Very heavy rains and widespread floods hit Malaysia over the past 3 days, forcing more than 50 000 people to evacuate their homes and claiming the lives of at least 14 people. The floods were described as one of the worst the country has seen in recent years.
Heavy rains started on December 17, with Kuantan registering 405 mm (15.9 inches) in 24 hours to December 18. During the same period, Pekan recorded 364.5 mm (14.3 inches) and Kapar 316 mm (12.4 inches).1
The rains caused rivers to overflow, submerging homes and vehicles in many urban areas, and leaving thousands of motorists stranded.
In total, more than 40 000 people were affected, including 18 268 in Selangor, the worst affected state where at least 8 people died, and 17 080 in Pahang state, where 6 people died. 4 people are missing in Bentong.
"The amount of rain that fell in Selangor yesterday, what fell in one day would usually fall in one month," Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on December 19.
"The annual rainfall in Kuala Lumpur is 2 400 mm (94.5 inches) and this means (Friday’s) rainfall has exceeded the average rainfall for a month. It is something beyond expectations and only occurs once every 100 years,” Environment and Water Ministry (KASA) secretary-general Zaini Ujang was quoted as saying by Bernama.2
10 people were missing after being swept away by floods in Kuantan and Bentong districts in Pahang.
As of December 20, rivers were above the danger level in 19 locations in Pahang, 6 locations in Selangor and 4 locations in Kelantan.
The rains were caused by Tropical Depression 29 which made landfall in an area of Kemaman District in southern Terengganu State (north-eastern Peninsular Malaysia) on the evening of December 16.3
At 00:00 UTC on December 17, its center was located about 40 km (25 miles) west of Kemaman, with maximum sustained winds of 46 km/h (28 mph).
1 Malaysia – Floods Displace Over 40,000 – FloodList
2 ‘Once in 100 years’ flood: 7 killed and more than 50,000 displaced in Malaysia – CNA
3 Malaysia – Tropical Depression TWENTYNINE (GDACS, JTWC, Met Malaysia, AHA Centre) (ECHO Daily Flash of 17 December 2021)
Featured image credit: Bomba and Penyelamat Negeri Pahang
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