Malaysia's east coast floods claim second life, over 10,000 evacuated

The 17-year-old student fell into the Besut river in Terengganu and was found drowned at 5pm on Nov 28, 2017.
The 17-year-old student fell into the Besut river in Terengganu and was found drowned at 5pm on Nov 28, 2017. PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA TERENGGANU - Malaysia's east coast monsoon floods claimed a second life on Tuesday (Nov 28), while over 10,000 people from Terengganu and Kelantan have been forced to evacuate to relief centres.

According to national news agency Bernama, student Zulfaiz Zukarmi, 17, who fell into the Besut river in Terengganu was found drowned at 5pm on Tuesday.

His was the second death to be reported after that of 12-year-old Khalid Al-Walid Juzaiman, who had fallen into an irrigation canal in Marang, Terengganu after playing nearby.

As at 8am on Wednesday, the number of flood victims in Terengganu had risen to 2,432, compared to 2,201 people as at midnight Tuesday. An additional 15 relief centres were opened, bringing the total to 64 relief centres in the state.

However no rivers in Terengganu are reported to above their danger levels as at 8.30am on Tuesday, according to the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID).

Kelantan saw a steep rise in the number of flood victims after scattered thunderstorms on Tuesday night, with over 8,000 people seeking shelter at relief centres as at noon on Wednesday, compared to just over 5,000 people on Tuesday night. The state now houses 99 evacuation centres, said the Kelantan government's flood portal.

Meanwhile, the DID said the water level at Sungai Golok in Kelantan had risen further to 10.56m at 8am today, far exceeding its danger level of 9m.

The director-general of the Fire and Rescue Department Datuk Wan Mohd Nor  Ibrahim said on Tuesday that 522 firemen are on duty in Kelantan and Terengganu, with 37 four-wheel-drive vehicles, 18 lorries and 53 boats at their disposal.

According to The Star, he said personnel from other states are also on standby for flood relief efforts in Kelantan and Terengganu,  and that his men have been told to brace for the floods, which are expected to worsen in both states. “We expect the number of victims displaced by the floods to rise,” he said.

“We will bring in more personnel from other states, including Negri Sembilan and Selangor, if the need arises. We are working with the police, Civil Defence Force and Welfare Department in flood relief efforts,” he said.

Mr Wan Mohd Nor added that the department has boats and helicopters at the affected areas, to be used for evacuation and to monitor the situation.

In Kota Baru,Kelantan it was reported that 500 soldiers from the 8th Infantry Brigade have been assigned to the flood aid mission in the affected states.

Deputy Defence Minister Mohd Johari Baharuddin said six more special teams, consisting of 2,000 members, were preparing to be assigned to areas that require help, reported The Star.

“We have also prepared 16 vessels, 30 three-tonne vehicles and other equipment. We are ready to help the people and agencies involved in this flood rescue operation,” said Datuk Seri Mohd Johari on Tuesday.