More evacuations in flood-hit Johor but forecast is for better weather in 5 Malaysian states

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KUALA LUMPUR – Flood victims in Malaysia’s southern Johor state had little respite on Tuesday (Jan 4) even though officials forecast good weather was on the way.

Rising waters forced 5,362 people in Johor to evacuate and take shelter in temporary relief centres.

Segamat district, about two-and-a-half hours’ drive north from the Johor capital of Johor Baru, was the worst hit with a video on Twitter showing an entire village inundated.

Police rescued 14 factory workers left stranded on Monday night by the rising waters, said a Facebook post by the Royal Malaysia Police.

Six other states – Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah, Melaka, Selangor and Terengganu – have also been hit by the flooding with nearly 13,000 people displaced.

Riza Molinda posted a video on Facebook on Tuesday of her house in Segamat after flood waters had receded.

“I am home. Thank God. Cleaning session. I can only look at it,” she wrote.

The Cabinet is meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation as post-flood clean-up operations continued in areas hit initially by the first bout of incessant rain in mid-December.

Stallholder Chai Foong Mei, 52, from Taman Sri Muda, Selangor, said her ground-floor flat was still being restored more than two weeks after it was swamped by 3.6m-high flood waters on Dec 18.

“My home rebuilding is in progress with the help from the neighbourhood and non-governmental organisations,” she told The Straits Times.

A total of 113 educational institutions remain closed because they were affected by floods or are being used as temporary evacuation centres.

The danger is not over yet as several rivers in at least five states have breached the danger level threatening low-lying areas.

But the Meteorological Department on Tuesday announced the end of the continuous heavy rain warning, adding that good weather was expected in the states of Terengganu, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor. The continuous downpour alert remained in force for five districts in Sabah.

So far, the second wave of flooding has not been as severe as the first, which saw nearly 70,000 people displaced last month and the country’s industrial heartland in Selangor, Klang Valley, badly hit.

At least 50 people lost their lives in what has been described as one of the worst floods in the country in recent years.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob tweeted on Tuesday that the government would provide psychological support for flood victims, particularly children.

Last week, he pledged that each affected family would receive RM61,000 (S$19,800) in aid and said the government would look into long-term flood solutions amid criticism over how it had handled the disaster.

Critics accused the government of not taking the floods seriously when they first occurred, with questions being raised about delays in rescue operations.

The government has said it plans to install more sirens at flood-prone areas to warn residents and for evacuation purposes.

Other proposals included having closed-circuit television cameras at river-level monitoring stations to allow residents to prepare to evacuate should rivers reach danger levels.

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