This experimental study was conducted to idealize the efficacy of sea wall in controlling the tsunami forces on onshore structures. Different types of sea walls were placed in front of the building model. The tsunami forces and the wave heights were measured with and without the sea wall conditions. Types of sea wall, wall height, and wall positions were varied simultaneously to quantify the force reductions. Maximum of 41% forces was reduced by higher sea wall, positioned closer proximity to the model whereas this reduction was about 27% when the wall height was half of the high wall. Experimental investigations revealed that wall with adequate height and placed closer to the structures enables a satisfactory predictor of the force reduction on onshore structures. Another set of tests were performed with perforated wall placing near the building model. Less construction cost makes the provision of perforated sea wall interesting. The overall results showed that the efficacy of perforated wall is almost similar to solid wall. Hence, it can be efficiently used instead of solid wall. Moreover, overtopped water that is stuck behind the wall is readily gone back to the sea through perforations releasing additional forces on the nearby structures.
Submarine landslides, also known as submarine mass failures (SMFs), are major natural marine disasters that could critically damage coastal facilities such as nuclear power plants and oil and gas platforms. It is therefore essential to investigate submarine landslides for potential tsunami hazard assessment. Three-dimensional seismic data from offshore Brunei have revealed a giant seabed mass deposited by a previous SMF. The submarine mass extends over 120 km from the continental slope of the Baram Canyon at 200 m water depth to the deep basin floor of the Northwest Borneo Trough. A suite of in-house two-dimensional depth-averaged tsunami simulation model TUNA (Tsunami-tracking Utilities and Application) is developed to assess the vulnerability of coastal communities in Sabah and Sarawak subject to potential SMF tsunami. The submarine slide is modeled as a rigid body moving along a planar slope with the center of mass motion parallel to the planar slope and subject to external forces due to added mass, gravity, and dissipation. The nonlinear shallow water equations are utilized to simulate tsunami propagation from deepwater up to the shallow offshore areas. A wetting-drying algorithm is used when a tsunami wave reaches the shoreline to compute run up of tsunami along the shoreline. Run-up wave height and inundation maps are provided for seven densely populated locations in Sabah and Sarawak to highlight potential risks at each location, subject to two scenarios of slide slopes: 2° and 4°. The first wave may arrive at Kudat as early as 0.4 h after the SMF, giving local communities little time to evacuate. Over a small area, maximum inundated depths reaching 20.3 m at Kudat, 26.1 m at Kota Kinabalu, and 15.5 m at Miri are projected, while the maximum inundation distance of 4.86 km is expected at Miri due to its low-lying coast. In view of the vulnerability of some locations to the SMF tsunami, it is important to develop and implement community resilience program to reduce the potential damage that could be inflicted by SMF tsunamis.
Natural hazards have a potentially large impact on economic growth, but measuring their economic impact is subject to a great deal of uncertainty. The central objective of this paper is to demonstrate a model--the natural disasters vulnerability evaluation (NDVE) model--that can be used to evaluate the impact of natural hazards on gross national product growth. The model is based on five basic indicators-natural hazards growth rates (αi), the national natural hazards vulnerability rate (ΩT), the natural disaster devastation magnitude rate (Π), the economic desgrowth rate (i.e. shrinkage of the economy) (δ), and the NHV surface. In addition, we apply the NDVE model to the north-east Japan earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 to evaluate its impact on the Japanese economy.
The potential of social media has expanded far beyond the initial function of social communication among a network of friends. It has become an increasingly important tool in risk communication to allow the dissemination of timely and accurate information to global citizens to make more informed choices regarding a particular crisis. The Fukushima nuclear crisis is an example where the potential of social media was not fully tapped. This caused undue stress and distrust of authorities. While the use of social media in this crisis could have altered significantly the level of trust in authorities and others, two additional points should be considered. One point is the use of plain language versus scientific language in order to reach a wider audience. The other is an urgent need to improve public information especially in the event of a nuclear emergency and to enhance educational efforts and action by improving radiological protection communication from regulatory bodies and international agencies. These are points that also play a large role in the use of social media.
The behavioral response of the obligate bamboo-nesting ant Cataulacus muticus to nest flooding was studied in a perhumid tropical rainforest in Malaysia and in the laboratory. The hollow internodes of giant bamboo, in which C. muticus exclusively nests, are prone to flooding by heavy rains. The ants showed a two-graded response to flooding. During heavy rain workers block the nest entrances with their heads to reduce water influx. However, rainwater may still intrude into the nest chamber. The ants respond by drinking the water, leaving the nest and excreting water droplets on the outer stem surface. This cooperative 'peeing' behavior is a new survival mechanism adaptive to the ants' nesting ecology. Laboratory experiments conducted with two other Cataulacus species, C. catuvolcus colonizing small dead twigs and C. horridus inhabiting rotten wood, did not reveal any form of water-bailing behavior.
Institutional aspects of flood hazards significantly affect their outcomes in Malaysia. Institutional arrangements to deal with floods include: legislative activity, organisational structures, attitudes and sub-culture, and policies and instruments. When assessed in terms of four specific criteria, institutional aspects of flood hazards are found to be largely inadequate. Disaster reduction programmes are over-dependent on a reactive approach based largely on technology and not even aimed at floods specifically. Structural flood reduction measures are the predominant management tool and, although the importance of non-structural measures is recognised, thus far they have been under-employed. Current laws and regulations with regard to flood management are also insufficient and both the financial and human resources of flood hazard organisations are generally found to be wanting. Finally, economic efficiency, equity and public accountability issues are not adequately addressed by institutional arrangements for flood hazards.
