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2006–2007 Malaysian floods


The 2006–2007 Malaysian floods are a series of floods that hit Malaysia during December 18, 2006 to January 13, 2007. The floods were caused by above average rainfall, which was attributed to Typhoon Utor which had hit the Philippines and Vietnam a few days earlier.[1] By the third week of January 2007, Johor was hit by a larger flood. Singapore and certain parts of Indonesia were flooded due to the same typhoon.

Throughout the week of December 18, 2006.[2] a series of floods hit Johor, Malacca, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan. During this period, these southern Malaysian states, along with Singapore, experienced abnormal rainfall which resulted in massive floods. The rainfall recorded in the city of Johor Bahru on December 19 amounts to 289mm when the annual rainfall of the city alone is 2400mm.[3][4] In Singapore the 24-hour rainfall recorded on December 20 was 366 mm, the third highest recorded rainfall in 75 years.[5]

The flooding began when torrential downpours since Sunday caused rivers and dams to overflow. Weather officials described the flooding as the worst in the area in a century.[6] At least six people died.[7]

Later that week, beginning December 22, North Sumatra and Aceh experienced abnormal rainfall which also caused flooding [8] An estimated 400,000 people were displaced at the peak of the flooding and at least 118 people dead with 155 people missing as of December 29, 2006. There are fears flash flooding could occur in Malaysia.[9]

Typhoon Utor

Typhoon Utor was blamed for heavy rains of up to 350 mm within 24 hours in southern Peninsular Malaysia, specifically Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Pahang, causing massive floods within the southern region on December 18, 2006, which was considered as the worst in the Malaysian southern region history.[10] However, there were also reports a few days earlier that adverse weather was not to be blamed on the typhoon.[11] The worst-affected areas were Segamat and Kota Tinggi, where both towns were totally inaccessible by land after all main roads leading to those towns were flooded.[12] Until January 4, 2007, the floods had claimed 15 lives. Heavy rains are excepted in Penang, Perak, Kelantan and other states in the northern region at this period.[13]

Situation in Johor

Urban areas including Batu Pahat, Johor Bahru, Kluang, Kota Tinggi, Mersing, Muar, Pontian and Segamat have been flooded. Towns of Kota Tinggi and Segamat were completely cut off.[2] Between 60,000 and 70,000 had been evacuated in Johor itself while food shortage at relief centers had been reported. Until now, schools are still flooded. The government of Malaysia plans to donate uniforms to the victims.[14] Most of the flood victims had been without clean water or electricity for days.[15] According to health authorities, reports of water-borne diseases were on the rise.[15] In some areas, looting was reported after floodwaters receded.

The second wave of the flood, which was larger than the first wave, had almost paralyzed Johor after all 8 districts were submerged by the flood.[17] The worst-affected areas caused by the second flood were Batu Pahat and Kluang. Both waves of the flood disaster were considered as the costliest flood in Malaysian history, with the total cost of RM 1.5 billion.

Kota Tinggi

On 12 January 2007 Friday early morning the flood water was slowly increasing at Jalan Jaffar, while the residents were all shifting their goods for preparing the second flood.

Kluang

On Saturday morning 13 January 2007, The Sungai Semberong bridge at Batu 5, Jalan Kluang-Mersing (Federal route 50) collapsed after being washed by strong current about 4.00 am Saturday.[19]

Situation in Malacca

In Malacca, 3,193 people from 691 families from Melaka Tengah, Alor Gajah and Jasin left their homes due to rising waters.

A total of 35 relief centres were opened , with the floods regarded the worst for the three districts in 15 years.

Situation in Pahang

In Pahang, more than 2,000 people were evacuated in several areas in Rompin, especially in Bandar Tun Abdul Razak. After more than 10 hours of continuous rain, people in Kampung Rekoh in Bandar Tun Abdul Razak were evacuated to nearby community halls. Other affected areas were Kampung Kurnia, Yayasan Estate and Yayasan Estate II. More than 6,000 residents, including settlers in nine Felda Selancar schemes, were also stranded because of two badly damaged bridges in the area.

Situation in Negeri Sembilan

In Negeri Sembilan, the various government departments in charge of flood relief in the state are fully prepared and on standby, said Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

Flooded areas include Gemas and Gemencheh and a total of 80 people have been evacuated so far.

Prime Minister's response

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi expressed his sadness over the disaster. He was on vacation during the flooding. He was back in Malaysia by December 23, 2006.

International Response

Aid was given to Malaysia by various international non-governmental organizations and countries such as United Sikhs, Red Crescent, United States of America, and Taiwan.
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