Don’t blame God! Humans the ‘real’ cause of severe floods, says professor

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I was feeling puzzled about the extreme floods in many parts of the country. We have always had floods in the East Coast, but why has the flooding been so bad and widespread this time around? To get some answers, I asked Dr Chan Ngai Weng, a professor of physical geography at USM, what he thought were the real causes of the severe floods.

The  Temerloh suspension bridge
The Temerloh suspension bridge

This was Prof Chan’s response:

Kelantan has always been a flood-prone state and Malaysia a flood-prone country. We will never be free from floods in much the same way that Ethiopia will never be free from drought. It is in the nature of our climate.

The current floods, however, appear to be one of the worst in recent decades. Climate change is a likely cause as greater temperature extremes generate greater storms, stronger monsoons and heavier rains.

Yet, we also need to remember that humans have completely changed the face of the earth from natural (water absorbant and retentive) surfaces such as forests to urban (water impermeable and non-absorbant) surfaces (concrete, cement etc). These result in much of the rain flowing on land surfaces as runoff, leading to floods.

Rivers’ drainage capacities are also significantly reduced due to sedimentation. Worst of all, buildings and other structures are erected right on river banks, restricting rivers’ ability to manoeuvre.

In the deltas, sedimentation restricts flow of river water into the seas leading to backlogging of water which floods riverine areas.

Rainforests and wetlands that absorb a huge amount of rain water have been carelessly logged and totally drained for agriculture and other human land uses.

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Overall, humans are the ‘real’ cause of the current floods. Even global warming and current climate change is largely caused by humans.

Address the human causes, and Kelantan and other parts of Malaysia will see less flooding of lesser frequencies and magnitudes.

Don’t blame it on God or Nature!

Prof Chan has a Master’s Degree in Climatology & Meteorology from University Malaya and a Doctorate in Environmental Hazards Management from Middlesex University, United Kingdom.

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ken
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ken

Please leave God alone
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/please-leave-god-alone-ravinder-singh

God never escapes from the rulers of Kelantan. No less than the CEO of the Kelantan government has now issued a command to the Kelantanese, saying, “I am calling on the people in the state to take this as a sign from Allah”. According to him, “It is the power of Allah to bring such heavy rain in such a short time”, ie. 1,295mm of rainfall in three days. He denies allegations of uncontrolled logging and states that logging has been frozen since 2006.

herman
Guest
herman

… and so logging will continue in Kelantan to strip bare the forested land with the blessing of PAS government in the name of development! Sigh!

tunglang
Guest

Floods: RM5 lunch now RM23 in Tanah Merah.
http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/01/01/floods-rm23-for-lunch-of-rice-fired-mackerel-tanah-merah/

Food traders are maximising profits at the expense of flood victims?
These are the heartless, no different from the timber companies that deforested the pristine rainforest which to a greater extent led to this flooding.

tunglang
Guest

Not enough to eat. Skipping meals for days.
Donate all you can afford to Malaysian flood victims.
Nothing is too little to donate.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=758226334260290&set=a.332736936809234.77800.100002187905088&type=1&theater

lst
Guest
lst

The timber taukes of Kelantan claimed that 3-day of continuous and unusually high rainfall is the main cause of flooding, not logging.

Food vendors claimed high food price due to limited supply and high transportation cost.

They are learning fast from our politicians to twist and turn.

Ananars
Guest
Ananars

What is crucial is the aid reach the people instead of blah blah cari pasal

fred
Guest
fred

We hope come 1 January 2015 anilnetto.com carries more auspicious headlines so that 2015 can be happy n joyous one.

lst
Guest
lst

Yes. RON95 at RM1.90 on New Year’s Day?

gk ong
Guest
gk ong

Good news for Penangites on Page 10 of The Sun today: Putrajaya to spend RM1billion on Penang.

Hopefully the spending is not via the ali baba cascading practices.

just
Guest
just

Penangites are waiting for UTC to be set up at 1st 2 floors of Komtar. Najib needs to upgrade the image of Komtar as it bears the acronym of his father’s name. Otherwise these 2 floors will be operated by Bangladesh and Burmese e.g. kopitiam or sundry shops.

ken
Guest
ken

UTC = Urban Transformation Centre

Apparently Anil never watch NTV7 or TV3 as the UTC jingle is played daily, usually before the news buletin.

ken
Guest
ken

UTC = Pusat Transformasi Bandar

herman
Guest
herman

Did you notice that the aid boxes (food) for the flood victims from BN do not carry the 1Malaysia logo, but portrait of Najib?

fred
Guest
fred

2015 Najib’s image very important to reach out to catalyst now that ambitious Muhiddyin with Mahathir’s backing may challenge him?

lst
Guest
lst

1Malaysia concept is dead and buried, after Najib could not find answer to his ‘Apa Cina Mahu’ question?

segar
Guest
segar

Prof Chan Ngai Weng will never get a chance to be interviewed on Astro Awani, for the reason known to us.

glissantia
Guest
glissantia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

Delusional humans are irritating the planet like a skin disease. A recent TV program (on Discovery Science) suggests that the oceans may be a key aspect of the planetary being. So far, it has absorbed or mediated most of the excess heat and carbon humans generated, apart from a vast range of poisons.

