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  Yahoo News 25 Dec 06
Malaysian floods subside but struggle goes on

PlanetArk 22 Dec 06
Floods Worsen in Southern Malaysia, 50,000 Homeless

Yahoo News 21 Dec 06
60,000 flee flooded homes in Malaysia

PlanetArk 21 Dec 06
Floods Hit South Malaysia, 30,000 Flee Homes

Yahoo News 20 Dec 06
21,000 evacuated as floods worsen in Malaysia's south

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - More than 21,000 people have been evacuated in Malaysia's southern Johor state after continuous rains, causing what officials say are the worst floods in years.

"So far 21,742 people have been evacuated from eight districts in Johor. There have been no casualties," Adnan Mohamad Yassin, an officer in the state's relief centre, told AFP Wednesday.

"We always prepare ourselves to face the worst scenario during the monsoon season, but this year it is really bad, the worst in my experience," he said.

Malaysia's Human Resources Minister Fong Chan Onn on Wednesday appealed to employers to let workers take time off as the situation worsened, the state Bernama news agency reported.

"I hope that employers will grant leave to employees who can't make it to their workplaces, as this is an emergency situation. They must look after the well-being of the workers," Fong was quoted as saying. "Let them take unrecorded leave or something, so that they can clean up their houses," he said.

Adnan said a total of 126 villages with 4,767 families were affected by the northeastern monsoon rains, which had inundated villages, highways and residential areas in eight of Johor's nine districts. Evacuees were placed in schools, town halls and even hotels, he said.

The worst-hit areas included the state's densely populated capital, Johor Bahru, and the central towns of Kluang and Muar.

Adnan said relief operations were being coordinated by the government's natural disaster department, and included rescue teams from the police, fire department, military and various humanitarian aid groups.

"We hope the water will recede soon so that people can go back to their homes. We have been told the rains could last for one week," he said.

Reports Wednesday cited government officials as saying the rains were a once-in-a-century phenomenon.

The rain also triggered mudslides, disrupting southbound rail services, including to Singapore. Heavy rains in western Malacca and Negeri Sembilan states also saw the evacuation of some 700 people, Bernama said Wednesday.

Meteorological Services Department researcher Lim Si Fu said the monsoon rains were at their peak and were likely to continue for the next four to five days. Central Selangor state, which surrounds Kuala Lumpur, could also be affected if the poor weather persisted, he told AFP.

PlanetArk 21 Dec 06
Floods Hit South Malaysia, 30,000 Flee Homes

KUALA LUMPUR - Southern Malaysia has been hit by the heaviest rains in 100 years this week and resultant flooding has forced about 30,000 people to flee their homes, news reports said on Wednesday.

The floods have cut off main roads and disrupted train services in the southern state of Johor, the worst-hit state which is also a major rubber and palm oil producing region.

"More than 28,000 people have been evacuated," Johor chief minister Abdul Ghani Othman was quoted as saying by the online edition of the Star newspaper. "We expect the number of evacuees to increase." So far, there are no reports of casualties.

The floods came after two days of incessant rains, the highest rainfall ever recorded by the state in 100 years, the weather bureau said. Annual rainfall in total was usually about 240 centimetres, but in just one day on Monday, the state received 35 cm of rain, it said.

There was no immediate word on the impact on crops in the state, but palm oil prices rose slightly on fears of supply disruption. Malaysia is the world's top palm oil producer and exporter.

Malaysia's national news agency Bernama said the floods have spread to the neighbouring states of Negeri Sembilan and Malacca, forcing some 2,600 people to be evacuated.

Yahoo News 21 Dec 06

60,000 flee flooded homes in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - At least two people are dead and more than 60,000 have fled their homes after floods triggered by torrential rains engulfed whole towns and villages in four Malaysian states, officials said.

The bodies of two men were found in Segamat district in southern Johor state, the area worst hit by heavy monsoon rains, Che Moin Umar, head of disaster management at the Civil Defense Department, said Thursday. A third body in Johor's Kota Tinggi district was still being identified and a cause of death being determined, he said.

"Two people have died already due to the floods ... The younger man's body was discovered yesterday, while the body of the second victim, a 70-year-old man, was found today in Segamat," Che Moin told AFP. He said the elderly man could not escape the flood waters that rushed through his village because he was partially paralysed by a stroke.

"The currents are very strong this year, and in Johor it is (so) tremendous that even the rescuers on boats are having difficulty navigating the current," he said.

Che Moin said the number of evacuees on Thursday had risen to 63,616 -- 54,585 people from Johor and a further 10,031 displaced in the neighbouring states of Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and northeastern Kelantan state.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who visited flood victims in Johor, Thursday pledged full assistance from the government, the state Bernama news agency said. "We will extend all aid needed to help the flood victims in Johor, (and) if not enough, more will be dispatched," Najib was quoted as saying.

