ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Malaysia floods force more evacuations as 1 more dead
KUALA LUMPUR: Severe flooding in Malaysia has left a second person dead and two missing, while the number of evacuees has risen to some 56,000, a report and officials said on Thursday.
More than 38,000 people sought refuge in evacuation centres in the east coast state of Pahang alone, where heavy rain since Sunday has caused the heaviest flooding, the state news agency Bernama reported.
A 21-year-old man drowned in the state on Wednesday, adding to an earlier fatality in neighbouring Terengganu state.
A father and his 17-year-old son have been missing in Pahang since Wednesday.
They are believed to have fallen in the water while trying to retrieve belongings from their house, Bernama said.
Some 18,000 people have been evacuated in Terengganu, Kelantan and Johor states, all along the east coast.
TV footage on Thursday showed people wading through fast-flowing waist-high brown water, carrying their belongings, while authorities ferried others from their partly submerged houses in boats. Cars were also partly submerged.
A Meteorological Department official said rain in most flood-hit areas had stopped but flooding persisted due to the high tide.
"The weather forecast for the east coast is that it will get better," she told AFP.
Floods caused by annual monsoon rains that begin around November are common in the Southeast Asian country.
In Johor, many face the difficulty of travelling across the region, because while major roads are open, many smaller back roads are inundated by the high waters.
One resident said: “This time round, not many houses were submerged under water but help was given to those who were stranded and they were brought to another holding area.”
Locals are accustomed to floods and heavy rain, and those parts of Malaysia receive monsoonal activity on an annual basis.
While residents in Johor admit they were surprised by this deluge, they say it is not as bad as previous years.
Still, they do what they can to traverse the difficult conditions and the brave attempt it by foot or motorcycle.
While many residents Channel NewsAsia met in Johor were in high spirits despite the situation, further north in Pahang, the scenario is more serious.
Rescue workers were forced to ferry people stranded in their flooded homes.
The timing of the flooding was unfortunate -- it coincided with a high tide, meaning waters would take longer than usual to recede.
However, forecasters say showers are likely to ease over the coming days.
But with the monsoon season starting early this year and stretching on for several more months, authorities are more than aware of the need to stay vigilant.
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