Malaysia Counts The Cost As Floods Recede

A women walks through floodwaters near Rantau Panjang district of Kelantan state, 400 km north-east of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. EPA/STR

KUALA LUMPUR (DPA) – Floodwaters were subsiding in Malaysia Friday as the country started counting the cost.

Around 85,000 people remained in evacuation centres nationwide as of Friday morning, the National Security Council (NSC) said.

Damage in the worst-hit state of Kelantan on the east coast was estimated at more than 200 million ringgit (57 million dollars), said Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed, who is leading the relief operation in his home state.

"This is only a ballpark figure and we have yet to tabulate the losses of the victims," he was quoted as saying by The Star daily. "We are now compiling the full data on the losses."

The number of people still in evacuation centres in Kelantan was around 30,000 Friday, down from a high of more than 150,000 on Wednesday.

Nearby Terengganu state said it would need 132 million ringgit just to repair the roads.

Repairing schools in the five affected states would cost at least 350 million ringgit, said Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the education minister.

The federal government has allocated 96 million ringgit to clear 93 landslides from blocked roads in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak, Works Minister Fadilah Yusof said.

Monsoon rains started around three weeks ago, pounding the coastal states along with high tides, and forcing more than a quarter million people to flee their homes and seek shelter in schools or stadiums.

The NSC recorded 18 casualties from the floods, including 10 in the rural and less developed state of Kelantan.

Some areas were expecting more rain from the north-east monsoon, which normally runs from November to March, The Star cited the country's meteorological department as saying.

 

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