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Big clean-up begins as M'sian floods subside

Publication Date : 12-12-2013


Clean-up operations have begun in the flood-affected Malaysian states of Terengganu and Pahang, media reports said on Wednesday.

The Pahang government has set a target of clearing all flood debris by the end of this month, before the new school session starts next month.

"The government has asked Alam Flora (an environmental management company) to help clear the flood waste to ensure that the people's health is not jeopardised," Arpah Abdul Razak, secretary-general of the Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Ministry, was quoted as saying in a Bernama report on Wednesday.

"We are aware that the refuse left behind by the floods can pose the risk of a disease epidemic."

Flood victims in many villages in Terengganu's Kemaman district have also begun cleaning up their houses.

Piles of damaged electrical appliances, furniture and mattresses as well as mud scooped from the inside of victims' homes were a common sight at every corner of the villages, Malaysian daily, the New Straits Times said on Wednesday.

In Kelantan, the third state on the east coast reeling under floods up till Sunday, the weather had improved significantly, the New Straits Times said.

While there was no rain over the last 12 hours, a wet Tuesday saw the water levels of the Sungai Golok and Sungai Kelantan remaining above the warning level.

More than 65,000 Malaysians were huddled in overcrowded relief centres in Peninsular Malaysia on Sunday after five days of continuous rain since the last week of November saw five states, including Johor and Malacca, affected.

While the situation improved in Johor and Malacca last week, many flood victims remained in evacuation centres in the eastern states over the weekend waiting for floodwaters to subside.

The rains, brought in by the north-east monsoon, caused water levels to rise very quickly in these states, especially in and around the Pahang state capital, Kuantan, stretching north to Kemaman in central Terengganu.

The situation in the three states began to improve only on Monday with most evacuees returning home.

But home for most was a reminder of the floods that forced them to flee.

Abdul Azam Mat Aris, 54, from Kampung Air Putih, one of the worst-affected villages in Terengganu, was left with nothing after his house was totally destroyed by floodwaters.

His house was swept about 100m away, leaving only its stairs intact.

"I was having a drink at a nearby shop when the water from Sungai Kemaman started flowing into our village. It was so quick that I did not dare to rush home. I walked through the waist-high floodwaters straight to the school nearby to seek shelter," the New Straits Times reported him as saying.

Floods also altered his 29-year-old neighbour Noor Hamiza Daud's wedding plans.

Her house and choice of mosque got inundated, so Noor had to settle for a different mosque to get married on Saturday.

"I had to wear a wedding dress, rented from a boutique, for the solemnisation. The door gifts, besides other things we had prepared, including a tent for cooking, were swept away by floodwaters," she said.

*with report from New Straits Times


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