KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 — The death toll from the severe floods sweeping the country was now 37 with at least 10 people still missing, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said.
He said the floods have also displaced 68,341 people from 18,080 household across the peninsula.
“Seven states are severely affected. Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Pahang and Kelantan.
“The worst hit area is Pahang,” he said.
Acryl Sani said as of today, there were 137 road closures in all the affected states including 120 in Pahang.
“In addition, at 2.30am today, we found 23 locations or areas where water levels are at warning levels.
“These areas are near rivers and 13 are under dangerous status. Nine of these rivers are in Pahang, two in Kelantan, one in Johor and Selangor.
“The relevant agencies have said the water is almost spilling over and there could be a possibility of further flooding in the days to come,” he added.
Currently, 66,015 personnel from various agencies have been deployed for flood mitigation efforts.
Acryl Sani said there were continued reports of theft and looting in flooded areas.
He urged those affected to seek shelter at temporary relief centres (PPS) instead of resorting to such activity, saying there was food and aid available on location.
“We have received seven cases of breaking in with arrests made. I want to tell the people, even foreigners, to come to the PPS to get food and supplies, especially in Shah Alam,” he said.
“As for a viral issue of a tow truck man trying to steal a car, we have sorted it out and arrested the tow truck driver.”
When asked why authorities’ response to the floods had been slow, he said they were surprised by the severity of the rain.
The IGP also said the large number of residents in urban centres such as Shah Alam meant evacuation efforts were difficult.
“Yes, initially we were slow or seemed a lack of coordination. However, by day two, we managed to rally the troops.
“Shah Alam’s population density made it hard to evacuate the victims compared to Kelantan or Terengganu,” he said.
In addition, Acryl Sani said 880 police personnel have been affected by the flooding and another 192 are public servants working in the police force.