Flood Preparation in Malaysia

Flood Preparation for Families & Seniors in Malaysia: Before, During & After

The monsoon season and torrential rain can cause devastating floods in Malaysia. Here is everything you need to know to prepare for a flood: before, during and after.

by Raihan Rahman

As a tropical nation in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is no stranger to the monsoon season at the end of each year. During this time, between October to March, there is an additional risk of flooding in both West and East Malaysia.

Although some Malaysians may be familiar with preparing for floods, urbanisation and climate change has caused previously ‘safe’ areas to be affected by this natural disaster. In this article, we cover how you can be better prepared for the natural disaster before, during and after a flood:

Before A Flood

Get Flood Warning Updates

Get Flood Warning Updates
If you know that your residential area is at risk of flooding, check for any flood warnings from local authorities or pay close attention to the weather forecast from the
Malaysian Meteorological Department.

For extra precaution, you can download live wind maps and weather forecast apps such as MyCuaca, Clime or Windy. You can receive alerts straight to your phone for any severe weather warnings.

Make an Evacuation Plan

Make an Evacuation Plan

Consider creating an evacuation plan for your family. You can ask yourself the following questions to help you put together a plan if disaster strikes:

  • What is my shelter plan?
  • What is my evacuation route?
  • What is the safety plan for my pets?
  • What is my family’s plan to stay in touch in case we are separated?
  • Where will I store the important documents?
  • Where can I move valuable items in the house to keep them away from water?

You should also prepare an emergency kit whether it is at home, on your person or in your car. An emergency kit should include:

  • Physical copy of emergency contact details, in case mobile phone runs out of battery
  • Power bank and charger
  • Battery-operated torchlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Essential medication and first aid kit
  • Three days’ supply of bottled water (4L per person, per day) and canned and ready-to-eat food.
  • Important documents including birth certificates, insurance policy and passport kept in a waterproof bag.
  • Spare keys for your home and care
  • Additional supplies for children or pets

Plan For Seniors and Persons Living with Disabilities

Plan For Seniors and Persons Living with Disabilities

If you are living with an elderly loved one or someone with a disability, ensure the evacuation and shelter plan caters to any special requirement that they may have.

Items such as wheelchairs and walking canes should be kept close by so they can be reached quickly in case of an emergency.

If your senior loved one is living on their own, prepare an evacuation plan and an emergency kit for them ahead of time. Here are a few other items and exercises you can prepare in case of a natural disaster:

  • An up-to-date file of medical history and medical plan
  • A list of emergency contacts
  • Emergency communication plan with neighbours or family nearby
  • Home safety drill

Consider relocating your senior loved one to your home temporarily if you know extreme weather is approaching. Particularly vulnerable seniors are those with

  • Memory-related health conditions
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Limited mobility
  • Hard of hearing, sight or smell
  • Multi-level homes

Property Protection

Property Protection during flood

To protect your property, you can purchase sandbags to divert water and prevent or reduce the damage of floodwater to your place. For the best protection, consider getting flood insurance for your home. Before evacuating, take as many photos as possible to help you with any insurance claims.

Important Notice!

You must switch off the main power supply before leaving as you can get electrocuted in floodwater if the power supply remains switched on.

Neighbours and Friends

Inform your neighbours as soon as possible of any flood warning

Inform your neighbours as soon as possible of any flood warning you have received from local authorities or the weather apps. You can also coordinate an evacuation plan to make sure everyone leaves safely and find shelter. Remember to inform your friends and families of your evacuation plan as well in case you cannot get in touch with them. 

During A Flood 

If possible, evacuate immediately. Bring the most essential items mentioned in the emergency kit and head to the nearest shelter. If you are unable to leave your home, find a higher ground to wait out the rain or storm. Remember to turn off the power, water and gas supply.

Do not walk, swim or drive through floodwater

Did you know that only 60 centimetres of water can make a car float? Or that 15 centimetres of rapid flowing water can knock you off your feet? 

Avoid Bridges

Avoid bridges during flood

Do not stay on top of a bridge with fast-moving water below it as the water can wash away a bridge. On top of that, a flash flood can occur at any moment. If there is a risk of flooding, move to higher ground immediately. If your car stalls as you are relocating, abandon the vehicle and move on foot as quickly as possible.

Walking in Floodwater

Walking in Floodwater

If you have to walk in floodwater, make sure the water is not moving. It can be difficult to tell how deep the water is in front of you and a long stick can help you determine the depth and ground firmness.

When in doubt: turn around, do not drown.

After A Flood

Returning Home 

Returning Home after flood
Listen to authorities for more information or instructions on whether you can return home to check on your property. Do not return home unless you are certain it is safe to do so. Experiencing a flood can be traumatic – anxiety, stress and exhaustion are normal during this time.

When entering a building damaged with floodwater, be extra careful as there may be hidden hazards below the surface. Floodwater is also highly contaminated so avoid using the water and only drink bottled water until the water supply is declared safe.

Animal and Insect Hazards

Animal and Insect Hazards after flood
After a flood, many wild animals may have lost their home and sought shelter inside houses and other buildings. Damaged structures are particularly susceptible and provide better access for snakes, rats and insects.

If you find a wild animal on your property, do not panic. Step back from it slowly and allow space for it to exit your home. 

Staying Safe and Cleaning Up
Staying Safe and Cleaning Up after flood

  • Wear boots, gloves and long pants to protect your hands and legs
  • Do not turn on the power and gas supply if they are wet
  • Clean and disinfect all your cooking and eating utensils before using it
  • Open windows and doors to improve ventilation in your home and dry out the indoor space
  • If available, use a water pump to remove dirty water and silt from the property
  • Remove all food and beverages contaminated with floodwater
  • Do not let children play in or near floodwater

National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I get help?

Flood victims must provide details such as their name, address, phone number, medical condition, and any special needs to the first responder at the scene.

How can I check up on my family or other flood victims?

You can contact the Social Welfare Department at 03-55458570 or 03-83231396.

I can’t locate my family or a family member. What do I do?

Lodge a police report at the nearest police station or seek help from the Malaysian Red Crescent at 03-2143 6122/7122/8122.

How can I check on the status of the roads or alternative routes?

Please visit the Public Works Department website at http://bencanaalam.jkr.gov.my or contact their hotline at 03-2610 7727.

When will the water and power supply be restored in my home?

Please check with Tenaga Nasional Berhad at 15454 and contact your local water supply company.

Is there any financial aid to help families or victims of the flood?

The Federal Government is providing RM1,000 cash aid to all those affected by the flood. This includes every household that was affected, including those who were not evacuated.

Is my area at risk of flooding? How can I get more information on this?

You can refer to your PKOB or Pusat Kawalan Operasi Bencana and check Nadma’s website.

Helping Flood Victims

Recovery and rebuilding after a flood take a lot of time and effort. Since the recent natural disaster, Malaysians have banded together to help all those affected. The impact of a flood can affect victims for years. Here’s how you can help flood victims now:

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About the Writer
Raihan Rahman
Raihan loves psychological thriller books and horror movies but sleeps with a night light, lest the monsters get her.
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