With parts of Malaysia currently facing severe flooding, knowing what to do before, during and after the disaster could save your life and help you financially recover quickly. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide and tips on how to survive the flood season.
Massive floods have hit Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Selangor and Johor – with almost 20,000 Malaysians evacuated to temporary relief centres (PPS) so far, according to a recent report by Astro Awani.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) has also issued a weather warning, with more heavy rain expected in parts of Pahang, Johor, Kelantan, Terengganu and Sabah. MetMalaysia has pointed out that continuous downpour may cause flooding in low-lying and flood-prone areas.
Throughout the years, almost every state in Malaysia has experienced some form of flooding – from traffic jam-inducing flash floods in urban areas like Penang and Johor Bahru to devastating weeks-long floods in the east coast of the peninsular and East Malaysia.
Even our capital city, Kuala Lumpur, has been struck by floods as recently as November last year.
So if you live in a location that is prone to flooding, you should make the necessary preparations to ensure the safety of your family, as well as minimise your financial losses from potential property and car damages.
Preparations for the monsoon season
Floods have a higher tendency of happening during the annual monsoon season in Malaysia (November – March) and sometimes, it can strike suddenly without any warning or indication. During a flood in Kuala Lumpur last September, The New Straits Times reported that sections of Jalan Dang Wangi and Jalan Tun H.S Lee were submerged in water after only a few hours of heavy rain.
Thus, when you are facing an occasionally unpredictable natural disaster like this, it’s best to stay prepared at all times.
You ought to add flood coverage to your home and car insurance policies, especially if you reside in a flood-prone area.
1. Add flood coverage to your home and car insurance policies
You should add flood coverage to your home and car insurance policies, especially if you reside in a flood-prone area. The coverage will ease your financial burdens in the event where your home or car is damaged by flood water.
According to The Star, repairing a flood-damaged car can cost up to RM50,000. Meanwhile, your home repairs might cost even more than that. Imagine having to replace your ruined doors, windows, sofa, tables, TV, PC, kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, beds, carpets as well as other appliances and furniture pieces. You will also need to fork out more money to clean and disinfect your home.
As for your car insurance, you can choose to add coverage against natural disasters like floods, typhoons and landslides to your policy. From what we know, the annual premium for this add-on is 0.5% of the total sum insured. So if you have insured your car for RM50,000, you’ll be paying an additional RM250 for flood coverage.
Considering how much money you’d have to spend if flood water damages your car engine, transmission or cooling system, paying that extra few hundred ringgit yearly seems like a good deal.
2. Stay updated with the latest weather and flood forecasts
Malaysian news sites regularly publish the latest bad weather and flood alerts by government agencies like MetMalaysia and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage. So you should follow these news portals on Twitter and other social platforms. An early warning can give you more time to get your family to safety, as well as protect your home, car and belongings.
Before a flood
As soon as you hear about an impending flood in your area, you should pack up your important belongings and get ready to seek safe shelter along with your family members.
1. Prepare an emergency kit
You should always keep a waterproof bag at home. Use the bag to store essential items such as:
- a fully charged mobile phone and power banks
- face masks
- hand sanitisers
- drinking water
- essential medicines
- first aid supplies
- flashlights with extra batteries
- personal documentation (IC, passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, driving licences, etc.)
2. Move your belongings upstairs; switch off electricity sources
Move your electronics, furniture and valuable items to a higher floor if possible. If you live in a single-storey house, you can place your belongings on tables and chairs (this way, only a few pieces of furniture will suffer water damage).
If you are heading to a relief centre, do turn off all the electricity sources in your house. According to Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), in order to protect your home from electrical mishaps, you should remember to switch off the main power outlet and unplug all electrical appliances before an evacuation.
During a flood
Since November 2020, the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) has been gearing up to face potential floods throughout the country. The APM, along with its fleet of over 900 boats and numerous lorries, have teamed up with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) to assist flood victims and evacuate them to temporary relief centres (PPS). They are the unsung heroes of the recent floods.
So don’t worry, you’re not the only one who has made preparations for the monsoon season. Just remember to keep calm as help is on the way!
The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) have deployed teams in affected areas to evacuate flood victims to temporary relief centres.
1. Contact the relevant authorities immediately
When your area has begun to flood, you should call your neighbourhood police station or fire brigade to ask for assistance immediately. (It would be much easier and safer to evacuate people while the flood waters are still at a low level, as the relevant authorities can use motor vehicles to transport them.)
If you don’t have these contact numbers stored in your phone, just do a quick Google search. You can also dial 999 (for the police and ambulance), 994 (fire and rescue department) and 112 (a common emergency phone number that can be dialed from your mobile).
2. Avoid driving and walking through flooded areas
There have been several cases of motorcyclists, motorists and pedestrians being swept away by strong currents during the flood season. The police have also stated that we should not be driving on flooded roads. So it’s best to be careful and stay out of these areas.
3. Follow COVID-19 SOPs at relief centres
Don’t forget that the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging throughout the country. Thus, when you arrive at a temporary relief centre (PPS), remember to practise social distancing, wear a face mask and sanitise your hands regularly.
Besides that, the government has announced that all evacuees will be tested for COVID-19. This will minimise the risk of such infections at relief centres.
After a flood
Once the flood waters in your area have receded, you will be allowed to return home where a new set of challenges await. Let’s soldier on and rebuild!
1. Hire an electrician to check your home electrical wiring
Don’t rush back into your house. The flood water could have damaged your home’s electrical outlets. That’s why you should have an electrician check all your wiring before turning on the power.
2. Call 999 if there is wildlife in your house
There could also be wild animals that might have ended up in your residence during the flood. According to this article by The Rakyat Post, if you need assistance in removing snakes that have slithered into your home, you can call 999 and seek help from emergency services such as the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM). We are pretty sure they will assist you in removing other types of wildlife as well.
Share photos of damaged assets with your insurance provider for claim purposes.
3. Take photos of your damaged assets as evidence
To ensure a smooth and speedy claims approval, Allianz recommends that customers should keep records of all the damages and “take photos wherever, whenever possible”. So if you have insured your home and its contents against loss caused by flood, remember to take clear, detailed pictures of your water-damaged home and belongings.
If you have added flood coverage in your car insurance policy, you ought to take numerous photos of your damaged vehicle as well. Snap pictures of your car exterior, interior, engine and boot.
4. File an insurance claim for flood damage
Once you have sufficient evidence of the flood-related damages, contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Remember to share the photos you have taken with your insurance provider for claim purposes.
Additionally, some insurance companies have also taken the initiative to make the claims process easier for policyholders who have been affected by floods.
For instance, Allianz’s Claims Caravan has been deployed to flood-prone areas in Kelantan, Pahang, Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. According to Allianz, its customers will be able to fill in a claim form right away at the caravan. An adjuster will then be assigned to survey a customers’ property within 24 hours.
As you can see, preparation is key to surviving and financially recovering from a flood. So you should stick to a well-thought-out plan this wet season. Keep your chin up, stay alert and stay safe!