Fait Accompli: Flood in Malaysia 2021

flood in malaysia 2021
by Dr. Sucharita Srirangam & Dr Veronica Ng Foong Peng, Taylor’s University

Over the weekend, floods resulting from the torrential downpour in many Peninsular Malaysia states have caused significant economic and social disruptions, with businesses closing down and over 60,000 residents displaced in more than 400 evacuation centers around the country.  

The Klang Valley saw what has been described as a one-in-a-hundred-year heavy rainfall since 17 December, 2021 due to a tropical depression, causing heavy downpours of over three days straight and a quick rise in water level contributing to high flood risk. 

Despite flooding being a yearly occurrence in the country, especially in the East Coast region, Malaysia was severely underprepared in mitigating the risk of flash floods in major states and cities, thus exposing a reality of extreme climate change and inadequate sustainable smart city planning.

Environmentalist Renard Siew suggests that the recent floods in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan, Pahang, Melaka, and Terengganu are clear examples of unpredictable weather because of high carbon emission.

As a result, climate change will only likely increase the number of occurrences in flood risk, especially during the monsoon seasons. 

Flood risk is defined as essentially a product of flood hazard and vulnerability. Monsoonal and convectional rainfall, flat topography on the coast, heavy siltation of the rivers, and human activities have all contributed to high flood risk. Risk increases because flood characteristics change due to rapid urbanisation of catchments, deforestation, and other environmentally damaging human land uses.

Adding to the already prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the flood has exposed vulnerable communities to higher risk. The current social issues are due to the lack of aspects of disaster management such as awareness building and preparedness; environmental issues being soil erosion and landslides causing even more damage.

For Malaysia to be resilient in the future, architecture and urban design will have to take the bifocal approach of environmentally sensitive design and Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM), attributing with space and people, respectively. 

Environmentally sensitive solutions involve integrated design with urban ecology and landscape, disaster-prone land-use strategies, the street network for escape routes based on flood elevations, and strategic urban locations of rescue points.

Such sensitive solutions will mitigate the risk to a large extent avoiding one of the fundamental sources of the issue, the misfit of manmade and natural settings such as environmentally damaging human land uses and vice-versa. 

On the other hand, to achieve safety of lives, the CBDRM approach aims to solve the problems of disintegrated platforms of helplines of pre-, during- and post-flood, community’s unpreparedness and mitigation to flood, rescue and responses during a flood, and socio-economic and psychological imbalances in the post-flood phase to recuperate. This approach will help the communities to be well-informed, resilient, and prepared and hence ensuring safety. 

The literature on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) widely has three key recommendations:

Firstly, collaborative research with interdisciplinary involvement to create an effective model involved in the integration of science and technology to build capacities of DRR before the disaster.

Secondly, the role of the community and social capital is the key for DRR focusing on the complexities (on physical, social, economic, institutional and natural dimensions) of urban communities to perform self-help during disasters.

Lastly, there is an emerging need for using IoT and Smart-city initiatives which are Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) methods, such as hazard mapping, safe schools and hospitals, assessment and index approach for vulnerability, resilience, and sustainability, crowdsourcing, post-disaster needs assessment, mobile payment, indigenous DRR technology.

In summary, there is a necessity for an integrated approach that combines risks and actions for pre-, during- and post-disaster phases from the community’s perspective. The project at Taylor’s University, funded by the FRGS-2021, focuses on integrating the smart city into CBDRM. It will aid in a model of the smart dashboard that will empower the community for DRR and risk management.

About the Authors:

dr sucharita srirangam
Dr Sucharita Srirangam, also known as Dr Suchi, works as a Senior Lecturer at the School of Architecture, Building & Design Faculty of Innovation and Technology at Taylor’s University. With a definition of sustainability as a synergy between space and user, her expertise is urban cultural geography with pragmatic explorations on urban resilience, disaster management, sustainable cities, space syntax, and smart cities.
dr veronica ng
Associate Professor Dr Veronica Ng is the Head of School at the School of Architecture, Building & Design, Faculty of Innovation and Technology at Taylor’s University. Her areas of interest are architectural and sociological discourses on place-identity, phenomenology and design theories.

Image Source: Reuters


MARKETING Magazine is not responsible for the content of external sites.

The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


Download Event PDF
Submit Entries Here

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene