20,000 flood victims in Kelantan after 12-hour downpour

Safe and sound: Firemen helping flood victims at Kampung Bendang Pak Yong in Tumpat.

KOTA BARU - Residents in flood-prone areas are bracing for further misery after a downpour lasting more than 12 hours raised the number of flood victims to almost 20,000, in what the authorities call the worst floods in Kelantan in 10 years. And the worse may be yet to come.

The victims - an increase from 15,000 on Friday and 13,000 on Thursday - fled to relief centres around the state following heavy rains that started at 3am yesterday.

The official Kelantan flood portal e-banjir reported that Pasir Mas, especially Rantau Panjang town, has been crippled by floods since Wednesday.

A total of 11,184 people from 3,831 families have taken refuge at 37 relief centres in Pasir Mas as of 3pm yesterday - up by over 3,000 people just a day earlier.

State Local Government, Housing, Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Fattah Mahmood said this year's floods were the worst in a decade.

"I have not seen so many evacuees at the flood relief centres like this before. It's so bad that food had to be airlifted and dropped at inaccessible areas.

"I believe the situation may worsen when there's continuous rain next week," he said yesterday.

He assured that there was enough food for the victims despite some grouses about it being slow to reach them.

Bernama reported that since the second wave of floods hit Kelantan on Dec 16, four deaths were recorded, with one each in Tanah Merah, Tumpat, Kuala Krai and Kota Baru.

The latest involved Che Muhammad Anuar Che Hassan, 17, who was found drowned at 7.10am soon after he fell into flood waters in front of his home in Kampung Teluk Jering, Tumpat, on Friday.

No major roads were closed to traffic except Jalan Kota Baharu to Pantai Cahaya Bulan in Kampung Tikat, which remains closed to light vehicles.

In Kuala Terengganu, the state National Security Council portal said Terengganu had recorded 8,587 evacuees as of yesterday morning, compared to 8,659 the night before.

Besut had the highest number of flood victims with 3,235 people, followed by Dungun (2,132) and Kemaman (1,925).

Hulu Terengganu, which was the worst-affected, showed improvement with the number of evacuees dropping to 950 at 15 relief centres.

In Kuantan, state police chief ACP Abdul Aziz Salleh said the number of flood evacuees in the district was reduced to 1,449 people from 408 families as at 9am yesterday, compared to 1,624 people from 411 families the night before.