Saturday, 2 May 2009


Landslide is a common geographical term for the occurrence of natural disaster regarding the Earth's particles and movement. It is well-known over its process that often causes a downward and external of slope-farming materials. Landslide may occur in many forms due to natural and anthropogenic (human) factors.

Recently, Brunei had been experiencing landslides. The occurrence of the landslides is because of both natural and human factors. This can be seen as a dual process that intermingle both the factors together. Natural and human factors can not be held liable for the cause of landslide as a single unit as both factors are well connected. The occurrence of such disaster in the region has not been caused only by the natural factors and not solely be caused by the human factors.

The natural factor which cause landslide in Brunei is because of the elevation of pore water pressure by saturation of slope material from either intense or prolonged rainfalls (Geoscience Ausralia, 2009). By this, it weakens the ability of the soil to hold the ground due to the permeability of the soil to lose its original profile (nutrients).

However, the most influence factor that cause landslide in Brunei is the human factors. One of the human factors that cause landslid is due to deforestation. Deforestation is one major causes of landslide not only in Brunei, also over the world. Due to the intense rainfall, as it weakens the ability of the soil, with cutting of vegetation, it destroys the existing mechanical root structure in the area and causing landslides.

On the other hand, not only due to deforestation, modification of slopes by construction of roads, railways, buildings, and others also can be considered one of the human factors. In Brunei, it is common that houses are built at slopes in Brunei, especially at Kota Batu, Subok, etc. As can be seen in Appendix 1, it shows that the landslides blocking the road and also can be seen that, the house is nearly crushed by the trees that were brought along during the landslides.

As mentioned, the factors (human and natural factors) of the landslides cause problems to the victims. One of the major problems of landslide covers many aspect namely social, political (infrastructure), economical and environmental problems to the sultanate; in which these aspects are inter-related that one aspect can not be blamed for the occurrence of landslide in the region.

Firstly, in terms of social problems, landslide has caused fear among the citizens who potential victims from the landslide. Precautions have taken for the safety of these residents in which they were told by the authorities to evacuate their homes before the landslide occurs. Some of them decided to stay with their respective relatives while others may stay in hotels.

Even though this can be a way of preventing the catastrophe from happening, it is not desirable and pleasant for the evacues. For instance, the houses of their relatives in which the victims are currently living with or the hotels in which they are staying in could be far away from the office or the workplace for them or the schools their kids are studying in. This is said to be a problem as it might have an effect to their work and also to the studies of the sutudents whose houses are stricken by the landslide.

If the victims decided to stay with their relatives, there is also a possibility that the relatives along with their families could suffer disruptive effects from their normal daily lives, for example they would have to share their personal bedroom with others, and the number of caris might exceed the number of parking spaces available in the garage and so on. Furthermore, for those evacuees that has no relatives in the country, for instance, foreigners who work in Brunei under contracts, have to evacuate from their place and find a new place to live.

Furthermore, the social problem can be added here is the social education of the land owner on their areas. As a Bruneian, the matter to this problem is that the lack of awareness about their environment. As stated in Brunei Times (29th January 2009), the authorities were not to be blamed for the incidents as this is a mere act of nature, but we should start preparing now as landslides will happen again. It means that the locals had a lack of awareness about their surrounding, but once the surrounding affected their life, the locals start to care about the surrounding. Not only the lack of awareness, lack of knowledge about the environment also can be a problem, as authorities need more explanations from the developers before handing out any license approval to build houses on the area.

Secondly, the next aspect of the problem is infrastructure. In the Appendix 2, as stated there was one instance which the road connecting the Belait and Tutong district specifically known as the Sungai Liang road was hit by landslides (Borneo Bulletin, 6th February 2009, p.1). As can be illustrated from the article (Appendix 2), the traffice congestion caused by the landslides was as long as 4km and taken as long as three to four hours to subside. In addition, power supplies to 10 homes in the vicinity had been cut off due to some damages to the cables.

On the other hand, infrastructure can also be the cause of the landslide. The foundations in which the houses are built play a major role in determining whether the vicinity is landslide-prone or otherwise. Houses built in the hilly areas are more prone to landslide to those houses built in gradual areas.

In addition, as stated in Brunei Times (29th January 2009), developers' construction practices have to be changed, as it is wise to be prudent in picking out the materials, and it is human nature to pick out cheaper materials to save costs, but the higher value usually means higher quality therefore more safer. From this statement, it can be determined that the materials that can be found in the infrastructure, are not good quality, as it is human nature to pick out cheaper materials to save costs. This can be related with social problems.

