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Floods hit Malaysia, thousands evacuated


A Malaysia Civil Defence Force (JPAM) officer (R) accompanies a family as they wade through the flood during rain at Machang, Kelantan, around 400km from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 3 January 2016. Photo: Ahmad Yusufi/EPA

A Malaysia Civil Defence Force (JPAM) officer (R) accompanies a family as they wade through the flood during rain at Machang, Kelantan, around 400km from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 3 January 2016. Photo: Ahmad Yusufi/EPA

Emergency services in Malaysia deployed boats and trucks Tuesday as thousands of villagers were stranded after four days of heavy rain caused flooding in east coast states, officials said. 

Floods in Terengganu and Kelantan states forced authorities to shut down dozens of schools and roads to villages have been cut off.

The east coast regularly experiences tropical storms and heavy showers during the monsoon. 

In the last two days in oil-rich Terengganu over a thousand people have been evacuated from their homes, and rescue officials predict the numbers will rise.

Che Adam Abdul Rahman, civil department force chief in Terengganu, told AFP that 700 rescue officers have been deployed in the state to carry out search and rescue operations.

Many of the rural roads are impassable, he said.

"We have now deployed boats and trucks to evacuate the villagers to relief centres, and with continuous rain we expect the number of flood evacuees to rise," Che Adam warned.

In neighbouring Kelantan, which experienced massive floods and large destruction of homes and public infrastructure in December 2014, at least 4,906 people have been displaced by flooding. 

Zainuddin Hussin, Kelantan state civil department force chief, said some 1,300 personnel with 30 boats and 23 vehicles are involved in rescue activities.

"It is raining heavily and the water level at the Golokriver has passed the danger level. Some schools in the state have been closed and many rural roads are closed to traffic," he said.

The Golokriver, which lies on the border between Malaysia and Thailand, has flooded the busy Kelantan town of Rantau Panjang, news reports said.

Schools in Malaysia were scheduled to reopen on Tuesday after a month-long break.

(AFP)

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