Emergency services personnel, helped by civilian volunteers, have rescued 21,000 people from severe flooding across 7 states in Malaysia. According to a Reuters report, over 66,000 police officers, military personnel, and fire department staff were deployed, with people having to be pulled from cars stranded in rising waters or from flooded streets outside their homes.
It’s understood 21,000 people have now been sent to relief centres across Malaysia. The Malaysian PM, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, says in Selangor, Malaysia’s richest state and one of the worst hit, 15,000 people have been evacuated to over 100 relief centres. The PM says the record rainfall that hit the country over the last day equates to the total amount of rainfall experienced in a month, usually.
There have been some reports that the government was ill-prepared for such an emergency. Rescue volunteer Mohamad Adib Hariz Fadzilah says he raced to a camping supplies store to purchase items like kayaks and life jackets, only to find the emergency services doing the same.
“I learned that some of the (emergency services) people were also buying supplies from here. It was shocking to me that they too didn’t have enough equipment.”
The volunteer then made his way to the city of Shah Alam in Selangor, where countless residents found themselves trapped by rising floodwaters. He says official help was slow to arrive.
One woman, who was delivering food to customers, accompanied by her 2 children and 2 grandchildren, found herself unable to get home. 60 year old Rohkidah Yusof says she realised her route home had been cut off.
“I’ve never experienced floods this bad. I want to go home but I’m not sure how we are going to get there.”