(CTN News) – In parts of Malaysia, rescue efforts are under way following seasonal floods that killed at least four people and forced more than 40,000 to flee their homes.
State authorities in Johor confirmed Saturday that a man died after becoming trapped in a car that was swept away by rising floodwaters.
A video taken by rescue workers and volunteers in towns across the southern state showed groups of people stranded on rooftops as their houses were submerged.
National Flood Disaster Agency images showed rescuers wading chest-deep to save people trapped in their homes. In a bucket, a rescue worker carried a baby to safety.
Several images show flooded roads, forests, and vehicles submerged in mud.
Like many of its Southeast Asian neighbors, Malaysia is susceptible to seasonal flooding. It has been raining heavily in Singapore since February.
The worst floods in decades occurred in Malaysia in 2021, which resulted in 54 deaths and the mobilization of the armed forces. The widespread floods of that year affected eight states and stretched emergency services nationwide, sparking criticism of the government’s response.
People have been evacuating their homes since December as the country’s monsoon season began in November.
Malaysia’s second most populous state, Johor, has been hardest hit by this season’s flooding. According to officials, tens of thousands of residents have relocated to relief centers located in schools and community halls.
Officials from Malaysia’s Meteorological Department say rain may last until April.
The Malaysian Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, spoke on Sunday after visiting survivors and evacuees in Johor, saying that flood mitigation projects would be expedited by the government.
“This (of floods) cannot be delayed and should be taken more seriously so as not to repeat itself,” he said in a tweet.
A youth-led political party in Johor, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA), advised residents not to wait too long to evacuate.
According to Amira Aisya Abdul Aziz, the group’s deputy president, river levels remain high. When water levels begin to rise, do not delay. As soon as possible, move to safer areas.
She suggested, “Remember that your life is more valuable than your possessions.”.
According to Amira, the country cannot afford to endure so many disasters in a short period of time.
In the town of Batu Pahat, 61-year-old Pot Phoon Hua told CNN that rain was still falling. There were several friends and relatives who were missing, and he expressed concern for the aftermath of the flood. Pot said, “We are powerless.”.
We are all pitching in, but the force of the weather is too great. There is only so much that we can do. There may be many teams and workers deployed by the government to assist, but ultimately, Malaysians are left to the mercy of nature.”