Malaysia: Floods - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRMY007


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Yan, Kedah was faced with a flash flood from the foothill of Mount Jerai (Gunung Jerai). The flash flood happened on Wednesday, 18 August 2021 at 5.30 pm (Local Malaysian Time). The heavy downpour caused water surges and landslides on Gunung Jerai that later hit Yan, Kuala Muda, and Bandar Baharu district in Kedah with muddy flash floods. The surrounding location of Gunung Jerai Resort was severely damaged. Difficulty in road access from the affected flash flood sites hampered the search and rescue of the casualties believed to have drowned and been swept away by the strong current. The flash floods have affected approximately 879 families (4,395 people) in the affected area of Yan district and 86 families (430 people) in Kubang Pasu district. The data collected is based on the district office in Yan and Kuala Muda as of 22 August 2021.

The Government opened two evacuation centres and hosted 43 people for short-term assistance. Currently, the evacuation centres had been closed. Out of 4,825 people affected by the flash flood, only 43 people went to the evacuation centres. People from the affected flash flood villages were hesitant to evacuate to the centres due to the fear of COVID-19 transmission. COVID-19 cases in the Yan district are considered high at the state level. For Yan district, 395 positive COVID-19 cases have been reported, and in Kuala Muda district, figures have reached 6,285 cases. Carrying sediment and large tree trunks, the flash floods impacted nearby houses in the Kampung Pematang Keramat. Most of the houses in this village are 2 km from the primary impact area of the foothill of Gunung Jerai. The affected houses are covered in mud, some with minor damage.

Villages affected by the flash flood were covered with mud and sand on the houses since 18 August 2021. Of the three affected locations, the Yan district is the most affected location. Heavy rains poured a massive volume of water down a stream from Gunung Jerai, sweeping tree trunks and rocks through two km of the surrounding area. The ensuing floods destroyed local village livestock and vegetable farms. Local authorities have confirmed six deaths.

In Kuala Muda district, most areas were covered with muddy water, tree trunks, and large rocks from the side of the river. Despite mud covering houses, flood victims did not report heavy damage. People did, however, report damage to several home appliances and furniture. The walls of a few residences are damaged, smashed by rocks from the nearby river. Most of the houses are built with concrete structures and wood materials.

A river overflowed in Banda Baharu district, as heavy downpour caused pressure on a dam, flooded its water capacity and impacted poor drainage systems. Houses in this district were covered with muddy water with 25 people affected, and local authorities are providing assistance to this district.

In the two districts of Yan and Kuala Muda, flash floods destroyed farmland and plantations. Livestock loss such as chickens, goats, and cows was also reported, which are critical livelihood or safety net assets for the affected. Some farmers reportedly lost harvests due to the flood, which is significant as the rice harvest is due later this month. Kedah state is currently experiencing the third wave of COVID-19, with cases escalating in the last two weeks, reaching 1,538 new cases per day and 24,306 active cases. Kedah state is the seventh highest state with COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, reporting 89,027 cases as of 26 August 2021. In Malaysia, a Movement Control Order (MCO) is still ongoing, and the country has a COVID-19 recovery plan with different phases. Currently, Kedah state still falls under the category of phase 1, where daily cases are still high.