The DRR-Team mission to Penang State on flood risk management, meteorological/hydrological forecasting and emergency plans is planned for 20 – 27 of May. Exact dates have to be confirmed with partners in Malaysia. The DRR-Team is looking for three experts for this mission, see the text below for more detailed information and the expertise required. Candidates can apply by sending an email (please include your resume and a short motivation) to until April 11th  2018.


The floods in early November 2017 took the Malaysian authorities by surprise. Penang Island is often flooded, for a short time, and with a limited extent. This time it took much, much longer (14 hours until it started to lessen) and deeper (‘on average 2 – 3 feet’). The Met Office issued a pre warning a few days before (on the 1st of November) and updated the warning one day before the event. The event turned out to be worse than forecasted, the typhoon went way more south than forecasted, and stayed unusually long on the same spot, resulting in a downpour similar to a 1:100 year event. Met Office experts mentioned that nobody could have forecasted this.

As the citizens are used to minor flooding for a short period, nobody reacted to the warning, or was willing to evacuate. Only once it appeared to become much worse than normal, evacuation started.

An official request from the Chief Minister of Penang for support from the DRR-Team was sent to the Dutch Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on 5 December 2017. On 17 January 2018 a support letter from the National Disaster Management Agency, directly under coordination of the Prime Minister’s department, was received. From 11 – 16 March 2018 DRR Team leader Marco Hartman visited Penang and Kuala Lumpur to discuss the request with the main stakeholders and to define the scope of the main DRR mission.


In the second half of May 2018 a DRR-Team will visit Malaysia to support the authorities with the following subjects:

  • Flood Risk Assessment for the short- and medium term in Penang State with a focus on drainage and river systems. Flash floods and landslides are areas of particular interest. Topography, hydrogeology and physical attributes of the existing or proposed developments in flood mitigation need to be considered.
  • Urban flood management: what are the possibilities for water storage in inner cities in Penang? What can be learned from the Dutch experience in cities in NL and abroad? Innovative solutions should be included. This includes urban planning for the historical city centres (soft and hard infrastructures for flood protection).
  • Meteo and forecasting: Specific advice on meteorological and hydrological modelling and forecasting tools for Pulau Penang. To reduce the risks of casualties and impact there is a need of a Flood Early Warning System to prepare authorities and people living in flood prone areas. Possibilities and limitations should be managed.
  • Awareness and resilience: Which measures and tools can be implemented to raise awareness about flood risks and to improve resilience? Are there good practices in the Netherlands that raised awareness that can be applied to the Penang context?
  • Flood Disaster Management. From meteo forecasting to emergency measures. Advice on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the event of floods. Cooperation, communication and actions to limit flood impact during flood disaster.
  • Inventory of funding options for the Penang and Malaysian Government, including third party and NL options.

Profiles of the expertise required

  • Meteo expert, with knowledge of tropical systems in South East Asia and hands on experience with flash flood forecasting. The expert will assess the current practice of weather forecasting in relation to floods in Malaysia on a national and local scale (Penang). Based on the assessment the meteo expert will advise on improvements in weather forecasting for Penang island. The expert will inform on best global practices and advise on early warning for flash floods that are most suitable for the Malaysian and Penang context.
  • Urban planner/urban resilience expert with practical experience in designing and implementing flood mitigation measures in densely populated area. The task of the urban planner is to analyse the existing flood mitigation infrastructure in the urban areas of Penang and to advise on the possibilities to include local measures to mitigate flooding in urban areas. This will be done in collaboration with responsible officers in Penang. The urban planner will showcase how Dutch cities have implemented innovative flood mitigation measures. Assessment and advice on building codes should be included. Through field trips (e.g. with the local council or other stakeholders), or possibly workshops with the citizens in flood prone areas, the urban planner will prepare some preliminary conceptual designs and describe the effectiveness of the ‘sponge city’ concept for Penang.
  • (Flood) disaster manager, with experience in awareness campaigns, early warning as well as Standard Operating Procedures in disaster management. The task of the disaster manager is to assess the current SOP’s and compare it with practices in the Netherlands and/or other best practices. Together with the meteo expert propose how results of the flash flood forecasting system can be linked to an early warning system can be used in the SOP. Present international best practices to enhance awareness and resilience amongst the citizens on Penang. Benchmark the SOP to current practice in the Netherlands (institutional as well as when to evacuate, etcetera). Advise on improvements.

Practical experience of the required expertise, preferably in South East Asia, is preferred.