Flood at Manek Urai, Kelantan

In December 2014, Malaysia faced one of the worst flood disasters in history. Malaysians faced the dangers of floods every year but still, we are unable to provide an early warning system to the public. More than 200,000 people got displaced from their homes. Many houses were destroyed, and Millions of RM were lost.

True enough that we have some sensors detecting the rise of water in many of the rivers. But can we go beyond just warning the public and get the answer to why floods always happen? We can’t always say the reason for the flood is the “Act of God.”

One of the “theory” why the flood happens is that when the water from the heavy rainfall and flow into the river, it swells up very fast due to an increased level of silt at the bottom of the ready caused by deforestation. Furthermore, garbage and tree branches quickly blocked at some of the bridges which also caused an overflow. It was further impacted by the gravity of the moon and the floodwater had to be pushed back from the seashores as the seawater rises.

Referring to my previous article – “Developing Smart Garbage Solution Using Internet of Things (IoT)?” by using Big Data Analytics, we can use a similar template by asking similar questions for the flood monitoring system. Some of these issues are:

  1. What is the water level in the river?
  2. What is the estimated population affected?
  3. When does the river swell up?
  4. Where is the location of the water rise?
  5. Who is contributing to the increase in water level?
  6. Which area requires immediate evacuation? And which one next?
  7. How to control the water level?
  8. How fast is the water rising?
  9. How effective and efficient does the government machinery react to the situation?
  10. How much more will be affected?
  11. How much supply do we need more?
  12. How fast can we provide them on time?
  13. Why is the water rising?

By asking this set of questions, we can accurately collect the critical data using sensors and correlate it with some existing environmental and astronomical data.

What other questions do you think can help to resolve the flood disaster? I would love to hear your thoughts especially to those who have faced the tragedy personally.

About the Author

Dr. Mazlan Abbas is an IOT Evangelist, Thought Leader and CEO of REDtone IOT. You can follow him on LinkedIn at or Twitter at . For further details, check out

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