Studying landslide-prone areas not a one-off job, say experts

PETALING JAYA: Risk analysis and vulnerability assessment at landslide-prone areas is not a one-off job, says several experts in the construction industry.

Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM) manager (Industry Negotiation) Dr Mohd Khairolden Ghani, Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Civil Engineering deputy dean (Academic) Dr Mastura Azmi and CREAM researcher Yusrin Faiz Abd Wahab jointly responded to the landslide at Farmer's Organic Farm in Kampung Kuantan, Batang Kali on Dec 16 in a statement on Sunday (Dec 18).

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"Make the tragedy in Batang Kali the starting point for a more comprehensive risk assessment by the authorities," they said, adding that this would save thousands from being exposed to landslides in risky areas.

The statement said CREAM, with other local experts, was ready to offer targeted training to government agencies, local authorities, consultants, developers and contractors.

They pointed out that all risk analysis should be carried out before any planning permission is issued.

"This includes engineering design for all infrastructure and risk review for highrise development locations that have an impact on the local community and economy," they said.

They also noted that more than 100 slopes around the country have been classified as high-risk areas by the Public Works Department (JKR).

ALSO READ: Batang Kali landslide: Slope did not show early signs of failure, says Selangor exco member

"Throughout 2022, 21 cases of landslides have been reported by Bernama, the most recent (being the) Batang Kali landslide on the morning of Dec 16, 2022," they said.

In the 79th National Council for Local Government meeting on June 23, then Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof raised and approved the application of the Land Collapse Vulnerability Index Guidelines document and risk index for Critical Infrastructure in Malaysia that had been developed by CREAM.

The statement said local authorities and developers can make the best decisions for planning upland development by using these guidelines.

It noted that planning was the most important aspect, as slope risk assessment is an effective mitigation method.

ALSO READ: Penang has restricted slope developments for many years, says CM

"Risk mitigation can be carried out by early detection of (triggering factors) and assessment of the probability of occurrences.

"In addition, the estimated volume and the extent of landslides can be evaluated and analysed through (modelling of) various scenarios," the experts said.

They added that landslide risk included hazard and vulnerability measurement.

"Hazard measurement is done by assessing the possibility of collapse.

"Vulnerability measurement assesses the impact on infrastructure.

"Vulnerability is determined by the relationship between potential landslide damage and risk elements (through determining) the degree of loss.

"Risk elements are determined based on the critical infrastructure built on the slope, at the foot of the slope and near the slope," they said.

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