The Netherlands is sending a team of experts to Malaysia, as part of its Dutch Risk Reduction-Team program (DRR-Team). The mission takes place between August 22 and September 2. The team consists of 5 experts, led by team leader Marco Hartman. Marco is senior consultant water and climate and at HKV, and has previously advised for DRR-Team in Malaysia, Myanmar, Bulgaria and Albania. The team will advise the Malaysian government on developing a strategy for dealing with persistent flooding problems across the country.

Huge impact despite warnings
Heavy unprecedented rainfall was observed in the middle of December 2021 on the Malaysian peninsula. This resulted in extensive flooding, especially in the Klang Valley. On the 17th of December MetMalaysia (the Malaysian Meteorological Department) issued a code red. The Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) issued warnings through regular and social media. DID has an ‘ICMLive’ warning system in place, using the forecast from MetMalaysia as input. Despite these warnings, the flooding had a huge impact, with more than 50 casualties reported.

Objective of the mission
The objective of the mission is to collect information on how decisions related to flood protection strategies in Malaysia are made and how Nature Based Solutions (NBS) could strengthen these strategies. The team will formulate advice to the Malaysian authorities to strengthen the decision making process, discuss governance aspects and provide examples of NBS. Specific attention will be given to governance issues and the way funds can be effectively spent by the government. Additionally, the approach to flood mitigation will be “soft where possible, hard where necessary”, and make careful considerations about using hard infrastructure, NBS, or other types of solutions. The team will formulate the necessary steps to develop a full flood risk management strategy (or multiple strategies) to mitigate flooding issues in the affected areas, including recommendations for developing an effective investment program.

Previous exploratory research

In December 2021 the Malaysian government asked the NL embassy to deploy a DRR-Team scoping mission following this disaster. The scoping mission was done through on-line meetings in March, April and May 2022. This resulted in a first overview of problems and possible causes, however further analysis is necessary to give a comprehensive advice. Therefore, a follow-up mission was requested and approved.

Dutch Risk Reduction-Team

Dutch Risk Reduction-Team (DRR-Team) is a program that can be used by foreign governments to request support from the Netherlands for the mitigation or prevention of water-related risks in situations of urgent or eminent disasters, as is currently the case in Suriname.

A DRR-Team consists of water experts across the full scale of disciplines. The Team provides advice for potential short- and mid to long-term solutions and an action strategy on basis of short, rapid assessment missions.