FOUR local communities in Selangor will be carrying out hazard mapping exercises aimed at strengthening disaster preparedness and management at the grassroot level.
The communities in this pilot project are from Bukit Antarabangsa/Ukay Perdana in Hulu Klang, Batu 14 and Kampung Sungai Serai in Hulu Langat and Kampung Tok Muda in Kapar, Klang.
These areas are known for being landslides and flood prone.
The exercise is part of a multiphase SeDar programme, which is a community-oriented approach towards disaster risk reduction initiated in 2018.
SeDar programme coordinator Eriko Motoyama said in areas where risks of flooding and landslides were prevalent, residents could pinpoint potential dangers in an effort to prevent or reduce the impact of such disasters.
SeDar is the abbreviation for “Strengthening the Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity to Improve the Safety and Security of Communities by Understanding Disaster Risks”.
It is a collaborative project between the International Research Institute of Disaster Science of Tohoku University, Selangor Disaster Management Unit under the state government, and Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Centre of the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Kuala Lumpur.
The hazard mapping exercise is set to take place in February with communities in Hulu Klang, while dates for the rest have yet to be decided.
“During the Town Watching exercise (hazard mapping exercise), community members will identify hotspots, safe places, evacuation centres and heritage sites.
“They will also look out for places that can be food sources such as sundry and hardware shops,” she said, adding that participants were required to identify the primary problem the community could face and propose solutions.
Motoyama added that each proposed solution would be assessed — from costing, capabilities and resources.
“We will rank their suggestions and try to come up with a workable action plan to hopefully reduce the impact of any disaster.”
Motoyama explained that SeDar had a unique approach to community engagement by instilling a science-based understanding of disaster risks among community leaders, participants and local authorities.
“It also encourages them to work together to develop disaster risk reduction activities and programmes best suited to their understanding and needs,” she added.
Ampang Jaya Rimba Collective coordinator Noina Baharuddin said such programmes and exercises helped raise awareness on issues affecting the community.
“In Hulu Klang, for example, many of the communities face similar challenges as we have a shared terrain.
“What we learn here can be implemented and practised with others,” said Noina.