The Role of Communities in the Management of the 2014 -15 Floods events in Malaysia

Badi, Gihan and Unuigbe, Maria orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7199-4303 (2022) The Role of Communities in the Management of the 2014 -15 Floods events in Malaysia. In: United Kingdom Alliance for Disaster Research (UKADR) Conference 2022, 7-8 December 2022, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

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Flooding is one of the most dangerous natural hazards in Malaysia occurring almost yearly and affecting around 22 per cent of its population. Notably, the floods between December 2014 and January 2015 were the worst experienced in decades, killing 24 people and affecting 200,000 people. Notwithstanding regular occurrence of floods and efforts from community members both in rural and urban areas to mitigate the severity of its impacts, the lack of facilities, equipment and poor
communication and coordination with local authorities and governmental agencies have often exacerbated situations. Thereby leading to the continued experiencing of harsh realities post-disaster. In view of this, this study aimed to investigate how the responses of local people fit in a multi-level governance structure in a country with state-centric apparatuses for disaster management. Using the communities of Kelantan state and Temerloh in Central Pahang as case studies, the study employed a survey strategy of 80 households and data was analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. The findings reveal that while local communities in many Malaysian districts have implemented actions to manage and mitigate flood risks during the 2014/15 events. Most community districts rely on volunteers as opposed to their local authorities’ agencies. Additionally, the finding identified a failure in the Disaster Risk Management top-down approach to empower local people and raise disaster risk awareness which had an impact on their involvement and decision-making process. The study contributes to the discourse and empirical body of knowledge on disaster management and mitigation that would be beneficial to policy makers and further research on empowering local communities.

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