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Floods kill 21 in Malaysia, waters recede
by Staff Writers
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Dec 31, 2014

Four crew injured in Malaysia relief helicopter crash
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Jan 01, 2015 - A police helicopter carrying aid to displaced flood victims in northeastern Malaysia has crashed, injuring four crew members, a police official said Thursday as flood waters continued to recede.

The accident happened late Wednesday in the badly hit Tanah Merah district in Kelantan state near the Thai border as the helicopter was trying to deliver food packages to victims of the deluge, Kelantan police chief Mazlan Lazim told AFP.

The injured helicopter crew were hospitalised following the accident, but one had already been discharged, he said.

"Despite the incident, we are continuing to ferry aid via air because some roads are damaged," Mazlan added.

At least 21 people have died in the worst flooding in decades and more than 167,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes. Roads have been washed away and bridges damaged, hampering the delivery of aid.

The region is regularly hit by flooding during the annual monsoon, between November and March, but this year's storms have been unusually powerful and Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang states have been particularly hard hit.

Floodwaters have started to subside in many areas but authorities are bracing for possible disease outbreaks.

"We anticipate that flood victims will come in masses seeking care once the floodwaters start to recede," Noor Hisham Abdullah, health ministry director-general, said in a Facebook posting.

The government has been criticised for its slow response after many victims were caught stranded in outlying areas without food and clean water.

At least 21 people have been killed and eight others are missing after the worst flooding in decades across Malaysia's northeast, police said Wednesday, with almost a quarter of a million people displaced.

They said 14 of the deaths were recorded in the worst-hit state of Kelantan, where some 158,476 people were displaced.

Four people died in Terengganu and three in Pahang state. There are also reports of outbreaks of flu and diarrhoea.

The number forced from their homes in the other affected states -- Pahang, Perak, Terengganu and Johor -- totalled 83,570.

Forecasters Wednesday predicted clear skies for the next three days.

"But we are still in the northeast monsoon period until March. We could expect heavy showers later in the week," a meteorological department official said.

Floodwaters have began to subside in many areas but authorities are bracing for possible disease outbreaks.

Noor Hisham Abdullah, health ministry director-general, said there was no major rise in flood-related diseases at the moment.

"We anticipate that flood victims will come in masses seeking care once the floodwaters start to recede," he said in a Facebook posting.

Rajbans Singh, president of the Malaysian Wellness Society, told AFP that floods can increase the transmission of typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis, malaria and dengue.

The government has been criticised for it slow response after many victims were caught stranded in outlying areas without food and clean water.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who came under fire after being filmed playing golf with US President Barack Obama in Hawaii when the disaster happened, said he was saddened by the flooding.

"I see so much destruction. It is depressing and sad," he said.

Najib is criss-crossing flood-hit areas and coordinating aid activities.

Ee Su Chuong, 42, the owner of an auto repair shop in Kota Bharu in Kelantan, said many people were taking advantage of the sunny day to clean their mud-filled homes after floodwaters receded.

"But they will return to the relief centres to spend the night because they are unable to cook on their own as most provision shops are still closed," he told AFP.

The National Security Council admitted there were delays in its relief efforts, saying this was partly because some of its staff were flood victims.

"Due to the magnitude of the floods, most districts were completely inundated. Our entire district machinery collapsed as they (staff) had become victims themselves," council secretary Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.

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Malaysia pledges more flood aid for stranded thousands
Pengkalan Chepa, Malaysia (AFP) Dec 28, 2014
Malaysia on Sunday pledged more funds to help over 160,000 people hit by the country's worst flooding in decades, as forecasters warned fresh rain could hamper efforts to relieve thousands left stranded by the waters. Prime Minister Najib Razak announced an additional 500 million ringgit ($143 million) after touring parts of Kelantan state Saturday, which along with northeastern Terengganu a ... read more

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