Thousands evacuated after heavy rain in Johor, Pahang

Floodwaters submerged houses in Kampung Laut Skudai, in Johor, on Jan 2, 2021. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - Heavy rain continued to lash parts of Malaysia on Sunday (Jan 3), causing thousands to be evacuated in the southern state of Johor and some parts of the East Coast highway in Pahang to be temporarily shut to traffic.

Johor State health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said one death was recorded from the floods. He added that 60 temporary relief centres in affected districts, such as Johor Baru, Kota Tinggi, Kluang, Mersing, Pontian, Kulai and Batu Pahat, have been set up to provide shelter for flood victims.

As of Sunday evening, a total of 6,557 flood victims in seven Johor districts had been rescued and evacuated to safety.

State capital Johor Baru claimed the most victims, with over 2,400 people displaced, followed by Kluang with more than 1,900, Mr Vidyananthan said, according to The Star Online.

A bad weather warning was issued by the Malaysian Meteorological Department, predicting continuous rain in Segamat, Batu Pahat, Kluang, Mersing, Pontian, Kulai, Kota Tinggi and Johor Baru.

Johor's rivers also swelled, with three river monitoring stations recording dangerous water levels, while six more recorded alert levels.

Meanwhile in eastern state Pahang, more than 3,200 people have been evacuated to relief centres following floods caused by continuous heavy rain since Saturday.

Residents in state capital Kuantan waded in waist-deep waters to salvage their belongings and helped push stranded cars to safety.

Three rivers in the state - Sungai Lepar, Sungai Lipis and Sungai Lembing - had risen past their danger levels on Sunday.

A section of the East Coast Expressway (ECE), which connects Kuantan with capital city Kuala Lumpur, was temporarily closed to vehicles as floodwaters inundated the highway lanes.

State basic amenities, public delivery system and innovations committee chairman Norol Azali Sulaiman said that the section between Gambang and Sri Jaya was completely impassable to east and west-bound traffic.

"Water along the road shoulder has spilled onto the dual-carriageway," he was quoted as saying by New Straits Times.

The east-bound lanes and the Kuala Lumpur-bound fast lane were later reopened to traffic after the floodwaters receded.

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Kampung Galing resident Mohd Faiz Abdullah wading through 1m floodwaters to save his essential belongings. PHOTO: BERNAMA

The meteorological department has warned that the annual monsoon season, which usually lasts from November to March, is expected to bring more rainfall to the east coast states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.

It said west coast states on the peninsula as well as the east Malaysia states of Sabah and Sarawak are also expected to experience thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds in the evening and up to early in the night during the monsoon.

These may cause flash floods especially in low-lying areas, the department said.

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