The Malaysian government is coming in for fierce criticism from citizens affected by the recent devastating floods to hit many parts of the country. According to an AFP report, days of unprecedented rainfall have destroyed homes, caused rivers to overflow, and left tens of thousands of people homeless. At least 48 people have died and 5 people are still missing, according to official reports.
In flood-hit streets, damaged home appliances and water-logged furniture has piled up as residents attempt clean-up efforts. Accumulating rubbish is also a cause for concern, with many pointing to the risk of disease outbreaks. Residents are frustrated with a lack of adequate government help. AFP reports that Asniyati Ismail, whose 2 children are the only ones helping her clean up, has expressed her fury with the Malaysian government.
“I am angry. There is no assistance from the government. We need cash to rebuild our lives. There is mud everywhere, everything has been destroyed.”
Meanwhile, 39 year old Kawitha Maratha, who was rescued by boat along with her 4 children, has been left trying to care for them alone. Her husband was killed by flood water which rose rapidly to engulf the second floor of their home.
“The flood has destroyed our lives.”
The state of Selangor, which surrounds the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, has been hit the hardest. Many residents in the state capital of Shah Alam found themselves stranded at home for days without food until they were finally evacuated by boat. Resident Kartik Rao has described the rescue operation as chaotic.
“The government has been absolutely slow in the rescue mission. And now they are slow in the clean-up operation. Even after 7 days, the rubbish in this neighbourhood has not been cleaned up.”
According to the AFP report, the Malaysian PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob has acknowledged shortcomings in the government’s response and vowed to do things better in future. Flooding is not unusual in Malaysia, with the November to February monsoon season bringing floods every year. However, last week’s floods were the worst since 2014, with experts blaming global warming for the severity.