Thirdly, the next aspect of the problem is the economical problem. Victims would suffer a huge amount of loss as their house insurance does not cover natural phenomenon such as landslide, floods and others. Not only to renovate their houses, it also takes huge amount of money to build up a wall retention to prevent the landslide for precaution in the future.

Economic problem can also be said as a cause to landslide. In order to build up the retention wall would add up to the expenses of buying the house if the house was bought. The house owner would also need to consider the cost of renovation which is regarded as a compulsory rather than a precautionary measure such as building the retention wall.

Why such expenses are avoided? To build such retention is not important to the house owner because they have the mentality that the landslide will not happen to them. The mind set is common among Bruneians because of their lack of awareness to the calamity of the disaster happening to them. This, the mind set is to save cost rather than spending on something that rarely or would not be happening to them. This also can be related to social problem.

The government itself will support to help the victims, but the help in the form of food and shelter, not on financial support. This is also came in a problem to the victims, economically, the victims need a huge amount of money to settle down their problems, especially the house owner whose house is all destroyed by landslide and it costs a fortune to build or renovate them. For the foreign workers such as lecturers who also became victims of landslide, who do not have relatives in the country, are thought to be compensated with an all expenses paid stay in hotels. This is arguably considered to be more of a short-term solution rather than a problem.

These behaviors of cutting costs, made by the owners and the architects (the sectors that are involved in constructions), were considered first albeit safety second. Their beliefs and precautionary measures made by these constituents to prevent or reduce the occurrence of landslides were only taken seriously after the frequency of the disaster occurring in the region. Their confidence toward their approach, to financially cut costs, blinded their perceptions towards the ability of such disasters occurring to them. To conclude, a famous saying is applicable in this event: It is better to be safe rather than sorry.

The final aspect of the problems is the environmental. Landslide can bring problems to the environments such as water, land, ecosystems and others. How do landslides affect this environment?

For instance, water is an important element, once the water such as river is polluted by the landslide, in this case the soil added to the river, will lead to a disturbance of the aquatic life. In addition, the cost of having polluted water is high, and the expenditure to clear the polluted water takes a huge amount of money.

In addition, land also can be an environmental problem. In Appendix 2, it shows the trees are falling apart from the effect of landslide. Thus the remaining soil would have less tree roots to absorb the rain water resulting in further potential landslide. Furthermore, the decrease in the number of trees would lead to a decrease in the emission of oxygen and higher number of carbon dioxide which is absorbed by trees. This could lead to many environmental problems mainly the global warming.


Appendix 1:

Appendix 2:

  • Geoscience Australia, 2009 -
  • Brunei Times, 2009 -

Friday, 1 May 2009


Before the occurrence of landslide (Prevention)

There are many possible solutions to prevent landslide and to overcome these, the solutions will be divided into four aspects which is economic, social aspect, environment and infrastructure.

In terms of economic aspects, the government needs to upgrade more on the knowledge on natural phenomenon to the public through media such as internet, seminar and others. By stating more information regarding the landslide, the locals would know few things about landslide and the way to deal with landslide if it occurs. Not only that, the government should provide more expertise to prevent this matter before it happens. In addition, with expertise help, the government should held campaign for the locals to participate. Therefore, the locals can gain knowledge on this matter.

The other way is the government should provide some expenses on wall retentions especially the area which can be prone to landslide. If possible, the government should spend a lot on the wall retentions in order to build then to reconstruct a new one.

In term of social aspects, the locals need to understand and apply their knowledge about the occurrence of landslide. The locals must aware about their areas especially the area that are near steep slopes, lose to mountain edges, near drainage ways or natural erosion valleys. As mentioned earlier that the government should provide knowledge about landslide, the locals should take precautious about their property, such as the locals should contact the expertise and as for information their property that whether their area are prone to landslide or not.

Another point for social aspect is that the locals need to learn about the emergency-response and evacuation plans if landslide occurs. This is the most important in a way to prepare in such occurrence. For instance, the victims should know where to evacuate, whether they have to stay with their families or not.

In term of environmental aspects, to prevent from landslide to occur, such expertise should know about the properties that going to be constructed. For instance, the expertise should know the environment of the area especially the rock types or soil profile. With soil profile with such low nutrients can be hazardous for buildings to be built. To overcome this, every contractors need expertise as advisers to build houses.

Another way to prevent the landslide environmentally is to plant ground cover on slopes. This is to support the slopes with more roots and this can help from occurrence of landslide. For example, if the slope is clear from vegetation, the slope should be covered by plants.

