MSCP Speaker Series: Flooding Resilience

Join us for the first MSCP Scholar Speaker Series. Lunch will be served. 

Dr. Gulsan Parvin 
Flood Resilience of Temerloh Municipal Council: An Empirical Analysis of Kampung-Level Variations. 

The municipality of Temerloh is the center of Peninsular Malaysia. This town is 130 km away from Kuala Lumpur and well-connected with east and west. Temerloh is growing rapidly and transforming as the secondary town of Kuala Lumpur and the hub of tourism, transportation, trade and commerce. However, due to its location in the Pahang River Basin at the junction of the Pahang River and Semantan River, Temerloh is one of the most flood vulnerable areas of Malaysia. Temerloh Municipal Council experienced its worst flooding events in 1926, 1971, 2001, 2007 and 2014. Huge loss and damage caused by the most recent devastating flood from December 2014 to January 2015 symbolize lack of flood resilience in different aspects and in different parts of Temerloh. This research aims to analyze flood resilience of different parts of Temerloh Municipal Council. There are a number of studies addressing disaster resilience and vulnerabilities of different cities, but in most cases they have considered the whole city or town as a single unit, neglecting the issue of internal diversities of a city and its implications to resilience. In fact, a city’s internal diversity such as land use, settlement pattern, function, density, characteristics of residential areas and communities contribute to differences in disaster risk, which in turn affects its level of resilience. Therefore, initiatives aiming to enhance flood resilience of a city require detailed and careful assessment of its current level of vulnerability and resilience. This research intends to analyze flood resilience of Temerloh Municipal Council by developing a Flood Resilience Index (FRI) of 10 Kampungs (villages) located in the municipal area. Kampung -level variation in the FRI would help periodic evaluation of flood resilience of different parts of Temerloh. Outcomes of this research would guide further policy, action planning, budget allocation and implementation, and thus it would enhance effective flood response, preparedness and resilience.

Dr. Anizan Isahak
Title: Community Participation and Resilience in Flood Disaster Management of Pahang River Basin

Natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes impact many parts of Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, recent floods such as the flood event of 2014-2015 have caused untold damage to property and livelihoods. The level of disaster preparedness is characterized by a top-down approach with heavy emphasis on disaster response, rather than basing on disaster risk reduction strategies. Capacity building within communities to reduce flood risks was minimal. Flood-affected communities have developed some coping strategies which, among others, include local practices and social arrangements. During recent floods, civil society and private entities have come forward to participate in flood response efforts in an ad hoc manner. The aim of this project is to identify the social, architectural and economic practices of flood affected communities of Pahang that increase their resilience to flood risks, to determine the extent to which government agencies have incorporated communal practices into their formal flood management strategies, and to identify the potentialities of public-private partnerships in flood management. The research was conducted through semi-structured interviews targeting flood victims living along the Pahang River who experience frequent flooding, focus group discussions among village leaders, and field observation. The research revealed that many of the local and indigenous practices and knowledge that afford resilience to the flood-affected communities are now dissipating. Possible contributions to this erosion of local knowledge and practices are factors such as social mobility, urban migration, land use change, changes in social arrangements and a dependency approach to flood management. Recommendations include sustainable livelihood strategies, a geographic information system to be used at the sub-district level, and a more systematic approach to civil societies and private enterprise involvement in flood management and to register some indigenous knowledge and practices on the Disaster Reduction Hyperbase Initiative (DRH database).