electricity or gas supply.
Teach older children where and how to turn off electricity or gas supply when necessary. Everyone in the family should know what to do in case family members are separated during flooding. Discussion roles and planning ahead of time helps to reduce fear and anxiety as everyone will know how to respond should there be a flood. 

6. Prepare an emergency flood kit and find out where the nearest evacuation shelter is located.
If you live or work in a flood-prone area, it is a good idea to maintain a disaster supply kit at home. This kit should at the very least be stocked with first aid supplies, flashlight and batteries, non-perishable food, drinking water, medicine, some clothes and cash.

There are three agencies in Malaysia that are responsible for managing flood risk and coordinating responses to natural disasters. They are:

  1. The National Disaster Management and Relief Committee 
  2. The State Disaster Management and Relief Committee 
  3. The District Disaster Management and Relief Committee 

While it is the responsibility of these agencies to reduce economic damage and minimize flood impacts, individual property owners are still responsible for maintaining their private drainage system, just as districts are still responsible for river maintenance and public drainage systems. Moreover, communities have come together in the form of gotong royong against floods. In solidarity, the community organize regular rubbish pick-ups to unclog drains, restock shelters with emergency supplies, and share information such as weather warnings and emergency alerts on social media groups and we truly commend these communities for coming together in trying times. 

At Maclean, we take our responsibilities seriously. While we do have immense experience in dealing with waterlogged premises, we help mitigate the trouble of dealing with them in the first place. Staying true to the saying that prevention is better than cure, our services involve clearing up clients’ long-neglected drains with our powerful pressure jet washers. If you would like to find out more about our cleaning and declogging process in detail, please do not hesitate to contact us at 03-7773 0300 or email us at enquire@maclean.com.my

References: 
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/parts-of-kuala-lumpur-flooded-after-non-stop-downpour 
https://www.wikiimpact.com/another-flash-flood-in-kl-reasons-why-floods-are-on-the-rise-in-the-capital-city/
http://nemo.gov.vc/nemo/index.php/hazards/flooding/265-what-causes-flood
https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/leisure/money/2022/03/23/which-states-in-malaysia-are-most-vulnerable-to-floods/ https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/09/20/nadma-eight-flood-hotspot-districts-identified-in-selangor/29228 
https://www.monash.edu.my/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/2236516/Flooding-in-Segamat.pdf 
https://www.cdc.gov/cpr/infographics/br-floods.htm 

Dec 2022
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