In term of infrastructure aspects, the government should provide relief centers for the victims. For instance, if the victims can not find any places to live, the government should give the privilege to stay at the relief centers. Another solution is the technology warning such as satellite images from the methodological station can be used for warning the locals about the weather especially during the intense rainfall. Then, with the media's help, they can inform the locals regarding the weathers.

After the occurrence of landslide (Curing)

In handling the problems aftermath of landslide, solutions can also be categorized into four aspects which is economic, social aspect, environment and infrastructure.

In terms of economical aspects, house owners should choose housing insurance companies that can cover damages caused by landslide if they feel that their houses are prone to landslide. This would ease the burden of the victims in financial terms.

Fund-raising activities should also be held specifically to the victims of landslide for example by having golf charity tournaments and bazaars. This type of activities should be done on a regular basis for instance once a month. This could also promote awareness towards landslide to others.

In terms of infrastructure aspect, retaining walls should be checked for damages quite often to ensure that it is properly functioning. The surrounding areas of the retaining walls should also be included in this maintenance process. For instance checking whether the wall retentions' holes are blocked or not.

Another solution to the infrastructure aspect is to improve roadways so that it can help reduce the debris of landslide. This is to prevent from traffic congestion. Therefore with the installation of proper drainage system this could help decrease sediment caused by landslide effectively.

In terms of environmental aspects, the fertility of the land will be affected by the landslides. As the landslides occur, the amount of fertility of the land will be reduced. This is because the top layer of the soil is being wear away by the landslide, and the availability of the new cut layer will not be fertile as before. In addition, the top layer before the landslides occur is mix up with other organic matters that can make the soil fertile, however, the fertility of the new layer will be lesser as the soil is still new and fresh. From here, what is the best solution? The best solution is by adding organic matter to the soil in order to gain more fertile land. In addition, the more fertile the land is, the more re-plantation we can resolve, in order to prevent the occurrence of landslides.

In term of social aspects, in the occurrence of landslide, proper government agencies in response to the landslide aftermath should guide the victims into proper settlements. Thus, thus indefinitely helps the victims cope with the effect of the landslide. Basic amenities should be provided in the settlement area therefore reducing the burden of the victims.


Our vision for tackling the landslide problems will cover the solutions that we have dexscribed earlier in this project. Our visions, just like the formers, will be divided into four parts: Social, Economic, Infrastructure and Environment. These four constituents has given us the idea on how the problems should be evaluated and on how the solutions should be approached. The problems and the solutions of these four constituents are well described in this project: social with its social problems, economics with its economic problems, environment with its environmental problems and infrastructure with its infrastructure problems. With all the problems which have been described, we have also created some kind of solution for each of the four constituents.

In light of the solutions that we have given out in our previous work, we have created visions for each of the solution that we have provided for each of the four contituents problems. Our visions of the four constituents will explain our approach to the solutions we have created in the solutions. We will tackle the solutions in the same manner as the problems and the solutions; the four constituents – social, infrastructure, economics and environment – will be provided with the visions.

Our visions will divided into two; the first part we will talk about our visions which can be executed in one to five years span and the second part we will talk about our visions which can be executed in one month span.

One to Five Years Visions

In terms of social:

Among the first of many things that we visioned is to encourage Education knowledge towards preventing landslide for the society. This can be transmitted through education system, from the earliest education level to tertiary level. From early education, exposure inducing curriculum activities in government and private schools should be encouraged. For example, talks will be given out to students giving them ideas regarding the hazards of landslides, other than that, the students will also be given talks about safety and preventive measures about landslides.

The establishment of communities specifically for handling landslide-related problems. They could also be in charged of recommending possible solutions to different areas that are prone to landslide within the country. Specialists in the field of landslide should be employed by this communities to guarantee the effectiveness in the running of the communities.

Law standards and regulations. We would like to see an improvement in the current law standards and regulations. More strictness in the system would ensure that there would be less development of land for building houses. Government should encouraged people to occupy current houses that are vacant or living in apartments. This would prevent wastage of government budget in developing further land and also abandoned properties.

· In terms of economies:

Funds for the society – spends on prevention/infrastructure. Fund-raising activities and exhibitions should be organised not just to aid the victims financially but also to expose the issue of landslide in the country. Those funds could also be put to use in preventing landslide from occuring such as building the retention walls in strategic locations.

