Straits Times, Photo Credit to Straits Times
clock 16-12-2019
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Floods Hit Several States in Malaysia; Thousands Evacuated

More than 3,800 people were in flood evacuation centres in south-east Johor on Sunday (Dec 15), with the authorities predicting more rain as several Malaysian states were hit by floods at the weekend.

The states affected included Johor, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak, with more than 5,000 forced to leave their homes.

The number of flood victims in Johor stood at 3,835 people on Sunday, an increase from the 2,853 recorded the day before.

Mersing and Kota Tinggi districts were the worst hit, with pictures shared online showing roads totally covered by brown water.

Parts of Malaysia, especially the east coast states, are hit annually by heavy monsoon rain, with the worst case in recent years occurring from December 2014 to January 2015, when more than 200,000 people were evacuated to flood relief centres.

Johor's Government, Urban Well-Being and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said the heavy rain had also caused flooding in the west Johor town of Batu Pahat.

"The Mersing district recorded the highest number of evacuees at 1,262 from 352 families, followed by Kota Tinggi with 1,071 people from 267 families," he said in a statement on Sunday.

Four affected roads in Kota Tinggi - Jalan Batu 18, Jalan Ladang Pasir Logok-Ladang Bukit Berkelompok, Jalan Ladang Bukit Payong and Jalan Kampung Mawai Lama - remained inaccessible to all vehicles.

Mr Tan said Malaysia's Meteorological Department had issued a "danger" (red) weather warning for Mersing and Kota Tinggi, while a "severe" (orange) weather warning was in place for Segamat, Muar, Batu Pahat, Kluang, Pontian, Kulai and Johor Baru.

In Pahang's Rompin district, the flood situation had worsened, with 681 people from 176 families evacuated on Sunday, surging from 345 people from 92 families the night before.

Flooding in remote parts of Sarawak in East Malaysia had made cooking impossible in many areas, with gas cylinders going empty and wood dampened by the rain, the Malaysiakini news site reported.

Around 500 people from the Lakiput ethnic group in remote Kampung Kuala Tutoh had been marooned by 0.7m of water and were unable to make a six-hour boat ride to the nearest town as it was too dangerous, the news site reported.

The authorities managed to send supplies of dry and canned food to the area, but residents said they urgently needed cooking gas.

The floods in Kelantan claimed at least two lives, a seven-year-old boy and a 49-year-old man.

A total of 12,468 people were also evacuated from their homes in several districts in Kelantan on Dec 4, but most had since returned.

The worst also seemed to be over in Terengganu, with 6,028 victims allowed to return home after enduring floods since Nov 29.

Things were also looking up in Sabah, with 448 flood victims from several villages in Beaufort and Membakut allowed to return home on Saturday after the flood waters fully receded.

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