SEADPRI main research focuses on holistic and integrated approach (science, technology, impact, vulnerability & governance) to reduce disaster risk. SEADPRI’s three main R&D Programmes:
- Climatic Hazards
- Geological Hazards
- Technological Hazards
Extreme weather and climate change directly and indirectly affect humans and their activities as well as natural systems and processes. It is anticipated that the coming decades will see an increase in extreme weather events and a projected increase of hydro-meteorological hazards. Such events may also have consequences on some geological and environmental hazards, giving rise to serious socio-political and economic consequences. For example, higher and extreme run-offs may result in increased risk of flooding and consequently cause increased risk of disasters such as landslides and mudslides, ensuing in loss of human life, property and critical infrastructure. If wastewater treatment plants are overwhelmed or should industrial sites and landfills be affected, the possibility that there may be dispersal of contaminants and toxins into rivers, which serve as the main source for drinking water in the country, cannot be ignored.
The Climatic Hazards Programme of SEADPRI-UKM conducts research and strengthens capacity to support the national agenda on adaptation to extreme weather and climate change. The focus of research includes disaster prevention, risk reduction and management, to post disaster recovery and reconstruction. Aspects taken into account are science and technology for disaster risk reduction, socio-economic impacts and vulnerability assessments, education and awareness as well as governance for human security and sustainability, among others. Postgraduate training for the masters and doctoral levels is conducted through research. The Programme implements its outreach activities in conjunction various stakeholders at national and international levels, including governments, non-governmental organisations, community based organizations, scientific and academic institutions and the private sector.
Geological Hazards (Geohazards) include all geological or hydrological processes that pose a threat to people or their property. Examples of geological hazards include earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, slope failures, debris flows, subsidence and sinkholes. Understanding our environment is a prerequisite for reducing the vulnerability of our societies and the risk of natural disasters. Understanding the Earth, its contents and processes are crucial for improved knowledge of geohazards, risks and potential disasters as a basis for efficient decision making, better mitigation, and preparedness for disasters.
The Geological Hazards Programme of SEADPRI-UKM was established to change the focus of current practices in disaster management, from a responsive approach to a more preventive one, in order to prevent or reduce the impact of disasters. The Programme also aims to strengthen the emerging international strategy for disaster mitigation and prevention for the benefit of those exposed to geohazards. Emphasis will be on the crosscutting area of disaster risk management, which includes hazards identification, risk assessment, disaster preparedness and mitigation. In addition, the Programme promotes research and training, data sharing, building of public awareness and provision of technical services to stakeholders and local communities in Malaysia and the region.
We live in a world of modern technologies that provide us with electricity, food, entertainments, etc that give us comfort of life. Despite that, modern technologies are becoming sources of hazard or risk because of the hazardous nature of materials or technologies involved, some examples are toxic and radioactive substances, high voltage and pressure. Hazardous materials are chemical substances, which if released or misused can pose a threat to the environment or health. They are present every where we live, especially in industrial facilities and during its transportation via highways, rail and waterways. Accidental release of these substances from, fires, explosions, leakages and natural disasters can have adverse effects on human health, property and the environment. As a result, human exposure to hazardous substances causes injury or even death to a large number of people.
The Technological Hazards Programme of SEADPRI-UKM currently focuses on hazardous materials. Research and education into the hazards and risk that brought about by these materials are important because of the increasing use of chemical substances for the improvement of the quality of our lives. The research and education will be mainly on the reduction of disaster risk of these hazards to environment and humans, and they are in line with the current efforts of the Malaysian government on establishing an efficient national system on chemical management. Chemical hazard disaster risk reduction is also a relatively unexplored field in the Asian region, especially among the countries of Southeast Asia, and the Programme aims to bridge this gap.