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Massive flooding, heavy rains strand 1000s in eastern Malaysia

3 January 2017 16:28

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Thousands of villagers in Malaysia’s eastern coastal states have been stranded following four days of heavy rains that caused massive flooding.

Flooding in the states of Terengganu and Kelantan forced Malaysian authorities to close down dozens of schools in the region, officials announced on Tuesday, noting that roads to villages have also been cut off by the floods.

The chief of Terengganu’s civil department force, Che Adam Abdul Rahman, announced that 700 rescue workers had been deployed in the state to conduct search and rescue operations.

“We have now deployed boats and trucks to evacuate the villagers to relief centers, and with continuous rain we expect the number of flood evacuees to rise,” Che Adam said. Many of the rural roadways remain impassable.

People wade through a flooded street in Malaysia’s northeastern town of Rantau Panjang, which borders Thailand, January 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

More than 1,000 local residents have been evacuated from their homes in oil-rich Terengganu over the past two days, though rescue authorities predict that the figure will likely increase.

Meanwhile, at least 4,906 people have also been reported displaced by flooding in the neighboring state of Kelantan, which experienced huge floods and major destruction of homes and public infrastructure back in December 2014.

Zainuddin Hussin, the chief of Kelantan state civil department force, said nearly 1,300 emergency workers were engaged in rescue activities with 30 boats and 23 vehicles.

“It is raining heavily and the water level at the Golok River has passed the danger level. Some schools in the state have been closed and many rural roads are closed to traffic,” he said.

The Golok River, which lies on the border between Malaysia and Thailand, has also flooded the busy Kelantan town of Rantau Panjang, according to local press reports, which added that schools in the country were due to reopen again on Tuesday following a month-long break.

Malaysia’s east coast regularly experiences tropical storms and heavy rain during the monsoon season.

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