The planet has maintained homeostasis over aeons despite enormous changes such solar output. When it (absent-mindedly) scratch the itch, humans will be truly helpless.

tunglang
Guest

Don’t blame God, don’t blame your enemies, don’t blame yourself.
Time is running short.
Donate to Malaysian flood victims.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=755609247855332&set=a.332736936809234.77800.100002187905088&type=1&theater

Kingston
Guest
Kingston

Good is testing humans with natural disaster prior to doomsday? Better do good for better karma. Make it a heaven on earth caring for the nature!

Kingston
Guest
Kingston

School children need to be taught not to throw rubbish around but to find PROPER trash bins to dispose them. This us very basics which some adults not practised hence rubbish find the ways to clog the drains.
If u care enough to check, many drains and rivers have become dump sites. Even in cosmopolitan Penang, the urban drains can be awful sight with choking rubbish.

EdG
Guest
EdG

Aren’t all children in this country supposed to be taught the subject of Moral from Primary 1 right up to Secondary 5 where they have to sit for the compulsory Pendidikan Moral SPM paper? And I believed that millions of students have gone through or are still undergoing this character building process that is incorporated into our education system. If more than 10 years of formal education cannot inculcate a simple awareness on littering, then the Pendidikan Moral teaching in our schools is simply a waste of the student’s and educator’s time, not to mention the nation’s resources. But have… Read more »

fred
Guest
fred

Character building fails miserably as the young learns from many politicians the way to richness is not education but learn to bodek?

lst
Guest
lst

Malaysian students scored A in Pendidikan Moral in theory, but failed to apply learnings in real life?

Already proven that Straight Aa students are only exam smart, may not do well in life when there is no tutor to provide model questions and answers to cope with challenges.

tunglang
Guest

Not many people have seen (first hand) what’s been done to our pristine rainforest. On my 2003 4WD trip into Gua Musang > Cameron Highlands, I witnessed large tracts of rainforest ‘botak-ed’ for a 30ft wide gravelled road that meanders into scenic jungles rich with wildlife like the rhinoceros & hornbills. On my 2002 Sg Rui (Kedah) trip I aghast at this 50 – 80 ft wide muddy road in construction which cut thro endless rainforest which left me imagined how many tons of old trees were ‘executed + sold’ by the gomen. Nearby less than 300 metres into the… Read more »

Kingston
Guest
Kingston

Looks like us r switching from food commenter to environmental activist. Good choice as being a Thamk Chiak Kui not easy to sustain as street food cost on rise on in smaller portions to satisfy taste buds. Happy 2015.

tunglang
Guest

Maybe, if only we can sacrifice our Tham Chiah Kui urges & donate to flood victims.
And maybe, the many richie in Cosmopolitan Penang to chip in.
And kee, Yang, Ananars, Awang Selamat Ori, herman, iSupercally, Kingston, Ah Soon Kor, Miami, Dr Syam, Ed G, abb, gk ong, owc & not failing to mention Anil.

Time is running short.
Donate all you can afford to Malaysian flood victims.
Nothing is too little to donate.
Donation venues:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=755607947855462&set=a.332736936809234.77800.100002187905088&type=1&theater

Ananars
Guest
Ananars

Look like PAS will definitely passed the resolution for hudud implementation in the Kelantan State Assembly soon because of the flood. Because they did not implement hudud, God is angry. DAP and PKR must understand PAS predicament. Anyway DAP LGE, Dyana and PKR Anwar have said they are not against hudud ……………. but ……….

Superawani
Guest
Superawani

What s stupid statement! Do not try to speak on behalf of God!

Ananars
Guest
Ananars

Yes you are right. At this time of crisis Pakatan PAS still want to implement the hudud bill if not for the flood that flooded the Secretariat. Its a relief for PKR and DAP albeit temporary

segar
Guest
segar

Let him blames his own God, and answers in hell.

herman
Guest
herman

“Rainforests and wetlands that absorb a huge amount of rain water have been carelessly logged and totally drained for agriculture and other human land uses.”

Excessive/uncontrolled logging or was it because the Kelantan government needs more revenue while hoping for higher oil royalty?

Remember the flooding in Alor Setar a few years back was partly attributed to heavy logging of Pedu forest reserves.

segar
Guest
segar

“…when rain falls some portion of it is absorbed by the forest and soil. The balance of the rainfall will flow on the surface as surface runoff. As we reduce the amount of absorption capacity, naturally we will increase the amount of surface runoff. How has the absorption capacity been reduced? It reduces due to deforestation, change of land use, an increase in impermeable (surface that does not absorb water) surfaces and basically, developments to cater to our increasing population.” “The destruction of forests destroys nature’s ability to ‘delay’ the flow of surface water. Therefore, green coloured crops will not… Read more »

iSupercally
Guest
iSupercally

Don’t blame it on God or Nature!

I would not blame it on God but I would blame it on Nature. Nature is the natural forces that control what happens in the world although somewhat man may have a hand in changing these nature from one place to another. Even if there is no human being on earth, such happening will still happen.

Pak Tim
Guest
Pak Tim

What Prof. Chan said is that human activities changed the weather pattern. There is strong evidence for that.