Malaysia Floods: At Least 4 Dead and Thousands Evacuated

Malaysia has experienced severe flooding, causing mass evacuations and deaths. The annual monsoon season, which runs from October to March, often results in floods, but the intensity of this year’s flooding has been unusual.

The flooding has been blamed on climate change and human activities, with environmental officials pointing to deforestation, land clearings, and over-concretizing of areas as the contributors to the disaster.

The situation has left tens of thousands of people displaced and caused at least four fatalities in the past week.

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The southern state of Johor, which borders Singapore, is the worst-hit of six Malaysian states affected by the flooding. Almost 40,000 people have left their homes in the state to seek refuge from the rising waters, and more than 1,000 were forced to evacuate in five other states.

Authorities have set up more than 200 relief shelters for displaced people, according to the national disaster management agency.

Relief efforts in Johor and elsewhere have been hampered by the torrential rain, which has flooded roads, submerged cars, damaged homes and caused many shops to close.

Police said at least four people had died since Wednesday. The fatalities include a man whose car was swept away by floodwaters and an elderly couple who drowned.

The latest fatality was a 68-year-old woman who drowned near her flooded house after leaving an evacuation centre in the town of Segamat in Johor.

Tens of thousands of residents have moved to relief centers in schools and community halls, according to officials.

The situation has left many people scrambling to find shelter, and the meteorological department has warned of more rain in the coming days, mostly in the southern states.

Floods are common in Malaysia during the monsoon season, but some environmental officials have said the current flooding is unusual in its intensity and have blamed climate change and human activities for playing a role in the disaster.

The president of the Malaysian Nature Society, Vincent Chow, told the French AFP news agency that the floods were the worst to hit Johor since 1969.

“Now, the weather is unpredictable. Climate change has outfoxed the weatherman,” he said. Meenakshi Raman, the president of the environmental group Friends of the Earth Malaysia, also suggested in comments to the news agency that the large scale of the flooding was partly down to humans.

“Forest and land clearings in the upper reaches of our rural areas, towns and cities lead to our rivers and drains chocked with soil erosion, and they cannot contain the increased volumes of rainfall,” she said.

“The over-concretizing of areas also leads to overflows of water, as there is little green left to act as sponges,” she added.

Authorities have set up more than 200 relief shelters for people displaced by the floods, the national disaster management agency said.

The agency has also provided assistance to those affected by the flooding, including food, clothing, and other basic necessities.

However, some critics have accused the government of failing to do enough to address the situation. Malaysia’s worst floods in decades occurred in 2021, when there were 54 deaths and the army was mobilized.

The widespread floods that year hit eight states and strained emergency services across the country, sparking criticism of the government’s response to the disaster.

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