Floods ease in Johor but wildlife agency warns of stray crocodiles in rivers of nine districts

An aerial survey by the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Services Department showing the flood situation at an agricultural area in Mersing, Johor on Dec 17, 2019. PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - The flood situation in Johor has improved, as the authorities closed several temporary evacuation centres and allowed many flood victims to return home.

But the weatherman warned of thunderstorms in some parts of the country, including Kuala Lumpur.

In Johor, the number of flood victims has dropped to 8,527 on Tuesday (Dec 17), from 9,151 on Monday, Mr Tan Chen Choon, chairman of the state's Local Government Urban Wellbeing and Environment committee was quoted as saying by The Star Online.

Consequently, 15 of the 85 centres in Johor were closed by noon on Tuesday, said the Johor Disaster Committee Secretariat.

Meanwhile, the state's wildlife agency has warned people to look out for stray crocodiles.

Earlier on Tuesday, an orange category weather warning alert of heavy rainfall was issued online by the Malaysian Meteorological Department for several districts in Johor, Pahang and Terengganu until Tuesday and Sabah until Wednesday, but as of 7pm, it appeared to have been lifted.

In its place was an alert on thunderstorms in some parts of the country, including Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

The monsoon rains have caused floods in nine out of 10 districts in Johor as well as two districts in Pahang, and at least three in Sabah.

In Pahang, 1,055 people from 271 families in Rompin and 19 flood victims in Temerloh were evacuated by noon on Monday.

In Kudat, Sabah, a total of 855 residents from three villages were evacuated after water levels at the nearby Sungai Rampai started to rise.

Last week, floods caused more than 400 villagers in the Membakut and Beaufort districts to be relocated to a relief centre for four nights.

The Johor floods claimed the first victim this year, a 16-year-old boy who fell into a drain while playing in the water in the compound of his house in Simpang Renggam, Astro Awani TV news reported on Tuesday.

Renggam fire station chief Asyraf Nur Mohd Yusof said victim Muhd Danis Irfan was believed to have slipped into the drain, which was about 4.2m deep.

Meanwhile, the Johor Wildlife Department advised people to watch out for stray crocodiles, which populate the rivers in nine districts.

"The places where the crocodiles could stray into are monsoon drains, drains and canals," its director Salman Saaban was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.

"(They) will seek out and feed on the carcasses of animals which drowned during the floods," he said, advising people to inform the department when they spot the reptiles.

"Do not provoke them or panic, as these may cause them to become aggressive."

Meanwhile, some residents in Limbang, Sarawak, were put on alert after a man's "pet" crocodile escaped from its water tank when his house was flooded.

The man, who lives in Kampung Imok near the Limbang town centre, called its Fire and Rescue Department for help.

"The crocodile was reared inside a water tank. When it was flooded, the crocodile escaped into a nearby water-logged area outside the house," said the department.

"The owner said the crocodile had started to become aggressive."

Firemen were deployed and caught the 1.2m-long crocodile, which will be handed to the wildlife authorities.

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