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Flood is a natural event caused by a combination of heavy rainfall which causes a dry
piece of land or area to be submerged under water besides causing river banks or oceans to
overflow. Also, it is important to take note that water naturally flow from high areas to low
lying areas, which means low-lying areas will be struck with flood before it strikes higher
grounds. Flooding is extremely dangerous and has the potential to wipe away an entire city,
coastline or area, and cause extensive damage to life and property. It also has great erosive
power and can be extremely destructive, even if it is a foot high (eSchooltoday, n.d.).
Slow on-set floods are generally developed over a period of days and can last for days
and weeks. It usually happens when there is too much rainwater to fit in the rivers and water
spreads over flood plains over many kilometres. Rapid on-set floods takes slightly longer to
develop and lasts for a day or two. With rapid on-set floods, people can quickly put a few
things right and escape before it gets very bad. However, floods can occur unexpectedly
when lots of heavy rain falls over a short period of time. This type of flooding situation is
known as flash flood which often take place within a short period of time, usually 2 to 6
hours but at times it happens within minutes. Flash floods happen with little or no warning
and cause the biggest loss of life than any other type of flooding situations (Environment
Agency, n.d.). It is usually as a result of heavy rain, intense rainfall from slow moving
thunderstorms or dam break.
Flooding occurs most commonly from heavy rainfall when natural watercourses do
not have the capacity to convey excess water. In other times, there may be light rain for many
days and weeks and can also result in floods. However, floods are not always caused by
rainfall. They can result from other phenomena, particularly in coastal areas when storms and
big waves bring seawater onto the land. The worst cases of flooding may occur if there is a
combination of storms, a tropical cyclone, a tsunami, low atmospheric pressure or a high tide
coinciding with higher than normal river levels. To add on, rivers can overflow their banks to
cause flooding. This happens when there is more water upstream than usual and as it flows
downstream to the adjacent low-lying areas, there is a burst and water gets into the land. Dam
failure, triggered for example by an earthquake, will result in flooding of the downstream
area, even in dry weather conditions. Other factors which may contribute to flooding include
volume, spatial distribution, intensity and duration of rainfall over a catchment; the capacity
of the watercourse or stream network to convey runoff; catchment and weather conditions

prior to a rainfall event; ground cover; topography; and tidal influences (Geoscience
Australia, n.d.).
Given Malaysia's geographical location, the occurrence of most floods are often a
result of cyclical monsoons during the local tropical wet season that are characterised by
heavy and regular rainfall from roughly October to March. Besides that, inadequate drainage
in many urban areas also enhances the effects of heavy rain, though efforts are on-going in
resolving this matter. Floods in Southern Johor were believed to be caused by the Gore
Effect. This is because Johor is not within the usual monsoon affected zone. Continuous
development of already densely populated flood plains, encroachment on flood-prone areas,
destruction of forests and hill slopes development contributes to flooding in Malaysia (Ngai.
W.C, n.d.). According to Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, minister in the Prime Ministers
Department, uncontrolled logging is the main cause of the recent massive flood in Kelantan
(Malaysia Today, 2015).
The timeline of major floods in the history of Malaysia includes:

January 1971 - Kuala Lumpur was hit by flash floods.

2 March 2006 - Shah Alam was hit by flash floods.
19 December 2006 - Several parts of Johor state including Muar, Johor Bahru, Skudai

and Segamat were hit by flash floods.

10 January 2007 - Several parts of Johor were hit by flash floods again.
10 June 2007 - Kuala Lumpur was hit by flash floods.
December 2007 Several parts of East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia including

Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor were hit by flash floods.

November 2010 Perlis and Kedah flooded due to heavy rainfall after a tropical

December 2014 - Northern and Eastern states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak
and Perlis in Malay Peninsula were hit by flash floods including some areas in Sabah.

Environment Agency (n.d.) Flooding. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 May 15].

Geoscience Australia (n.d.) What causes Floods?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 May 15].
eSchooltoday (n.d.) Your Cool Facts and Tips on Flooding. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 May 15].
Malaysia Today (2015) Uncontrolled Logging in Kelantan The Cause of Flooding.
[ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 May 15].
Ngai Weng Chan (n.d.) Increasing flood risk in Malaysia: causes and solutions. [ONLINE]
Available at:
ses_and_solutions. [Accessed 16 May 15].