Penang floods cause nearly 2,000 evacuees

People wade through ankle-deep water along Macalister Road in George Town November 5, 2017. — Picture by KE Ooi
People wade through ankle-deep water along Macalister Road in George Town November 5, 2017. — Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 5 — A total 1,968 flood victims have been evacuated due to the massive floods that hit Penang beginning last night.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who also heads the Floods Operations Centre, said a total 1,125 victims were evacuated in Central Seberang Perai, 615 from North Seberang Perai, 70 from the Northeast district on the island and 158 from the Southwest district on the island.

Speaking on a live video in his Facebook page at about 8am today, Lim said the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (JPAM) has already sent help to assist victims at the northeast district on the island.

“We are still waiting for more help from JPAM to assist victims stranded in Seberang Perai. JPAM personnel from Sungai Petani will be arriving to lend their assistance there soon so we hope everyone remain calm as help is on the way,” he said.

Sungai Petani is a district in Kedah state.

Lim said the rains have stopped temporarily and the flood situation has improved slightly but in some areas, the flood waters have not receded.

“The wind is still strong, we are worried about any more unwanted incidents and that the heavy rain will continue,” he said.

He said the strong winds coupled with the torrential rains last night were highly unexpected and that the state did not have enough resources to assist all affected.

“The situation has exceeded our resources and I want to thank the police, the fire and rescue department, JPAM and all rescue workers for working through the night to help those affected,” he said.

A map of the Meteorological Department’s weather forecast as seen on their Facebook page.
A map of the Meteorological Department’s weather forecast as seen on their Facebook page.

He called on all Penangites to be careful today due to the floods.

“I will be at the operations centre to monitor and coordinate rescue operations for affected areas,” he said.

The Meteorological Department issued a “red” alert last night, warning of continuous heavy rains and strong winds for the whole of Penang and parts of Kedah for today.

Most parts of the island and the mainland were flooded while many roads were blocked by fallen trees and debris.

State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Pohtold Malay Mail Online earlier that two deaths have been reported due to the disaster. 

Penang northeast district police later confirmed the two fatalities. In a statement, the police said the first death was a 75-year-old Indian Muslim man who was found to have drowned at home in Jalan Perak while the second death was of an ethnic Chinese woman, age undisclosed, found at a senior citizens’ home in Jalan P. Ramlee.

Fire and Rescue Department personnel have moved the bodies of both deceased to the Majis Hashim Yahya evacuation centre.

Rescue work in affected areas is still ongoing.

Lim’s Facebook page also posted a warning to all in Penang to stay at home and to check the Penang Island City Council and Seberang Perai Municipal Council Facebook pages for updates on rain and the flood situation.

He also said all scheduled outdoor activities should be cancelled and those living in low lying areas should move to higher ground in case of flood.

“The state government is mobilising all its machinery to manage this emergency, kindly assist by cooperating with the relief team to ensure casualty is minimised,” he said.

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