Why is Malaysia Still Under a Flood Crisis?


Andreas Klippe no responses August 20, 2020

If you’ve ever been to Malaysia, you’d probably know how equatorial this country’s weather is: constant high temperature, relatively high humidity, and frequented by the effects of the Northeast and Southwest monsoons.

twin tower
World’s tallest twin tower, the Petronas Tower of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

But even this modern tropical country has to deal with natural phenomena like flooding. It is one of the major problems Malaysia faces every year. This requires an unconventional approach to protect the safety of their future. With fear in their heart each time it rains, how could they survive in the coming years to face the destruction which flooding can give?

History with Unprecedented Solution

A lesson from the past.

Historically, there have been big flood events from the last century in Malaysia. However, the 1926 “storm forest flood” in peninsular Malaysia’s worst flood in living memory has resulted in extensive damage to property, road systems, and agricultural land. Decades later, a disastrous flood swept the country, the Federal State of Malaysia was severely affected.

old flooded photo
The 1971 flood in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia rendering 38,000 individuals homeless

There is no telling when the next catastrophic flood will hit Malaysia. Preparedness, sufficient knowledge, and awareness are few of the key things people need to be conscious of to prevent damage to their livelihood and to ensure their safety. Areas of east coast Peninsular Malaysia, almost all states from Kelantan to Johor are prone to flooding.

Moreover, the occurrence of floods in areas of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Kuching in the State of Sarawak in East Malaysia, where rapid urbanization is taking place, is becoming more frequent.

Science-based Analysis

According to studies released by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage of Malaysia, there are 8 causes of flooding in Malaysia:

  1. Increased runoff rates due to urbanization;
  2. Loss of flood storage as a result of development extending into and taking over flood plains and drainage corridors;
  3. Inadequate drainage systems;
  4. Constriction at bridges and culverts that are either undersized or partially blocked by debris buildup or from other causes;
  5. Siltation in waterway channels from indiscriminate land clearing operations;
  6. Localized continuous heavy rainfall;
  7. Tidal backwater effect;
  8. Inadequate river capacity.

Every year, between November and February, an estimated average of 600 mm of rainfall within 24 hours is anticipated by people living in places such as the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, or Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia.

Annual average rainfall for Peninsular Malaysia is expected at 2,420 mm or over 8 ft.; Sabah anticipates 2,630 mm or 8.6 ft. of rainfall; and Sarawak recorded heavier precipitation with 3,830 mm or 12.5 ft.

With heavy rainfall expected every year, it’s no wonder that flood records indicate a steady pattern of increase in the frequency of flood occurrences.

You might be asking, what services and products are available in the Southeast Asian region can you use to protect yourself and your loved ones from the harm that floods can bring?

flooded
A man assessing flood in a residential area after a downpour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Real-Safe Initiative

Malaysia is far from a monarchy hidden away in the jungle. It is a metropolis with great economic potential. Even with the economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Asian Development Bank forecasts that Malaysia will enjoy a 6.5 % market rebound in 2021.

Flooding will be one of the major deciding factors for this economic growth. That is why Malaysia’s flood problems require decisive action.

Malaysia must establish plans for flood control. Start with proactive engineering solutions. Do not waste your money and time building castles out of sandbags. By the time you have built that, it might be too late. You need a proper engineering assessment to educate you on how to flood-proof your properties.

Things To Accomplish

Preparation should always be present in your mind. Anticipating future circumstances will give you enough time to execute your ideas and plans against flooding.

The aftermath of this tragedy is indefinite and will cost you more than taking action now.

Connecting to a newsletter on flood-protection could help you identify your needs whether it’s for your home, offices, and properties that matter to you. A good example of protection for you to put up flood barriers that are easy to install and manage.

Stay safe and flood free!

Andreas Klippe

About author

Andreas Klippe is founder of the Asian Center for Flood Control located in Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines.

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