Floods worsen in Malaysia's east coast

More than 21,000 people evacuated while parts of major expressway closed to traffic

Above: Flood-hit Pahang residents being evacuated to safety in a digger yesterday. Left: Some others swimming through floodwaters in the eastern Malaysian state. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: Flood-hit Pahang residents being evacuated to safety in a digger yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: Flood-hit Pahang residents being evacuated to safety in a digger yesterday. Left: Some others swimming through floodwaters in the eastern Malaysian state. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: Some others swimming through floodwaters in the eastern Malaysian state. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Flooding in three Malaysian east coast states has worsened, with more than 21,000 people sheltering in flood relief centres and parts of the East Coast Expressway (ECE) closed to traffic, the authorities said yesterday.

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 waters 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 yesterday, 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, stood 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 rain during the monsoon season, which typically starts in November and lasts for about four months.

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 flooding experienced in December 2014 to January 2015, 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 of 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 yesterday.

It added that this would lead to flash floods in low-lying areas.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2021, with the headline Floods worsen in Malaysia's east coast. Subscribe