Floods in Malaysian states may end only in March

Floods in Malaysia’s east coast took a turn for the worse at the weekend, as the government warns that the late start to the monsoon season could cause districts in five states to experience flooding up to March.

The incessant rains have forced the evacuation of thousands of people in Terengganu and Kelantan states, with schools and roads closed in many areas, local media reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday that five states could experience flooding between this month and March, Bernama news agency reported. The states are Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

“In preparing for the monsoon season expected to occur during these three months, residents in the affected states must be prepared to face the possibility of the floods,” he was reported as saying by Bernama after visiting a Kelantan relief centre.

Malaysians on the east coast states and in Johor began their new school year yesterday, but some schools in Terengganu and Kelantan remained closed.

The downpour in Terengganu that began last Friday evening has not abated much, with waters rising in some areas to as high as 1.5m, reported New Straits Times yesterday.

Some residents in the Terengganu state constituency of Telemong described the floods as the worst in 30 years.

“The flood today is even bigger than in 1986. The water rose very fast. In less than two hours, water had entered our house,” retired civil servant Isa Kassim, 65, said.

The number of evacuees in six districts in Terengganu rose to 4,062 yesterday morning, from 3,292 at 10pm last Saturday.

In Kelantan around 2pm yesterday, there were 1,140 evacuees in public halls and schools used as temporary relief centres, according to data from the state’s flood monitoring centre.

Pictures shown on the Internet and in Malaysia media showed a street in Kuala Krai district in Kelantan submerged by water, and cars using a partially collapsed bridge to get to the other side in Gua Musang district.

In Johor’s Mersing district that faces the South China Sea, 40,000 students were told to stay home yesterday as rains combined with the high-seawater phenomenon flooded some areas in the last three days .

There have been no reports of deaths or injuries so far.

Retrieved from Straits Times