· In terms of environments:

In terms of environment, more research about the future and predictions about the occurence of landslide as a way to prepare/prevent the aftermath of landslides. Research made will be used as a medium to understand the occurences of landlsides. Moreover, such research about the landslides will help institutions to make cautious measurements regarding the future occurences of landslide, giving them ideas and iniatiative to prevent/prepare before the aftermath.

· In terms of infrastructure:

Our vision regarding infrastructure will, perhaps, be the most crucial part in this study because all of our visions will depend on the success of infrastructural measures. The measures taken from social, economic and environment will be implemented into our measurements of infrastructure. The creation of a safety organization/office over the checking of infrastructure will be needed as an institution to execute the plans made to ensure the welfare of the public. The creation of this kind of institution will help the public to cope with the dangers of landslides. The preventive measures implemented through the research made in the environment measures.

Planning action

In this section, we were asked to plan some actions regarding our projects. The actions will be executed individually and these are the action plan that will be executed:
  • Insurance coverage
  • Creating a blog
  • Plantation of trees
Fadhil's planning action: Insurance coverage

For my individual action planning, I would like to inform or educate some of the house owners regarding the insurance coverage on the damages caused by landslide. I decided to act on this vision because it covers not just the social effect as mention in our group visions but also the economical effect of landslide. On the social effect, if what I envision comes true more house owners would be more aware of the fact that most insurance companies does not cover damages caused by landslide. On the economical effect, house owners are more financially secure if they were to be hit by a landslide as there are more well prepare to the incident by making some preventive measure to overcome this weakness of insurance. For example, they could be taking step to prevent landslides as they know that if they were to be hit by a landslide, the insurance would not be able to insure the damages. They could also change their current insurance company of their choice to the insurance company that does cover damages caused by landslide.

My proposed method ensuring awareness was to interview house owners and ask them a few questions regarding their properties. I have attached the questions to be asked to the house owners in the Appendix 1 below. But by doing so, I am not sure that I will be able to interview many house owners because of the short time frame. So I decided to promote this "awareness campaign" by asking house owners using the internet, i.e. giving out the questions in which they reply to my electronic mail (e-mail). This could ensure that more house owners would be more aware in terms of quantity.

There following five steps are the steps I have to take in order to make my visions come true.

1. Contacting the insurance companies.
  • This is for confirmative purposes. My vision would be invalid or simply put wrong if do not have my facts right. The proposed result from this step is to gain invaluable knowledge related to landslide. This would also help me if the house owners enquired me regarding the insurance part.
2. Choosing the suitable questions to be included in the interview/questionnaire.
  • Picking the proper or is crucial as I do not want to offend the house owners by asking them insensitive and questions that are too personal to ask. The evaluation for this particular step is to combine questionnaires for landowners as done earlier during the semester by my group with the questions relating to insurance.
3. Handing out the questionnaire to/interviewing house owners.
  • This is the step where I can possibly make my vision comes true. By answering my questions, the house owner would directly be corrected if they have the perception that the insurance company covers the damages caused by landslide. If they are already aware of this fact, than other other questions would also indicate their views on preventive measures and so on.
4. Analysing the result from the questionnaire.
  • This will proceed after the third step as mentioned above are done. I will then analyse the relationship between insurance and landslide. This means what the house owners knows about landslide such as the preventive measures needed to be taken associated with landslide.
5. Putting the result in the blog.
  • By putting the result on the internet-based blog, this could ensure social awareness or in the wider community regarding the issue with landslide and insurance which will hopefully be attain in the future so that it would contribute to mass awareness of future generations.

Jauzi's planning action: creating a blog

One of the action plans is to make a blog regarding about landslide. The objectives are; to share some information about landslides with others through blog; to get people's opinion for prevention and solutions for landslides and to advertise possible actions on landslides in UBD. The aim for creating the blog is to create a discussion space for landslide problems and solutions.

In planning this action to be executed, there are four steps to be followed, the steps are:

1. Decide what to post in the blog? (8th April 2009)
  • This is the first step towards the making of the blog. The first thing to do is to gather up the contents that need to be posted in the Internet input from all three members for problems, solutions and visions. From there, the contents should include the group opinions on landslide problems and solutions that need to be discuss in the cyberworld either the group opinions valid or not valid. In addition, will come up some questions so that the readers or respondents can discuss or giving their opinion about landslide. Towards the content of the blog, the draft must be verified by Dr Irene to approve the action, which in 9th April 2009, the feedback of the contents is approved.
2. Making the blog. (8th April 2009)
  • The second step is making the blog. The blog will be created under facility blog. This is provided by the course itself to promote the facility blog to the future generation. The blog will be posted with the draft to be presented to Dr Irene. Then, after got the feedback of the contents from Dr Irene, on the 9th April 2009, the new draft content will be posted into the blog.
3. The blog is open to all. (10th April 2009)
  • The next step of the action is to post the final draft into blog. After posting the final draft the blog will be beautified to a standard that there are polls, discussion comment box, and others. With blog facility, the blog can not be supported with such applications. Therefore, with approval from Dr Irene, the resource for the blog changed into free blogger ( The blog is officially open to all in which will be advertised for the respondents to see the blog.
4. How to advert the blog?
  • The final step of the action plan is advertising the blog to others. In this step, permission from other bloggers will be needed, especially those well-known bloggers in Brunei, and others. The alternative ways to advertise the blog is via my personal blog, MSN and facebook. All of the steps mentioned, the final step is important for the vision to come true, especially to get the people to visit the blog.

Basyar's planning action:

The vision of my action is planting of trees on UBD's eroded and landslide prone areas. The objective is to reduce erosion and landslide. The main aim for this action is to overcome and reduce erosion and landslide occurences.

In my part of the action, there will be three steps towards the achievement:

1. Survey the place (9th April 2009)

The first step on my plan is surveying the area in. By using a google earth application can be used to see the image from the satellite view. The step then continue by comparing the after and before image of the area, in this case, the fish pond in UBD.

2. Permission from the Head of Estate

The second step is making an appointment with the Head of Estate personally before hand. In addition, gives permission using email to contact the Head of Estate for appointment. Before hand in the permission letter (Appendix 2), I have to send draft letter to be approved by Dr Irene on 9th April then the letter will be sent to 10th April. Then, to wait a reply from the Head of Estate to give permission for the volunteers to plant trees at the eroded site.

3. Contact volunteers (11th April 2009)

The final on my action is contacting volunteers. As for volunteers, Dr Irene did give contacts to volunteer the project, namely the BAG Networks. In addition not only from the BAG Network, also need volunteers from UBD students.

Appendix 1 (click here for the question in internet survey)

1. How long have you been living in your land/property?

Less than a year

Between 1 to 3 years

Between 3 to 5 years

Between 5 to 7 years

More than 7 years

2. How did you obtain your land?




Others. Please specify:

3. Did you have any background check and advice from the developers and the authority

regarding the possibilities of landslide occuring on your land?

Yes. What information was given?


4. Is your house currently insured?



5. How much did you pay the premium for the insurance annualy?

Below $100

Between $100 & $200

Between $200 & $300

Between $300 & $400

Above $400.

6. Does your existing insurance cover damages caused by landslide?



7. Are you aware of the fact that most normal insurance does not cover damages caused by


Yes, I am aware of this

No, this is news to me

8. How much extra payments are you willing to pay for the damages caused by landslide?


An additional $50 to my current insurance

An additional $100 to my current insurance

An additional $150 to my current insurance

An additional $200 to my current insurance

9. Do you think the government should subsidize the housing insurance?

No, I am willing to pay for it myself.

No, the government should focus on other matters.

Maybe if there is an extra budget for it.

Yes, definitely!

10. Do you think your land is vulnerable to landslide? Why?

11. What are the possible precautions you could take to avoid landslides occuring on your land?

Which of these precautions have you used? Why or why not?

12. If you were to rebuild this property again from scratch, what would you do in terms of

prevention of landslides?

Appendix 2

Khairil Basyar Pg Hj Kamaludin


University Brunei Darussalam

Head of Estate

University Brunei Darussalam

09th April 2009

Dear Awg Yahkub,

Re: Permission for the planting of trees in UBD compound

I am a student in SHBIE and doing a project on planting of trees in UBD compound. As we can see, the UBD fish pond area is prone to landslides and erosions. The consequence is that the fish pond in now flooded with silt.

I am writing this letter to ask your permission for the planting of trees near the UBD fish pond. My suggestion is for the trees to be planted at the location indicated in the with my googel earth diagram attached. I would like to ask you if this is an advisable location and that no building will be made in this area to cause the trees to be removed in the future. If this is not a good location please suggest alternative locations for the planting of the trees so that the fish pond will not be flooded with silt again.

I have a group of volunteers from BAG Networks who have indicated that they will provide the trees and plant the trees at the location that I have indicated.

I look forward to a positive response from you concerning this application.

Yours Sincerely,

Khairil Basyar Pg Hj Kamaludin

Registration number


Contact no

Contact email