KUALA LUMPUR - Flash floods hit Malaysia’s Klang Valley, encompassing the capital Kuala Lumpur and areas in surrounding Selangor state, on Monday (March 7), just three months after deadly flooding claimed dozens of lives around the country.
“The floods occurred due to unusually heavy rainfall in the space of two hours, and the existing drainage system was unable to support the high flow of water,” said Minister of Environment and Water Tuan Ibrahim Man in a statement.
More than a hundred houses were affected in Kampung Periuk and Kampung Pasir Baru in the capital, he added.
Climate change was also a factor, as March normally witnesses drought conditions, he told a news conference.
Heavy rain lashed the area from 2.30pm with 106.5mm and 155mm recorded at two measuring stations in the capital within two hours.
Footage on social media showed submerged vehicles and rising water levels in several areas, including in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Families were also seen being rescued from inundated homes.
People could be seen climbing to the top of submerged vehicles in Jalan Kuchai Lama in a video circulating online.
The Fire and Rescue Department said 12 cars were submerged and a number of people had to be rescued.
“The flood led to water rising as high as 2m, and around 12 cars were stuck, with victims resorting to escaping to their car roofs. All victims affected have been saved and brought to a safe location,” the department said in a statement.
Following the flash floods, a power outage hit parts of the city after Tenaga Nasional, the state utility company, shut down 40 substations.
“Efforts are underway to ensure electricity supply in the affected areas can be resumed in stages, depending on access and local conditions,” it said on Facebook.
“If the floods worsen, supply will be shut off at affected substations to ensure the safety of users.”
Among the places hit by the blackout were the Bukit Aman police headquarters, Bukit Bintang, and several condominiums in the vicinity of the Petronas Twin Towers.
Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Norazam Khamis said flood reports were received from parts of Sungai Buloh and Gombak.
About 300 people in Selangor were evacuated to relief centres on Monday night.
The Star daily reported that the city council for Shah Alam, where floods in December affected thousands of people, was keeping watch to ensure that its reservoirs and pumps were functioning.
Klang Municipal Council, meanwhile, was also conducting online flood monitoring round the clock through closed-circuit television cameras.
As at 7pm, at least 250 flood victims had been evacuated in Kuala Lumpur following heavy rains, said Federal Territories Minister Shahidan Kassim.
The National Disaster Management Agency said that several rivers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor rose past the warning level, while one had exceeded the danger level.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Transport Information System operated by Kuala Lumpur City Hall said that flood waters were detected in the tunnels in front of the Tabung Haji building and Jalan Chan Sow Lin in the city centre at 4pm.
It added that the Smart tunnel in the city centre was closed to traffic to make way for flood operations.
“Every time the monsoon season comes, there will be floods. As Malaysians, we should know that flood is considered as an annual event but why until now we are yet to solve this problem?” social media user @shakeer_ahmad08 posted on Twitter.
“Want to say no funds? Tens of millions (of ringgit) have been spent but still?” he added.
This is the fourth time that the Klang Valley has been hit by flash floods in less than three months.
In mid-December 2021, the country experienced its heaviest rainfall in the last 100 years, leading to severe flooding in eight of the 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia. At least 54 people died in the flooding which persisted for three weeks.
The country was again pummelled by torrential rain during the New Year period, causing floods in six peninsular states and Sabah on Jan 2.
Two east coast states of Peninsular Malaysia, Kelantan and Terengganu, were also struck by flash floods recently. At least two people were killed and 20,000 displaced.