Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Thousands forced from their homes amid southern Malaysia floods


Some cleanup efforts have begun but forecasters warn more rain is on the way.

A cleanup is under way in parts of Malaysia after days of rain-triggered flooding forced thousands from their homes and killed at least four people.

Nearly 50,000 people had been affected by the floods as of Monday morning at 8 am (00:00 GMT), state news agency Bernama reported.

The worst affected area was Johor, the southern state neighbouring Singapore.

Pictures shared on social media showed belongings and furniture piled on the side of the road as people began cleaning up homes, offices, and clinics damaged in the floods.

Police said an elderly couple who drowned were among those who died.

In the town of Yong Peng, one of the worst-hit areas, a family waded through brown waters outside their home, with their children using inner tubes as floats.

Safiee Hassan, 38, said he and his family managed to save their refrigerator, sofa and some electrical items.

“Other things like our bed, mattress, cupboard, are damaged,” he told the AFP news agency.

“We used to always prepare for the rainy season in November and December,” Mohd Noor Saad, a 57-year-old resident of the town told the Reuters news agency.

“Each household had a boat, but now with the unpredictable weather, it seems that we are not prepared and it’s become chaotic.”

An aerial view shows the extent of the flood in Yong Peng [Mohd Rasfan/AFP]

Floods are not unusual during the annual monsoon season, which usually takes place between November and March, but in recent years Malaysia has endured a series of severe floods, which experts say are the result of over-development, deforestation, and the changing climate.

Heavy rain cut off the town of Segamat, also in Johor, in December 2006, while thousands of people in the northeastern states were hit by floods in December 2014 that submerged the main highway connecting the east and west coasts of the country.

The capital Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, and Klang have also seen major floods in the past with 27 people killed in December 2021.

Even as the cleanup begins, Malaysia’s meteorologists are warning that more rain is likely in the coming days.

Source: Aljazeera


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