UNIVERSITI Kebangsaan Malaysia researchers have developed the My Bahaya app to help share early warning signs of potential natural disasters with the community.
Project leader Joy Jacqueline Pereira said the app allows the community to take photos of possible problem spots that they can then upload on the app, which is embedded with geolocation features.
The researchers are part of the Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Initiative (Seadpri-UKM) under the Institute for Environment and Development.
“One of the requirements of this project is to share open data with communities,” said Pereira at a dialogue with geology experts and the Hulu Klang community in Bukit Antarabangsa.
The My Bahaya app is a collaboration with the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) and other agencies, and is funded by the International Development Research Centre (iDRc) Canada.
It can only be accessed via a QR code as it is still in the testing stage and not available on Google Play or the App Store.
Navakanesh M. Batmanathan, who is with the Seadpri-UKM team, said the identity of those sending the information would remain anonymous.
“This initiative will help the community be more proactive and not rely on the authorities alone,” he said.
Dr Nurfashareena Muhamad, another researcher on the Seadpri-UKM project, said it was being tested in Hulu Kelang and Ampang in Selangor, but everyone in peninsular Malaysia can use the app.
Bukit Antarabangsa resident Surinder Singh said information gathered on the platform should be shared with the state and federal authorities.
“A lot of people may be feeding information into this app, which might indicate the severity of a problem in a particular area.
“But there could also be just one complaint which could be a major issue too,” he said.
In Petaling Jaya, Section 3 Residents Association (S3RA) has been working closely with the Fire and Rescue Department and a local mosque as part of their flood preparedness.
Its chairman Salleh Osman said S3RA’s environment committee oversees natural disaster preparedness.
“In the event of a flood, residents have been told to head to the community garden in Jalan 3/67, which is on higher ground.
“Some of the farming equipment such as the machete will come in handy in case there are fallen trees during a rainstorm,” he said.
Salleh said they also work with the Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Aziz committee to discuss flood preparedness for sections 1 to 10 in Petaling Jaya.
“We must look out for everyone, not just our section, in case of a disaster,” he added.
Taman Medan Indian community head Asogan Subramanian said the Petaling District Office had been in touch.
“They gave us a briefing on several matters, including flood preparedness.
“Residents will initiate the distribution of food and drinks in case of a disaster.
“We hope some council-initiated projects to mitigate floods in this area will help prevent flooding,” said Asogan.