The Malaysian weather bureau has warned of continued thunderstorms and heavy rains in southern and eastern parts of Malaysia. This is as the State media reported that the death toll from floods in years have risen to 27 on Wednesday.
According to the report, 20 of the deaths were recorded in Selangor state, which encircles Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.
The floods, triggered by days of heavy rain over the weekend, have also displaced an estimated 70,000 people. With rivers overflowing their banks, cities have been swamped while major roads have been cut off.
According to Bernama, a total of 210 places in six states have been affected by the floods. Selangor is considered Malaysia’s most densely populated and wealthiest state and one of the worst-hit areas.
Many in its flood-hit state capital, Shah Alam, said they were left stranded in their homes with barely any food for days, before being evacuated on boats in a chaotic rescue operation.
Expert however said it is still too early to quantify exactly how much damage the flooding brought as many residents were still not able to return to their homes.
It was reported that when the flooding was at its worst, the water level in some areas reached as high as five metres.
“The monsoon season is expected to last until February, so there’s potential for more rain and possibly more flooding to occur.
The Malaysian government has mobilised thousands of emergency workers and military personnel to assist with search and rescue operations, but critics say it is not enough and volunteers have stepped in to provide food and boats for the rescue effort.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob admitted on Tuesday there were “weaknesses” in the response to the disaster and pledged there would be improvements in the future.
“The responsibility is not that of the federal government alone, but also the state governments,” he added, noting a month’s rainfall had come down in a single day in Selangor.