In Peninsular Malaysia 'structural' factors are found to influence strongly people's persistent occupation of floodplains. Thus, despite a high level of flood hazard awareness, a high level of pessimism and a high level of expectation of future floods, poorer individuals seldom attempt to leave for more advantageous locations but are instead trapped in their present locations by structural factors such as poverty, low residential and occupational mobility, low educational attainment, traditional land inheritance, government aid, and government disaster preparedness, relief and rehabilitation programmes. These forces exert a strong influence upon individuals and largely control their choice of residential location in response to flood hazards, thereby reinforcing the persistent occupation of floodplains. Structural factors such as landlessness, rural-urban migration, floodplain encroachment and squatting are also highly influential in leading people to move. Even for those who move, structural factors have largely confined their choice of residential location to urban floodplains.
Most democratic countries hold inquiries into disasters. One of their key functions is to establish the cause of an event and to learn lessons in order to prevent a recurrence. In addition, they offer an opportunity for communal catharsis, permitting the public to vent anger, distress and frustration and to exert pressure for policy changes. Malaysia has experienced six landmark socio-technical disasters since 1968, which resulted in the proposal or amendment of various safety/emergency acts and regulations. The authors used a grounded theory approach utilising a constant comparative method to analyse the recommendations made by the inquiries into these events. Data indicate that social and technical recommendations comprise 85 and 15 per cent, respectively, of the total recommendations made by the inquiry committees. This paper offers suggestions for improving the management of inquiry tribunals, as they will remain a valuable source of information for society and corporations to learn from past incidents.
On December 26, 2004, an earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that caused an estimated 225,000 deaths in eight countries (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand) on two continents. In Thailand, six provinces (Krabi, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Ranong, Satun, and Trang) were impacted, including prominent international tourist destinations. The Thai Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) responded with rapid mobilization of local and nonlocal clinicians, public health practitioners, and medical supplies; assessment of health-care needs; identification of the dead, injured, and missing; and active surveillance of syndromic illness. The MOPH response was augmented by technical assistance from the Thai MOPH-U.S. CDC Collaboration (TUC) and the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), with support from the office of the World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Thailand. This report summarizes these activities. The experiences in Thailand underscore the value of written and rehearsed disaster plans, capacity for rapid mobilization, local coordination of relief activities, and active public health surveillance.
Floods are considered an annual natural disaster in Kelantan. However, the record-setting flood of 2014 was a 'tsunami-like disaster'. Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia was the only fully functioning hospital in the state and had to receive and manage cases from the hospitals and clinics throughout Kelantan. The experiences, challenges, and recommendations resulting from this disaster are highlighted from an emergency medicine perspective so that future disaster preparedness is truly a preparation. The history of how the health campus was constructed with the collaboration of Perunding Alam Bina and Perkins and Willis of Chicago is elaborated.
This research focuses on the ASTER DEM generation for visual and mathematical analysis of topography, landscapes and landforms, as well as modeling of surface processes of Central Alborz, Iran. ASTER DEM 15 m generated using tie points over the Central Alborz and Damavand volcano with 5671 m height from ASTER (Advanced Space borne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) satellite data using PCI Geomatica 9.1. Geomorphic parameters are useful to identify and describe geomorphologic forms and processes, which were extracted from ASTER DEM in GIS environment such as elevation, aspect, slope angle, vertical curvature, and tangential curvature. Although the elevation values are slightly low in altitudes above 5500 m asl., the ASTER DEM is useful in interpretation of the macro- and meso-relief, and provides the opportunity for mapping especially at medium scales (1:100,000 and 1:50,000). ASTER DEM has potential to be a best tool to study 3D model for to geomorphologic mapping and processes of glacial and per glacial forms above 4300 m asl.
The massive 2008 Sichuan earthquake brought unprecedented international humanitarian aid to China. The monstrous damages and casualties aroused all human's sympathy. I took the opportunity to join a Malaysian voluntary medical relief team to Sichuan in June 2008. This essay recounts the immediate events post-earthquake and reports on my experience during the mission.
The role of science and technology (S&T) in preventing disasters and building resilience to climate change is featured in this paper, drawing primarily on the presentations and discussion of researchers, practitioners and policy makers from 31 institutions in 17 countries during the Workshop on Natural Disasters and Climate Change in Asia, held on 5–7 November 2012 in Bangi, Malaysia. Issues highlighted include advances in climate modelling and weather forecasts, with emphasis on information gaps; hazards and its cascading effects, focusing on current research and approaches; and the potential for land-based mitigation-adaptation strategies. Progress in mobilizing S&T to support disaster prevention and climate resilience is hindered by factors such as absence or lack of research, incomplete and non-existent scientific records, restricted access to data and capacity to innovate and transmit S&T, among others. The establishment of an Asian Network for Climate Science and Technology is proposed to provide and facilitate exchange of information and aid development of research co-ordination projects led by Asian researchers and possibly to act as a one-stop repository of global climate change related research too. The scope of the network would cover climate research with particular relevance to disaster resilience, including scientific capacity, which is all very distinct in Asia.