Thousands evacuated as floods sweep Malaysia

Thousands evacuated as floods sweep Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR - A teenager drowned and a child was missing as annual floods swept Johor, Pahang and Terengganu, closing roads as thousands were evacuated to higher ground.

In Johor, 5,459 people have been moved from their homes, with the bulk coming from Mersing, a coastal town popular among Singaporeans as a gateway to Tioman Island.

With rain from the annual north-east monsoon falling continuously since Sunday, the number of evacuees in Johor have doubled from Monday, said Ms Azura Mohammed Kifli, Johor's flood spokesman.

The flood spread Tuesday to three more districts. Six of Johor's 11 districts are now flooded. They are Kota Tinggi, Kluang, Mersing, Batu Pahat, Muar and Segamat, all located in the north and east of the state.

Highways around the state remain open, and Johor Baru and the Iskandar region in the south, where many Singaporeans have invested in property and businesses, are not affected by the floods.

The flood season in Johor this year appears to be starting out worse than last year's. At about this time last year, only about 1,000 people had been evacuated.

"We expect conditions to improve in the next few days as the Meteorological Department has forecast less rain in Johor by Wednesday," Ms Azura told The Straits Times Tuesday.

In Kampung Sekijang, Segamat, a bridge used by villagers to cross Sungai Segamat was swept away by raging waters, the New Straits Times reported. No one was hurt.

A total of 16,627 were evacuated in Johor, Pahang and Terengganu.

In Terengganu, six roads were closed to traffic Tuesday after the rivers and streams nearby burst their banks.

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