TOWS MATRIX OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH MANAGEMENT FOR FLOOD DISASTER IN MALAYSIA
Background: Compared to its neighbouring countries, Malaysia is relatively free from severe natural disasters. In Malaysia, flood is the most commonly occurring natural disaster and has become an issue as it threatens lives and properties, as well as severely disrupts social and economic activities. In addition to causing the population to be exposed to adverse environmental conditions, a flood also disrupts environmental health services. Effective management of environmental health following a flood disaster is of primary importance. The aim of this article is to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the provision of clean water, sewage disposal, and disaster waste management for the flood disaster in Malaysia as well as to recommend viable improvements in the planning of environmental health management for the disaster.
Materials and Methods: Articles and reports were accessed from PubMed, Medline, Google, Google Scholar, and by manual searches. This review was guided by the following research question: ‘What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the current flood disaster management in Malaysia, specifically in the provision of clean water, sewage disposal, and disaster waste management?’ The search terms include ‘flood disaster’, ‘environmental health’, ‘clean water’, ‘sewage’, ‘disaster waste’, ‘evaluation’, and ‘Malaysia’.
Result: 91 potentially relevant articles were identified, and 30 were assessed and reviewed in the final stage. The relevant points are clustered into the TOWS matrix to develop the strategies and recommendations for improvement. The strategies include strengths-opportunities, weaknesses-opportunities, strengths-threats, and weaknesses-threats.
Conclusion: Four main elements that require improvement in the provision of clean water, sewage system, and disaster waste disposal during flood in Malaysia include areas of legislation, regulations, and guidelines, flood disaster management plan, public attitude and community resilience, as well as collaboration, cooperation, and partnership between local and international stakeholders. More empirical evidence and evaluation studies of the current environmental health management are required to provide critical information on the current local scenario and to guide the appropriate actions for improvement.Keywords: Disaster, flooding, clean water, sewage, disaster waste