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Five dead, over 70,000 evacuated in Malaysia floods

KUALA KRAI (AFP) – At least five people were killed and over 70,000 rushed to evacuation centres in Malaysia after monsoon-triggered floods inundated the country’s north, authorities said yesterday.

Over 31,000 people have fled their homes in Kelantan state while more than 39,000 residents have been evacuated to temporary shelters in neighbouring Terengganu after flooding began over the weekend, the official Bernama news agency said.

Emergency services officials said a total of five people have died.

“The water levels reached almost three metres,” Muhammad Ameenudin Badrul Hisyam from Kuala Krai district in Kelantan told AFP, as he cleared debris from his home after a nearby river overflowed and forced his family to flee.

Local media reported that four people died in Kelantan on Monday when three sisters were electrocuted while wading in the floodwaters and a 15-month-old boy drowned.

The fifth victim was a two-year-old girl swept away by strong currents in Terengganu last Sunday.

Additional evacuations took place in the states of Pahang, Johor and Perak, Bernama news said.

Floods are an annual phenomenon in the Southeast Asian nation of 33 million people due to the northeast monsoon that brings heavy rain from November to March.

In the same month last year, the country was battered by its worst floods in history when more than 50 people died and thousands more were displaced.

New Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was due to visit some of the affected areas later, has said his government will release extra funds for disaster management and rescue efforts. Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, said in Parliament on Tuesday the government has initially allocated MYR400 million to the National Disaster Management Agency.

Local residents use a boat to cross flooded streets in Pasir Mas in Malaysia’s northern Kelantan state. PHOTO: AFP

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