Health authorities said Thursday they had stepped up vigilance to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in relief centres across the affected states, where thousands of evacuees were camped out.

"We have dispatched our health teams to oversee the sanitation especially at the evacuation centres," the health ministry's director of disease control, Ramlee Rahmat, told AFP.

"Definitely we are most concerned about the possibility of the spread of cholera and we are monitoring the standards of hygiene," he said.

The floods have also triggered mudslides, forcing road closures and the suspension of east- and south-bound rail services, including to Singapore.

Parts of Johor state Wednesday recorded rainfall of up to 66.3 centimetres, (26.5 inches) with an average of 40 centimetres throughout the state. A daily reading above 20 centimetres is deemed high. The Meteorological Department Thursday said rains were expected to continue until the weekend.

PlanetArk 22 Dec 06
Floods Worsen in Southern Malaysia, 50,000 Homeless

KUALA LUMPUR - Around 50,000 people have been forced to evacuate their flooded homes in southern Malaysia as the region suffered its heaviest rainfall in a century, news reports said on Thursday.

The rains, blamed on Typhoon Utor, triggered large-scale flooding, cut off several towns in the southern state of Johor, shut down power and water supplies and disrupted train services.

One passenger bus fell into a ravine early on Thursday in the southern town of Kota Tinggi but none of the six people on board were injured, the online edition of the Star newspaper said.

Official news agency Bernama put the total number of evacuees in Johor and three neighbouring states at 50,000, up sharply from 30,000 a day earlier.

The Meteorological Services Department said more rains were forecast in Johor and the northeastern states of Kelantan and Terengganu over the next 24 hours.

Science Minister Jamaluddin Jarjis blamed the downpours on strong winds from the western Pacific Ocean.

"The phenomenon is due to the effects of Typhoon Utor near the Philippines," he said. The typhoon killed 27 people in the Philippines last week.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was in Johor on Thursday to visit flood victims, many of them taking shelter in schools and community halls.

Johor is one of Malaysia's biggest producers of rubber and palm oil. There was no immediate word on the impact on crops in the state, but palm oil prices have risen on fears of supply disruption.

Yahoo News 25 Dec 06
Malaysian floods subside but struggle goes on

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - The flood situation in Malaysia has improved, but 74,000 people remain at relief centres and victims face months without electricity and the threat from crocodiles.

Welfare officials said Monday hundreds had returned home in the worst affected southern state of Johor, where seven people have died, but at least 65,500 remained at evacuation centres. Parts of Johor's Kota Tinggi district are still under water and residents face power failures, local police said, adding that a 17-year-old boy has been reported missing.

"The flood situation is improving. But we face some power failure and police are looking for a young boy reported missing," local police chief Muhamad Shamsuddin told AFP.

Muhamad said the police had deployed up to 400 personnel to ensure security, adding that no new arrests had been made following earlier reports of looting in flood-affected areas.

"We have heard of crocodile sightings. We urge the public to remain cautious," he said. The floods marred Christmas celebrations in the affected areas of Malaysia, which is predominantly Muslim.

Pastor Yin Tong Joo from the Chinese Methodist Church in Johor's Segamat district said church members were too busy cleaning their homes to celebrate. About 30 families from the church were affected by the floods and most of them have taken shelter with relatives and other church members, Bernama news agency quoted him as saying.

National utility giant Tenaga Nasional Bhd warned that thousands of households would have to go without electricity for months as flood waters have damaged substations. A total of 788 substations, mainly in Johor, have been closed down since Sunday, affecting some 75,000 households, it said.

"The flood is the worst experience by TNB over the last 30 years," the Star newspaper quoted Che Khalib Mohamad Noh as saying.

Other states hit by the floods are Malacca, Pahang and Terengganu. In another district of Muar in Johor, villagers have reported sightings of crocodiles that escaped from a farm after it was flooded. Ishak Abu Bakar, the local village chief, said between 15 and 20 crocodiles were believed to have escaped.

In neighbouring Segamat, relief workers were struggling to bring food supplies to stranded families as many parts of the district are cut off by the floods, the New Straits Times reported.

Martin Param Ponniah, deputy commander of the Johor St. John's Ambulance, said the food situation was critical in several remote villages, adding that some flood relief centres had been without food or drinks for several days.

A flood victim in Johor seeking shelter at a relief centre broke down in tears when asked to explain her ordeal. "What are we going to do now? We have lost everything. My children ... they need to go to school but they have lost all their books. The water rose so fast. I just managed to escape with my children," she said in an interview with private television station TV3.

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