Flooding worsens in Malaysia's east coast states

This year's rainy season is worse than in previous years.
This year's rainy season is worse than in previous years.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Flooding in three Malaysian east coast states has worsened, with more than 21,000 sheltering in flood relief centres, and parts of the East Coast Expressway (ECE) closed to traffic, the authorities said on Wednesday (Jan 6).

At least four flood-related deaths have been reported in the annual monsoon season.

The latest victim was a 41-year-old man who died from electrocution while wading through water in his house compound in Pahang.

Mr Isyraf Muhammad was believed to have touched an iron pole of a garage in the flooded compound of the house.

Based on daily updates released by the National Disaster Command Centre on Wednesday, Pahang state was the worst hit, with 20,575 victims forced to be evacuated to 241 relief centres.

The number of people evacuated in two other east coast states, Kelantan and Terengganu, were at 559 and 411, respectively.

The ECE is the main highway linking Terengganu and Pahang states to Kuala Lumpur.

Highway concessionaire ANIH Bhd said on Facebook that a section of the ECE was temporarily closed to vehicles as floodwaters had inundated the four-lane road.

Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan and eastern Johor face the South China Sea, which is lashed by strong currents and winds along with heavy rains during the monsoon, which typically starts in November and lasts for about four months.


Residents being transported on a digger vehicle through floodwaters in Sementeh, Pahang state, on Jan 6, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

Johor reported 1,036 families housed at relief shelters on Tuesday evening.

While this year's rainy season is worse than in previous years, it is a far cry from the December 2014 to January 2015 flooding, when more than 200,000 people were evacuated, and dozens of homes in Tumpat, Kelantan, were swept away by raging muddy floodwaters.

The weatherman has forecast continuous heavy rain across coastal areas in the east coast states of the peninsula and in the Borneo state Sabah this week.

"Most areas in the west coast of the peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah are expected to experience thunderstorms and heavy rain along with strong winds, especially in the evening until early night," the Malaysian Meteorological Department said in a statement on Wednesday. It added that it would lead to flash floods in low-lying areas.