Floods in Malaysia's east coast expected to worsen over next few days

Houses in Kuala Terengganu flooded after heavy rain, as residents are evacuated (pictured) to a school on Nov 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: NTSP 
Houses in Kuala Terengganu flooded after heavy rain, as residents are evacuated (pictured) to a school on Nov 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: NTSP 

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The floods which have ravaged the east coast and displaced tens of thousands of people are set to worsen with wetter weather predicted over the next few days.

The Meteorological Department expects the high tide phenomenon due to the new moon and perigee to exacerbate the situation.

A perigee is when the moon is positioned closest to the earth, resulting in stronger gravitational force than normal, generating higher tides.

The department has for now issued a yellow stage alert for rainfall over Kelantan (Tumpat, Pasir Mas, Kota Baru, Bachok, Pasir Puteh, Machang, Tanah Merah, Jeli and Kuala Krai), Terengganu (all districts), Pahang (Kuantan, Pekan, Rompin and Jerantut) and Johor (Mersing, Kota Tinggi, Kluang and Segamat).

The yellow stage advisory is the lowest of the three-tier warnings.

It is issued for intermittent moderate rain expected over the next 24 to 48 hours.

When the rainfall changes from intermittent to continuous, the yellow stage advisory would be changed to orange and then to red if heavy rain is incessant.

The department's spokesperson, Dr Hisham Mohd Anip, said heavy rainfall was usually expected in places such as southern Terengganu, eastern Pahang and eastern Johor during the end of the year.

"We are expecting rain in these places to persist until Christmas," he said on Sunday.

The department has also issued a warning over strong winds and rough seas in the coastal areas of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Sarawak and Sabah until Wednesday.

Strong northeasterly winds with speeds of up to 60kph have been forecast along with rough seas (category three) with waves as high as 5.5m.

Rises in sea levels are also expected at coastal areas of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and east Johor.

The department has warned that the strong winds and rough seas were dangerous to all coastal and shipping activities and posed danger to workers on oil platforms.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported a slight drop in the number of flood victims at evacuation centres in Kelantan and Terengganu as of Sunday evening.

The number of evacuees in 73 relief centres in seven Kelantan districts dropped from 20,524 to 20,227.

In Tumpat, however, there were 5,320 evacuees in eight relief centres, 50 more than the 5,270 people who had sought shelter earlier.

The water level in Sungai Golok in Rantau Panjang exceeded the 9m danger level with a reading of 10.34m.

In Terengganu, 4,780 flood victims were in 53 evacuation centres spread throughout seven districts in the state.

Dungun was the worst hit district, with 2,102 people from 554 families evacuated to 16 relief centres.