At least 21 people have been killed and nearly two lakh fled their homes in one of the worst floods in Malaysia’s history with weather office indicating there will be no respite from strong winds in coming days.
Fourteen people were reported dead in Kelantan, the worst affected state where around 158,000 people have been evacuated to safety. Four died in Terengganu and three in Pahang state.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has been visiting flood-ravaged states and coordinating relief operations since last week. He has already announced an additional 500 million ringgit ($143 million) assistance.
National Security Council admitted there were delays in its relief efforts, saying it was partly because some of its staff were among the flood victims. It is the country’s worst flooding in more than 30 years.
“Due to the magnitude of the floods, most districts were completely inundated. Our entire district machinery collapsed as they (staff) had become victims themselves,” council secretary Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.
Malaysian Meteorological Department, meanwhile, has forecast strong winds and rough seas for the coming five days in country’s waters.
The Met department said in a statement that Category-two north-easterly winds of between 50 and 60 kilometres per hour and waves as high as 4.5 metres were expected to occur in the waters off Samui, Tioman, Condore, Bunguran, Reef North, Layang-layang, Reef South, Labuan, Sulu and Palawan areas.
The department said Category-one north-easterly winds of between 40 and 50 kilometres per hour and waves as high as 3.5 metres were expected to occur in the waters off Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, eastern Johor, Sarawak, Sabah (Interior, West Coast, Sandakan and Kudat districts) and the Labuan federal territory.
It warned that the strong winds and rough seas were dangerous for all coastal activities and shipping, including ferry services, as well as fishing.
Hundreds of thousands of people have sought shelter in schools, community halls and other relief centres, according to flood monitoring centres. PTI