Soil expert: Task force needed to monitor areas of concern

PETALING JAYA: The authorities should engage a task force to monitor “areas of concern” and, based on history, landslides may occur especially in areas where slopes are steep and have signs of erosion, says a soil expert.

Prof Dr Fauziah Ahmad from Universiti Sains Malaysia Geotechnical Engineering said that by doing so, the occurrence of landslides could be reduced.

“As for development sites, the contractors need to monitor closely when there are continuous downpours for any unusual overflow of waters and ponding. They should also pay attention to the surrounding areas, especially on top of slopes or drains that are blocked by vegetation or any material that blocks the water flow.

“The authorities should also start to place cameras on certain slope areas with high risk,” she said.

Prof Fauziah added that the public could also keep a lookout if there are signs of uprooted trees, debris or muddy water flow.

“These signs might lead to landslides along the slope near the roads, especially if there is no retaining wall or gabion protection.

“They can inform the authorities of such conditions to avoid any untoward incident,” she said, adding, “Keep in mind that the landslide might not actually be over, so take extra precaution and follow the advice of the local authorities,” she said.

Malaysian Nature Society president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail said the local authorities should have information on flood-prone areas.

“Residents should remain vigilant on the possibility of floods and landslides. Those staying near rivers and highlands need to be reminded of such risks.

“If there are any changes on the upper streams due to effects of logging and land clearing for agricultural activities that may cause flash floods, mud flood or landslides, those staying nearby should be warned.

“Local community leaders should keep a lookout for human activities in their areas,” he said.

Prof Ahmad added that the public would need to keep a sharp eye out for wildlife trying to escape from heavy rains or floods.

“There were some cases of animals roaming in residential areas or looking for a safe place.

“Last year, there were incidents where animals such as pythons, wild boar and deer entered people’s houses,” he said.

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