254 critical slopes identified

Contractors reinforcing a slope by the side of a highway in Ampang that was damaged in a landslide. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Some 254 locations nationwide have been identified as critical slopes at risk of landslides, says the Mineral and Geoscience Department.

Its director-general, Datuk Zamri Ramli, said 104 sites were classified as high risk, 97 as medium risk and 53 as low risk.

Sabah has the most critical slopes at 36, followed by Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan and Perak (25 each), Sarawak and Selangor (21), Negri Sembilan (19), Penang (13), Kedah (eight), Melaka (six), Perlis (four) and Kuala Lumpur (one).

“The classification and monitoring of said slopes were done in phases, with reports given to the local authorities involved and technical agencies or departments to assist in mitigation and maintenance measures.

“The information was also given to responder agencies for their preparations in facing any geological disasters,” Zamri said in a statement recently.

He said mitigation works at 37 of the 254 locations identified as critical slopes have been completed.Another 15 are undergoing mitigation measures while the remaining 202 are being monitored for further action.

He added that some 31 locations have also been identified as being landslide hotspots.

These included locations along several highways such as the East-West Link Expressway, Tapah-Cameron Highlands route, Seremban-Simpang Pertang, Rembau-Johol and Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway.

Locations in Sungai Buloh, Bukit Antarabangsa, Genting Peras and Sungai Buloh are also among those listed as hotspots.

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In Sabah and Sarawak, locations in Kota Kinabalu, Kundasang, Sandakan, Miri, Kapit and Bau were identified as hotspots.

Zamri said the hotspots had seen some 6,431 landslides and 602 deaths from May 11, 1961 up to Dec 17, 2023, adding that his department would update the list of hotspots “from time to time”.

Seven forest ecoparks that could potentially experience debris flows had also been mapped in 2023.

They are the Lata Iskandar Forest Ecopark in Perak, Sungai Tua Forest Ecopark in Selangor, Jeram Toi Forest Ecopark in Negri Sembilan, Chamang Forest Ecopark in Pahang, and the Lata Payung, Chemerong and Air Menderu Forest Ecoparks in Terengganu.

“The final report of the Geological Disasters Management Map for these locations alongside suggested mitigation measures and early warning systems for debris flows have been submitted to the relevant stakeholders for their preparedness in any situation,” Zamri said.

He added that community-based disaster risk management programmes have also been carried out at four landslide hotspots in Perak, Negri Sembilan, Pahang and Sabah.

Early Warning Systems (EWS) and rain gauges are also established across locations in Kedah, Sabah, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak and Terengganu.

“The EWS is community-based and involves district and state disaster management committees, local authorities and community leaders to ensure inclusive and effective implementation,” Zamri said.

Landslide threat maps have also been produced for several locations, with the maps disseminated to local authorities and stakeholders.

“The Minerals and Geoscience Department also has a Geological Disaster Response Team that is prepared for any eventuality.

“Teams have also been activated in all states and will update rescue teams on the status of any geological disaster,” he said.

He also advised those living in sloped areas or locations with a history of landslides to pay attention to their surroundings.

“Look out for small movements on slopes, cracks in the ground, walls, pillars or roads.

“Contact the Minerals and Geoscience Department or local authorities for further information or assistance.

“The department is always ready to lend its expertise in evaluating any landslide risks,” he added.
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