Local Community Knowledge for Flood Resilience: A Case Study from East Coast Malaysia
Keywords:Community resilience, Environment, Flood risk, Local knowledge, Bounce back
Malaysia as a tropical climate country is vulnerable to dreadful climate change events; particularly floods. These frequent occurrences of floods severely affect one or other parts of the country. In reducing disaster risk and strengthening local initiatives towards climate adaptation, vulnerable communities particularly in rural areas have developed valuable local knowledge for flood resilience. This local knowledge is continuously practiced in facing disasters and it is passed down to the next generations. This study aims to examine measures taken by communities based on local knowledge they possessed from the three stages of disaster management cycle namely, before, during and after disaster. Local knowledge as asserted by scholars could complement scientific knowledge and build a comprehensive disaster risk reduction approach for local context implementation. A mixed method approach was adopted; case study method and household survey involving 90 respondents for quantitative data collection and field observation for collecting qualitative data. Three case study areas in East Coast of Malaysia have been selected for further observation including; 1) Lubok Setol village in Kelantan state; 2) Teladas village in Terengganu state; and 3) Gajah Mati village in Pahang state. Findings from this study indicated that all study cases have developed and adopted local knowledge strategies for flood preparedness and responses including; 1) agriculture techniques and livestock trading; 2) stock piling of food and other necessities; 3) marking flood level as historical record; 4) floodproofing animal shelter; 5) constructing overhead storage cabinet and outdoor hut, and; 6) saving boats for emergencies. As a conclusion, it is proven that local community knowledge plays crucial roles in reducing disaster risks hence contributing towards building a resilient community.
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