As a uniquely vulnerable part of the population, it’s critical for PWDs to be prepared for natural disasters. Recent floods across Malaysia have proved that even “safe” areas like major cities can be affected.
Here are our tips on how to prepare for a disaster, and how to keep yourself safe during such disasters. At the end of this article we will also be listing down support available for those affected by the 2021/2022 floods in Malaysia.
Get flood insurance
If you can afford it, flood insurance will cover damages caused by floods. This is usually included in homeowner’s insurance which insures the house as a building, or householder’s insurance which insures the contents of your house. Flood insurance is not usually included in car insurance. You may have to pay extra for it.
Have an evacuation plan
An evacuation plan is a clear series of actions you and the people who live with you can take if you have to leave your home. The plan should include
- where you will go
- when you will leave
- what routes you will take
- what vehicles/transport you will use
- who you will tell when you are leaving
- how to prepare or store items when you leave
It’s best to plan out all of these things before you need to do them. Discuss your plan with the people you live with. When a flood happens, everyone will know what to do and take action without getting scared or anxious.
Prepare a go-bag
Your go-bag should be waterproof and easy to carry with you. It will contain important items to keep you safe, healthy and comfortable when you evacuate. Your go-bag should include
- your personal documents, such as your NRIC or OKU card
- a first aid kit
- non-perishable food
- some cash
- a flashlight with extra batteries
- drinking water
- dry, warm clothes
- your phone and a charged powerbank
- any medication you are taking
- a blanket
- sleeping bags
Look out for updates from the meteorological department or local authorities. Listen to the radio, news, or social media to get information. If a flood warning is issued, move to higher ground immediately. Do not stay and risk getting stranded.
Secure your house when leaving
Before you leave,
- move your valuables, any important documents, and clothing to higher ground.
- turn off all electric circuits at the main circuit breaker box.
- shut off and disconnect any gas lines or gas tanks you are currently using.
- turn off your water at the main valve or meter.
Leave immediately afterwards with your go-bag.
Head for higher ground, but do not attempt to drive or walk through rising water. Even 12cm of moving water can knock you off your feet, and 30 – 60 cm of water can stall a car. If you must walk through water, use a long stick as support and to test the ground in front of you. Once you are safe, do not play, touch or drink the flood waters. They contain dirt, waste and germs that can make you sick.
Build a support network
Reach out to friends and family, and support one another during and after a natural disaster. Call 999 for the police or an ambulance, or 994 for the fire department. Stay in touch with any volunteers who may be assisting in your area as well.
Support for 2021/2022 floods
These forms of support are currently available for those affected by the 2021/2022 floods in Malaysia:
- The government’s Wang Ihsan Fund provides RM1,000 to families affected by flooding. Cash vouchers worth up to RM500 are also available to purchase electronic items to replace those destroyed in floods. Find out more and apply here.
- The government is also offering:
- RM1,000 cash vouchers to repair or replace flood-damaged vehicles
- cash assistance up to RM5,000 per household to repair minor damage to homes
- cash assistance of up to RM15,000 to repair major damage to homes
- up to RM56,000 per household to house families whose homes were destroyed or inhabitable
- up to RM2,500 in cash aid for the purchase of basic necessities
- Bank Simpanan Nasional is offering interest-free financing of up to RM10,000 with a repayment period of up to 3.5 years, including a six-month repayment moratorium.
- Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya is providing food and other essentials to flood victims. Find out more here.
- KitaJagaKita maintains a list of mutual fund initiatives for those who need money, food, housing or psychiatric help. Find out more here.
- PIAM Malaysia has a flood relief fund for vehicle owners. Find out more and apply here.
- Perodua is offering exemptions for towing and repair fees, along with a 50% discount on spare parts.
- Proton is offering exemptions for towing and repair fees, along with a 50% discount on spare parts and free car washes at Proton service centres.
- Other car manufacturers have agreed to provide free towing services and a discount of 25% or more on spare parts and repairs at registered service centres. Several companies also offer payment in instalments up to one year.
- SIUMAN is assisting with the replacement of mobility aids. Find out more here.
Arjun M. (2021) [UPDATED] Total assistance for flood victims can reach RM61,000: PM [Accessed: 3 Jan 2022] Available at: https://www.thevibes.com/articles/news/51016/total-assistance-for-flood-victims-can-reach-rm61000-pm
Bernama (2021) PM: Keluarga Malaysia Flood Aid to be implemented in comprehensive, effective manner [Accessed: 3 Jan 2022] Available at: https://www.theborneopost.com/2021/12/29/pm-keluarga-malaysia-flood-aid-to-be-implemented-in-comprehensive-effective-manner/
Diana C. (2014) Will Your Insurance Policy Have Your Back in a Flood? [Accessed: 26 Jan 2022] Available at: https://ringgitplus.com/en/blog/Insurance/Will-Your-Insurance-Policy-Have-Your-Back-in-a-Flood.html
Jen-Li L. (2021) Flood Relief: How To Get Or Send Help [Accessed: 3 Jan 2022] Available at: https://www.imoney.my/articles/malaysia-flood-aid-2021
Joycelyn T. (2021) https://vulcanpost.com/772756/malaysia-flood-donate-charities-list/ [Accessed: 3 Jan 2022] Available at: https://vulcanpost.com/772756/malaysia-flood-donate-charities-list/
NAFFWWS Muar (2018) Tips for Flood Preparation [Accessed: 26 Jan 2022] Available at: http://forecastmuar.water.gov.my/tips-for-flood-preparation
Sheela C. (2021) Floods: 5 things you need to do to prepare for such disasters [Accessed: 3 Jan 2022] Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20211220114422/https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/living/2021/12/20/floods-5-things-you-need-to-do-to-prepare-for-such-disasters
SIUMAN (2021) Tweet [Accessed: 3 Jan 2022] Available at: https://twitter.com/KamiSIUMAN/status/1474691793610440710
Subhash N. (2021) Here’s What Relief You Can Get With Or Without Flood Insurance [Accessed: 26 Jan 2022] Available at: https://www.dsf.my/2021/12/heres-what-relief-you-can-get-with-or-without-flood-insurance/