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Patterns of Flood-induced Population Displacement and its Management in Southern Peninsular Malaysia. ALIYU SALISU BARAU. Aliyu Salisu Barau Universiti Teknologi Malaysia July, 2013. Introduction. Natural and human-induced disasters are steadily rising across the globe (McBean, 2012).

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aliyu salisu barau

Patterns of Flood-induced Population Displacement and its Management in Southern Peninsular Malaysia


Aliyu Salisu Barau

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

July, 2013



  • Natural and human-induced disasters are steadily rising across the globe (McBean, 2012).
  • In 2010 950 natural catastrophes were recorded, about 90% of which are climate-related
research objectives
Research Objectives
  • This paper examines interface of landscape/climate change induced flood events in Southern Malaysia
  • It identifies drivers, and spatio-temporal patterns of displacements, management strategies, and implications of flood-induced displacements in the context of Nansen Principles.
flood disasters the malaysian experience
Flood Disasters – The Malaysian Experience
  • Flooding is Malaysia’s key natural disaster affecting 22% of its population with recurring annual damages close to $300 million
  • Malaysia’s notable flood incidents were recorded in 1920, 1926, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1979, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2005
  • The 2006/2007 floods considered worst in the recent history of Malaysia caused severe damages that stood at $800 million to the economy of the Malaysia’s southern state of Johor
  • The 2006/2007 Johor floods came in two phases -19th December 2006, 12th January 2007 striking the state’s eight districts. The total number of displaced people from the two incidents stood at 157,018 and 155,368 respectively
study methods
Study Methods
  • The study is based on desktop sources and remote sensing images analysis.
  • The desktop sources were mainly based on published sources, and meteorological recorded data.
  • Land use and climate change linkage was established through analysis of 2010 Spot Satellite image with 30 meters resolution.
  • The analysis of the image was conducted through Erdas Imagine software
  • Both desktop sources and image analysis gave the outline of flood-induced displacement.
climate change and flood incidence in johor
Climate Change and Flood Incidence in Johor
  • Previously Johor was relatively more secured to flood compared to other states in the Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Johor became worst hit by 2007 floods and subsequent ones that followed in 2011 and 2012 resulting in population displacement.
  • Meteorologists established that, the 2007 flood storms in Johor were caused by change in wind flow characteristics (Tangang et al. 2008, Shafiei, 2009).
land use change and flood vulnerability in johor
Land Use Change and Flood Vulnerability in Johor
  • While the climate change thesis is not dismissible as shown above, the analysis of Spot image demonstrated that between 2006 and 2010, massive land use change prevailed in the southernmost point of Johor. The spatial patterns of changes during the said four years are shown in bluish colour in the Figure
spatio temporal patterns of flood and displacement in southern johor
Spatio -Temporal Patterns of Flood and Displacement in Southern Johor
  • From 2006,2007,20110, 2011and 2012 flood incidents occurred between November to January is the periods of maximum rainfall
  • Many people were displaced from December 19-30, 2006 in most parts of southern Johor. On 11 January 2007 another wave of flood occurred leading to another wave of displacement (see 2006/2006 tables of displaced people).
johor flood displacement in the context of nansen principles initiative
Johor Flood Displacement in the Context of Nansen Principles/Initiative
  • The Nansen Principle 1 stressed the role of sound and adequate knowledge in tackling displacement. In the context of Southern Johor, it is shown that rapid landscape transformation is the main driver of flood incidents triggered by climate change.
  • The Nansen Principle II emphasised the obligations of the State on the rights of vulnerable population among others through legislations, policies, institutions and investment of adequate resources-Malaysia has over the years developed a satisfactory and coordinated flood risk management strategies that started from structural measures, non-structural measures and integrated flood risk management
johor flood displacement in the context of nansen principles initiative1
Johor Flood Displacement in the Context of Nansen Principles/Initiative
  • Malaysia has also provided a good example of the role of local governments and civil society groups as enunciated by Nansen Principle III. Local authorities coordinate most of evacuation in collaboration with several organisations such as emergency services, security forces and civil societies who work to ensure the wellbeing of the displaced persons.
  • In line with Nansen Principles VI, V and VII, Malaysia has collaborated with several relevant international and regional bodies in sharing information about displaced persons. The evidence of this is shown in several reports such as those published by the Japan based Asian Disaster Risk Center
johor flood displacement in the context of nansen principles initiative2
Johor Flood Displacement in the Context of Nansen Principles/Initiative
  • In what seems compatible to Nansen Principle VIII, the Operation Procedure No. 29 published by the National Security Council as well as the Guidelines for Management of Flood Disasters during the Monsoon Season and Flash Floods have emphasised the need to cater for the needs of displaced persons – these needs include food, shelter, security, healthcare and others
  • The Nansen Principle IX and X are about development framework for management of displaced persons and engaging them. For this Malaysia has developed a long term experience with structural management of floods and could share and learn from experiences of other countries and international initiatives.
  • The resulting situation of massive displacements could be explained as a defining feature of the increased human population vulnerability in the Anthropocene era.
  • Population displacements being witnessed in many parts of the world are mainly handwork of human impact on the fragile earth system.
  • Based on experience of southern Johor in Peninsular Malaysia, it is evident that areas previously considered less prone to devastating flood could be overwhelmed by floods and population displacement as a result climate and land use and land cover change.
  • Based on the Malaysian experience, it is understandable that integrated flood management strategies for displaced persons must be built on or integrated with existing national and community development, good governance, and transparency and accountability of the public sector.
  • It is important to note that population size and level of economic and political development of a particular country can affect level of response measures for its displaced persons.