High time for an effective system


PETALING JAYA: As the brand new yr started with some flood victims nonetheless cleansing their houses, specialists stated it’s excessive time for Malaysia to have a extra effective early catastrophe warning system.

Furthermore, the individuals should be taught how to answer these disasters.

Disaster administration professional Dr Khamarrul Azahari Razak stated the normal early warning system (EWS) ought to evolve into an impact-based multi-hazard EWS as promoted by United Nations for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“For example, increase the capacity of state and local governments in terms of resources, assets, technologies for search and rescue in a complex environment, such as during the night, heavy rainfall or response without telecommunication,” he stated.

The director of Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Centre of Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia stated that every one “technical” warnings should be translated into “guided action” to be taken by native leaders and susceptible communities.

All current EWS and sirens ought to be examined with the involvement of native communities in addition to being often maintained and upgraded when wanted, he stated.

He emphasised on rising catastrophe and preparedness training by having nationwide drills, state-level mass evacuations, skilled coaching and curriculum embedded syllabus.

To keep away from the same catastrophe sooner or later, Khamarrul stated Malaysia would want to look critically at mainstreaming catastrophe threat discount (DRR) for multi-tier improvement planning and growing management.

He referred to as for multi-partnership assist, consisting of public, educational, personal and civil society organisations to reply and rebuild resilience in a altering surroundings.

“It is very timely to establish an independent review or forensic team consisting of experts from various fields and backgrounds, not only to reflect on what has happened, but also to formulate policy interventions and develop a short-, mid- and long-term solution.

“The 2021 Klang Valley disaster not only centred on flooding but was also a geological induced disaster, which is sediment-related, dam-related and typhoon induced,” he stated.

Environmentalist Prof Dr Hafizan Juahir stated Malaysia had individuals with the skilled skillsets, each in private and non-private establishments, to develop such an early warning system.

“We need an effective early warning system that is low cost and easy to maintain so that the installation can increase, in particular at high-risk locations together with the continuous training programme for the people,” he stated.

Prof Hafizan, who’s the director of the East Coast Environmental Research Institute at Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin in Terengganu, was concerned in growing the low-cost low-maintenance early flood warning system.

“We succeeded in developing the equipment for the water level intelligent early warning systems with 100% local expertise that cost less than RM20,000.

“When the complementing online system is excluded, the system cost less than RM10,000 each.

“The online system needs to be developed once before it is integrated with all the equipment,” he stated, including that it may very well be put in at any location so long as there was Internet protection.

He urged the federal government to kind a particular group consisting of specialists reminiscent of engineers, IT specialists and environmental sciences specialists to discover analysis and decision-making instruments to make the early warning methods profitable.

“The government must educate the people about environmental awareness,” he added.

Also, he stated the federal government ought to broadcast clear explanations to the general public on how the related businesses gathered climate and hydrological info.

Environment and waste administration specialist Dr Theng Lee Chong stated Malaysians’ mindset on catastrophe preparedness ought to change.

Generally, he stated Malaysians would do not know easy methods to reply even when they’ve been warned of an earthquake as a result of “we have never learnt that in school”.

He cautioned towards “improper planning” and “over-development”, particularly on flood retention ponds being developed.

“Disaster response and management (challenges) involve cross-ministerial (collaborations) with various other stakeholders.

“We do have a national disaster management agency, but how they are linked down to the community level is a question. Each local council must at least have a disaster response team and be able to take immediate action at the community level whenever disasters happen,” he stated.

Professor of economics at Sunway University Dr Yeah Kim Leng stated the pandemic and flood disasters had underlined the necessity for the federal government to extend its price range allocation to “boost the country’s resilience to systemic public health and environmental shocks”.

“Increasing public investment to enhance the public health system and environmental quality will have an enormous payback in reduced mitigation and remedial costs when such risks materialise.

“The early flood warning and response system needs to be improved substantially to minimise loss of lives and damage to property,” he stated.

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